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Most Engaging Stories

Themes | List

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Top Themes of the Year

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On top of deadly natural disasters like Tropical Storms Hilary and Idalia and fires in Maui and Canada, there were man-made catastrophes as well, and none so engaging as the rescue efforts surrounding the Titan submersible.

Peaking at number 7 on our list with Eric Levenson, Priscilla Alvarez, Gabe Cohen, Nouran Salahieh, and Oren Liebermann’s “Titanic-bound submersible suffered ‘catastrophic implosion,” we had 9 stories from 7 different outlets on the topic and audiences spent more than 60 million minutes engaging with them.

 

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What was happening on social?

The standout social story of 2023 was undoubtedly the missing Titan submersible.

In 2 short weeks, videos about the submersible garnered more views than all presidential content combined over the course of the previous six months. 


Read more social insights.

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The Los Angeles Times’ obituary for ‘Friends star’ Matthew Perry is our most engaging story of 2023. Audiences spent more than 45 million minutes engaging with tributes to the actor on our list. 

In a previous interview with the Los Angeles Times, Perry said he wanted to be remembered “As a guy who lived life, loved well, lived well and helped people.”

Other notable figures we paid tribute to this year include Elvis’s daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, Irish singer Sinéad O'Connor, and former First Lady, Rosalynn Carter.

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What was happening on social?

Viewership about Matthew Perry peaked October 30th, the Monday following his death, with over 3B views across social.

A week following his passing, commemorative videos featuring the Friends theme song accumulated almost 74M views.


Read more social insights.

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War was once again a top topic on news sites throughout the world. Last year, the war between Russia and Ukraine dominated coverage, and while a few dispatches from the region made this year’s list as well, our attention has since turned to the unfolding conflict in Gaza after the terrorist attack in Israel on October 7th.

Some of the most popular stories on the topic like the BBC’s “What is Hamas and why is it fighting Israel in Gaza? and Al Jazeera's "What's the Israel-Palestine conflict about? A simple guide" show that audiences are interested in historical background to give context to daily breaking news.

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What was happening on social?

Social feeds are flooded with first-hand accounts of soldiers on the ground, passionate protesters, and civilians caught in the cross-fire.

Media & Entertainment publishers posted nearly 60% of their Israel-Palestine coverage to YouTube, while influencers posted over 50% of their war commentary to TikTok.


Read more social insights.

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As catastrophes, wars, and obituaries drive news cycle after news cycle, the perseverance of the human spirit and our desire to connect with others can be a welcome respite for journalists and readers alike.

We see it in stories like number 8 on our list from CNN, “A migrant crossed the border and found a scared, 9-year-old Arizona boy alone in the desert. The encounter changed them both.”

Though we mustn't look away from the tougher topics, it's clear that audiences also crave a daily dose of good news.

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What was happening on social?

#GoodNews has been a strong subcategory for quite a while. This video of Magnus the Therapy Dog bringing joy to the hospital was the most engaged #GoodNews video of 2023. Instagram saw the most engagements for #GoodNews content, particularly on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday when people are looking for a positive start to their week.

 

Read more social insights.

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Scandals and true crime aren’t just for TV. According to Chartbeat data, they were one of the most popular topics of the year on site as well. The most engaging story in this category was “What I learned about Lucy Letby after 10 months in court” from the BBC’s Judith Moritz.

Another criminal case that online audiences followed closely was the Murdaugh family murders, and there was also renewed interest in a number of cold cases such as the story of two teens who went missing while hitchhiking to a concert 50 years ago and JFK's assassination.

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What was happening on social?

One of 2023’s most-followed murder mysteries unfolded around the prominent southern Murdaugh family. While TikTok detectives often amass tons of views, NBC News created 2 of the top 5 most-watched Murdaugh videos!


Read more social insights.
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228,519,772,384

Total Engaged Minutes

Behind the Numbers

1

LOS ANGELES TIMES
‘Friends’ star Matthew Perry dead at 54, found in hot tub at L.A. home

Richard Winton, Matt Brennan, and Connor Sheets

2

LOS ANGELES TIMES
Authorities identify 72-year-old man as suspected gunman in Lunar New Year mass shooting

Summer Lin, Richard Winton, Rebecca Ellis, Jeong Park, Libor Jany, Rong-Gong Lin II, Julia Wick, Hayley Smith, Debbie Truong, Grace Toohey, and Laura Newberry

10

LOS ANGELES TIMES
‘Widespread flooding’ expected as intense Hilary pounds Southern California

Grace Toohey, Hayley Smith, Rong-Gong Lin II, Hannah Fry, and Rachel Uranga

11

BBC
Your complete guide to the King's coronation

The Visual Journalism Team

12

CNN
‘Like something out of a horror movie’: At least 6 dead and communities decimated in Maui wildfires

Holly Yan, Christina Maxouris, Amanda Jackson, and Jamiel Lynch

19

CNN
Takeaways from the first Republican presidential primary debate

Eric Bradner, Daniel Strauss, Arit John, and Steve Contorno

23

CNN
Video shows Tyre Nichols calling for his mother, beaten by officers now charged in his death

Jason Hanna, Jamiel Lynch, Chuck Johnston, Shawn Nottingham, and Andy Rose

24

CNN
2 Americans kidnapped in Mexico found dead and 2 found alive, officials say

Josh Campbell, Abel Alvarado, Karol Suarez, Caroll Alvarado, and Eric Levenson

25

BBC
Hospital bosses ignored months of doctors' warnings about Lucy Letby

Judith Moritz, Jonathan Coffey, and Michael Buchanan

26

PEOPLE
Matthew Perry Dead at 54 After Apparent Drowning

Michele Corriston and Nicholas Rice

28

BBC
Sinéad O'Connor: Irish singer dies aged 56

Michael Sheils McNamee and Steven McIntosh

30

CNN
More Baby Boomers are living alone. One reason why: ‘gray divorce’

Catherine E. Shoichet and Parker Leipzig

42

ABC NEWS
Escaped murderer Danelo Cavalcante nabbed, and how a dog named Yoda helped collar him

Bill Hutchinson, Meredith Deliso, Jack Date, and Luke Barr

43

THE WASHINGTON POST
Manhunt underway for gunman who killed five neighbors, sheriff says

Justine McDaniel, Andrea Salcedo, Mark Berman, and Dan Rosenzweig-Ziff

46

CNN
Banging sounds heard during Titan search, according to internal US government memo

Eric Levenson, Nouran Salahieh, Priscilla Alvarez, and Ray Sanchez

47

BBC
Friends star Matthew Perry dies at 54

George Wright and Emma Saunders

56

BBC
Japan was the future but it's stuck in the past

Rupert Wingfield-Hayes

57

CNN
Suspect in Maine shooting rampage is dead from apparent self-inflicted gunshot, authorities say

John Miller, Evan Perez, Josh Campbell, Aya Elamroussi, and Holly Yan

58

THE NEW YORK TIMES
Liz Holmes Wants You to Forget About Elizabeth

Amy Chozick

59

FOX NEWS
Joran van der Sloot has confessed to killing Natalee Holloway

Adam Sabes and Michael Ruiz

60

CNN
We're not built for this.' Tropical Storm Hilary batters California with heavy rain and catastrophic floods

Nouran Salahieh, Gene Norman, Christina Maxouris, and Dakin Andone

61

CNN
The wildfires scorching Maui have killed at least 53 people and reduced communities to ashes

Christina Maxouris, Nouran Salahieh, Holly Yan, and Paul P. Murphy

67

FOX NEWS
Nashville school shooting: 6 killed including 3 students, shooter dead

Anders Hagstrom and Louis Casiano

69

THE NEW YORK TIMES
Bing’s A.I. Chat: ‘I Want to Be Alive. 😈’

Kevin Roose

74

THE WASHINGTON POST
Rosalynn Carter, first lady who championed mental health, dies at 96

Joe Holley and Kevin Sullivan

76

THE ATLANTIC
What Mitt Romney Saw in the Senate

McKay Coppins

77

THE NEW YORK TIMES
The Secrets Hamas Knew About Israel’s Military

Patrick Kingsley and Ronen Bergman

78

THE NEW YORK TIMES
Women Have Been Misled About Menopause

Susan Dominus

83

FOX NEWS
Lewiston, Maine mass shooting: At least 22 dead as manhunt intensifies for person of interest Robert Card

Sarah Rumpf-Whitten, Elizabeth Pritchett, Jacqui Heinrich, Lawrence Richard, and David Spunt

86

FOX NEWS
Idaho murder victims' roommate heard crying, saw man in mask morning of killings: court docs

Audrey Conklin, Michael Ruiz, Rebecca Rosenberg, and Stephanie Pagones

87

BBC
Hamas hostages: Who are the people taken from Israel?

Jamie Ryan and Emma Pengelly

90

CNN
Jacksonville gunman in racially motivated attack legally bought two weapons earlier this year, sheriff says

Eric Levenson, Sara Smart, Nouran Salahieh, Isabel Rosales, and Andy Rose

104

THE NEW YORK TIMES
Matthew Perry, Star of ‘Friends,’ Dies at 54

Alex Traub and Matt Stevens

39 million

Pieces of Content

 

228 billion

Minutes of Engaged Time

 

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Behind the Numbers

More than 60,000 media companies use Chartbeat's content analytics to measure and understand their audience. Across this global network, we evaluated more than 39 million pieces of content, totaling 228 billion minutes of Engaged Time, which is the total amount of time visitors spent actively reading. The stories featured reflect the variety of coverage we saw this past year.

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Most Engaging Stories Archive

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