October 17, 2018

Looking back at the top-10 stories on the web in 2017

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As 2017 comes to a close, it gives us a chance to look back on the year that was.

Here at the Herald/Independent, we cover thousands of stories every year. Most of those stories appear in the newspaper each week, but a small percentage of them also appear on our websites.

When it comes to the newspaper, we can only guess at what drives readership. We can assume that it was a certain story that caused newsstand sales to go through the roof one week, but it’s just that, a guess. We know something got people’s attention, and we can track trends, but it’s all a guessing game.

With our websites, we get an entirely new insight into our readers’ habits. It becomes much easier to see what stories people are clicking on and what stories they aren’t reading, thanks to analytic tools that are able to tell us how many people are viewing any one of our postings at any given second.

Below we have compiled a list of the top 10 most viewed stories on our website during 2017. There was no cheating. We didn’t cherry pick. These are based on actual page views, and are the 10 stories that more people viewed than any others.

As you look over this list of stories, it might seem like there is a lot of bad news in our top 10. A true newspaper doesn’t publish just good news. A newspaper that says it only publishes positive news isn’t publishing the news at all. Not all news is good. Bad news happens too, and ignoring it is not being objective. Our job is not to determine whether something is “good” news or “bad” news. Our job is simply to report the news, which is what we do each and every day.

With that said, these are the stories that our readers clicked on the most during 2017.

1. Head on collision takes the life of Saginaw man

2. Few details in death of 22-year-old female in West Branch Thursday night

3. Multiple agencies responding to situation at West Branch Super 8

4. Officers uncover multi-county larceny ring

5. Rose City man killed in snowmobile crash

6. Prescott man dies in freak motorcycle accident

7. Serious injuries suspected after head-on collision near county line

8. Two arrested after alleged meth lab bust

9. MSP investigating possible homicide in Hale

10. Homicide victim’s name released by prosecutor

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