2009 on the Web

Jeremy Elwood, SBJ Web EditorWorking in the cyberworld, most of my job entails looking ahead – what’s the next big thing, how will people share information in the future, how can we stay ahead of the communication curve?

But every now and then, it’s fun to pause and take a look back, and the end of the year always offers an opportunity for reflection. So I’m taking a look at the most popular stories on sbj.net in 2009.

Some of the items among those at the top aren’t surprising.

SBJ’s April coverage of the death of Springfield restaurateur Joe Nakato topped the list, with nearly 6,000 views. That’s not a shock; Nakato’s death was sudden and unexpected, and he was a well-known and beloved business owner in the community.

Our Jan. 19 story about the issues with Springfield’s Police and Fire Pension Fund – the first of a three-part series written by, ahem, yours truly – checked in at No. 3 on the list. That’s not a surprise, either; anything related to the pension fund has been big news this year.

SBJ’s special events also generate a lot of Web traffic. The announcement of our 2009 class of 40 Under 40 checks in at No. 4 on the list with more than 3,500 hits, and the selection of this year’s Most Influential Women was No. 7.

The renovation of the former Steak & Ale building also got a lot of traffic, coming in at No. 12 with nearly 2,500 hits. That doesn’t surprise me. Steak & Ale’s clientele was nothing if not loyal, as we noted when we wrote about the restaurant’s closing in 2008. The loyalty also can be seen in the comments accompanying the 2009 story on our site.

Other stories seem a bit more puzzling in their popularity – at least to me.

The announcement that Joplin-based Sitton Motor Lines is closing – first published in our sister publication, Joplin Tri-State Business Journal – hit No. 8 on the list, despite not happening until mid-November. That story wasn’t surprising in its popularity as much as it was in its longevity … it remained in our list of Top 10 daily stories for several weeks after it was posted on our site.

Movie critic Jim Wunderle also continues to boast a legion of loyal fans, as two of his reviews – for “Star Trek” and “Terminator Salvation” – clocked in among the Top 15 stories of the year.

So what does the list tell us about our readers and our Web site? Honestly, I’m not sure – but I think it says our readers like variety and timeliness, and we hope to continue to deliver on that in 2010.

Have a safe and happy New Year!

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