Liam’s lowdown: What will this year bring for news?

I don’t care if it’s cliche or stating the obvious, but Happy New Year!

I suppose it’s time to ask what’s expected for the coming year. There are some events that come regardless: life, death and taxes. And others that just happen, such as fires, floods and bad haircuts.

As a journalist, I wonder what the news will bring. Will the Liberals be kicked out? Will Brexit be sorted? Will the Trans Mountain pipeline be settled? The World Bank predicts a global economic downturn, will it happen? And will any of the live-action Disney movies be actually good?

We will see.

Today, numbers are everything. When it comes to our website, we know what stories people click on, how long they stay on each article, how they found it, type of device they use to read it and even the person’s age. Crazy, eh?

Before I became a journalist, all the rubbish weather stories use to make me mad. Who cares if it’s snowy, windy, or rainy.

Turns out, everyone.

People love weather stories. Our daily goal for online visits is almost 6,000 per day. Some days we make it and some we don’t. If Highway 1 is closed for avalanches or accidents, particularly if it involves a semi truck, the number of clicks is thunderous. If we post a video of a blizzard at the ski hill, it’s shared far more than stories on city council. Skiing is more popular than politics.

Sometimes it’s depressing counting clicks. Some of the most popular stories during my three month stay thus far include: Sex doll brothel to open in Kamloops, Puppies surprise young skiiers at SilverStar Mountain Resort, and trucks driving through a large puddle in Revelstoke.

Maybe if the stories on proportional representation included frolicking puppies and sex, they would have been read by more than just a handful.

In many ways, a click a vote. If you click on it, it equates to us believing that you’re interested and wanting to know more.

It’s no secret, many media companies are not doing well. Budgets are tight and journalist are being cut. With limited resources there’s more pressure to write stories on what’s popular. The hard part is trying to decide how much time to spend on topics that aren’t favoured, but important.

What’s more important: puppies on a ski hill or a vote that may change the way we elect governments? According to our data, it’s puppies. By a landslide.

If readers wants more well researched in-depth stories then click on the ones that are, talk about them, tell your friends, share them, send the news organization emails that you want more similar stories, send them news tips and photos, and tell the editor.

Because in the end, news is a business. And we’ll go where the demand is.



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