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Readership, comments explode on Placer forfeit story

Deric Rothe: Inside the Fishbowl Blog
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It’s been an exciting weekend for local news. The Placer High forfeit story has shown us the communication power of Auburnjournal.com and Placeropolis.com. 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 6,315 views and 263 comments. It’s now our most-commented story ever, and it’s just been up 72 hours. With 6,315 views, it is our second-most-viewed story ever, second only to “Jury returns guilty verdict in Moon trial,” which has 6,826 views and 180 comments. And there’s no question this story will soon surpass the Moon story in views, too. We have had TV and radio stations as well as other newspapers contacting us about this story. 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 so it’s available nationwide. The story has literally blown up. Today for the first time we released 16-year-old athlete Daulton Dyer’s name. Why now? Because he said it was OK and so did coach Joey Montoya. We did not want to further victimize or make Daulton’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 forfeit story and breaking the news on our Web site as information from today’s court hearing in Oakland becomes available. Our role has changed from breaking news daily to attempting to break news constantly. It’s a big change but a lot of fun to see our online audience growing. 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. The newspaper game is rapidly changing and we appreciate your coming along for what looks like a wild ride.