I like to start the new year with a look back at the one we just had. For one thing, local newsmakers aren't typically that active in the first week or so of January, so there isn't much news to report. And it gives us a chance to see where we are and how we got here to put the coming months into perspective.
I often say that, unlike the editors of print newspapers, I don't have the luxury of feeling important. Those other editors can say they know what readers are interested in. They put it on the front page, so readers must be interested in it. With our online newspaper, however we have reliable statistics showing how many readers clicked the "Read More" button to view the whole article, rather than just scanning the headlines. That is humbling, because often what I thought would be important to readers is out-clicked by something quite unexpected. For instance anything I publish about coffee shops is huge with our readers.
Last year, though, a handful of stories broke all records for the Star. The top story in its week of publication hits a certain number. If it is really popular it hits a higher number, generally a third again the number of hits garnered by the top story in a typical week. Our story taking readers on a tour of the Cargill salt mine tripled that larger number in the week of the issue it appeared in.
I was elated. I thought a lot of people would like an article about the mine, but never thout THAT many people would read it. Because we archive our stories live after their week of publication it continued to reach more and more readers.
With the great success of the mine article, I wondered if I would ever beat that record number of readers.
I didn't have to wait long. My piece on Time Warner Cable tacking on a lease fee for cable modems nearly doubled the mine story. I couldn't believe it until I tried a few Google searches and realized that it was on the first search result page for almost the whole week! This was a national story, and while the Star didn't break the story first, it was of interest to a LOT of people.
|The next big story was local -- it was about the vandalism in the town parks and school campus. Lansing residents were insenced, and after the first story I received email asking whether the perpetrators had been caught. There was nothing I could print for about a month, but that was a busy month behind the scenes. When we printed the story about the vandals being arrested people voted for the story with their mouses. More read about the arrests than even clicked on the original report about the damage being done.|
With these articles breaking all records I figured I was done for the year, at least in huge-hits stories. But in issue 47 of 48 I decided to do a piece on the end of the world. That had been getting a lot of press for a long time because of a misreading of the Mayan calendar that caused a lot of people to think it predicted the end on December 21, 2012.
An insomniac, I checked the stats on the piece Sunday morning at around 4am. Keep in mind that at this point the article had been published for only two days and four hours. Yet it had broken all full-week records by a long shot. Again, this was a story of national interest, and while everyone and his brother was writing about it our little newspaper's article was on the first Google results page of a number of searches.
After only two days and four hours the World Won't End Friday, NASA says had been propelled to the 153rd all-time most-read article in the Lansing Star. The all-time statistics show the number of hits aggregated since the article was first published, including all the hits from the Star Search and Google after its week of publication, the live issue in which it first appeared. By that time the cable modem story was the 154th. The mine piece was 285. At that point more than 8500 articles were in the live online archive from more than seven years of publication, so stories getting such high numbers of hits in so little time was a big deal.
|Of course there was a lot more going on in town. In the schools Superintendent Stephen Grimm surprised the district by resigning. Grimm had been made an offer he couldn't refuse: Superintendent the Penfield Central School District. That is very near where he was raised, and with deep roots in the Rochester-area community he decided to accept.|
|Meanwhile the Lansing Board of Education did something they rarely do: they appointed an Acting Superintendent from within the school system. Elementary School Principal Chris Pettograsso was appointed Acting Superintendent, and in another temporary internal promotion Christine Rebera was made Acting Elementary School Principal.|
|In sports the Lansing Varsity Soccer Team made it to the finals at the State Championship, coming in second in New York State. Adele Ferris, a sophomore, placed 8th in the 200 individual event, and competed in the 500 IM at States. And Lansing Soccer Coach Adam Heck was named NYS Coach of the Year.|
|Down the road the Lansing Town Board saw some upheaval with the resignation of Andra Benson, and the appointment of Katrina Binkewicz to fill out her term, who won the election to fill that seat in 2013. The board has a lot on its plate with the sewer, comprehensive plan, other planning and zoning issues, the town center, dealing with the dwindling value of the Town's biggest taxpayer, and completing the work needed during Lansing's hydrofracking moratorium.|
|The Village of Lansing saw uncharacteristic discord in 2012 when two citizens challenged the status quo in the April Election. Yasamin Miller and Brian Goodell challenged incumbents John O'Neill and Julia Ann Kilgore Baker. While the incumbents won, the debate prompted discord on development in the northeast portion of the village, allegations of election misbehavior, and disagreement on how the comprehensive plan should be updated.|
|Meanwhile, work on two fire stations seemed to drag on forever. Months after a major addition to Central Station was largely completed, it was finally ready for use. And a new fire station in the Village of Lansing is currently under construction.|
All in all it was an eventful year, but the outcomes of several major issues have yet to be determined. The sewer project was poised to be sent to the Town Board when the Sewer Committee decided to try a partial-town-wide approach in order to bring high costs to district residents down to a reasonable level. The year ended on a positive note for the committee when a state grant for the project worth more than two and a half million dollars was announced.
Will that be the piece that finally brings sewer to Lansing? We'll know later in 2013 when the project is finalized and brought to a vote.
|< Prev||Next >|