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Record hits for daily’s expenses vote graphic

A record number of readers ‘hovered’ on a regional daily’s interactive graphic to find out how their local councillors voted on a controversial expenses rise.

The Oxford Mail saw 31,000 internet users hover over the graphic, produced using the Thinglink website, a tool which allows users to attach links to web pages from pictures or videos.

The Mail currently uses the innovation to produce a daily interactive front page and an advent calendar featuring the best pictures taken by its photographers over the course of 2014, which usually receive views numbering in the hundreds rather than the thousands.

But the latest council expenses map, produced after Tuesday’s vote, almost doubled the previous number of views for any similar graphic.

Oxfordshire councillors

The vote saw members of Oxfordshire County Council agree to a 19pc increase in basic allowances one day after warning of a further £20m worth of cuts to public services.

A total of 38 voted for the proposal and 20 against, with three abstentions.

Mail assistant editor Jason Collie said: “We knew almost the instant we put the initial story about the 19pc councillors’ allowances rise up that there had been a backlash from readers from social media and comments on our website.

“The rises went through by 38 of the 61 councillors present voting in favour so we decided to work on a proper breakdown of that, as well as include the information as to which allowances they receive.

“It’s been phenomenally popular and inside 15 hours has almost doubled our previous most popular graphic with 31,000 hovers.

“I’d have personally been happy with 2,000 hovers by the morning so it is pretty staggering to get this type of reaction.

“It’s just shown again Thinglink is a brilliant tool to tell a story in a new way online, particularly a bread and butter subject like this that local papers should be bringing to our readers and taxpayers.”