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The Top 5 Stories of 2023 on the Sun

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Looking back at the biggest news of the year

By Andrew Harris

2023 was a big year for our news network. Between the Wellsville, Hornell, and newly launched Keuka Sun we grew by one million “clicks” or page views with over seven million site visits in total. According to our site analytics, in 2023 the Sun sites welcomed 1.9 million different visitors this year who read 7.1 million stories.

The vast majority of those readers are from Western New York, but this year we had a large international audience as well! How does a little website based in a county with only 45,000 residents reach a global audience?

The answer is John Anderson, once the editor of the Wellsville Daily Reporter and Hornell Tribune, he has been a contributing editor and writer since 2022. He is also an incredible social media manager who gets our stories and sponsors in front of people on Facebook thanks to his techniques and knowledge.

Anderson has one foot in Wellsville, one foot in Los Angeles, worked in Louisiana and Buffalo and hop scotches to places in between almost constantly. He’s been a journalist for decades and has a very large network of friends, fellow journalists, and celebrities. But he really enjoys writing about some of our local heroes and doing videos and photos. But when he has a big story of national interest, news travels fast.

The top story of the year, by far, shows what happens when a great story and John Anderson cross paths.

The Hornell baseball game that was read all over the world, especially countries like Japan and Australia where baseball is big. Between the breaking news by John Anderson and a follow up story with video that has over 3 million views, that single story was read by over 150,000. Ultimately a cautionary tale, thousands of young ball players read the story and learned a valuable life lesson.

The next big story of 2023 was a stunning fire in a remote corner of New York State which also captured an international audience and became a poster child for the green energy debate. A family member called with the start of the story: “Hey there is a wind turbine on fire near Rexville NY, you gotta see this.” Pictures and videos started arriving inbox showing the stunning site of a three hundred foot tall, brand new windmill burning out of control. The story turned into controversy when it was clear the fire had contaminated surrounding properties, crop fields, and even a farm owners lungs. Over the course of a few months, our reporting from public meetings and interviews reached nearly seventy thousand readers. We engaged public and corporate interests along with several landowners and long time residents of the sleepy town of West Union and hamlet of Rexville NY. The story serves as another cautionary tale but also a good example of how complicated the effort to transistion toward green energy can become.

The #3 story of the year was a great example of why the news business is often a sad business. Humans are drawn to tragedy and the Wellsville/Andover community experienced a horrible loss in 2023. A group of great friends, traveling in Maryland on vacation were in very bad traffic accident. As the gossip mill began to churn and residents turned to us for updates, we reported the news that nobody wanted to hear. Alicia Cornell and Wes Merrick will not be forgotten.

The next big story of 2023 was from a new addition to the Sun but a longtime award-winning journalist named Oak Duke. You might remember him from his years at the helm of the Wellsville Daily Reporter. Oak was the publisher, but also crafted a weekly column that served as a cornerstone for the publication: “In the Outdoors.” Duke is a consumate outdoorsman: A hunter, a fishermen, a forager, a beekeeper, a bird dog man, and human encyclopedia of his home ecosystem. Decades of writing have earned him legions of followers, mostly fellow deer hunters, who read his nationally syndicated columns.

The Sun was honored to bring “In the Outdoors” back and wow did we do that just in time!! Oak’s most sought after advice is his annual predictions on the whitetail deer mating season, aka “the rut.” Every year, Duke studies the subject and makes a prediction about when the cycle will peak. This year we were lucky enough to publish his prediction on the Sun and wow— 39340 readers read that story within just a few days.

Thanks Oak for joining the team and immediately making a big difference!!

The #5 story of 2023 was great news for Wellsville NY. After years of decline, then a total shutdown, the former Turbodyne or Dresser Rand was purchased by a Texas firm, Kinley Construction. Another John Anderson piece marked another major shift in the local economy. Previous reporting on the revival at Ljungstrom Arvos, formerly Air-Preheater/ABB/Alstom, only enhanced this great news for Allegany County. As a local newsman who reported through the years of job losses and economic downturn, this news made John Anderson as happy as the twenty five thousand people who read this story:

Chances are you are one of the thousands of readers that these stories reached. Thank you for reading, sharing, and making our work part of your daily life. That honor, and responsibility is something that we take seriously. You can always reach us via email, WellsvilleSun@yahoo.com, or connect on Facebook if you haven’t already.

This site is funded by our advertising partners and contributions from readers who value local news. The easiest way to contribute is via PayPal or Venmo, or you can always send a check to the Wellsville Sun, 3 Meadowbrook Court, Wellsville NY 14895.

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