LJWorld.com’s top stories of 2010

LJWorld.com 2010 Statistics

From Jan. 1 to Dec. 27, 2010

  • Total comments: 280,385
  • Total stories: 23,520
  • Total blogs: 1,944
  • Total videos: 5,285

Tens of thousands of users log on to LJWorld.com everyday and click on thousands of links. As an online editor, I spend plenty of time analyzing what stories, videos and photos you found interesting (or not interesting at all) and how LJWorld.com has progressed over different periods of time.

At the end of each year, we look at the most clicked stories of the year and share them with you. I’m sometimes surprised — and not surprised — by the results. I’ll be interested to hear what you think in the comments. Here are the LJWorld.com Top Stories of 2010:

10. iPad vs. Kindle

The iPad made its debut this year, and a story we posted by the Associated Press crept into our top 10 thanks to good headline writing. Unlike many of the other stories in the top 10, which had one or two days of glory before they faded away, “iPad vs. Kindle” saw consistent web traffic over a long period of time thanks to Google. Our headline matched the keywords many people used when looking to compare Apple’s new gadget and Amazon’s Kindle. If you Google “iPad vs. Kindle” our story is the eighth result on the first page, and Google still sends visitors to this story on a daily basis. iPad vs. Kindle was read 22,219 times.

  • Editor’s note: We pay close attention to online headlines, and write them with strong keywords so search engines will push our stories to the top of search results. That’s why the headline you see in print, which is crafted to fit a specific amount of space, is usually different from the online headline, which is crafted to give the story as much “Google juice” as possible.

9 & 8. Raid at property east of Lawrence leads to meth trafficking charges

On February 17, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office investigators and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives spent two days raiding a farmhouse and surrounding buildings at 1706 N. 1500 Road, home to All Seasons Tree Service (our eighth most popular story with 25,656 pageviews). The raid resulted in the arrest and indictment of Donald Milton Steele and Randy J. Dyke, both 50, and Anthony Wayne Sims, 57, on meth trafficking charges. Their arrest was our ninth most popular story with 22,265 pageviews. The assets of the property were auctioned off in March.

7. KU professor Janet Hamburg commits suicide

On September 4, popular Kansas University dance professor Janet Hamburg committed suicide in New York City. Hamburg, a professor at KU since 1979, was internationally known for her work in movement analysis and its application in treating Parkinson’s disease. This story was read 30,436 times.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please call the National Hopeline Network at 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433) or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You can also visit the Headquarters Counseling Center website for suicide prevention resources in Kansas.

6. Notre Dame, Arkansas to join the Big 12?

Summer months usually bring sleepy web traffic, but June 2010 was an exception. Conference realignment reached its boiling point the first half of June. Colorado and Nebraska left the Big 12 for the Pac 10 and Big Ten, and the Big 12 decided to continue with just 10 teams. Then on June 16, Tom Keegan published a column about possibly replacing the conference’s ex-girlfriends with Notre Dame and Arkansas. It didn’t happen, but the idea of it piqued your curiosity enough to make his column our sixth most popular story with 32,477 pageviews.

5. Mario Little arrested, suspended indefinitely

Our overnight reporter Joe Preiner sent an email to the newsroom staff about 3 a.m. on December 16 about an incident on Ohio Street. The suspect’s name was Mario Little. Joe wrote “I don’t know how many Mario Littles there are in Lawrence, but it might be worth keeping an eye on.”

KU basketball player Mario Little was arrested in the early morning hours of December 16 on charges of battery, criminal trespassing and criminal property damage after an altercation involving his girlfriend and three other people. Hours later, Little was suspended indefinitely from the KU basketball team.

  • Editor’s note: This story was visited so many times (32,546 to be exact) that our website traffic on December 16 was higher than it was on November 2, which was election day.

4. Winter weather closes schools in January

If there were a set of 10 Commandments for online editors, one of them would definitely be “Severe weather shall always bring copious amounts of website traffic.” Such was the case in early January when Lawrence schools were closed by yet another snowstorm. This list of cancellations was our biggest weather story of the year with 40,106 pageviews.

3. McCollum gun scare

McCollum Hall on the KU campus was evacuated and searched after a report of a man with a gun inside the building on April 30. No suspect with a gun was found. While covering the story, LJWorld.com staff photographer Kevin Anderson happened to take this photograph of a young man and woman leaving the dorm. As it turns out, that man, Samuel Lennell Moore, became the suspect of the investigation. Moore gave police a false description of a man running through the dorm with a gun and left McCollum with his girlfriend, Kori B. Williams, of St. Louis. Both Moore and Lewis were charged — Moore with obstructing justice and Lewis with falsely reporting a crime. Moore pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 12 months probation. Williams pleaded not guilty and her trial date is scheduled for Jan. 10, 2011. This story was read 40,543 times.

  • Editor’s note: This story proved to us the importance of using social media tools like Twitter to gather and share information during breaking news. After analyzing our coverage that day, we realized that our information reached a total of 137,537 individual Twitter accounts.

2. The Big Ten wants Texas

Another Tom Keegan column about conference realignment is our second most popular story of 2010. In this column, published on February 11, Keegan reported that the Big Ten was talking with the Big 12’s biggest fish: Texas. Social media played a large part in driving users to this story. Of the top 10 traffic sources on this story, which was viewed 44,042 times, five were major blogs — like Rivals and the Huffington Post — and two were Facebook and Twitter.

1. K2

When co-worker Jonathan Kealing and I analyze website traffic, we often say something like “The K2 story is going to live forever.” Though the story “New, legal, drug has law enforcement concerned — and it’s already on a Lawrence store’s shelves” was first published in November 2009, it was the number one story on LJWorld.com for 2010 by far with 139,321 pageviews. It’s popularity in 2010 peaked in late February and early March, and it still pulls in a surprising amount of traffic over a year after its birth.

Reporter Shaun Hittle said he suspects the popularity of this story, which focuses on the rise of K2’s popularity, comes from users wanting to be educated on the issue.

“Of all the articles I’ve written, I’ve never had more calls about a piece than I received during the K2 debate,” Hittle said. “I had parents calling me asking about it, as well as other reporters looking for more information.”

The majority of website traffic for this story came from (and continues to come from) Google. If you search for “k2 drug” or “k-2 drug” our story is the top result. Call it combination of good timing, good SEO writing or a combination of both, but “the K2 story” is a constant source of traffic for LJWorld.com.