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Published May 6th 2015

Sex, Money & Chipotle: April 2015’s Top Shared US News Site Stories

If I asked my friends to tell me what US news stories were most important during the month of April, they would probably jump straight to the riots in Baltimore or the earthquake in Nepal. I would, too.

But, the data tells a different story.

When measured by the number of social shares, the top 5 stories at the nation’s leading online newspapers this month were a USAtoday.com piece, “Local sex columnist: 5 reasons marriage just doesn’t work anymore,” and two NYtimes.com articles—“One Company’s New Minimum Wage: $70,000 a Year” and “Chipotle to Stop Using Genetically Altered Ingredients.”

I’m not sure what this means for the moral conscience of the nation, but it’s certainly interesting for content marketers.

To gather this data, I used a Pew Research Report from journalism.org to find a list of the Top 25 Newspapers by Digital Traffic, a compilation based on the number of unique visitors in 2015.

Top 5 Online Newspapers By Traffic

  • USAToday.com
  • NYtimes.com
  • DailyMail.co.uk
  • WashingtonPost.com
  • TheGuardian.com

To get my US top 5, I dug just two slots further into the list and replaced the UK papers with the LATimes.com and the NYPost.com.

Then, I pulled these domains into a top content search at BuzzSumo and used the specific date range filter to find the most shared content for April 2015.

In addition to the three mentioned earlier, the top five also includes an op-ed piece by David Brooks,” The Moral Bucket List,” published at the nytimes.com, and another from the same outlet, “Obama Calls for End to ‘Conversion’ Therapies for Gay and Transgender Youth.”

Finally, after all of that, people shared stories about racism and riots.

Here’s the top 10 list:

Of the top 5 US news outlets, usatoday.com, nytimes.com, and washingtonpost.com split the top ten stories in terms of social shares. First, sixth, and tenth place went to usatoday.com; nytimes.com grabbed second, third, fourth, sixth and eighth; and washingtonpost.com claimed seventh and ninth.

These outlets also dominated the top 20 stories.

Of the remaining two, nypost.com first appeared at #27 with, “Cop who berated Uber driver is stripped of badge and gun,” published April 1, and the latimes.com landed first at #54 with, “Brian Johnson, AC/DC all set to shake the Coachella kids up,’ published April 9.

I wondered briefly if the Nepal earthquake failed to place higher simply because it happened at the end of the month on April 25. But, when I re-filtered my data to see what was shared most from these same sites during the last five days of April, earthquake news still didn’t make the top 5. The nytimes.com article about Chipotle, published April 26, was first, with 250,300 total shares.



Next, I wanted to discover what content was most popular on the different social networks for the month of April. So, leaving my filters in place, I sorted for each platform.

Twitter and Google+ sharers were most interested in the murder charge in the death of Walter Scott, sharing the article, “South Carolina Officer Is Charged With Murder of Walter Scott, from the nytimes.com, published April 6, more than anything else. The article was shared 39,400 shares on Twitter, and 2,200 shares on Google+.

For Twitter users, the NYTimes.com Nepal earthquake piece,” Earthquake Devastates Nepal, Killing More Than 1,900,” was second. And, “A Rapid Rise by Shawn Mendes, in Tune With Social Media,” was third.

Twitter Top 5 News Stories April 2015:


Google+ had the only top five ranking for Taylor Swift, “Taylor Swift held over at Grammy Museum,” with 1,900. And, the list there included another unique offering, “Iran and the Obama Doctrine,” with 1,200 shares.

Google+ Top 5 Most Shared Stories, April 2015, US News Sites


Facebook’s top 5 included all of the most shared from all sites, with one exception: “Why is America celebrating the beating of a black child?” from the washingtonpost.com replaced “Obama Calls for End to ‘Conversion’ Therapies for Gay and Transgender Youth.”

Facebook Top 5 Most Shared Stories, April 2015

LinkedIn leaned toward the $70,000 minimum wage story, with users sharing it 5,300 times. Two stories on finance, “Online Lenders Offer a Faster Lifeline for Small Business,” and “Funding Circle Raises Another $150 million,” both from nytimes.com, gained the fourth and fifth highest shares on the network.

LinkedIn Top 5 Most Shared Stories, April 2015


And, the genteel Pinterest ranked a recipe highest in terms of shares:

Roasted chicken with potatoes, garlic and yogurt, published at nytimes.com on April 1.

Pinterest Top 5 Most Shared Stories, April 2015


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