One of the most interesting aspects of newspapers on the web is the ability to record exactly what people read and how long they spent reading.

Up until Friday, The Union Democrat recorded nearly 7.2 million page views with an average time of 1:15 minutes. Not bad.

Most of our readers were, of course, from Sonora, but there were a healthy number of people in San Francisco and Stockton looking at our website. New York was No. 21, London 105.

The top stories largely involved breaking news with the exception of a story about the State of Jefferson, which also made our list of the most important issues of the year. It ranked No. 6 in readership on the website.

Here's the full list of the top 10 most read stories at

10 Forged in Fire winner — a story about a Knights Ferry woman who won a contest on a national television show doing metalwork.

9 Death of a child — Super professional wrestling fan and honorary WWE superstar Elijah Mainville won a legion of supporters and prayer warriors during his valiant six-year battle with cancer. He was 9 when he died in January at his Soulsbyville home.

8 Couple charged — Danny and Diane Anderson were charged in connection with an accident that took the lives of three people, including a 16-year-old and her mother.

7 Ascent on El Capitan — The story on the first naked ascent on that the nose of the iconic granite slab garnered nearly 10,000 page views, perhaps for the photos? Sorry nothing to see here, folks.

6 State of Jefferson gains momentum - a story that offered a deep dive into the pros and cons of a contentious idea, breaking the state of California apart to give a rural area more say about its destiny, but causing some to worry about what would be lost.

5 Death on the tracks — A story on a well-known man who died alone on the railroad tracks not far from downtown in May.

4 Witness to tragedy — North Carolina man recounts seeing Douglas Schlittner, 67, of Huntington Beach swept off a bridge in Yosemite National Park. Schlittner died after falling into Wapama Falls and then drowning in Hetch Hetchy Reservoir.

3 Andersons plea — The couple charged in connection with an accident on LaGrange Road pleaded not guilty. The trial is set to begin March 28 on manslaughter charges.

2 Gustnado — Twain Harte residents described the March storm as coming “through like a raging bull and plowed through those trees and made havoc out of the west entrance of Twain Harte.”

1 New Melones revived — After years of the reservoir looking more like a river than a lake, the behemoth between Calaveras and Tuolumne counties began to fill up when heavy rains hit in January. By May, no one was talking about drought anymore. They were talking fishing and boating.