Friday, January 2, 2009

When news creates a stir

Which stories generated the most buzz on the World Wide Web?

Express Staff Writer

     There’s no doubt about it: Lots of interesting happenings in BlaineCounty and beyond in 2008 made for lots of interesting news stories, features and columns by Express writers.

     And, as Express editors started putting more and more original content on the newspaper’s Web site,, more readers started using the site to boost the dialogue about issues of concern. Many people who read Express stories online used a feature on the site to e-mail content of particular interest to someone they know. Many more became engaged in an online discussion about current events by posting comments on our news stories and columns.

     So, which stories generated a big buzz on the Web last year? Well, there were many, from the mysterious fire that burned down Whiskey Jacques’ saloon in Ketchum to an array of stories about the management of gray wolves in central Idaho and other parts of the West. Reports on severe weather generated lots of interest, as did a pair of stories about the deaths of two cherished WoodRiverValley residents.

     Here’s a list of the 10 Express stories or columns that were commented on the most and were e-mailed the most in 2008.


Stories that generated the most online comments


1)   “Anti-wolf activist charged with assault and battery” (121 comments; news story about an alleged attack on wolf advocate Lynne Stone by anti-wolf activist Ron Gillett).

2)   “Idaho needs wolf management” (111 comments; guest column by Cal Groen, director of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game).

3)   “Developer learns prairie rules” (70 comments; news feature about CamasCounty resident George Martin Jr.).

4)   “The license to kill” (68 comments; Express editorial about wolf management in Idaho).

5)   “Kidnap suspect arrested in Mexico” (68 comments; news story about a Bellevue man accused of kidnapping and having sex with a 14-year-old girl).

6)   “First Western wolves shot” (60 comments; news story about temporary wolf hunting in the West).

7)   “F&G investigates wolf killing near Clayton” (47 comments; news story about suspicious wolf shooting in April).

8)   “Sarah Palin’s future? Political gimmick” (39 comments; opinion by Express columnist Pat Murphy).

9)   “Wolves are back on the list” (37 comments; news story about a ruling to restore federal protections for gray wolves).

10)“What’s your favorite Whiskey Jacques’ memory?” (36 comments; Q&A feature about the loss of the popular Ketchum saloon to fire).



Stories that were e-mailed the most


1)   “Two-language program produces results” (372 times; news feature about the school district’s dual-immersion program).

2)   “Bar and jail fracases lead to felony charges” (100 times; news story about Twin Falls resident Lori M. Brutsche-Ely, who was charged with eight crimes after alleged Halloween night incidents).

3)   “Heartburn in Ketchum” (90 times; news story about the fire that destroyed Whiskey Jacques’).

4)   “Pros and cons of HPV vaccine debated” (56 times; story published in 2007 still generated interest in 2008).

5)   “County Commissioner Sarah Michael resigns” (55 times; news story about the departure of popular official).

6)   “Sun Valley woman dies near Twin Falls” (54 times; news story about apparent suicide).

7)   “Gary Hunt was a true ‘iconoclast’” (50 times; feature about valley entrepreneur Gary Hunt, who died in a tragic car accident).

8)   “Storm, avalanches wallop BlaineCounty” (50 times; news story about destructive winter storm last January).

9)   “Microburst downs thousands of trees at Redfish” (49 times; news story about July weather event).

10)“‘I thought I was dead’” (44 times; news story about rescue of Hailey teen from avalanche).


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