Can't get year-end data on the best-read story on Post-Bulletin Online this year...sorry.
But I'm betting this post, with this headline, will be the best-read in my 10 months of blogging. Another tragic reality.
From the Seattle Times, a column headlined, "Horse sex story was online hit":
As I look back at the year in news, it's clear I should have focused more on people having sex with horses.
That's the conclusion I reach after reviewing a new list of the year's top local news stories. Only this list is not the usual tedious recounting by news editors or pundits who profess to speak for you readers. This is the people's-choice list.
It's not a survey of what news you say you read.
It's what you actually read.
By tallying clicks on our Web site, we now chart the most read stories in the online edition of The Seattle Times. Software then sorts the tens of thousands of stories for 2005 and ranks them. Not by importance, impact or poetic lyricism, but by which stories compelled the most people to put finger to mouse, click, open and, presumably, read.
Which brings me back to sex with horses. The story last summer about the man who died from a perforated colon while having sex with a horse in Enumclaw was by far the year's most read article. ...
The Post-Bulletin and just about every other newspaper in the Milky Way does this kind of year-end review of top stories. While we haven't had any bestiality incidents to report lately, the most-read Web story on P-B Online this year would almost certainly be either a car wreck or crime story.
If we can get that data without too much horsing around, I'll report it here.
Here's a great idea from the Chicago Reader, via Romanesko:
How to Show That Real Journalists Do Come in Handy, Once in a While
To prove that bloggers and Google News robots can't do the work of trained reporters, Reader executive editor Michael Lenehan proposes a yearlong journalism strike. "I am urging reporters and editors around the world to put down their notebooks, close their laptops, hang up their phones. Lie down and be counted! Let’s have no reporting, no editing, no application of any human intelligence whatsoever to events public or private till January 1, 2007. I’m calling it the Year Without Journalism. Let’s all relax, let go, and float blissfully in the information-free state (excuse me, I mean free-information state) that our public awaits so eagerly. ... Let’s see if Wonkette can deal with the devious bastards in the executive branch any better than Judith Miller did." ...
One of our goals for '06 is to get more local columnists and voices into the paper -- staffers and freelancers alike. To that end, we have a new Wednesday columnist -- Jennifer Koski, a Rochester writer who has done a lot of work for the P-B magazines and other magazines (including Roch. Women). She's a terrific writer, has a great sense of humor and point of view...she'll write a metro-type column for Page 1B about life around here, along the same lines of how Greg Sellnow approaches his column.
We have plans to move another columnist to Page 1B on Friday...more on that later.
Columns obviously add immensely to the character and personality of the paper, and as we look at changes in lhow and what we cover, we're going to be carving out time and space for more notebook-type columns (and Web logs) for staff writers.
We do a great job of this in the sports section, where every reporter's face is well-known to readers, and we're going to do the same in local news and on the Life covers.
Feedback from a reader named April:
I see you found a way to include the previous puzzle answer in the sudoku space. Thank you. Just to tell you how "hooked" some people are on the puzzle: As we were sitting in church on Christmas Eve, waiting for the service to start, the lady in the pew in front of me was working on a puzzle from the P-B!
Tangent is our wild-child Saturday lifestyle section that focuses on younger adult readers -- like every media organization and every business, we're trying to reach more 18- to 34-year-olds, and since February '04, Tangent has been an important part of that.
Beginning Saturday, we're making a few design changes to broaden the section's appeal. They're fairly simple changes at this point, to move the section more into the mainstream of the paper, while keeping most content intact. During the next month, we'll take a more aggressive look at the content, making a few adjustments here and there -- anyone care for that poker column, for example?
The intent is to make Tangent stronger and a more vital part of the Weekend edition for a lot more readers. And then watch for the online version.
Beginning next week, probably Tuesday, depending on how hard the Answer Man parties on Saturday night, You Asked will get its own blog.
Furst Draft is no longer big enough for both the managing editor and the Answer Man -- plus it makes more sense for this Web log to focus on local news, media, reader feedback and comment, while You Asked is the place to go for answers and add-ons to that column.
Let's just say that both will be worth visiting.
Today's Answer Man column, with an insert on feedback already received:
Is there anyone in the Rochester area who recycles packing peanuts? -- The Cleanup Crew
Packing peanuts are, of course, the incredibly annoying bits of foam used to protect breakables. Once a packing peanut becomes attracted to you by static cling, it's your friend for life.
I'm not aware of a local recycler for these lovable items -- tell me if you know of one. There are several national groups working on this recycling issue, including the wonderfully named Plastic Loose Fill Council. If you call the group's Peanut Hotline at 1-800-828-2214, you automatically get a list of area recycling centers that accept packing peanuts.
Unfortunately, calling from Rochester you get only three possibilities: Apple Valley, Minn., and Hudson and Menomonie, Wis.
In Rochester, Onyx Waste Services and Waste Management Inc. don't accept packing peanuts for recycling. They go straight into the trash burner.
(A reader tells me the UPS store in the former Target/Rainbow Foods strip center takes peanuts...)
I've heard about a million different dates for when current TVs will become obsolete because of the change to all-digital TV. If anyone knows the real date, I assume it's you. Tell me, please. -- Frustrated Frank, Stewartville
Frankly, even I can't guarantee this, but the most current information is that the switcheroo will occur on Feb. 17, 2009. The U.S. Senate vote approved a bill requiring broadcasters to quit current analog transmissions on that date. I believe the House still has to vote on this, though, and then President Bush will have to add his John Hancock.
