The 'Net now makes it possible to take the pulse of readers by tracking what types of stories they search for and e-mail to friends.

Many sites have taken advantage of this interactivity in creating year-end features. Rather than just pick and tell readers what the "Top Stories of the Year" are, journalists can now easily ask readers their opinion.

Here is's survey and's survey, for example.

Most E-Mailed Articles of 2003

The New York Times has mined its 2003 e-mail data to create a smart series of slideshows showing the Most E-Mailed Articles of 2003. Iraq and Jayson Blair were among the popular stories, not surprising, but so were from tales of sushi memos and yarns about talking fish.

And the Times was kind enough to waive the usual charge for archived articles and let users read these treats for free.

The slideshows include: Most E-Mailed News Articles;  Most E-Mailed Opinion Articles Most E-Mailed Magazine Articles; Other Fare From the Top 100.

I was disappointed, though, that the slideshows only included a small selection of the top stories in each category. I would have liked to see a full list of the top 10 or top 100 e-mailed stories as well.

Still, it's a great idea and I expect other sites to imitate it in the future. At least, I hope they do.

Top searches of 2003

Another new year-end tradition made possible by the 'Net is year-end search summaries. Yahoo and Lycos have posted excellent summaries of the top searches of 2003. In addition to overall searches, they've broken down the searches by category -- everything from the Top Jennifer Searches to the Top Iraq-related searches.

Top Yahoo searches of 2003

Yahoo's top news searches were:

  1. Cloning

  2. Hurricane Isabel

  3. Saddam Hussein

  4. Laci Peterson

  5. Affirmative Action

  6. Elizabeth Smart

  7. Jessica Lynch

  8. Iraq War

  9. Arnold Schwarzenegger

  10. Rush Limbaugh

Lycos' Web's Most Wanted 2003

And here is Lycos' top 10 news stories of 2003:

  1. Iraq War

  2. Kobe Bryant

  3. Space Shuttle Columbia

  4. Federal Do-Not-Call List

  5. SARS

  6. Michael Jackson arrest

  7. MS Blaster/Lovsan Computer Virus

  8. First Human Clone

  9. Super Bowl XXXVII

  10. Laci Peterson

Amazing how different the lists are, eh? I never would have guessed.

Google usually does its own wrap-up of the year-in-search, but it hasn't posted its 2003 round-up yet. Here's last year's and 2001's for comparision. Check this page in the coming days for the 2003 summary:

Just for fun: What do you think the top news searches will be in 2004? Post your comments here and we'll check back at the end of 2004 and see how well you did!

Have a happy New Year's!


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