Which story is the biggest news: the death of Osama bin Laden, ten years after he orchestrated the September 11 attack on the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon or the Florida trial — and acquittal — of Casey Anthony for the death of her two-year-old daughter?
News editors surveyed by AP picked the Osama bin Laden story, but Yahoo and Bing users ranked the Casey Anthony story as number one. Google reported that Hurricane Irene was the top story, and Twitter users picked the resignation of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak as the hottest topic of the year. Poynter’s Julie Moos summarizes all of the top picks, which show a substantial difference of opinion between users of the top search engines and Twitter and the news pros. (The news editors surveyed by AP picked Japan’s earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster as the second-place story, followed by Arab Spring, European Union fiscal crisis, U.S. economy, Penn State sex abuse scandal, Gadhafi’s ouster in Libya, Congressional show-downs over the debt ceiling and other budget issues, Occupy Wall Street protests, and the Arizona shooting of Gabrielle Giffords.)
I wondered how Daily Planet readers would differ from my picks for the top news stories of 2011. I haven’t made my picks yet (watch for that story next week), but I looked at Google Analytics to see what Daily Planet readers were reading in 2011 (or at least from January 1-December 21, 2011.)
Several of the most-read stories aren’t even from 2011. The 2009 Best bars for meeting single women continues near the top, in the number two position this year. Other old, but still popular, articles include Busted Magazine: 20 pages of Twin Cities mug shots for just $1. This blog post dates back to 2010, and we still get phone calls complaining that the caller should not have his photo in the magazine — of course, we don’t publish the magazine and have no connection at all with it, but that doesn’t seem to matter to the caller. Neighbors helping neighbors—to break into vacant houses was a great 2009 story, pushed back into the top rankings this year after a survivalist blog linked to it as a warning of something. And The Twin Cities best Asian markets, circa 2006, still hits the spot for lots of readers.
The most-read 2011 stories from the Daily Planet? Here they are:
1) MOVIES | “Thor”: Heavy hangs the hand that holds the hammer (or, Blondes really don’t have more fun)
2) THEATER | “Cavalia”: Equus ultra
3) MOVIES | “Hanna”: Big girls don’t die
4) Those 33 terrorist groups in Ramsey County: It was “a very big lie”
5) MOVIES | “Bridesmaids” walks a tightrope down the aisle
6) Tornado tears through North Minneapolis
7) 1419 and Love Power closed by City of Minneapolis
8) MOVIES | “Soul Surfer” summons unexpected waves of emotion
9) MOVIES | Top ten movies of 2010: Jim Brunzell’s picks
10) The Occupy movement takes root in Minneapolis