People’s choice: Read the top 12 Nesi’s Notes articles of 2012

Looking back at my most-read stories and posts from the past 12 months always provides an interesting – if incomplete – picture of the big news of the year.

This year’s big story by Web traffic was, unsurprisingly, 38 Studios. In fact, when I pulled the numbers I found almost the ​entire​ list would be 38 Studios based on sheer traffic. So I’ve split the top 12 list into two lists of six: the top six 38 Studios stories/posts, and the top six non-38 Studios stories posts.

Let’s go to the tape!

38 Studios

#1: 38 Studios misses payroll, can’t pay RI (May 17) – This may have been the most dramatic day of the 38 Studios saga – the day it became clear just how severe the company’s financial troubles were. It was also the most farcical, with the sudden announcement late that afternoon that the company had given a bad check to cover an overdue payment.

#2: RI sues Schilling, Stokes, others over 38 Studios deal (Nov. 1) – A more recent development, and a sign there was still significant interest in the 38 Studios story months after the company’s collapse. This move had been widely expected at some point, but the actual announcement still came as a surprise.

#3: Bankrupt 38 Studios will be liquidated (June 7) – The final nail in the company’s coffin, only about a month after the initial revelation that it was even in trouble, this was the day the bankruptcy filing was made and when law enforcement confirmed they were looking into what went wrong.

#4: 38 Studios’ finances under scrutiny; RI taxpayers’ $75M at risk (May 14) – The story that started it all, though credit for the scoop goes to my friend Bill Rappleye of WJAR. This story was throw together rapidly as information came in and we began to work sources the same night Bill’s report ran.

#5: Game over for all Schilling’s employees (May 24) – The day all the layoffs were announced.

#6: RI taxpayers actually on the hook for $112.6M with 38 Studios (May 15) – This one is a good example of the value a blog post can provide. This was more of an “explainer” than a story with a just-the-facts-ma’am news hook, an effort to lay out how much the total cost of debt service for the 38 Studios bonds would be. State officials have since put the total at around $100 million.

Everything Else

#1: Mayor: Providence is facing bankruptcy (Feb. 2) – The famous “B-word press conference,” when Providence Mayor Angel Taveras acknowledged publicly for the first time the city might be forced to file for Chapter 9 protection after Judge Sarah Taft-Carter’s refusal to move its retirees to Medicare.

#2: Poll: GOP’s Doherty crushing Cicilline (Feb. 27) – Pollster Joe Fleming was the real force behind this story, which showed Congressman David Cicilline was still in serious trouble despite his district’s Democratic lean. Cicilline fought back to a 12-point victory in November.

#3: Chafee will speak at Dems’ convention as Obama backer (Aug. 31) – A local angle on a big national event, just as the campaign season kicked off.

#4: Steward’s CEO slams AG Kilmartin over Landmark (Aug. 20) – A big story in the health care industry as a leaked letter obtained by showed the deal to sell Landmark Medical Center in Woonsocket was falling apart, and the potential buyer’s top executive was burning bridges on the way out.

#5: Analyst: CVS Caremark should buy pharmacy rival Walgreen (Feb. 20) – Merger speculation always gets people talking, and stories about Rhode Island’s largest private company is always a draw, too. So far, though, there’s no sign CVS and Walgreen executives are taking this analyst’s advice.

#6: Report: RBS may have to sell Providence-based Citizens Bank (Aug. 6) – A story that continues to bubble under the radar in Rhode Island: Will the British government force Royal Bank of Scotland to sell Citizens Financial Group, which is still based here in Providence?


(cartoon: John T. McCutcheon, via Wikipedia)

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