Sheppey crash coverage prompts record traffic for Kent Messenger website

The Kent Messenger Group’s website, Kent Online, yesterday recorded its highest ever traffic owing to its coverage of the Sheppey crossing crash.

The website said that more than 120,000 unique browsers read and watched the story as it developed throughout the day. It was the site’s most read story in its 13-year history.

Last week, ABC figures showed that Kent Online was the UK's fastest growing regional newspaper website in the first half of 2013.

The website recorded daily unique browsers up by 44.5 per cent to 34,577 and monthly unique browsers up 41.3 per cent to 637,396.

Matt Ramsden, the editor of the Sittingbourne Messenger, remade this week’s print edition on deadline, moving adverts to the back of the paper to make space for in-depth coverage.

The group also collaborated with its network of KMFM radio stations, which provided travel updates through the day.

KM Group editorial director Ian Carter said: "It really was a case of everyone pulling together, with the online content superbly marshalled by editor Sandra Hembery and news editor Danny Boyle.

"We're incredibly fortunate at the KM Group that, in addition to our websites and newspapers, we have our kmfm radio stations and all parts of the company work together as one. It meant we could provide the complete news package.

"We knew it was a big story but even so we were taken by surprise by quite how much of a surge it created, particularly because it was also leading the BBC and Sky bulletins.

"Of course, reacting to huge breaking news is what all journalists should live for. However, it's gratifying that our most-read story since launch was a major incident rather than the current depressing trend for uploading gimmicky non-stories in the hope they go viral."

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