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By the Numbers: Top 20 South Orange-Maplewood Stories of 2018

An interesting — and sometimes mesmerizing —aspect of online publishing is the vast amount of analytic data produced. Instead of making a judgement call about which stories we feel were the most discussed, debated and read in the community, we can look at the numbers and see which stories were clicked on the most.

Of course, the data can still doesn’t always tell the full story: For instance, our election coverage this fall clearly was well read and widely discussed. However, the clicks were spread across many stories; only one election story amassed enough clicks to make the top 20. Similarly, a myriad of stories on the school district’s Long Range Facilities and Integration Plan split the clicks on that topic. Another topic widely covered in both towns is redevelopment, but the coverage was diverse — as were the clicks.

On the other hand, our No. 1 story — about CHS grad-turned-international-superstar SZA appearing in Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” video — was a bit of an anomaly. Although widely read locally, this story received clicks from throughout the country and indeed the world. It continues to be read and shared months after its publication (much like the Paul Ryan/SOMS Photo Op stories of 2017).

The true top South Orange-Maplewood story of 2018 is more likely the traffic stop involving Board of Education member Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad. This story and its aftermath — in which the community wrestled with implications of the incident involving issues of race, leadership and politics — resulted in 5 of the top 20 stories of the year by clicks (see below).

Overall, the South Orange-Maplewood School District — and our “School & Kids” category — continues to dominate our coverage and our clicks. Eleven of the top 20 stories had “Schools & Kids” as their primary category.

Our community continues to lose valued members every year well before their time. This year, the sudden death of Jim Pickett stunned readers. (Village Green will post a full list of 2018 obituaries shortly.)

As is true with any local news site, “Police & Fire” stories always attract readers. The shooting death of a Livingston resident and self-published author Altariq Brown on Springfield Avenue in March shocked locals (Village Green continues to check in with the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office; this crime remains unsolved). This October, the community was rocked by several crimes, including the sexual assault of a young woman in Maplewood (an arrest was made) and a thwarted attack on another Maplewood woman (investigation ongoing; the two assaults appear unrelated).

Finally, food and restaurant news always ranks highly in Maplewood and South Orange. This year, the debut of Miti Miti in South Orange and Sabatino’s in Maplewood cracked the Top 20.

Top articles posted on in 2018 by clicks:

No. 1: Yes, That’s Maplewood Native SZA in Childish Gambino’s ‘This Is America’ Video

No. 2: Maplewood Police & County Prosecutor Investigating Home Invasion, Sexual Assault

N0. 3: Texted Photo Mocking Marshall Staff Member Size Creates Furor

No. 4: Livingston Man Fatally Shot on Springfield Avenue in Maplewood, Investigation Continues

No 5: UPDATED: Community Member Says South Orange-Maplewood School Board Member Invoked ‘Civic Privilege’ in Traffic Stop

No. 6: Obituary: Jim Pickett, 53, Beloved Husband, Father & Friend, Free Spirit, Entrepreneur

No. 7: Fields Reports He Has Filed Ethics Complaint Against Lawson-Muhammad

No. 8: Marshall Teachers/Staff Sign Letter Expressing ‘Grave Concerns’ About Principal

No. 9: BREAKING: New Interim Principal Appointed for Columbia High School, Samuels to Head Montrose

No. 10: Lawson-Muhammad: We Will Not … Be Torn Apart By Those That Seek to Divide

No. 11: South Orange-Maplewood Athletic Director, Others Suspended; District Statement

No. 12: BOE Makes Changes Atop Leadership at Seth Boyden & Marshall Schools

No 13: Suspect Arrested in Oct 16 Maplewood Home Invasion & Sexual Assault

No. 14: 11 Candidates — and Just One Incumbent — to Run for South Orange-Maplewood BOE

No. 15: Woman Thwarted Push-In Attack in Maplewood on Friday

No. 16: UPDATE: NJ DOE Commission Adjourns Ethics Complaint Hearing Against Lawson-Muhammad to November

No. 17: Stony’s Has New Owners and Will Soon Become ‘Miti Miti’

No. 18: Sabatino’s at 513 Valley Previews Pizza Before Grand Opening

No. 19: Opening this Fall: Sabatino’s Pizzeria on Valley

No. 20: South Orange Police Sergeant & District Teacher Weigh In on Lawson-Muhammad Traffic Stop


Top 15 Village Green Stories of 2017 — Paul Ryan Photo Op, Special Dance, CHS Walk Out, Flash Mob and More

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