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Jim Ryan is a senior studying journalism and political science and editor-in-chief of The Post

From The Editors Desk: Sexual assault series importance not reflected online

Today’s journalists are constantly juggling stories they think will do well online and ones that are essential to their mission of informing their readers. The Post is no exception to that trend. 

Over the past week, we have produced some of the best explanatory stories in The Post’s recent history, or at least during my tenure here. A small team of reporters and editors have dug into the topic of sexual assault in Southeast Ohio over the past month, producing stories about how to report a sexual assault and the resources available to sexual assault survivors, among other important topics.

I’ve received an encouraging amount of feedback from the usual sources — university professors, alumni, administrators and friends. One alumnus wrote me a lengthy critique of our first story and called the series “a strong, ambitious piece of reporting for a college newspaper ...” A professor in the journalism school sent me an email titled “Outstanding — OUTSTANDING work today.” An administrator asked if I could make sure she gets print copies of each issue to use as resources for a contest she’s organizing.

But the traction these stories have received online has been dismal.

As of 3:30 p.m. Thursday, the series’ four lead stories and a page linking to all of them amounted to about 6 percent of the week’s web traffic. None of the stories were in the week’s 25 most popular on

For the sake of comparison, that top 25 list includes a feature on an Athens High School wide receiver who is being recruited by OU, news about F--kRapeCulture’s Friday rally and debate about whether the university needs an academic center specifically for student-athletes. It also includes a quick, timely story about Athens being named one of the best college towns in the country to spend a weekend by USA Today. 

That’s somewhat discouraging, but it’s also a sign of the times. Some stories are more popular online than they are in print, and that’s something we’re taking into account more than ever here at The Post.

We know that what our audience wants to read is oftentimes different than what we think they need to know, and we’re aiming to put together an eclectic mix of the two every day.

That’s the duty of a news publication in today’s digital age.

As always, thanks for reading.

Jim Ryan is a senior studying journalism and political science and editor-in-chief of The Post. Think The Post’s sexual assault series was a good use of resources? Looking for more listicles? Contact him at or on Twitter at @Jimryan015.

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