We’re working on a story about Thursday night’s raid on Pacific Avenue. We’ll post it on santacruzsentinel.com shortly
We’re on Day 2 of a new commenting system. We appreciate the participation and the respect for readers and other commenters. Here’s a look at our commenting community at a glance:
Here’s a look at some of the stats:
Starting this evening, the Sentinel will be using a new commenting service for its online articles.
The service is provided by Disqus, and requires a login, unlike the previous system, provided by Topix. Readers will be able to log in using their Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, or OpenID accounts, or they can sign up through disqus.com
The new system allows readers some further controls about how they view comments, which can be sorted to be viewed by most recent or most popular. Readers are also able to share their comments more easily through their own social profile. The new system will also allow our reporters to message and interact with commenters who may have information that advances the story.
The commenting feature on our articles has been popular since its debut in 2006, and we hope that our readers continue to discuss issues that affect Santa Cruz County on our site. In 2010, we’ve had more than 2.5 million page views on article commenting.
We like the idea that all subjects we cover could be vigorously debated, and we liked the idea that we wouldn’t put many hurdles in the way of discussion. But the old service could be as caustic as it was popular. We took efforts to moderate the forum, killing an average of 100 comments a day, banning users, disabling threads and adding help in the newsroom and from freelancers to moderate the conversation.
We think Disqus will help users take a little more responsibility fortheir comments on our site and improve the tone of the conversation. It also gives us a few more options with regard to moderation. We may expire some threads, we may require comments to be pre-approved on stories of our choice.
Disqus, also used by CNN, MTV, The Atlantic, Fox News and TechCrunch, among others, also pulls in mentions of Sentinel articles from other social media sites.
We welcome your feedback on our new service.
Here’s an image of how it looks:
(We’ll be adding Disqus comments to Sentinel blogs in the New Year. Thanks also to several brighter minds in the community, and the Disqus help team for helping us through some technical issues. – Tom)
One of the most read stories on our site today is about preschool teacher Tiffany Chapman, who described her shock Monday when escaped fugitive Maurice Ainsworth smashed through a locked door and threatened her with a loaded gun.
She was singing nursery rhymes to three babies, including her 8-month-old daughter, when Ainsworth broke down the door and put a gun to her head.
We just added audio from Chapman to the story. Here’s what she told Sentinel reporter Shanna McCord about the moment:
Tiffany Chapman describes her experience when Maurice Ainsworth broke through the door into the preschool and threatened her life.
Our website’s readership has never been higher than for the five hours that the armed fugitive was loose in Santa Cruz. We were receiving more than 35,000 page views an hour. Our views for the day of the ordeal were 252,430, sixth best day in our history.
Here’s what the traffic spike looked like:
Here’s the list of all-time best days for the Sentinel:
Aug. 6, 2008: 399,413 – Baby photo contest
Aug. 13, 2009: 307,331 – Lockheed Fire
Aug 14, 2009: 266,804 – Lockheed Fire
Jun 21, 2008 260,111 – Trabing Fire
Sep 10, 2010: 255,386 – San Bruno explosion
Nov. 29, 2010: 252,353 - Fugitive loose in Santa Cruz
Jun 12, 2008 236,002 – Martin Fire
Jun 20, 2008 212,032 – Trabing Fire
Aug. 5, 2008: 210,808 – Baby photo contest
Nov. 2, 2010: 198,176 – Election
We were first on the story, quickly added a google map of events (which has received more than 100,000 views – not counted above) updated often, received pictures and video by cell phone and from photographers and reporters at the scene. We added a slide show, updated the photo blog and posted an early version of our A1 that evening.
The main story was recommended by more than 3,000 people on Facebook (most I’ve ever seen for a Sentinel story). We also sent out our updates and photos on both Twitter and Facebook and we added more than 50 friends during the day.
For the month of November, we received 3,475,482 page views and had 429,262 unique monthly visitors. That’s up from 2,941,376 views and 355,158 visitors last November. November 2010 was also our biggest month ever for total daily unique visitors. Here’s a graph of what our daily unique visitors looks like since Jan. 1, 2007: