Stories about softball player’s condition, community support were most read in 2021

Published 6:06 pm Thursday, January 6, 2022

Salisbury Post readers set a record in 2021.

The most read story of the year on received more page views than any other story since at least 2013 — when the Post started using its current system to track analytics. That story — “After 10 days, three hospitals, one diagnosis, Kassidy Sechler will return home” — received 151,668 total page views and 137,138 unique page views. While total page views count all visits to a particular story, unique page views only count devices once. So, if someone uses their smartphone to read the same story twice, it only counts as one unique page view.

The top story was an update on Kassidy, who experienced a medical emergency during a softball game in July and was hospitalized. That produced a wave of support, a Facebook group with thousands of members, prayer gatherings in various parts of the state and a fundraiser for her family. She was later diagnosed with a heart condition.

In a November update in the Facebook group, Prayers for Kassidy, her family said she started a mild exercise routine and was doing well in school.

Another story about Kassidy was second. The story “Community shows outpouring of support for young Rowan County softball player” reported on an initial prayer gathering in July before the start of the Rowan Lady Legion’s matchup against Mint Hill and the basic details of the initial medical emergency. It received 63,537 total page views and 59,940 unique page views.

Other stories in the top 10 are as follows:

Woman arrested, accused of slamming child onto street: 48,097 total page views and 41,666 unique page views

This story was a crime brief about a 30-year-old Salisbury woman who was charged with child abuse from an incident in November.

• 23-year-old woman faces charges after man dies from overdose: 38,474 total page views and 34,954 unique page views

This story, published in March, reported an a death by distribution charge for Averi Brawley of China Grove. She was charged in connection with a Jan. 13 incident when Cory Harrington was found dead in a bedroom on Saw Road.

• During early mornings and weekends, F&M Bank handled hundreds of Paycheck Protection Program loans: 32,678 total page views and 30,430 unique page views

This story, published in January, reported on how F&M Bank, based here, worked through small business loans that were available through the Paycheck Protection Program. The program was created to help businesses stay afloat through the pandemic and continue paying their employees.

• Full video: Rowan County Commissioner Craig Pierce arrested for driving while impaired: 30,496 total page views and 19,006 unique page views

This post showed the full two-hour traffic stop of Rowan County Commissioner Craig Pierce, who was charged and pleaded guilty to driving while impaired. The video started when Pierce was pulled over and ended when he entered the Rowan County Magistrate’s Office. It was one of eight total videos provided to the Post after a judge ordered the release of footage related to Pierce’s arrested. The Salisbury Post and WBTV petitioned for the release of video footage captured during the incident. In North Carolina, law enforcement agencies are prohibited from releasing footage without a judge’s order.

• The Smoke Pit leaving downtown Salisbury for standalone building on Faith Road: 26,503 total page views and 24,486 unique page views

This story reported the news that one of downtown Salisbury’s most popular restaurants was moving from its location on East Innes Street and provided details about its new space at 509 Faith Road. Since its move, its former downtown space has gone through a significant renovation. It’s also been split into two storefronts.

• Fatal car crash turns into homicide investigation: 24,048 total page views and 20,826 unique page views.

This story, published in June, reported that Edward Geouge III was fatally shot instead of killed in a car crash on Saw Road in the China Grove area. Follow-up stories reported that a medical examiner who inspected Geouge’s body missed the gunshot wound. Rene Oscar Gomez Jr. was charged with Geouge’s murder.

• Missing woman’s body found partially submerged in Rowan County creek: 23,691 total page views and 21,635 unique page views.

This story, published in April, reported the body of Samatha Rodriguez, a 27-year-old woman who has family in Rowan County, was found in a creek west of Salisbury after she was reported missing. An autopsy showed there was no foul play in her death.

• Sheriff’s Office: Salisbury man turns gun on himself after killing woman with shotgun: 21,118 total page views and 18,345 unique page views

This story, published in August, reported that Jody Hall, a 51-year-old man, was accused of killing a 43-year-old mother, Jamie Lee Franks, with a shotgun before shooting himself when sheriff’s deputies showed up. The woman’s 8-year-old child called 911 while hiding the bathroom, the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office said. Emergency dispatchers said they heard gunshots in the background during the call. Hall survived his self-inflicted wounds and faced charges for the woman’s murder.