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Greyson Chance, Bryan Painter, comments on Catholics … and NASCAR — just another week on NewsOK

by Alan Herzberger Modified: April 18, 2013 at 1:30 pm •  Published: February 11, 2011

This week has been a big week for traffic on NewsOK. With the two weeks of snow, we’ve pretty much guaranteed that our traffic on NewsOK in February will top the traffic for Feb. 2010. That said, we always grow our monthly traffic as compared the same month the previous year. It’s happened every month since I’ve kept track of such things. It gets more and more difficult, but so far, we keep moving up the traffic ladder.

Check out the notes below to get my takes on the week of NewsOK. I’ll highlight some unique things on the site and some things I think you should know about.

Today in History

We have some great hidden content tucked away in NewsOK.com. One of those pages is our Today in History page that you can find along the right rail of NewsOK’s home page. With our Today in History page, you can find images of The Oklahoman’s front page 25 years ago, 50 years ago, 75 years ago and 100 years ago.  Those pages are fascinating to me. You can also find highlights about what happened on this specific date throughout history. And perhaps most important, you can find out whose birthday it is. Who doesn’t want to know that Mary Steenburgen’s birthday was on Feb. 8? (I learned that on Tuesday, and I’m the better for it.) The page is sponsored by Devon Energy. Devon also is responsible for providing The Oklahoman’s Archive access to local schools across the state as part of its sponsorship of historical archives.

It’s NASCAR season

To some in my family, the Super Bowl is fun and all, but it really means one important thing … that the NASCAR season is just a couple weeks away. For us, it means that you can begin playing our NewsOK Auto Racing U Pick’em Contest. For NASCAR fans, this is the ultimate game. I’m not sure exactly how many NewsOK users have played this game every single year since we launched it early last decade, but I do know that my father-in-law is one of those users. He’s always enjoyed it (even though I think he picks Jeff Gordon to win every race).

StaticBlog and Greyson Chance

George Lang posted a very popular blog post this past Monday afternoon, giving his readers an opportunity to see Greyson Chance perform live. “He’s taking time out from recording to perform two concerts Feb. 19 at Edmond Santa Fe High School to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network. And now NewsOK.com readers have a chance to win tickets to see Greyson perform live — before he’s playing basketball arenas.” That bit of news got people pretty excited, and we’ve seen a number of good entries. People should be excited, though. Young Mr. Chance can really sing. My favorite take on Greyson Chance came from George Lang himself in October: “I don’t mind being proved wrong, especially when the truth forces me to reconsider my dearly held cynical beliefs. Read this if you’ve always wanted to see me taken down a notch.” And then there was this video, which shows how good Greyson Chance is. It’s also another great example of the high-quality work our video team produces.

Kyle Roberts on video

Speaking of the outstanding video team, our own Kyle Roberts is making national news again with his music video that was shot entirely with the Nokia N8 smart phone. Kyle teamed with local musician Denver Duncan to produce the video on a song titled, “Stalker.” Check out the music video here. You should check that out, but you should also watch Kyle and Denver’s interview with Angi Bruss in our studio. And be sure to watch it until the end to see a performance of the song.

Printing a public record

We received an email from a concerned user this week, who upon a web search of her name found that she was listed in a weekly Land Sales listing last year. That’s a violation of her family’s privacy, she said. It’s actually not, as I explained in my response to her. “We treat the publication of those records like any other official document filed in the courthouse and available to any citizen. We publish a number of those documents on a daily basis (marriage licenses, divorces, etc.)” She seemed to understand, but still didn’t like it. “Next thing will be our medical records and bank deposits plastered on the web for all to see.” We are in a rather tricky place sometimes. We have a rich history of being a publishing channel of record (a newspaper, a website, a digital edition, an iPad application). It’s something we feel is important for the community at large. Sometimes, people like to see their name in the paper (or website or iPad application). Sometimes, people wish their name wasn’t so visible.

Dayton Power

Our company lost a great man this week. It’s a big loss for us. I can’t imagine the impact on his family. Dayton Power didn’t often work directly with the newsroom, so my interaction with him was limited. However, I know people who knew him very well. They are devastated. As one editor said this week: “We cover so many accidents and deaths, this puts it into perspective. Every death affects their family and friends so deeply.” Unfortunately, we got a taste of it this week. It doesn’t feel good.

See Bryan Painter in action

I’ve written plently about weather blogger Bryan Painter and his unbelievable effort during weather events. I wondered aloud … when does Bryan sleep? Well, when a storm is brewing, I now know exactly where his is, thanks to this video:

A Catholic commenting controversy

I actually don’t know if it’s a controversy, but our commenting always makes for some interesting blog posts. I’ve written about how we often struggle with the tone of our comments. There is even an entire category about it on my blog. It’s something I care about, that’s certain. The truth is … the commenting debate has raged in our industry for years, but it seemed to really pick up last year. And through the years, we’ve changed some things in our own system to improve the dialogue and give readers a voice. But this morning, an online editor pulled down comments on our story about the archbishop installation. By 7 a.m., she reported, the number of objections that we needed to look at were just out of hand. I, of course, always want to leave comments on an article if we can, so I decided to evaluate our editor’s decision. Of all the comments that had been posted to the article (some of which we had already removed), there were exactly zero that contributed to a constructive and civil dialogue. So … even though the article should have had comments enabled for community discussion, we disabled the comments. That’s disappointing. And don’t get me wrong– I was not trying to protect the Catholic faith. A faith that large doesn’t need me to protect it. I just try to keep hateful words and dialogue (from all points of view) off the website, especially if it’s already out of hand at 7 a.m.

Weather leads our article traffic

Our single most popular article on the site this week was our story advancing the winter storm that hit the state on Wednesday. The build-up is always almost as popular for our site as the aftermath. In this case, the build-up article led all articles on NewsOK.

Weather leads our video traffic

The most popular video this week? Weather, of course. This time, it was Dave Morris‘ morning update to the storm on Wednesday. Watch it here:

Weather leads our blog traffic

This wasn’t hard to guess. Bryan Painter’s weather blog led all blogs this week. He’s always the first to know about the weather. With the blog, you can be the second to know.

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by Alan Herzberger
Digital Managing Editor
Alan Herzberger is the Digital Managing Editor for NewsOK.com and The Oklahoman. He focuses on content within OPUBCO Communications Group’s variety of digital products. He’s been with The Oklahoman since 1997, when he joined the sports...
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