Thursday, 5 April 2007

Inside the Sun 3

Glenn Garnett's third Inside the Sun blog posting highlights the benefits of monitoring the daily habits of readers using CNEWS online hits data.

The new editor-in-chief lists the Top 5 online news story hits of the day to illustrate what readers are drawn to online - and good news stories score poorly.

All five top stories were grim fare involving feces-throwing, murder, sex crimes, flesh-eating disease etc. Not surprising, really. Good news is most often snooze news.

In the days before the Internet and online newspapers, a good barometer for what sold and didn't sell was whether you could find a Toronto Sun in boxes or stores at 3 p.m.

It was a haphazard daily survey, but this blogger conducted a daily empty box count while driving from Etobicoke to the Sun for the 4 to 11 shift.

And most often, the greatest number of empty boxes were on days when we had those classic, eye-catching front pages highlighting police and fire stories and photos.

Front page photos of heroic rescues, spectacular traffic accidents, animal rescues and other exclusive action photos taken by the Sun's crack photo team also emptied the boxes by mid-afternoon.

Put politics and politicians and other, softer news headlines and photos on the front page and you could count on a lot of papers remaining in boxes throughout the day.

Daily CNEWS top hits of the day listings confirm what all Sun editors since Day One have known about the newspaper biz - doom and gloom sells. It is human nature.

Problem is, for the Sun and its editors to benefit from exclusive, eye-catching front page photos and stories, they need an ample supply of qualified reporters and photographers to get the job done.

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