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Another View

Placer story shows how readership is exploding online

By: Deric Rothe
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The Placer High forfeit story has shown us the communication power of Auburnjournal.com and Placeropolis.com. While many of you read the Journal’s coverage in the print edition daily, thousands more are watching Auburnjournal.com as news breaks online as fast as we can write it. Some stories are updated more than a half-dozen times throughout the day as we glean new information. A record number are coming to our Web sites and commenting. We had almost one million page views clusterwide in October and there’s no doubt November will be much higher. And, we believe our online readership is still in its infancy. After we broke the Placer story at 2:30 p.m. Friday, within two hours we had more than 1,000 hits and 50 comments online. We kept updating throughout the evening and over the weekend. At last glance, the story, “Update: Placer High football forfeit fight postpones Colfax playoff game,” had 6,847 views and 277 comments. It became our most-commented story ever within 72 hours. With 6,847 views, it was also our second-most-viewed story ever, second only to “Jury returns guilty verdict in Moon trial,” which had 6,857 views and 180 comments. On Tuesday our story, “Placer back in the playoffs,” set a new online record with 7,567 views and 115 comments in fewer than 24 hours. It is now our most viewed story ever. We have had TV and radio stations as well as other newspapers contacting us about the ongoing Placer High football team saga. The San Francisco Chronicle is running Auburn Journal photos, as is sfgate.com. Reporter Gus Thomson is also reporting on KAHI 950 AM about the story. And Associated Press has picked it up, so it’s available nationwide. The story has literally blown up. On Friday for the first time we released 16-year-old athlete Dalton Dyer’s name. Why then? Because he said it was OK and so did coach Joey Montoya. We did not want to further victimize nor make Dalton’s life any tougher without his and the school’s permission. He is a minor and has done nothing wrong. We will continue updating the Placer playoff story and many others, including the tragic death of former Colfax High quarterback Jordan Zapper, and breaking the news on our Web site as information becomes available. Our role has changed from breaking news daily to attempting to break news constantly. It’s a big change in how we do business and how we serve our hard-copy and online readers. Here is what our Gold Country Media online supervisor had to say about the Placer forfeit story: “I was amazed at how fast people responded,” said Ryan Schuyler, online supervisor. “Especially in such a short timeframe.” We had 40 people register at Auburnjournal.com last weekend just to comment on this story. To put in context how many people are reading us online, consider these numbers: We had 959,957 page views last month in our foothills’ Gold Country Media cluster of newspaper Web sites. That’s almost a million. We had 475,808 at Auburnjournal.com alone. Of unique visitors, clusterwide we had 244,912 in October. At Auburnjournal.com, 94,206. (One unique visitor roughly translates to one unique reader.) So who says newspaper readership is declining? In truth, our newspapers’ readership is exploding. It’s just online instead of in print. It’s a whole new ballgame. And along with breaking news faster, it’s interactive. Readers are commenting on stories en masse. If there is a story you’re interested in following, check out Auburnjournal.com throughout the day. Register and comment if you’re so inclined. We appreciate you joining us online for what is proving to be a wild ride. Editor/General Manager Deric Rothe’s blog, Inside the Fishbowl, can be found at Auburnjournal.com.