As it happens

Posted by Ian
For the second day running we’re leading with news of the verdict in Saddam Hussein’s trial.
The story remains, at least for the moment, the most topical of the hour. We ran it as the main, indeed the only, lead item on yesterday’s homepage, coupled with a feature inviting your comments on the appropriateness of sentencing Saddam to death. This alone received over 1000 responses from you, our users. The lead article itself, meanwhile, attracted a record number of clicks for a single item this year.
We’ve revived the "was the sentence justified?" debate again today, and at the time of writing a further 1,250 of you have had your say. We’re also keeping our illustrated Saddam feature on the homepage until midnight.
The amount of interest in this story has guided our decisions regarding coverage. In the 45 minutes following news of the verdict breaking just after 9am yesterday morning, we elevated the story from a textlink to a small illustrated feature to the main item on the page. Even when we switched back to our planned Sunday features at 7pm, relegating Saddam to a smaller slot, thousands of you continued to click on the feature.
It’s unlikely we’ll see a story of similar magnitude break this week – unlikely, but not impossible. The American mid-term elections tomorrow may or may not hand George Bush a spectacularly bloody nose. They could amount to little; they could represent a massive swing of support away from the Republican Party. Either way we’re planning to cover the event by running an article tomorrow looking back at some of the campaign’s more extreme instances of smearing and dirty tricks (and this year they reached a new extreme), besides an assessment of the final results on Wednesday.
Also coming up this week: an examination of whether red wine is good or bad for you; a review of the new James Bond film Casino Royale; full coverage of Thursday’s interest rate decision; and whether it’s really possible to chew yourself thinner.
All barring events of unforeseen historical consequence, of course. But then you knew that.
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