The abuses of Nigeria’s Boko Haram militants, especially the abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls, and the outbreak of Ebola in west Africa dominate the list of developing news stories which AllAfrica’s readers clicked on during 2014.
An analysis of the site’s readership statistics also shows that, aside from bizarre stories about sex and the sayings and doings of controversial pastors, the most consistently followed topic was a feature on Africa’s 10 wealthiest musicians.
A wide range of stories from a wide range of countries attracted our readers’ interest during the first half of the year, with Nigeria, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, South Sudan, South Africa, Liberia and Rwanda often featuring in the most-read headlines each month.
An early focus on Boko Haram intensified, with a report that the Chibok girls had been moved out of the country, and a threat to kill them drawing particularly large numbers of readers.
Bread-and-butter South African stories, then the trial of Oscar Pistorius, gave South Africa higher profile than in previous years. Next door, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and his family were a constant subject of interest, notably the marriage of his daughter, Bona, and, later in the year, his suggestion that whites should go back to Britain (a story which, outside of reports on Ebola, drew the second highest readership of the year).
The first Ebola stories to reach the 10 most-read stories of the month appeared in July. (Govt Orders Liberians to be Screened for Ebola and Patrick Sawyer, Suspected Liberia Ebola Case in Lagos, Is Dead.)
Traffic soared from August, when articles on the crisis comprised seven of the 10 most-read topics on the site. In the most bizarre traffic “bleep” of the year, a report suggesting that two Ebola victims had been resurrected in Nimba County, Liberia drew more than four times the readership of the next most-read story, the first new report alleging that Sudanese troops had committed mass rape in Darfur.
As is customary for AllAfrica, all manner of stories from Nigeria were often among the most read. Popular stories about preachers concerned the “messy divorce” of a Nigerian pastor and the controversial claim by T.B. Joshua that the collapse of his church’s guest house in Lagos was the result of a mysterious terrorist attack from the sky.
Finally, on the entertainment front, reports on what’s happening with the television show, Big Brother Africa, continued to pull readers from across the continent, although much more serious news eclipsed them in 2014!!!