Ashland readers voted with their mouses, tallying up page views for local stories throughout the year.
One of the most popular items at dailytidings.com is the Most Viewed listings. The left-side menu item maintains an updated list of the most popular 30 articles on the site over the past seven days.
A report from our analytics expert provided a list of the most popular articles in 2008. Some articles from previous years made the list because they remained a popular item throughout this year. We combined related articles that crowded the Top 10 list.
In addition, we provided the number of page views for each article in parentheses. At the end, we offered a list of honorable mentions that were hanging around at the bottom of our list. Do you see your favorite story?
10. "City Council: Hartzell vs. Lemhouse," by Kira Rubenthaler on Oct. 8 (3,866)
The race between Cate Hartzell and Greg Lemhouse drew a high degree of attention going into the November election. Both candidates were controversial. Longtime city councilor Hartzell was appreciated by many in Ashland for her progressive values, criticized by others for her attention to detail, tendency for longwindedness and, for many, was seen as excessively micromanaging. Lemhouse was seen as more pro-business, while his job as a Medford police officer drew a knee-jerk, negative response from many Ashlanders.
9. "Bullock files for mayor," by Julie French on Aug. 13 (3,978)
As a citizen, Art Bullock was constantly in news, participating in lawsuits against the city and consistently speaking out against new developments. As a candidate for mayor, Bullock took his status as a lightning rod of public interest to a new level.
8. "Holes in the story," by Robert Plain on May 23, 2007 (4,286)
Written in 2007, Ashlanders' interest in 9/11 carried through to 2008, pumping life into this story about local residents' unanswered questions about the attacks on New York in 2001. Many in Ashland bucked national trends of accepting the official story about 9/11 and the reasons behind the war in Iraq. This story gave them the chance to speak their minds.
7. "What went up must come down," by Julie French on Aug. 18 (4,332)
Ashlander Patty Dean built a tree house in her backyard. When the city forced her to take it down after complaints from neighbors, the reaction on the Web was vociferous. The story played against a backdrop of a new code compliance officer in Ashland who was becoming increasingly unpopular due to a revived enforcement of the downtown sign ordinance.
6. "Cold nights in Ashland," by Grayson Berry on Feb. 11 (4,568)
Homelessness in Ashland is always a topic that draws attention on the Web. This story examined the lack of a permanent shelter in Ashland and included interviews with some of the homeless.
5. "Former SOU coach Wilson, school settle out of court," by John Darling on Jan. 29 (5,030)
Southern Oregon women's basketball coach Kevin Wilson sued the university after being fired in 2005. The story grew more interesting when it was revealed that SOU had shredded documents related to the case, an acted for which brought down a judicial sanction upon the university. Wilson was eventually paid an undisclosed amount by SOU when the case was settled.
4. "Spiritual leaders' split leads to consolidation of groups" by Robert Plain on Oct. 14, 2006 (7,159)
Marital problems between two leaders of prominent Ashland spiritual organizations sparked an ongoing discussion on the Web covering topics spiritual, ethical, philosophical and personal. Followers, former followers and others interested in the story debate and discuss the issue to this day.
3. "Tidings editor arrested in Salem," staff reports on Jan. 26 (7,188)
Related articles in top 10:
(No. 6) "Tidings editor dismissed from position," staff reports on Feb. 5 (6,518)
(No. 7) "Lessons learned in Bolsinger case," editorial by Robert L. Hunter on Feb. 2 (5,101)
Then-editor of the Ashland Daily Tidings, Andrew Scot Bolsinger, became the news himself when he was charged with rape, sodomy and custodial interference involving a student in 2000. His stature in the community as editor and as partial owner of four businesses contributed to the great interest in this story.
2. "SOU wrapping up investigation of soccer coach," by Joe Zavala on Dec. 8, 2007 (13,580)
Southern Oregon University decided to retain head women's soccer coach Jon Clement after complaints from players spurred an internal investigation. Many of the young women on the team said Clement made them uncomfortable, but the investigation found no grounds to fire the coach.
AND THE TOP STORY FOR 2008 IS "¦
1. "Naked OK, but not on Fourth," by Michele Mihalovich on June 16 (14,839)
Related articles in top 10:
(No. 3) "Naked Lady agrees to take cover in parade route," by Michele Mihalovich on July 2 (7,554)
(No. 9) "Naked Lady will abide by parade ban," by John Darling on June 26 (4,934)
When Gennifer Moss moved to Ashland from Ojai, Calif., she revitalized an ongoing debate about nudity, free speech and public decency that erupts with regularity in the community. Mix that with the town's favorite event, the Fourth of July parade, and it's a recipe for headline-grabbing news.
Honorable mention: Stories that came close, but were just outside of the top 10.
"Early to rise," by Julie French on Feb. 20 (3,856)
"Student critical after hit by car," staff reports on Feb. 14 (3,767)
"Is Ashland becoming unfriendly to kids?" column by Jennifer Margulis on Feb. 18 (3,624)
"Ashland reacts to problems plaguing embattled editor," by Chris Rizo on Jan. 30 (3,616)
"8 arrested in Tolman Creek Road bust," by Mandy Valencia on Sept. 5 (3,593)
"Vandal stinks up store," by Mandy Valencia and Mike Oxendine on April 18 (3,563)
"Farmers market draws ire," by Michele Mihalovich on June 23 (3,543)
"Daily Tidings editor to be arraigned Tuesday," by Chris Rizo on Jan. 28 (3,225)