Friday, August 12, 2022
Aug. 12, 2022

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From the Newsroom: Our week, by the numbers

By , Columbian Editor
Published:

There’s an old saying in newsrooms that journalists can’t do math. Maybe that’s true, but I like to look at numbers as part of my job. I thought you might be interested in some numbers, too, so I went looking for these. Unless stated otherwise, these are for the week ended Oct. 23:

160 — News pages in The Columbian’s six print editions. I’m counting four pages of Sunday color comics, but not including advertising inserts, Parade or sections produced by our advertising department. I didn’t count the competition’s pages last week, but I do look at them regularly, and I would say we still print and home deliver more pages than most of our Pacific Northwest peers.

23 — Extra news pages included in The Columbian’s ePaper. This consists of an 16-page Monday newspaper, two pages of Sunday mutual funds prices, and five weekday money and markets pages, including prices of stocks our readers follow. If you are a print subscriber, all of this content is available to you at no extra charge at epaper.columbian.com. The ePaper is also a great way to keep up on our local news if you’re traveling; I plan to read it next week while I am enjoying a cruise to Mexico. If you haven’t activated your digital account, go to columbian.com/digital.

47,070 — Sunday, Oct. 17, page views on our website, www.columbian.com. Sunday is usually the slow day on our site, but this one was closer to weekday traffic levels because of breaking news. The top story was about two sheriff’s deputies shooting and killing a man following a chase. Two other top stories were related to the death of Derik Ford, who had been running for mayor of Washougal until he was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence assault. Three more stories involving gun violence also made the top 10 that day, but there were a couple of happier stories too, including an inspiring tale of a Vietnam refugee who found great success in Camas.

Seven — Employees assigned to our copy desk. We also have a sports copy editor, so this number could also be stated as eight. Nowadays, many newspapers no longer employ copy editors to edit stories and design pages. The functions are outsourced to bureaus in states with low labor costs. But one of our strengths, and an advantage of local ownership, is that we staff our own copy desk. Our team knows its Mill Plain from its Fourth Plain and presents stories to you in print and online better and faster. It’s a significant investment in local journalism.

577 — Posts we made to our website. We present all of our local stories on our site, plus all of our Opinion content, and a great deal of wire copy, too. The first post of the week was at 3:56 a.m. on Sunday morning (That is unusually early for us, but we had breaking news of the police shooting). The last post of the week was at 11:28 p.m. Saturday. That post was from the sports copy editor, who regularly deals with late stories during football season.

Seven — Subscriber exclusive stories. As the name implies, these are stories that are only available to our paying customers. We still give anyone access to a limited number of stories in a 30-day period before asking them to subscribe. And a few stories are always free on our site as a public service, particularly stories that ask the public for help. When choosing the subscriber exclusive stories, I try to look at stories that required original research and creativity beyond covering a meeting or writing about an event.

183 — Email messages received by metrodesk@columbian.com on Friday. If you have something you want in the news, that’s the place to send it.

Two — Hot dogs I ate at Friday’s Columbian employee appreciation lunch. Due to the pandemic, we hadn’t been able to host an event in a long time. I got to meet Jack Campbell, the first of the fifth generation of family owners of The Columbian. He’s only 10 months, too young for hot dogs, but very good at charming editors.

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