Letter from the editor: From weather to grilled cheese, we’ve got it coveredProving once again that weather news is big news in the Northland, duluthnewstribune.com recorded 45,209 visits on Tuesday and 216,922 page views, both up a whopping 35 percent from normal.
By: Rob Karwath, Duluth News Tribune
A little about a lot of things this week.
A blizzard of Web traffic
Even though the Twin Ports didn’t get pounded with heavy snow Tuesday, readers pounded our Web site with heavy traffic.
Proving once again that weather news is big news in the Northland, duluthnewstribune.com recorded 45,209 visits on Tuesday and 216,922 page views, both up a whopping 35 percent from normal.
The picture that emerged from Tuesday’s traffic has become familiar. Readers come to us to find out what’s happening. We deliver. Not surprisingly, they come back for more. Again and again. Especially when news breaks. And especially when that news involves changing weather.
Many reporters, photographers and editors were involved in our weather coverage, but reporter John Myers was our quarterback. He updated our report five times through the workday. Myers was first to report that initial forecasts of more than a foot of snow weren’t materializing.
We love delivering the news first. More readers recognize that our Web site is the place to find out what’s happening now. Between our electronic and print publishing platforms, we reach 101,502 readers Mondays through Saturdays and 156,698 on Sundays. Those numbers are growing — especially on big-news days.
Weather Channel loves Duluth
One of our first reports Tuesday, at 5:45 a.m., didn’t involve the snow. It was about a crew from the Weather Channel arriving to broadcast all day from Duluth.
It didn’t take reporter Steve Kuchera long to find the Gore-Tex-clad Jim Cantore, who has become the face of the national cable channel, reporting from the Lakewalk. Kuchera interviewed Cantore, got a story up on the Web site and then wrote a more extensive piece for Wednesday’s print edition.
Wednesday’s Page One headline said it all: “No blizzard, but we get the Weather Channel.” Indeed, our Weather Channel story was more popular than our weather story Tuesday at duluthnewstribune.com.
Northlanders also turned out in person to greet Cantore and afternoon forecaster Mike Seidel. Early, before any crowds had gathered, I stopped on my way to the paper to welcome them to Duluth.
“You have a beautiful city here,” Cantore said. “I had no idea all this was up here.”
Grilled cheese stimulus
The most popular story on our Web site Thursday had nothing to do with news. It had everything to do with a grilled cheese sandwich. One delicious-looking grilled cheese sandwich, that is. It’s the one at Chester Creek Cafe that you can order with tomatoes and hummus, if you’re so inclined. Readers of duluthnewstribune.com and the print edition noticed copy editor Kelli Baxter’s review in the Wave’s “Stuff We Like” feature. And they let cafe general manager Theresa Bobula know.
“We got lots of phone calls and people coming in, saying, ‘Did you see this?’” Bobula said. “Normally, we sell maybe one or two of those a day. But I think we were up to 12 by 7 p.m., when I left.”
She added: “It was really fun and exciting, especially when there hasn’t been a lot of good news out there with the economy.”
Happy anniversary, partners
Thursday marked the two-year anniversary of Fox 21 News at 9. I’m proud to say we’ve been their news partners from the start.
News Director Julie Moravchik and I knit together the partnership, and it’s no exaggeration to say it’s one of the best in the country. News organizations typically don’t play well together. We’re a competitive lot. And that can get in the way of working as a team.
But I’ve been involved in five news partnerships, two in Duluth and three in Chicago, and this one is the best by far. I know of no other newspaper and TV station that work so well together. Our newsrooms operate in tandem to get you more news, more complete stories and more updates through the day. Readers and viewers also have told us they like seeing stories in print and also on TV and our Web site.
So happy anniversary to Moravchik, General Manager Dave Hileman and crew. It’s been great working with you.
Rob Karwath is executive editor of the News Tribune. You can reach him at (218) 720-4177 or firstname.lastname@example.org.