Most read stories of 2009
These photos are among those that accompanied the most-read stories of 2009.
Every day, tens of thousands of you log onto LJWorld.com to get your news fix.
Some of you read stories, others watch video, many leave comments. In 2009, these 10 stories, with one asterisk, represent the stories you read and commented on the most.
10. When Rachel Leek was killed by a hit-and-run driver, the community clamored for the person to be found. On Oct. 19, 2009, police identified the person they say was the driver of the car that hit Leek. The community was upset, however, because the person was not arrested at that time. Police and prosecutors chose, instead, to continue the investigation with the suspect remaining free. The suspect was charged later in the case. The story was read about 17,000 times.
9. In March 2009, a man opened fire on a crowd outside The Hawk, a popular bar among students at KU. Two college students were injured and two men were arrested. The shooting happened in the overnight hours, alarming residents living nearby and KU, which maintains scholarship halls in that area. There were nearly 18,000 pageviews on the story.
8. In spring 2009, KU saw several alcohol-related incidents, including the death of an 18-year-old Shawnee student. He was found outside a KU scholarship hall, and KU officials believe he'd climbed atop Watkins Hall, before falling to his death. The story was read more than 18,000 times.
7. Each year, there's one story where it's hard to understand why that story gets clicked on so many times. This year, a February story about making cigarette lighter possession illegal for minors fits that bill. Diving into the logs, it's easy to see that Digg was the primary source of traffic to this story. It's impossible to understand, though, what made the Digg users really click on and promote this piece.
6. Traffic accidents — for whatever reason — are always among the most clicked on stories for any given day. But the Oct. 16, 2009, bicycle accident that left a Lawrence woman dead really caught the community's attention. Not only did the story about Lawrence police identifying a person of interest in the case come in as the 10th most popular story of the year, but the initial story of the accident came in as the sixth-most read story of the year, with about 19,000 pageviews.
5. KUsports.com — and LJWorld.com — were first to report the altercation between football and men's basketball players outside the Burge Union in September. The story, written by Joe Preiner, Tom Keegan and Gary Bedore, confirmed not only that the initial brawl had taken place, but also that KU men's basketball player Tyshawn Taylor had been injured. We couldn't even imagine that the story would take a bizarre turn 12 hours later when a second fight broke out. Nearly 20,000 pageviews were recorded on this story.
4. It's hard to draw a definitive conclusion about the story we wrote in November regarding K2, a new, legal alternative to smoking marijuana. Over the past two months, Shaun Hittle's story about a local store selling K2 has generated more than 100 comments and enough pageviews to make it our fourth-most popular of the year. About 40 percent of that traffic came from people doing a Google search for something relating to K2. Particularly interesting was the ninth-most-popular keyword string: could i lose my job smoking k2 blend. All told, the story was read about 20,000 times.
3. No story gripped Lawrence the way the trial of Matthew Jaeger did in August 2009. Over the course of two weeks, our reporters chronicled every witness and motion in the Jaeger trial. They filed story after story and updated in between via Twitter. We put together a special section on the Jaeger trial, where readers could find not only the latest stories and videos, but also the feed of Tweets from our reporters. Over the course of the year, the special section was visited 21,000 times — and that doesn't include the thousands upon thousands of pageviews each individual story and video received.
2. The second most popular story on LJWorld.com in 2009 illustrates the viral power of the Internet. Chuck Woodling wrote a story looking back at Wayman Tisdale's role in a notorious event in Allen Fieldhouse history. It was timed to Tisdale's death and was a bit of a local sidebar to connect Tisdale's death to our local, KU audience. To a national audience, though, it seemed like disrespecting the dead. Deadspin picked it up, as did a couple of Oklahoma fan message boards. The story never hit the LJWorld.com homepage, but before it moved out of the public eye, 24,000 people visited Woodling's story.
1. The story that set our LJWorld.com traffic record for the year is tied closely to the fifth-most popular story of the year. About 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 23, LJWorld.com and KUsports.com broke news of a second altercation between members of the KU football and men's basketball teams. Over the course of the day, the story was updated dozens of times as our news and sports reporters talked to players, coaches, law enforcement and school administrators about the incident between the two teams. On LJWorld.com alone, 25,000 people read that story.
I mentioned an asterisk, and that asterisk is for our 2005 photogallery documenting the In Cold Blood book and the murders that the book covered. Every month, thousands of people look at our collection of photos and — this year in particular — it was clicked on more than any story we wrote. This was the 50th anniversary of the murders of the Clutter family, which led to a heightened interest in the project.