Wednesday, January 2, 2008

As most journalists can attest, it’s frustrating not knowing how many people are actually reading your stories. Sure, if it makes A1 “above the fold,” it’s probably going to get a lot more eye scans than inside a back section. But there’s no way to really know how many of those who pick up the paper read which stories.

That’s what makes the Internet so great.

Thanks to technology, it’s now easier to track visitors on Web sites. Part of my job as web producer at The Tribune is to keep track of “page views” on each story. Essentially, that counts how many times the story page is opened, clicked back to or refreshed. (I also see how many people visit our site each day, find out which outside sites have picked up our stories and more, but we can talk about that later).

I’ve gone back to mid-April, which is when we switched over to a new web analysis program, and found the 20 stories with the most page views. I plan on sharing it with our newsroom, and because everyone likes a “Top 20 list” (admit it – you’ve seen at least some of those VH1 shows), I thought I’d share it with you.

Some explanation: Sometimes our stories are picked up by outside Web sites, and linked back to us. For example, our No. 1 story this year – the photos of the troops being taken down at the Paso post office – was picked up by, a new aggregation Web site made up mostly of links to mainstream media stories. Such a link gave us tens of thousands of page views – much higher than a story would normally get if placed solely on our site.

Also, a few of the stories on our list weren’t written locally. A continuous feed places national and international stories on the site each day. Sometimes, those versions of the story get picked up by an outside Web site (what a tangled World Wide Web it is). So even though no Tribune staff wrote the story, it still became one of the most-read items on in 2007.

And though we can't know for sure if everyone who clicked on the story read it, it does give us a bit better measurement than we can get with the print edition.

But enough from me already. visitors, here’s what you looked at this year:

1. Photos of troops overseas are gone from Paso post office inspiring outrage (Oct. 20)
2. FBI surveillance: It's come a long way (Aug. 30)
3. The military telegram arrives and a marriage is forever changed (Nov. 10)
4. SLO girl, parents dead in apparent murder-suicide (Oct. 4)
5. More details released in last week's apparent murder-suicide in SLO (Oct. 9)
6. Woodland dentist says breast rubs were appropriate (Oct. 12)
7. Shooting victim 'was loved and admired by his many friends in San Luis Obispo' (Dec. 7)
8. ‘Drain’ is a drag (July 8)
9. Shark seen circling surfer in Cayucos (Oct. 5)
10. Paso: Cars still speed — just more loudly (Nov. 23)
11. NFL: Shotwell ‘still in shock’ (Sept. 5)
12. Jail officer allegedly flashed inmate (Oct. 21)
13. Five die in Christmas Day crash (Dec. 26)
14. Two-car collision kills one, injures five on Highway 1 (Nov. 13)
15. Teens in fatal Hwy. 41 crash identified (July 25)
16. Investment fund fails; locals lose millions (Oct. 28)
17. Family’s life marked by divorce filings, addiction (Oct. 4)
18. Vegas priest pleads guilty to battery (Sept. 21)
19. Hasay’s talent hits an international stage (July 11)
20. 4 p.m.: Police release names of three people found dead this morning; murder-suicide suspected (Oct. 3)

If you have any questions, or want more information, feel free to leave a comment here or e-mail me at


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