Across the Universe: The Sun-Bonanza’s most ‘popular’ stories of 2015 | SierraSun.com

Across the Universe: The Sun-Bonanza’s most ‘popular’ stories of 2015

TAHOE-TRUCKEE, Calif. — These days, through wonderful tools like Google Analytics and other internal programs, we're able to monitor every minute of every day how our stories are doing online when it comes to social sharing, reach and audience engagement. For example, did you know…

1: Out of 247,952 total page views for SierraSun.com in December 2015 alone, 62 percent of those were female readers?

2: That 58.9 percent of people viewed our content last month via a laptop or desktop computer, compared to the 41.1 percent who used either a tablet or mobile device/smartphone?

3: Or, that more than 65 percent of our online viewers last month were within the ages of 35 to 64, according to Google? The 25-34 age group, meanwhile, made up about 20 percent.

With that as a backdrop, and as we embark on another year in the 21st century — can you believe we're already into 2016?! — I'd like to take a quick look back to the year that was in terms of our five most "popular" web stories of 2015 (that are not weather-related*).

As you'll see below, our top story from 2015 shared an unfortunate tale of tragedy, hence putting the word "popular" in quotations marks — popular in terms of global reach, but not in terms of subject matter:

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1. Sept. 28, Nitro Circus star, Squaw Valley local Erik Roner dead after parachute accident near Lake Tahoe: The Tahoe and action sports communities ended September mourning the loss of local legend Erik Roner, a professional skier known for being a family man and helping lay the foundation of what ski BASE jumping has become today. Roner, who grew up in Marin County and lived in Tahoe City and was known in the action sports world as "Rubberneck," died Sept. 28 in a skydiving accident. He was 39.

Total page views: 24,401. Facebook shares: More than 4,600.

2. Dec. 4, Sierra history: Top 5 snowiest winters ever for the Truckee-Tahoe region: Tahoe historian Mark McLaughlin's look back at the top five snowiest winters ever for the Tahoe-Truckee area reeked of historic relevance. For those keeping score, the winter of 1938 marks as the snowiest of all time.

Total page views: 6,434. Facebook shares: More than 1,400.

3. Sept. 22, Ironman done with Tahoe due to adverse environmental and weather conditions: Margaret Moran told the story of how poor environmental and weather conditions led Ironman officials to abruptly cancel future Tahoe events, three days after the triathlon drew thousands to the region.

Total page views: 4,954. Facebook shares: 410.

4. Oct. 22, Lake Tahoe photographer lands cover shot of National Geographic: Tim Hauserman shared a wonderful human interest story of how Sierra Nevada College graduate and Incline Village resident Nick Cahill, at 27 years old, was able to land a National Geographic cover shot. The image, "Dark Needle," shows Lake Tahoe below the Milky Way. It graced the Fall 2015 National Geographic "Guide to the Night Sky, a Stargazer's Companion."

Total page views: 4,730. Facebook shares: More than 1,700.

5. July 22, North Lake Tahoe roundabouts require $250,000 overhaul: This story dove into how the state of California and Placer County split a roughly quarter-million-dollar cost to upgrade both Kings Beach roundabouts due to an oversight in how portions of them were constructed.

Total page views: 3,825. Facebook shares: 786.

As you see, our most-read stories from a half-year ago — remember, SierraSun.com relaunched in June — covered a great range of topics, from tragedy, to human interest, to adventure sports, to history, to, perhaps everyone's favorite, government shortcomings. I wonder what 2016 has in store?

Kevin MacMillan is managing editor of the Sierra Sun. He may be reached for comment at kmacmillan@sierrasun.com. *The above top 5 stories of 2015, based on Google Analytics, do not include a quintet of weather-related stories from the current 2015-16 winter, which ranked at Nos. 2, 4, 5, 8 and 9, respectively. Which just goes to show, oh, the wonderful power of snow.