Who knows if we'll even be watching TV by the year 2009? Maybe people will have given up on TV and just read newspapers instead.
NEW SIGNS GOING UP: Following up on the lane-changing mayhem on the ramp from southbound U.S. 52 at Second Street Southwest, noted in last Thursday's column: MnDOT project manager Terry Ward says signage is planned on that ramp, so that problem should be resolved soon.
MORE ON RESTORE: Be sure to call ahead if you have donations for the ReStore Store at Habitat for Humanity, says Jerry Dagen, who's coordinating the new partnership with the ReStore operation in Winona. I wrote about this new program a few weeks ago. Call Jerry at 252-0849.
REMEMBER SOUTH TROY?: Just to show you how timeless the Answer Man's prose is: Gale Hill, a reader from Wabasha, stopped by a few weeks ago with a postcard dated July 1903 and sent to South Troy. The card is amusing because it describes Rochester as "the only town on the map" of the United States, but the real reason Gale brought it in was that I featured South Troy, the tiny locale north of Rochester on U.S. 63, in my Nov. 3, 2003, column.
Gale says the post office in South Troy was discontinued on Dec. 31, 1903.
DON'T QUOTE ME ON THIS, EITHER: I would swear on a stack of Bibles that I've written at least a vague item on Maple Island Dairy Stores, a chain of Rochester milk stores long ago. The archives are silent on this, but in any event, reader Sandi Conant-Kaump recently sent me a Maple Island ad clipped from the Post-Bulletin on Nov. 21, 1963 -- a day before President Kennedy was shot -- noting that the stores were at the Silver Lake Shopping Center and at Oxendale Pontiac on 11th Avenue Northwest.
Enjoy You Asked in moderation every Monday and Thursday. Send questions to P.O. Box 6118, Rochester, MN 55904 or email@example.com. Also check for daily updates at www.postbulletin.com -- click on the Furst Draft Web log.
One of my favorite e-mail correspondents, Quentin Schmierer, has this to offer on Paul Krugman's value in our newspaper -- read at your own peril, and Quentin will have to defend his own statements of fact:
It has been awhile, but some things never change. I must again register a complaint with the continued printing of Paul Krugman and his scurrilous op-ed pieces. I continue to be dismayed that this bomb thrower appears to be the PB’s best resource for liberal commentary. He continually writes articles filled with lies, misrepresentations and distortions.
The recent article “Perhaps the question is not who’s on the take but who isn’t” makes the absurd claim that only conservative groups (and by association politicians) receive funds from lobbying organizations. He states, “[i]f this is overwhelmingly a story about Republican lobbyists and conservative think tanks, as I believe it is – there isn’t any Democrat equivalent of [Jack] Abramoff – that’s what the public deserves to be told.” Krugman must be completely blind; apparently he is unaware of George Soros, MoveOn.org, etc. who have funneled a lot of money into advancing liberal and extreme left wing causes. Further, to claim that Abramoff lobbied only Republicans is false. Like all lobbyists, Abramoff lobbied whoever was in power. He paid for numerous trips for sympathetic Democrats as well. James Clyburn and Bennie Thompson are two examples, who received a free ride thanks to Abramoff on an excursion to the Northern Mariana Islands in the 1990s’. Influence peddling in Washington is, and has been, a bi-partisan operation.
Krugman, as always, launches into Tom DeLay, who he is already treating as if he has been convicted of every charge raised against him. Krugman has implied in past articles that Republicans are corrupted and paid for by lobbyists and special interests. DeLay is his favorite whipping boy. Apparently his memory does not extend to the Clinton years nor can he remember John Huang, the Riadys, Jorge Cabrera (a Cuban cocaine importer who posed with Hillary Clinton after handing her a $25k check), etc., etc. To claim that only one party is susceptible to corruption is a lie, again one with which Krugman SHOULD be familiar.
The list of liberal lobbyists and organizations is at least as long, if not longer, for leftist groups as any conservative groups. Krugman knows this too. Krugman himself is a “scholar” at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. This group gets all of its money from left wing groups and lobbyists willing to have him promote their point of view. Krugman was also a “consultant” on its advisory board in the 90’s. At the time he wrote glowingly of Enron and its “innovative” corporate practices. For his efforts he received $50k per year. Krugman is well aware that lobbyists and “think tanks” are supported by lobbyists on both sides of the political spectrum. To claim only conservatives are “tainted” is a lie and he knows it. Interestingly after Enron stopped sending Krugman checks, he wrote scathing articles about their corruption and attempted to tie them to the Bush administration while avoiding any mention of his work. One wonders what advice he supplied and how he failed, as a noted economist, to note the corruption that was at the highest levels of the company. Apparently Enron did not get much for its money.
Further, it is highly doubtful that those working for either conservative or liberal organizations change their viewpoints based on who is funding the organization; the lobbyists are funding information they already agree with, not creating new viewpoints.
Virtually all of Krugman’s rants (I can’t really call them editorial pieces since they contain so little substance or fact) are in a similar vein to his last one. Is there not another liberal viewpoint you could publish in the PB who would at least attempt to use truthful arguments and reasoning? Is Krugman the “best” of what is there? If so, the left is in deep trouble. I would encourage the PB to find another voice for liberal opinion. Lies are not good arguments, and transparent lies like those Krugman employs are destructive. Not to mention, you are losing a ton of readers with this guy.