I agree with Dan Kennedy that this is a somewhat incomplete picture of what gets read. For one thing, the posts used to be available on the main page in full and you didn’t have to click on a post to read it all the way. (Some shorter posts are still run in full there.) Also, the biggest stories run as regular articles on WPRI.com.
Still, I think this is an interesting snapshot. Without further ado, then, my annotated top 12 of 2011 – and thank you, as always, for reading!
#1. Analysis: Why Rhode Island passed pension reform in 2011 (Nov. 17) – No surprise here. Pensions were probably the topic I wrote about most, and this column-esque piece from the night the Raimondo-Chafee bill passed the House and Senate was my attempt to put the year’s events in perspective.
#2. RI restaurateur Steve Marra dead; Twist, Waterplace founder (Aug. 31) – I was a little surprised this ranked so high, but I shouldn’t have been – news is news, and Marra was a well-known figure locally.
#3. Why Taveras fired rather than laid off the teachers (Feb. 25) – It seems like a million years ago that the big controversy in Providence was the termination notices for teachers. This post looked at the mayor’s explanation for why, legally, he needed to “terminate” instead of “lay off” the educators. I bet a lot of people Googled “Taveras teachers fired” or something along those lines and wound up here.
#4. ABC threatens to drop Ch. 6; owner fights price tag (March 17) – The turmoil at Channel 6 was a big local media story last spring, and this reported post based on court documents showed how its national network, ABC, was siding with one side.
#5. Chafee says Romney ‘a different person’ as he woos GOP base (Oct. 12) – Nothing like a good political soundbite in an election year, and luckily for us reporters, Rhode Island’s independent governor gives us plenty of fodder.
#6. Study: Rhode Island has highest rate of mental illness in US (Oct. 6) – A somewhat surprising finding that was quickly picked up by Rhode Island Public Radio and The Associated Press, too. It was interesting to watch the two main reactions – snarky jokes about Rhode Islanders, and puzzled efforts to understand why mental health problems would appear worse here.
#7. Patrick Kennedy buys house on a New Jersey island (March 21) – A gossipy political scoop, though alas I hadn’t yet nailed down all the facts about Kennedy’s relationship with his then-wife-to-be, who lives there.
#8. Chafee set to act in East Prov. after Bradley Hospital ultimatum (Nov. 11) – Rhode Island’s rolling municipal finance headache is a bit reminiscent of the euro crisis, with one government after another coming under pressure and Central Falls being our Greece. This post previewed Chafee’s pending appointment of a fiscal overseer in East Providence.
#9. Projo parent A.H. Belo’s execs get $1.6M in bonuses (April 4) – A media scoop found deep in a regulatory filing. It may have found a broader audience since it affected all employees at A.H. Belo.
#10. Providence City Council set to end ban on overnight parking (Aug. 19) – A longtime wish of many Providence residents. The hat tip for this one to my neighbor, who asked me to look into the situation with changes to overnight parking rules.
#11. 13 local pension plans worse than RI’s; Cranston, Scituate lag (Dec. 5) – The next fight on the pension front, with a chart (natch). I find stories that let people look at a statewide issue in their specific community seem to draw a lot of interest.
#12. Providence libraries in limbo forces Fox, Taveras to intervene (June 6) – A reported post about a long-festering community issue in the capital (which finally got resolved last week). I remember writing this post on an Amtrak train, actually.
(cartoon: John T. McCutcheon, via Wikipedia)