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).
Top articles posted on VillageGreenNJ.com in 2018 by clicks: