Thursday, May 19, 2016

A hot night for a picnic and awards

Only a handful of people missed this semester's staff photo.
A good turnout, good pizza and good memories marked last night's Orion awards picnic at One Mile Park. Here are a few photos and a list of this semester's honorees.
Best breaking news writer Yang Dai and Sunshine Award Winner Michelle Zhu.

The Orion Award - Ryan Corrall, news photographer/videographer

Rookie of the Semester - Miguel Orozco, arts &entertainment photographer/videographer 

Sunshine Award - Michelle Zhu, news writer 

Best editor- Stephanie Schmieding, EIC 

Best Photographer - Jake Auby, sports
Best videographer- Romeo Espinal, arts & entertainment
Best news writers - Molly Sullivan, Yang Dai
Best arts & entertainment writer - Carly Plemons 

Best sports writer - Jason Spies 

Best opinion writer - Alex Horne 

Best graphic designer - Sean Martens 

Best web team member - Amar Rama 

Editors handed out a dozen awards at the ceremony.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Regular readers are coming back

The Google Analytics report this week from Quill Engage shows traffic on returning to the way things were before trouble with the website started last fall: Users are now likely to come directly to the home page to see what's available, reader behavior that's more like a newspaper and less like the beneficiary of social media posts.

That's good, in that The Orion is again becoming the go-to source of campus news for readers. It's not so good, in that the best way to keep increasing traffic is to have a lively social media presence that drives new visitors to the site.

Another interesting -- and I think positive -- note: No single story blew up the traffic and inflated the numbers, so the uptick in traffic was general.

You can read the complete Quill Engage report here.

Here are the top 5 stories from last week:
Harriet Tubman to be first woman featured on $20 bill - 960 views
Retired Chico State professor dies - 627
Hidden gems to visit when the weather is right - 516
Chico is getting expensive - 460
Chico streets are whack - 426

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Awards, awards, awards

The Orion was recognized in seven categories in this year's California Newspaper Publishers Association contest.
The Orion took home first place for column writing and second for general excellence among four-year schools in the 2015 Campus Excellence in Journalism awards announced recently by the California Newspaper Publishers Association.

The paper also had five other finalists:
- Online General Excellence
- Sports Action Photo - Ryan Pressey
- News Photo - John Domogma
- Best Column - Dylan Dewit
- Enterprise News Story - Gabriel Sandoval

The complete list of college contest awards is available online.

The writers can pick up their certificates in my office this week, if they like. Plaques for the first- and second-place awards will be displayed in The Orion office on the honor wall.

Congratulations everyone!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Editorial board chosen for next fall

Editor-in-chief Jenice Tupolo has finished hiring The Orion editorial board for Fall 2016:

Content managing editors: Miles Huffman and Jacob Hutchinson

Chief copy editor: Jovanna Garcia

Print/Art director: Sara Pope

Director of public relations: Katherine Feaster

News editors: Amelia Storm and Lizzie Helmer

Sports editor: Kenta McAfee

Arts and Entertainment editor: Carly Plemons

Opinion editor: Alex Horne

Web director: Adam Penn

Congratulations everyone!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

April traffic is up, news and opinion lead the way

The traffic on was up in April; not a surprise considering spring break in March cripples that months' numbers. Still, the appointment of a new Chico State president and the faculty contract settlement that avoided a strike helped the website continue its recovery from last semester.

Here is the summary from Quill Engage, which grabs data from Google analytics and produces a traffic report:

Sessions were up 9% from the previous month to 33,483, which is more than triple your 12-month 10,328-session monthly average. The rise in traffic was driven by referrals, growing 35% to 13,579 sessions.

  • Last month, your site's total pageviews increased 11% to 59,460. Similarly, your pages per session rose 2% to 1.8, which is close to your monthly average over the past year.
  • Users seemed to be more engaged with your The Orion : 365Chico photo project highlights individuals of Chico page last month, having spent 26.2 minutes longer on the page, making it the most improved among all pages on your site. Average duration on your The Orion : Chico State lacrosse returns after tragic loss of teammate page, on the other hand, dropped to nearly 3 minutes from 29.6 minutes- the biggest decrease of any page.
  • Your site saw a 5% increase in unique users last month to 25,914, which is higher than 8,288, your site's monthly average.

News stories and opinion columns earned the most clicks. Here are the top five:
Faculty strike shows college turning into a business - 4.872 page views
Christian advocate sparks rally with name calling - 2,130
CFA strike postponed following tentative agreement - 1,919
First openly gay CSU president a step in the right direction - 1,259
Students want to halt the use of single-use water bottles - 1,015