Online Readers’ Top Ten Banner-News Stories of 2010

We’ve watched happily as our web hits have grown (and grown and grown and . . . well, you get the idea) over the past year. Our average daily number of web hits has tripled, and thus we’ve been monitoring closely what our readers are clicking on the most on our website. We’ve spent a great deal of time poring over the numbers, and what you see below is a list of the top ten stories, or rather, the stories our web readers clicked on the most, in 2010.

NUMBER 10: Coming in at the bottom of the list is the March 16, 2010, article, “Prosecutor to seek death penalty; Mom was ‘partying on Bourbon Street’ days after daughter’s death, husband says.” The article detailed the local prosecutor’s announcement of his interest in pursuing the death penalty in the capital murder case against Dawn Marie Wines, who plead no contest a few months ago to the deaths of her two children, Louis and Annabelle, in 2009. We will point out, though, that this story received only a few more web hits than the other stories related to the Wines case that were published in the Banner-News. (Second runner-up was the exclusive article in which we interviewed Wines days before she went to prison.)

NUMBER 9: On June 17, 2010, we printed the article, “Doctor under arrest; Murphy accused of filling forged prescriptions,” which explained the charges against Magnolia Doctor Fred Murphy. Our online readers couldn’t seem to stop clicking on the story.

NUMBER 8: On March 3, 2010, the lead headline was, “Rankin files for Congress.” The story was a hit with our online readers, not to mention the hot topic in conversation around town, what with Beth Anne Rankin being a hometown girl and all! (We feel confident that when we review our rack numbers later next week, we’ll find that this story ranks high on that list as well.)

NUMBER 7: Similar to the stories on the Wines case, we had to categorize the Number 7 spot as well to include all the interviews with Magnolia’s mayoral candidates. Published Sept. 2-8, 2010, the articles were a big hit with our online readers (and more than likely, with our print readers, too). There were five of the articles in total, with each of the five candidates given the exact same questions to answer. The candidates – Parnell Vann, Sam Whitelaw, Bob Flaherty, Romerse Biddle and Danny Layton – presented their ideas and plans for the city, and judging by the number of clicks, our online readers enjoyed the series.

NUMBER 6: We don’t suppose we have to tell you that the articles we published May 19, 2010, received a massive number of clicks from our online readers. It was the day after the May Primary, and because every article we published that day received almost the same amount of online reader attention, we hate to give just one the title. Suffice it to say, our online readers love their local politics!

NUMBER 5: Back in May, Columbia County residents were anxiously awaiting the decision of the Arkansas Court of Appeals in the Bayou Bistro case. The long-lasting case is always of interest to our readers, but online readers really jumped on the article we published May 10, 2010, announcing that a decision was likely that week in the case.

NUMBER 4: Online readers from across the state, including other media outlets, were all over the article published April 22, 2010: “Tuition increase; Should generate $1 million, says SAU president.” The 4.7 percent rate increase generated a great deal of interest, judging by the number of clicks the story received.

NUMBER 3: If we give you the date of Nov. 3, 2010, can you guess what the most popular stories were? We bet you can – it was the day after the ‘Big Election,’ and online readers had a great time perusing our coverage of the results!

NUMBER 2: We were actually a little surprised that this story made it this high up on the list – when we started the research for this list, it wasn’t even on our radar – but for our online readers, it was apparently a hit: “Hints explained; ‘Clue Maker’ explains the clues that never got used,” published May 18, 2010. The article detailed the clues in the annual Blossom Festival Treasure Hunt, which had been solved early (if accidentally!) by Magnolia resident David Burdine.

And weighing in at NUMBER ONE, our online readers’ most read story of 2010 was, “Fatal car wreck near McNeil; Accident claims lives of two Magnolia residents,” published Aug. 30, 2010. The article detailed the tragic automobile accident in which Corey Christopher, 31, and Kenneth Turner, 25, were killed on U.S. 79 near McNeil. The two young men were immensely popular among their friends, families and peers, and their deaths were deeply mourned throughout the community.

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