BY BILL PHILLIPS
In the Stone Age, commonly referred to as pre-internet world, year in review stories were a big a deal.
We get inundated with them, not so much as we like to look back, but more so because newspapers have to fill pages and broadcasters have to fill newscasters have to fill newcasts over the Christmas holidays when there usually isn’t much going on.
Before the internet, it was a big task. We news editors would gather with journalists and try to decide what the top stories of the year were. Memories being what they are, stories in late winter and early spring were often forgotten, even if they were big. In the newspaper world, would sift through pages and pages of back issues, taking notes and trying to figure out what the top stories were.
Then along came the internet and website analytics.
We might not be able to tell you exactly what the top stories are, but we can tell you, with great detail, what the most-read stories were.
With that in mind, here’s the top stories that the Prince George Daily News covered in 2017.
We didn’t really need website analytics to tell us what the top story of 2017 was … it was the Cariboo wildfires and the fact more than 10,000 evacuees found their way to Prince George during the crisis.
Our top story of the year was actually an expansion of an evacuation order an alert in the Kluskus/Blackwater area. However, many other stories from the fire-ravaged summer hit the most-read list.
Here in Prince George we bristle at the Maclean’s magazine Most Dangerous City ranking, where we usually place near the top. This year, we dropped out of the top 10, but that didn’t make the list of our top stories.
The attempted child abduction from a local daycare was our second-most read story of the year. Other crime-related stories that received attention included a police plea, along with photo, to try an identify a theft suspect; a man punched and stabbed while walking along Massey Drive; and the arrest of two men in connection with murders on Foothills Boulevard.
Also dominating our most-read stories were several we did on the successful referendum allowing the city to borrow up to $50 million to replace the Four Seasons Pool and Firehall No. 1. The pool will be relocated to where the Days Inn is now situation and the firehall will move to Massey Drive.
Then we get into some specific stories, rather than issues, which piqued are readers’ interest.
Number 6, overall, on our list of most-read stories was from Prince George Hospice’s Bucket List Gala where the Finger family from Prince George was given a bucket list trip to Disney World, thanks to Wood Wheaton. Dirk Finger has terminal cancer.
MILLION DOLLAR MAN
No. 11 on our overall list of most-read stories was one about Jim Terrion who is closing in on single-handedly raising $1 million for the Terry Fox Foundation.
REMEMBERING BERT KELLY
No. 18 on our overall list, and a recent one so the numbers might still climb, was the story we did with Eva Patten who talked about how Dr. Bert Kelly saved her life by diagnosing a rare cancer in her. Dr. Kelly passed away earlier this month.
Back to top issues, rather than single stories. The saga over the new NDP government sending the issue of building the Site C dam to the British Columbia Utilities Commission, subsequent public hearings, and then the final decision also dominated our web traffic. The most-read story on the issue on the Prince George Daily News’ website was a column from Peter Ewart saying BC Hydro got it ‘wrong, wrong, wrong.’
Rounding out our top stories for the year was the story about the SPCA seizing dogs and horses from a Cheslatta property.