Editorial: Top stories in 2017 center on community

Fire crews both ground and aerial do their best on the Goodwin Fire as it approaches the town of Mayer Tuesday, June 27. (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

Photo by Les Stukenberg.

Fire crews both ground and aerial do their best on the Goodwin Fire as it approaches the town of Mayer Tuesday, June 27. (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

As another year passes into the history books, we’ve taken a look back at what our readers liked or concerned them most. Some of it is not surprising; yet, the conclusion is heartening.

The Daily Courier’s website, dCourier.com, saw more than 21.5 million page views in 2017 (noting these figures do not include today, Dec. 31, of course). That’s an average of 1.8 million page views each month. The most popular sections were News, followed by Opinions, Obituaries, Odd & Interesting, Features, Sports, Life, Kudos, and Archives.

Our biggest endeavor of the year — with four stories in our Top 10 — was the Goodwin Fire. Combined, the topic accounted for more than 310,000 page views. Stories in June and July included: Evacuations and closures listed; Goodwin Fire begins south of Prescott; Goodwin Fire closes Highway 69; Man arrested for flying drone over Goodwin Fire; Mayer residents allowed to return home; Rancher pictured cattle burned to death in Goodwin Fire, all found safe; and homes destroyed by fire.

Sadly, stories of crime are always popular. A few topics that made their way into the Top 25 ranged from when searchers found someone’s body or human remains to arrests for murder or crimes involving prostitution. Another trendy topic involved wild animals and their encroachment on neighborhoods or homes/families.

Other stories that readers favored involved business developments, such as the meetings and Prescott council approval of the Deep Well Ranch subdivision north of Prescott (summer and fall); Whole Foods calling it quits, closing Friday (February); and the sale of the Prescott Gateway mall (April).

Of course, one thing new to the Courier this year was a change in philosophy — how we showcased what was “interesting.” These articles and photographs were ever-so beloved as well. Stories ranged from “Got a medical marijuana card? You can’t own a gun” (February) to “Shooting outdoors — where can I go legally?” (May), for example.

The fact that people are reading our print and online editions so much fuels our resolve in this day and age of fake news (remember, that’s not what you disagree with but what is made up), extreme politics, as well as concerns over water, infrastructure and growth.

The underlying theme here, however, is the stories that consistently were at the top of the list week in and week out: news about you and people you know.

Be that stories about someone who was missing or found, accolades for students or adults, crimes against children, health, safety, or even our series of stories about Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October) or Women In History Month (March), readers responded and showed us we live in a quad-city community where the human factor and neighbors matter most.

We look forward to serving you in the coming year, with that continued emphasis on community news.

Happy New Year!