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GazetteXtra readers want bad news, stats show

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Andrew Reuter
January 13, 2014

The Gazette does a good job of covering positive news in the community.

But you wouldn't know it by looking at GazetteXtra's most-viewed stories of 2013.

With the exception of a sports success story and a gardening guide from 2012 that just won't quit, breaking-news-style articles dominate the list. This comes as no surprise to the newsroom. People have been drawn to stories about crime, tragedy and danger for decades and beyond.

Take this June 27 story as an example:

I-90/39 accident leaves military vehicle hanging off bridge

Bill Olmsted/bolmsted@gazettextra.com
Emergency workers respond to an accident involving a semi trailer and two military vehicles on eastbound Interstate 90/39 at the Milton Avenue overpass in Janesville.

That story drew the most traffic to GazetteXtra in 2013. That's what you get when you combine a photo and headline as shocking as those.

Fortunately, the people in that accident avoided serious injury. Other people involved in the most-viewed stories of 2013 weren't so lucky.

For a silver lining, I don't think bad news would be so popular if people didn't care. It's not fun to report on, just as it isn't fun to read. But we keep reporting, and you keep reading. That's what people who care about their communities do.

As compiled by fellow digital content coordinator Dave von Falkenstein, here are the 16 most viewed stories on GazetteXtra in 2013:

1. I-90/39 accident leaves military vehicle hanging off bridge | June 27, 2013

2. Man arrested in Janesville ax attack | April 14, 2013

3. Five things you will need if you're planting seeds for the first time | March 5, 2012

4. Janesville Police: man and woman hospitalized after ax attack | April 13, 2013

5. Woman found dead, man hospitalized after shooting in rural Rock County | March 6, 2013

6. Coroner: Milton police Lt. John Conger found dead | Oct. 21, 2013

7. Police: Teacher drunk on field trip | June 8, 2013

8. Police: Body found in Rock River | April 22, 2013

9. Janesville woman dies in crash | Feb. 8, 2013

10. Milton's Natter signs to go to Lincoln to play for Huskers | Feb. 7, 2013

11. Former Milton police chief dies in Interstate crash | July 12, 2013

12. Suspect and victim in shooting described as good neighbors | Feb. 8, 2013

13. Search continues for man feared lost in grain bin at Milton ethanol facility | April 19, 2013

14. Body of Janesville man recovered from Milton grain bin | April 20, 2013

15. Deputy fatally shoots Janesville man at Lakeland Medical Center | Jan. 22, 2013

16. Sheriff: Remains found in fire pit near Evansville home | Nov. 2, 2013



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