A study about Trump and passing of two longtime professors most viewed stories of 2021

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A study by Union researchers about why narcissists support Donald Trump, the passing of two longtime professors and a new sculpture to replace the Idol were among the most popular stories on the College’s news site in 2021.

Union’s award-winning news site garnered more than 247,000 unique page views during the year, making it one of the College’s most popular sites.

Student painters pose in front of the new Block U sculpture

Student painters pose in front of the new Block U sculpture

Topping the list was a piece highlighting research done by Joshua Hart, professor of psychology, and Nathaniel Steckler ’20. Posted just before the 2020 presidential election between Trump and Joe Biden, the research offered a personality-driven theory for Trump’s popularity: he attracts the support of fellow narcissists. The research was published in The Journal of Social Psychology in July, helping drive readers to Union’s news site.

The deaths of political science professor, Dean of Faculty and interim President James Underwood in April and Twitty J. Styles, professor emeritus of biology, in August, were the second and third most popular stories, respectively.

After a year of COVID, the welcome announcement in April that Union would host an in-person commencement ceremony for the Class of 2021, and a story in September about the replacement of the Idol rounded out the top five most read stories.

The rest of the top 10 included stories on Union’s recent Rhodes Scholar, the Class of 2021 commencement, a father and son who graduated together, the three co-valedictorians and the 50th anniversary of the dramatic theft of the College’s set of John James Audubon’s stunning “Birds of America.”

On Union's official social media accounts, a photoshopped picture of Sen. Bernie Sanders from the inauguration of President Joseph Biden sitting in front of the Nott was the most popular post on Instagram and Facebook. On Twitter, drone videography of campus garnered the most reactions.

Stories that originate on Union’s new site are frequently featured in national, international and local media outlets.

This year, Union faculty, students and staff were mentioned in the top media outlets in the country, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, ESPN, NPR and Inside Higher Ed.

Content on the site has been honored by the Council for the Advancement of Secondary Education (CASE).

The 10 most-read stories of 2021:

1. Follow the leader: Narcissists tend to gravitate toward Trump

2. Campus mourns Prof. James Underwood

3. Prof. Twitty J. Styles recalled as teacher, mentor, community builder

4. Union to host in-person commencement for Class of 2021

5. For former Idol painters, it’s a new ‘U’

6. Tawreak “Ty” Gamble-Eddington '21 named a 2022 Rhodes Scholar

7. Resilience rewarded: Class of 2021 celebrates Commencement in person

8. ‘Longest senior year’: Decades later, father joins son in graduating from Union

9. Class of 2021 co-valedictorians: Chris Avanessian, Shea Delehaunty and Lisa Spagnuolo

10. The Audubon heist at 50: An irresistible mystery endures