Top online stories are unexpected mix

What stories will pique the interest of the internet can be unpredictable, especially for small community newspapers.

Serious crime, car crashes, scandals and political races are well read on the Whidbey News-Times and South Whidbey Record websites, as they are elsewhere. The top 10 most-read stories of the year in the South Whidbey Record, however, is an eclectic mixture that includes several business and Oak Harbor-specific stories that weren’t nearly as well read in the North End paper.

Google analytics reports that about a million unique users visited the Whidbey News-Times website in 2022. More than 470,000 of those users are returning visitors. The South Whidbey Record website had 575,000 unique visitors with about 200,000 returning readers.

The large number of cyberspace visitors means that a lot of people outside the community are visiting the websites and sometimes skewing the popularity of stories. Sometimes stories are picked up on news aggregator websites that spread them around the world.

Here’s the most popular Record stories online in 2022:

1. Exonerated by selfie in Texas case, man accused of sharing child porn

2. Woman dies after being pinned by electric vehicle

3. New bakery goes into the woods

4. Growler commander relieved of his duties

5. Arcade owner to pull plug on beloved business

6. Fare Market opens in Freeland

7. Council nixes Dog House’s appeal for access

8. Masked man robs bank in Oak Harbor

9. Music scene thrives at Clinton backwoods business

10. Jordan Shelley killed in collision

The top 10 stories of the News-Times have no overlap with the Record even though the papers cover the same island, albeit different ends:

1. Oak Harbor man with history of homophobic posts arrested on $1 million warrant for alleged hate crime

2. Oak Harbor woman loses house in mortgage misunderstanding

3. Oak Harbor teen named “person of interest” in homicide

4. Teenager dies in Oak Harbor shooting

5. Home prices won’t level out until 2023, economist forecasts

6. Police close down section of Highway 20 in Oak Harbor over bomb threat

7. Land Trust buys $6.5 million historic farm in Central Whidbey

8. Outrage grows over firings in wake of hospital no-confidence vote

9. Oak Harbor man killed in motorcycle crash

10. Commercial filmed at bridge