Most of The New York Times' most popular items last year weren't news stories

The New York Times

Last year's most popular item in The New York Times was this interactive, an image gallery of sorts that showed the photographic evolution of four sisters over 40 years.

That interactive, which appeared in The New York Times Magazine section of, was more popular than the paper's coverage of marquee news events, including the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, the shooting of teenager Michael Brown and a suicide bombing in Iraq.

Many of the most popular items from 2014 aren't conventional news stories at all — they're contributed content (Dylan Farrow's open letter about Woody Allen), quizzes (2013's "How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk was on the list for two years straight), and question-and-answer sessions (The Times' Q and A on the Ebola crisis made the list).

Compare that to 2013's most popular list, which was peppered with news stories — Pope Francis' selection, coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings, and an in-depth on homelessness in New York City.

Here they are, in order of popularity:

  1. Forty portraits in 40 years
  2. An open letter from Dylan Farrow
  3. How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk
  4. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Actor of Depth, Dies at 46
  5. 52 Places to Go in 2014
  6. What You Learn in Your 40s
  7. For the Love of Money
  8. Ebola Virus Outbreak QA
  9. Robin Williams, Oscar-Winning Comedian, Dies at 63
  10. Where Are the Hardest Places to Live in the U.S.?
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    Benjamin Mullin

    Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism innovation, business practices and ethics.


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