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Tyee’s 2019, by a Few Fun Measures

Our most printed, read, commented and more. Thanks for engaging with us this year.

Bryan Carney 31 Dec 2019 | TheTyee.ca

Bryan Carney is Director of Web Production at The Tyee. You can follow his very occasional tweets at @bpcarney.

Here’s you, looking at us, looking at you, kid. It’s that time of the year again at The Tyee where we get über meta on our data and analytics.

Whenever we publish a fresh story into the news stream, we pay attention to where and how it swims forth, because we care. We want our stories to make a splash.

Many of the most important impacts of our stories aren’t found through data or analytics, though. Often it’s our readers or sources that tell us how a story changed a law, or policy, or just made someone’s life better.

But still, analytics do offer insight. And that’s my job at The Tyee — to sift through the numbers, find out how readers use the website, and figure out what moves you the most.

Here are some fun measures I looked at this year.

The story voted most fit to print

Every so often, Tyee readers hit the print button on one of our articles, and we are honoured — especially as print is becoming more and more rare in these parts.

The number one most printed article in 2019? Marc Lee’s primer on what federal political parties promised to do about the housing crisis in advance of the October election.

Many of you — a few hundred to be precise — were eager to commit those promises to ink and printed out Lee’s story. Perhaps you were worried the parties would have their web geeks change their platform pages after Oct. 21?

The runner-up for most printed article, by the way, was ecologist William Rees’s sober take on the climate crisis, which, he says, may wipe out six billion people. (Never mind the environmental faux pas of printing out his killer article...)

The story that inspired the most comment chatter

We’re proud of the commenting community we, which is to say you and us, have cultivated here. We already knew it was special, but now we can also say it is Certifiably Less Toxic than the Globe and Mail’s.

The formula to get you talking non-toxically this year was fairly simple: JWR + JT. The top three stories in this category were all about that SNC-Lavalin scandal that didn’t quite bring down Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

There was Crawford Kilian’s take on former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould as the “Cassandra of the Trudeau government.”

Then there was Kilian’s proposal that Wilson-Raybould take over for the embattled PM.

And finally, there was Michael Harris wondering just why Trudeau risked so much for the construction giant anyway?

All three stories elicited hundreds of comments and lively debate.

The story you spent the most time reading

According to our analytics, you remained engrossed with Ian Gill’s epic, photo-documented tale on BC’s Herring War, and the Sacrifice of the Salish Sea most of all this year.

851px version of HerringSchoolUnderwater.jpg
These herring had you glued. Photo by Pacific Wild.

You stayed reading that story for an average of 14 minutes, which is several lifetimes in today’s attention economy.

The most read story of the year

The most read story in 2019 is one that’s actually three years old. “Harper, Serial Abuser of Power: The Evidence Compiled” continues to capture Tyee readers’ attention, well beyond the former PM’s expiration date. There’s just something about him...

But the most read story of 2019 published in 2019 is by yours truly. I’ve been writing this annual list a while now, coveting this slot, and at long last the sweet glory is mine. And what more fitting tale than one about watching you, dear readers, on the Internet?

My exclusive story on "Project Wide Awake," as the RCMP call the social media spying program (evidently named after an X-Men comic’s program to find and eliminate mutants), was read by more than 50,000 of you.

The runner-up spot goes to Tyee editor Paul Willcocks’s musing on Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s attempts to appeal to the Everyman, back when he was earning a leader’s salary of $264,000.

The story that inspired you to subscribe

Some stories inspire readers to get on our mailing lists. Each day, we deliver our freshest stories straight to your email inbox. Or each week, if that’s your thing. You can even get just the national highlights, if you’re not as interested in B.C. news. (Sign up here!)

Michael Harris’s scoop on the Stephen Harper-led "International Democratic Union," which helps elect right-wing governments around the world, moved you to click subscribe more than any other this year. That Harper guy, he sure has stamina.

As always, thanks for reading and supporting The Tyee. Have a wonderful 2020, and try not to think about us watching you for another 365 days. And a reminder that our comment threads are closed to give our moderators a break.  [Tyee]

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