We know what’s being read, not always why

While we often have to guess what stories newspaper readers are looking at, there’s no such doubt when it comes to online. We get daily reports on the number of page views and visitors to our website (no NSA spying going on here — we just know what’s being read, not who’s reading it).

But sometimes we’re stumped about “why” certain stories are being read. We had a couple of online successes in the past two weeks that were head-scratchers at first, but eventually made some kind of perverse sense:

1. A story about a state geologist coming to talk about the Big One (earthquake) that’s going to hit in the Northwest at some point. Turns out we assumed people understood the  “at some point” aspect (perhaps as long as 75 years from now) of the story because we had written about it repeatedly. Apparently we were wrong and some people decided the Big One was imminent. That story and a follow-up on the actual talk generated about 400,000 page views.

2. A story we ran last week about early snowfall at Crater Lake (8” of snow) apparently turned into a see-I-told-you-so moment for global warming doubters. After it was picked up by the Drudge Report, we had about 60,000 additional visitors to our website in two days, generating about 150,000 additional page views.

A story about the county getting an estimated $3.5 million in federal timber-related funds to shore up its dwindling coffers had 233 page views yesterday.

Just saying.

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