Why do we like people stories? The answer may shock you

We have a running joke around the editorial department here at WP World HQ: it revolves around the headlines used on online “click bait” type stories designed to capture your attention.

“Man climbs mountain.… You’ll never believe what happens next…”

“A woman tries to hug a leopard, the reason why will make you cry…”

Or one of my personal favorites, “20 sensational headlines.… Number 4 will shock you!”

And yes, editors, they really use the exclamation point.…

You’re not going to see anything like these in The Western Producer, or even on our website, anytime soon.

But as I was looking back over some of the stories we’ve done recently, a theme became evident among those that were most popular — and it wasn’t a sensational headline.

Many of the stories that seem to really resonate with our readers are about people.

Take Regina reporter Karen Briere’s recent profile of Nipawin, Sask., area bison producers Don and Paulette Scott, for example.

Thousands of you checked that story out via our Facebook page.

It hadn’t even been online for 24 hours when this column was written Feb. 12, but Saskatoon reporter William DeKay’s profile of Erin Wasson, a social worker at the U of S college of veterinary medicine, was already starting to generate a buzz.

The same is true of Lethbridge reporter Barb Glen’s recent profile of Saskatoon-based sleep consultant Amanda Hudye, and Manitoba reporter Robert Arnason’s story on Killarney, Man., based farmer Matt Reimer, who has used his knowledge of computer programming to create a robotic tractor.

So why are these stories so popular?

It’s difficult to say for certain, but if I had to guess, it’s got something to do with all our readers having a shared interest in the world of agriculture: more precisely, how others are doing it, how they’re doing it differently and is there some potential for them to apply something they may learn to their own operation?

Of course, I’d like to also believe that our award-winning journalists are pretty good at what they do, too.

And while these people profiles aren’t all we do here at the WP, as popular as they are, I think I can say with confidence that you will continue to see them in our pages and online for years to come.

You won’t believe what happens next.…

Contact paul.yanko@producer.com

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