And the hits just keep on coming

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Nothing travels faster than light with the possible exception of bad news, which has its own rules.

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-- Douglas Adams

Happy New Year!

I don't know what 2008 has in store, but I can tell you what happened last year.

Specifically, I can tell you the most viewed news stories each month of 2007 on The Chronicle's Web site, augustachronicle.com.

I'm always curious about what sort of stories readers want to read in the printed newspaper. We often do polling or surveys, but I wonder if those we ask tell us what they think we want to hear instead of what they really want to see.

That is not so much a problem on the Web site, because technology can tell us when a story is viewed.

With that in mind, here are the top news stories each month of 2007 on augustachronicle.com. Feel free to draw your own conclusions.

JANUARY: "James Brown's will read to children." Court challenges followed.

FEBRUARY: North Augusta school bus driver shot; no children hurt.

MARCH: "Driver goes on rampage at mall." This story, with its surveillance video of an SUV driving around inside Augusta Mall, recorded 157,718 "page views" -- more than 20 times the most viewed story the month before.

APRIL: "Columbia County student among dead." This followed the Virginia Tech campus shootings and death of Ryan Clark.

MAY: "Organism found at SRS amazes scientific world." Our report of a mysterious greenish-orange slime found thriving in some old radioactive tanks became an Internet hit.

JUNE: "Former doctor is convicted of assault."

JULY: "Police say murder-suicide premeditated."

AUGUST: "Priest identified as traffic victim."

SEPTEMBER: "Former executive, wife indicted."

OCTOBER: "Woman killed; 2 critically hurt." A downtown traffic accident.

NOVEMBER: "Lakeside coach admits mistake."

DECEMBER: "Family says mother often spoiled children." This was a Sunday story about a mother charged with fatally stabbing her two young children in a convenience store restroom.

Reach Bill Kirby at (706) 823-3344 or bill.kirby@augustachronicle.com


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