What works and doesn't on the web

Meredith Artley, the new top editor at, sent a missive to the staff talking up new features on the website and ranking the most viewed stories of the past month. Virginia Tech dominated the stats, of course, but Mike Penner's transformation to Christine Daniels led the list. Upcoming plans include a light redesign and yet more blogs. Artley's memo also ranks the blogs that get the most visits:

April was a record-breaker in terms of traffic. According to Omniture, we had 76 million page views. That’s up 28% from this time last year and is most likely an all time high (I’m hedging because we have used different sources for statistics over time).

Why that happened:

You will see elements of our coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings on the traffic lists below. The high traffic is in part due to the magnitude of the tragedy, but also because our coverage was unique in many ways. In addition to updating the story throughout its many cycles, we gathered more than 1,200 reader comments, updated an interactive map of the shootings and built several photo galleries. We redesigned, on the fly, a piece of the homepage to highlight quotes from readers and treated those comments from around the world as a key part of the developing story, changing them every 15-20 minutes at times. We had video, some of it live. We had a blog-like sidebar that covered the reaction on the Web.


Live blogging from the Spector trial continues. This is a shining example of how we thought about the story first and the format second. We could have built another page on the site with a long list of articles. Instead, we decided to take advantage of our Blackberried reporters inside the courtroom to update the blog, and we are streaming live video on to that very page. So the blog has become the home for all the activity and updates.

We launched some great blogs in April. The Lakers blog was temporarily knocked off its No. 1 perch by ShowTracker but in the end it held on, unlike the Lakers themselves. A real estate blog was launched, “LA Land,” as was “The Daily Mirror”, a historical look at crime in this city from our own Larry Harnisch. La Plaza, observations from our Latin America correspondents, became a blog. And while we’re on the topic of foreign, here’s a nice way to find out more about our bureaus around the world. Our own Christine Daniels can be found blogging on “Woman in Progress.” Speaking of Christine, guess who tops the list for the most viewed article of the month?

After the jump: The Times' Top 10 most-viewed blogs, stories, photo galleries and video.

Top 10 Stories in April

1. Old Mike, New Christine
2. Gunman was both methodical and angry
3. Low-key office launches high-profile inquiry
4. A deadly hush in Room 211 — then the killer
5. A hike into horror and an act of courage
6. A feast for the eyes at subway stations
7. GOP-issued laptops now a White House headache
8. Shooter plotted in silent rage
9. George McGovern: Cheney is wrong about me.
10. Police identify killer in Virginia Tech rampage

Top Blogs

1. Lakers
2. Show Tracker
3. Homicide Report
4. Styles & Scenes
5. Gold Derby
6. Bottleneck
7. Political Muscle
8. Movable Buffet
9. LA Land
10. Dodgers Blog

Top Photo Galleries

1. Massacre at Virginia Tech
2. Victims of Virginia Tech Massacre
3. Victims of Virginia Tech Massacre (Partial list)
4. Mourning in Blacksburg
5. Celebrity shots
6. Shootings at Virginia Tech
7. The Big house - Palm Springs house in hills
8. Massacre at Va. Tech
9. Coachella 2007: Day One
10. Loft Living

Top Video

1. Death toll rises at Virginia Tech
2. Cell phone video from scene
3. VA Tech student describes scene
4. 'I did it,' Cho said
5. Virginia Tech president on campus
6. SanFran-Oakland bay bridge collapse
7. Bear attack rescue
8. Va. Tech site of deadliest U.S.
9. AP: 21 dead, 21 injured at VA Tech
10. Police release photo of alleged Va. Tech gunman

More by Kevin Roderick:
Standing up to Harvey Weinstein
The Media
LA Times gets a top editor with nothing but questions
LA Observed Notes: Harvey Weinstein stripped bare
LA Observed Notes: Photos of the homeless, photos that found homes
Recent LAT stories on LA Observed:
LA Times gets a top editor with nothing but questions
LA Observed Notes: Harvey Weinstein stripped bare
Why the LA Times' new theater column needs a new name
Helping in Houston, new lion cubs, Garcetti's back
Memo: New LA Times publisher drops web widget
Warren Olney leaving KCRW's radio lineup
LA Times purge 'capped a month of newsroom turmoil'
As the L.A. Times turns ...


LA Observed on Twitter