IN November worcesternews.co.uk attracted 242,000 unique users from around the world who read everything from major breaking news stories to the local weather forecast.
Almost a quarter of a million people may have been our highest ever ‘UU’ figure, but stats for the rest of the year aren’t all that far behind, with an average of around 185,000 people coming to the site each and every month.
But what were they all reading? Well it’s no secret that news readers are drawn to bad news and across the year stories about fatal accidents were usually at the top of our most-read statistics.
But there were hidden gems and surprises among all of the figures, so we thought we’d take you on brief trip back through 2012 with your top(ish) 10 stories of the year.
10. Hasselhoff ready to move to Worcestershire village (September 28)
A global superstar moving to the county? Next thing you know Liz Hurley will be tucking in to a custard slice at Greggs in Ledbury.
Among tales of tragedy and woe, The Hoff provided a little bit of light relief for readers although we don’t yet know if he followed through with his plans. We really should check that out…
9. Major fire at Worcester nursery (March 25)
The benefit of news websites is the ability to share information and breaking news quickly, and that is exactly what happened late on Sunday, March 25. As nobody was in the office at the time it was social media that first alerted us to the KinderKare fire when suddenly our fans started posting dramatic pictures to Facebook.
It’s fair to say there was something of a panic among editorial staff with urgent telephone calls being made to coordinate the coverage. Despite the time of night it went live, our first story about the incident was viewed thousands of times and we received plenty of feedback about it on Facebook.
8. Olympic Torch arrives in Worcester (May 24)
This article would have been the most-read of the month if it wasn’t for the story at number one in this list. But the torch story isn’t the full tale – a long day at WN Towers for many staff members resulted in - among other things - an extensive online photo gallery (here) in which pictures were viewed almost 170,000 times in about 48 hours.
2012 was not only a good year for sport but it was also a whopper for WN photographs!
7. Rooftop stand-off in city centre (September 10)
Negotiations between police and a man on a city roof (which ended without major incident) brought part of Worcester to a standstill and readers flocking to our site to find out what was going on.
This was one of the first outings for our new live article feature, demonstrating just how well an ongoing story can be covered by just a reporter at the scene with a mobile phone and a Twitter account.
6. Keith the Severn seal takes a breather (November 23)
A handful of excellent pictures of a female grey seal called Keith (naturally) visiting the Severn were not only very popular on worcesternews.co.uk but they were also a smash hit on our Facebook page.
Despite critics who said she was eating too many fish, the unusual visitor caught the imagination of readers who wanted to know about the latest sightings so they could pop down to the riverbank to see her for themselves. Incidentally, at the time of writing, her whereabouts are unknown. Keep your eyes peeled.
5. Floods – Worcestershire bears the brunt of rising flood water (November 26)
As Biblical rain fell across the country Worcestershire became one of the worst-affected areas as rivers burst their banks, roads became impassable and flood defences at Kempsey failed.
This is exactly the kind of event we had in our minds when introducing the live article facility to our sites, so we brought you breaking news, pictures, tweets, comments and other live information – all in one place. This is our new toy, so expect more live articles in 2013!
4. The Queen in Worcester – map and times (July 4)
Not surprisingly, an eagerly-anticipated visit to Worcester by Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh proved to be a very big draw on the run-up to the big day.
On the day itself and for about 48 hours afterwards, traffic to the website saw huge spikes as people clamoured to find out what had been going on. Our photo gallery from the event (here) was particularly popular, with our pictures being viewed around 350,000 times.
3. Comet stores – closing down sale starts (November 8)
When this story rocketed to the top of our most-read panel on the homepage we were suspicious. In fact we ended up calling Newsquest HQ in London to check the figures and were told that not only were they correct, but this was the most-read article across all Newsquest sites in the country.
For a time it was also the top Google search result for ‘Comet sale’, beating all the national newspapers and even Comet itself.
Worcester folk can do little to stop job-losses and gloomy economic news, but it seems they know a bargain when they see one.
2. I am not showing too much (January 23)
That was mum-of-four Lisa Woodman’s opinion about her clubbing gear, but although many people agreed with her… many others didn’t. Plenty of different opinions were offered on our site and over on our Facebook page, and as usual with worcesternews.co.uk commenters, everybody insisted they were right. It turned in to a right old ding-dong and became our second most popular story of the year.
Lisa went on to make national news and became something of a local celebrity. But did fame change her? Probably…
1. Who will be our worthy belle of the ball? (May 14)
More to the point, who could have predicted that this would be the most-read story of the year?
The article featured four lovely young ladies who were all vying to win a posh prom frock. We told each of their stories and launched a ballot for readers to decide the winner.
What happened next took us all by surprise here at WN Towers. Unknown to us an e-battle had kicked off between Christopher Whitehead Language College and King Charles I High and youngsters (and their friends) came to the site in their thousands to vote. In all around 33,000 votes were cast and the winner, Ellie Philpotts from King Charles I High, beat her Christopher Whitehead rival, Deanna Hinett, by just 137 votes.