By Elizabeth F. McNamara
Below we list the stories that had the largest number of page views in 2019. These are not necessarily the biggest stories of the year (though in a couple of cases they were). Rather, they are the ones you read the most. On Monday, we will run the stories that we consider the most important of the year – there will be some overlap.
Sometimes, you just don’t know what will hit big. This was one of those times. EGHS senior Suraj Sait did a nice job on the story, recounting when he saw Bob Dylan in concert at PPAC with Bob Houghtaling and a few other EGHS students. Still, it was a concert review. But Bob Dylan has a lot of fans out there and the story got picked up and spread nationally. One takeaway: Don’t mess with Dylan fans. Several commented that Dylan hadn’t played a song Suraj had listed and a couple were a little harsh about it. They were correct, as it turned out. But some of the superfans were also very complimentary about Suraj’s article and seemed to be happy another generation was catching Dylan fever.
Nothing quite rivals the Police Log in week by week popularity but restaurant news is always a hit. We all want to know what’s happening. Revival and Tavern on Main are examples of restaurants that have done well in other parts of the state trying to find a toehold in East Greenwich. Two other restaurant-related stories were among this year’s top 10: Feast Loses License Over Back Taxes and Dining Scene: Kai Bar Owners Branch Out, Besos Updates, Warren, Wakefield Outposts to Open in EG. And the recent Dining News: Plant-Based Restaurant Coming to EG; Martucci Takes Over Kai Bar came in at #11 in terms of most read stories of 2019.
This story last May sent shockwaves through the EG community. As one of EG’s two school resource officers, Bert Montalban was well-liked by students and parents alike. Montalban remains on paid leave pending the outcome of the case, which is moving toward a trial. The next court date is Jan. 8. EG Police Chief Stephen Brown has yet to name a replacement SRO.
This March story was the first of a number of stories covering the Town Council’s decision to reconsider noise restrictions at the waterfront, prompted by residents of the area who spoke out passionately about how the noise (and attendant bad behavior) impacts their lives during the summer months. Not surprisingly, Water Street restaurant owners were not pleased by the council’s apparent willingness to accommodate residents. Because of the interest (both from EG residents and from a number of Water Street patrons from outside of EG), some of the meetings were moved to Swift Community Center to accommodate the crowds. After hours of public comment over several meetings and a study of the area by a noise specialist, in November (eight months and nine articles after that first meeting) the Town Council approved a new ordinance lowering the decibel levels allowed. You can find that story here.
EG News friend Mark Thompson, a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist who cut his teeth at the (then) Rhode Island Pendulum, says if you aren’t making people angry with your reporting you’re not doing something right. Well, this one made some people really angry. And I understand why: reporting about kids doesn’t seem quite fair, even if names and details aren’t not used. Still, when news spread that several of EGHS’s top students had purchased the answers to a quiz in an AP class, it was hard to ignore. It made us wonder, who are we helping if we only report the good news stories (admittedly plenty) coming out of EGHS? It seemed relevant, too, in terms of the wider implications (what kind of pressure keg are we as a society putting our kids in that high achievers feel the need to get an extra boost they really don’t need?). If the only thing to come of this coverage is that people start talking about cheating and what it says about a community, that’s enough. If you missed the worthwhile op/ed about the incident by EGHS senior Sophie Aigner, you can find it here.
The tragic car crash that took place just minutes after midnight, Sept. 7, was the biggest news story of the year in terms of readership. Two other stories about the crash ended up in the top 10 as well: Frenchtown Crash Claims Life, and One Still in Critical Condition After Frenchtown Crash. Patty Daniels, an East Greenwich native known and loved by many, was the woman who died. Barbara Trojan, the driver of the car that hit the car Daniels was riding in, has been charged with three felonies in connection with the accident.
Check back Monday for the stories we thought were the most important this year.
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