Alina Snopkowski, Editor
While La Salle is pretty much entirely back in person, the Collegian is not just yet. The wire baskets that used to hold copies of the week’s (and week before’s…and week before’s…) Collegians are now empty, and if you’re reading this article, it means you’ve been able to find us online.
When we were publishing physical copies of the newspaper, the only way to guess how many people were reading was to see how many copies were left over in the little baskets in the Union, B and G, library and other areas we deemed high-traffic enough to abandon stacks of papers. We also had no way of knowing which articles or sections were the most popular, or when people were reading the paper. For example, I was the one who delivered the papers to Benilde every Thursday, and it was always a guessing game of how many papers would be left over from the week before. Sometimes there were only a few copies remaining, other weeks there’d be dozens still stacked up in the basket. How many people grabbed a paper and only read the sports section or did the sudoku puzzle? How many people leafed through the Collegian while waiting for a friend in the Union or between classes in the library and then put the paper back in the basket or abandoned it on a table?
Ever since we began publishing the Collegian online, I have been (a bit obsessively) checking the statistics page that the website provides. Apparently, early Wednesday afternoons are when most people visit the site, the News category is the most popular and the most views we ever had was earlier this year in February. The traffic to the website falls after Wednesday, the day when we publish the articles, but there’s still at least a few views each day throughout the week.
Of course there’s drawbacks to not having a physical paper. To access the paper, a reader has to have the link to the page (or be willing to Google search for the paper and find the correct site). People who might have picked up the Collegian while walking through Holroyd or on their way out of B and G now might not even know the paper still exists if they’ve never been sent the link to our page.
I think the most interesting information the WordPress site gives is their report of all the different countries someone has read a website from. On that page, it shows that people have read the Collegian from over thirty countries besides the United States. Many of these countries are home to various Lasallian-affiliated educational institutions, but many are not.
Image created on mapchart.com by Alina Snopkowski
Lasallian educational institutions and Collegian readers.
This map shows the world according to the Collegian’s readers — many are reading the paper from countries with Lasallian schools, colored in dark blue on the map, but there are also several countries with Lasallian schools, shown in yellow, that haven’t had anyone reading the Collegian. Then there’s the ones I’m most interested in — the countries without Lasallian schools, but somehow someone from them still found the Collegian. Seeing those light blue countries raises some questions — who is reading our paper in Norway? How did someone in Saudi Arabia find the Collegian? — but also shows that people who have probably never set foot on campus can now access the paper. That says something about the reach of the internet in general, but also something about the reach of La Salle, and the connection we on this campus have with those learning in Brazil or Egypt or the Philippines, united through the values of St. Jean-Baptiste de La Salle — and, in a tiny way, through the Collegian.