As we move forward into 2010, here’s our list of the ten most-read stories in the Twin Cities Daily Planet in 2009. They show the breadth of our coverage, from arts to the housing crisis to the global/local connection with Ethiopia. Besides the most-read stories (as determined by Google Analytics), the sidebar lists a few more stories and areas of coverage that we are proud of, and that will continue into 2010.
#1 Neighbors helping neighbors–to break into vacant houses by Madeleine Baran, February 14/15 • This story told about poverty rights activists breaking into at least a dozen vacant Minneapolis buildings and helping homeless families move in. Our coverage of housing and foreclosures and homelessness continued through the year, with stellar articles from both Madeleine Baran and Sheila Regan.
We are also proud of …
• Careful and caring coverage of neighborhood issues, including the Jordan Area Community Council conflicts in North Minneapolis, the Central Corridor debates in St. Paul, and the Fjelde House saga in South Minneapolis.
• Highlighting local leadership in Minnesota Voices profiles and interviews
• Continuing coverage of political stories, from the RNC aftermath to the Minnesota and Ramsey County gang databases, to prosecutions under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act and more.
• Stories about local people doing good things – among many examples, we were the first to cover the Pet Project, which has grown by leaps and bounds since its July launch. (Look for more big news from the Pet Project coming very soon!)
• Outstanding Fringe coverage by our outstanding Fringe bloggers
• Education coverage, with stories on charter schools and district schools, policy issues and classroom successes.
There’s more, but every article has to end somewhere. Keep reading, keep commenting, and send us your stories in 2010.
#2 Why I love “Grey Gardens” (and Edith “Little Edie” Bouvier Beale) by Rebecca Collins, March 28 • No surprise that the second-highest readership goes to an arts article. Under Jay Gabler’s leadership, the Daily Planet’s arts coverage has grown in breadth and depth this year, ranging from Grey Gardens at the Ordway to Beaverdance at the Bedlam, Zorongo Flamenco, Kao Kalia Yang’s The Latehomecomer, art vending machines, and the Urban Hillbilly Quartet. In this Arts Orbit blog entry, Rebecca Collins provided a personal take on the strange, enduring allure of the true story of Grey Gardens.
#3 Ethiopia shakes down its Minnesota refugees by Douglas McGill, September 8 • “Immigrants to Minnesota from eastern Ethiopia are being forced to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in ransom payments to support an Ethiopian security force that tortures and kills thousands of innocent Ethiopians,” reported Douglas McGill. McGill’s reporting draws global/local connections and wins high readership and passionate responses.
#4 LIFE OF CYN | Best bars for meeting single women by Cyn Collins, January 9 • Life of Cyn, an advice column published each week as part of the Arts Orbit Radar newsletter, is one of a variety of blogs featured on the Daily Planet, ranging from analytic to whimsical, from policy-oriented to personal. The following week Cyn published a companion piece on places for women to meet single men, but it hasn’t attracted nearly as much readership. Maybe the guys need more help.
#5 The ten greatest albums of the 2000s by Jay Gabler, October 17/18 • Jay Gabler not only edits the Daily Planet’s arts coverage, but also contributes to it. His Arts Orbit Radar offers a weekly overview of the local arts scene, and his Twitter account ArtsOrbit won l’etoile magazine’s kudos as best Twitter feed of 2009:
A wise sage once told us that the most engaging Twitter users combine personal anecdotes, humor, and truly interesting news items/links. ArtsOrbit seems to have nailed that formula effortlessly. Run by Twin Cities Daily Planet arts editor Jay Gabler, the ArtsOrbit Twitter is not only a great bet for artsy news and cool events going on, but when Gabler hits the town, it’s comedy gold.
#6 Dmitry Chaplin: From Minnetonka High to Dancing With the Stars (specifically, with Mya) by Tatyana Thulien, November 25 • We love to see articles from readers, and Tatyana Thulien hit a home run with this story of a Russian immigrant to Minnesota making the big time.
#7 At a Minnesota market, tales of a hidden Ethiopian war by Doug McGill, September 1
#8 Minneapolis school board member vs. school principal by Art Hughes, KFAI, April 20 • Our community media partners provide much of the content that we publish on the Daily Planet. Art Hughes, who reports for both KFAI and the Daily Planet, did this story of the principal at a Minneapolis elementary school, who was suspended after a reportedly heated exchange with a school board member.
#9 News Day | Cough, sneeze, repeat: Where to get flu shots by Mary Turck, September 17 News Day is a blog, which usually means summarizing, contrasting, and quoting from other news sources. This article was original reporting, digging for information that the “official sources” in state government promised but failed to deliver.
#10 OPINION | Ethiopia’s despot goes hunting for billions in Copenhagen by Douglas McGill, December 3