Analytics measure more and more in our lives. I receive a report every week sending me stats that show how Storyboard posts performed on eight different measures. Eight.
Everything seems to be about rankings these days, and especially this time of year.
I don’t speak fluent algorithm, so lean on Adriana Lacy, the digital and audience engagement editor at the Nieman Foundation, to translate them for me and let me know which are most important. For the end-of-the year assessment, she highlighted the top 10 posts according to pageviews, starting with most-viewed:
- How a reporter found the true story behind a false story of sex trafficking: And interview with Washington Post reporter Jessica Contrera about her deep dive into a viral QAnon lie attacking the online home goods company Wayfair, and how it harmed both the company and kids.
- How curiosity about cats inspired practical science stories: An interview with science reporter Katherine J. Wu of The Atlantic about using her cat to inspire a mini-beat.
- Sticking a story together — and nailing the structure: Danish journalist Line Vaaben describes her method, involving a one-word focus and Post-it Notes, to organize a complex narrative.
- How Rachel Aviv of The New Yorker exposed the “troubled teen industry:” An interview and annotation of Aviv’s investigation of an unregulated Christian boarding school industry that profits off teen abuse.
- So you want to write a book? Brace yourself for some serious self-promotion and, yes, TikTok: One in our occasional series of essays and advice from news and magazine journalists who stretched to write non-fiction books.
- Reporting trauma; Nathan Rott on the tragedy of the Granite Mountain hotshots: One of five pieces in a series on covering traumatic events, this one focusing on a close-knit mountain community and a reporter’s “no-knock” rule.
- The bold Joan Didion story you probably never read: An analysis of reporting craft in a 1991 Joan Didion piece that dug into the failure of the criminal justice system in the famed attack on the Central Park jogger.
- What happens when fandom backfires in a culture of censorship: An analysis of a podcast that cut through stereotypes of Chinese culture, celebrity and the tyranny of social media.
- So you want to write a book? Part 2: Agents, queries and timelines: Another in our occasional book-stretch series, this one focusing on pitches and organizing material.
- An obit gets honest and goes viral: And interview with the gay son of a “plus-sized Jewish redneck lady” who wrote her unvarnished obit.
Click here for the editor’s favorite posts of 2022.