Friday, April 13, 2018

Paper, website are both CNPA awards finalists

The Orion has been named a finalist for both newspaper and online general excellence among four-year universities in this year's California News Publishers Association annual contest. There are four finalists in each category. 

Only the UCLA Bruin was also a finalist in both categories. 

Congratulations, Orionites!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Maldonado, Fitzgerald named to lead The Orion next fall

Julia Maldonado
Current Managing Editor Julia Maldonado will be next fall's Orion editor-in-chief, and current EIC Kayla Fitzgerald will move over to become the paper's business manager.

Maldonado, a junior Journalism and Public Relations major from Citrus Heights, has worked three semesters at The Orion, first as an arts and entertainment writer, then arts section editor and managing editor. 

Outside the paper, Julia served as president of Tiger Beat magazine's teen advisory board. She is also a member of Alpha Omicron Pi sorority, which she serves as chapter reporter. 

Kayla Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald, a senior J&PR major from Livermore, has been on the paper five semesters. She worked as a news and sports reporter, breaking news editor and managing editor before becoming editor-in-chief this spring.

Maldonado will now begin interviewing potential editorial board members. Once those editors are in place, staff hiring for next fall will begin. 

Congratulations Julia and Kayla!

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Traffic improves in March, still down from a year ago

Good stories and lots of them from the news section helped post solid traffic gains in March despite the expected fall-off during spring break. Still, the website numbers are running behind Google analytics from a year ago. 

Here's a traffic comparison. Sessions are the number of visits. Users are the number of visits from a single IP address. Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who read one page and leave.

Seven of the top 10 stories were news reports, and an eighth story -- a feature -- was written by Kelsi Sibert from the enterprise news team.

A better social-media effort probably contributed to the monthly increase. In March, 4,315 people arrived on an story after clicking on a social-media link, 757 more than the month before.

Compared to a year ago, though, the amount of traffic generated by social media posts is poor. In March 2017, just over 40 percent of sessions started with a Facebook or Twitter post (13,960). Last month, not quite 16 percent of visits (4,315) arrived via social media.

Because campus news is the primary reason people navigate to the website, what's being covered also affects traffic. The top stories for each of the months compared above looked like this:
March 2017 - RA's fired over alcohol allegations -- about 23,000 pageviews
March 2018 - Student falls to his death at Butte Hall, candlelight vigil -- 4,153 views
February 2018 - Rugby success story and a "Resident Evil" game review - 1,073 views

Here are the top 10 stories for March in terms of traffic:
1. One dead after falling from Butte Hall stairwell - 2,700 pageviews
2. Candlelight vigil held for death of student - 1,453
3. Student dies unexpectedly - 961
4. Head-on collision involving CalFire vehicle leaves on dead - 911
5. Longtime Chico High School teacher pleads guilty to molesting charges - 751
6. Cesar Chavez Day versus Chico State party culture - 714
7. Honor society email scam preys on the weak - 646
8. Two-week-long carnival kicks off at Chico Mall - 498
9. Local students organize walkout protest - 436
10. Chico State professor researches zebra fish in hopes of creating artificial blood - 419

 It will be interesting to see if The Orion's updated homepage design increases the number of people who click through to read more stories. The bounce rate for last month was 56 percent, quite a bit higher than recent months.