Top five online articles of 2023

MORRISBURG – Each year, The Leader compiles the top five stories published online based on the traffic received from our website at morrisburgleader.ca. This year, the top five list was prorated due to the removal of Facebook and Instagram referral traffic. These Meta-owned platforms no longer allow Canadian news links due to the implementation of Bill C-18, The Online News Act.

News stories from the website are ranked based on the traffic received over the first three weeks after publication. Links published before the Meta news ban had the Facebook and Instagram referrered links removed from the traffic stats. Before the Meta news ban, Facebook accounted for 15 per cent of all links referred to The Leader’s website. Most of The Leader’s traffic comes from our email news alerts, direct access to our website, and from Google News searches.

The top story of 2023 online this year is the late-March announcement of Ross Video purchasing the former KBD Transportation property in Iroquois for yet another expansion. When the announcement was made, Ross Video was just completing the $15 million expansion to its main manufacturing plant in Iroquois, which is across the road from the former KBD property. The short term plan is to provide extra parking for staff, along with warehousing storage. Longer term, the company is planning for yet another expansion to its campus to accommodate its robotics work.

Our story on local cable TV provider Eastlink losing access to all Corus-owned cable channels including Food Network, HGTV, W Network, Disney Channel and others was the second-most trafficked story online on The Leader’s website. A contract dispute between the Nova Scotia-based cable company and Corus over renewing a carriage agreement saw 34 channels in all cut from their local cable packages. Over 250,000 customers were affected across Eastlink’s service area, which covers seven provinces.

The third most-viewed story on The Leader’s website is from July where a report of a possible robbery at the McEwans/McDonalds in Morrisburg led to drug trafficking and weapons offence charges, along with probation violation charges. Four men from the Greater Montréal area received a total of 22 charges relating to the incident.

A feature story on the retiring owners of Morrisburg Building Centre – Rick and Margaret Johnston – was the fourth-most viewed story on our website. Published in mid-July, the Johnstons were retiring after being with the business for nearly 37 years. The couple announced in June that they had sold the property to Emard Lumber from Cornwall. July 31 was the couple’s last day in the store where they were part of the community, and raised their three children.

The fifth-most viewed story on The Leader’s website was our December article on the arrest and charges for the now-former pastor at Motion Church in Morrisburg James Tripp. Tripp – from Iroquois – was arrested and charged relating to a historical sexual assault from the Kitchener-Waterloo area of Ontario. His next court appearance is January 4.

In what has become a yearly honourable mention, our April 2017 interview of Williamsburg-native Brian McCourt, who at the time was debuting on HGTV Canada’s Backyard Builds, was the 10th-most viewed story on The Leader’s website in 2023. Most of the traffic to the story was via Google searches for McCourt’s name.

About 90 per cent of all web traffic for The Leader comes from Canadian sources, with five per cent from the United States, while the remaining five per cent comes from outside of North America.

The most viewed search terms in 2023 were “Morrisburg Leader,” “Morrisburg Newspaper,” and “Eastlink Channel List.” The most viewed keywords from 2023 were: Morrisburg, Eastlink, and Subscribe.

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