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'Spicy burger test' is most viewed story of 2014

The tale of two regional press journalists who ended up in hospital after eating what was reputed to be the UK’s spiciest hamburger was the most viewed HTFP story of 2014.

Ruari Barrett, a former reporter with The Argus, Brighton, and assistant news editor Arron Hendy were both hospitalised after taking one bit of the XXX Hot Chilli Burger from Burger Off, in Hove.

Ruari suffered severe stomach cramps and lost the feeling in his hands, while Aaron said he was so much pain it “felt like I was dying.”

The story, originally published in July, amassed 29,312 page views during the year making it the single most viewed story ever on HTFP.

Journalists Arron Hendy and Ruari Barratt who were hospitalised after eating the hottest burger in the country

Journalists Arron Hendy and Ruari Barratt who were hospitalised after eating the hottest burger in the country

Runner-up was our coverage of the Brentwood Gazette’s naming and shaming of rail commuters who mocked a suicide victim on Twitter after he fell to his death in front of a train.

Unsurprisingly job loss stories also figured highly on the list with Johnston Press’s decison to axe staff photographers across its Midlands region in third place and Trinity Mirror’s closure of the Reading Post in fourth.

The list also included a three-year old story about a survey on journalists’ earnings which continued to rake up page views during the year.

And Steve Dyson’s blog continued to pull-in the readers with his post on Newsquest’s Newport subbing hub in fifth place.

HTFP publisher Paul Linford said: “HTFP is often accused of focusing on doom and gloom so it’s interesting that our most viewed tale of the year was a funny human story about two regional press journalists, while our second-placed story simply concerned a weekly paper’s great treatment of a tragic incident.

“It was also great to see Sarah Bould’s 2011 story on journalist earnings in there – demonstrating the value of HTFP as a news archive resource as well as a breaking news site.”

Overall the site delivered more than 5.3m page views in 2014 from more than 700,000 unique visitors.

The site’s end-of-year stats also showed that HTFP is becoming increasingly popular on tablets, with a 35pc increase in the number of visitors from tablet devices.

The full list of the Top 10 most viewed stories is as follows:

1. Spicy burger test puts two Brighton Argus reporters in hospital

2. Brentwood Gazette names and shames Tweeters who mocked rail death victim

3. Photographer roles axed across Johnston Press Midlands region

4. Seven newspapers to close and 50 jobs to go in Trinity Mirror cuts

5. Dyson at Large:  Newsquest’s little hub of subbing horrors

6. Midland News Association to axe 76 jobs and take titles overnight

7. Feb 2014 ABCs:  How the regional dailies performed

8. Eastern Daily Press apologies after printing April 1 PR spoof

9. Journalists’ survey reveals earnings of between £5k and £90k

10. ‘We can do without office’ says Hemel Hempstead Gazette editor


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  • January 7, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    And we moan about click bait and dumbing down – the industry is in free fall and the journalists themselves would rather eat a man v food gimmick

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  • January 7, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    and that’s why The Argus is such a popular paper in Brighton and Hove

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  • January 7, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    Indeed Irony. The media world has never been more confused and crazy. Comments on HTFP over last year or so merely confirm this.

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