The Year In Review: Our Top Idaho Web Stories Of 2018
When it comes to news content, local coverage and community engagement, 2018 was a monumental year for us here at Boise State Public Radio. Here's a quick rundown of all the new projects and initiatives we kicked off during this trip around the sun.
#protip: Pour yourself a cup of coffee & put your feet up—we've got a lot to cover!
The start of the year means the start of the legislature, so we kicked off the month of January with our Legislative Breakdown podcast. Each week reporter Samantha Wright and political science professor Gary Moncrief covered what happened at the statehouse and how it affected the lives of Idahoans.
We rounded out the month with Distilled, our news series exploring how Idaho’s alcohol industry has evolved over the past century and what it might look like in the years to come. In five stories we covered everything from the brewery boom to the complicated liquor laws in the Gem State.
The end of February brought along the launch of the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration of public media stations across the Rocky Mountain states of Colorado, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming that covers land and water management issues, growth in the expanding West and our unique culture and heritage here.
In March we started our Another Round events focused on getting out in the community and meeting you. We gathered in Boise at Sockeye Brewing in the spring, then made a summertime trip to Jolts & Juice to get to know those of you in Ontario, and rounded out our year in the West Central Mountains at Bistro 45 in McCall. Getting to know you and hear your stories and ideas is one of our favorite things to do and we can’t wait for more meetups in 2019!
The month of March also marked the start of You Know The Place, our podcast that explores the Idaho shops, clubs and places you always drive by, but never seem to visit. Co-hosts Joel and LD explored a reptile shop, an Indian bodega and Sunset Club (to name a few) in Season 1, and then launched Season 2 in the fall that took them to vape shops, a Lego store, a funeral home and even a nude retreat.
Heads! We went field trippin' and found heads! More to come... ******************************* ...until then, listen to the entire first season of #youknowtheplace on iTunes, Stitcher, or at BoiseStatePublicRadio.org! #podcast #idaho #lego 38 Likes, 3 Comments - You Know The Place (@youknowtheplace) on Instagram: "Heads! We went field trippin' and found heads! More to come... *******************************..."
You still with us? It's a lot, we know, but it's exciting! And each and every one of these opportunities is made possible by member support.
Perhaps the hallmark of 2018 happened on April 23 when we launched our daily public affairs program, Idaho Matters. Each day since then, host Gemma Gaudette and her team of producers have brought you noon-time discussions, debates and exchanges from the very people who live, work and represent our community.
As we transitioned from spring to summer mode, our news team produced the second series of the year, Our Changing Idaho. We looked into Idaho's new identity as the fastest-growing state in the country and how that's putting a strain on its rustic character: farmland is disappearing, home prices continue to rise and wages are struggling to keep up.
August brought about the second season of Wanna Know Idaho, our people-powered series that reports answers to questions YOU ask. This time around we announced the Wanna Know Idaho podcast, hosted by reporter Frankie Barnhill. What's that mean? Well, a podcast gives us the time and space to really explore your questions, invite you along to do the reporting and then produce an episode that isn't beholden to the time restrictions of radio. But at its core, Wanna Know Idaho is still the same—driven by you, your questions and your curiosity.
Our ambitious year continued into September with the start of Guns & America, a two-year national reporting collaborative of 10 public media stations, funded by a grant from The Kendeda Fund. We were excited to hire Heath Druzin as a member of the inaugural cohort of Audion Fellows. Druzin will spend the next two years reporting on the role of guns in Idaho.
In October, we got the community together to talk about two pressing issues: explosive growth in the Treasure Valley and a pre-election conversation about an initaitve to expand Medicaid. We took your questions and learned from each other. We hope to do more Community Conversations like this in 2019, so stay tuned.
Alright, you made it! Now for some staff favorites ... (drumroll please)
Let's kick things off with a story that topped the list for many of us here in the newsroom: goats! Over 100 goats got loose in a Boise neighborhood this past summer and busied themselves eating the landscape of an entire neighborhood. It's such an "Idaho" story to go viral, right?
Other staff favorites were steeped in discovery: learning what's actually in the fire retardant dropped from plans during wildfires; exploring options for used books as second-hand shops shut down; touring the only Frank Lloyd Wright house in Idaho; gaining insight into the comedy scene in Boise; investigating both sides of the Medicaid expansion proposition; and breaking down the 'stand your ground' law.
And now, a list of the top 10 most-viewed stories in 2018:
In case you hadn't heard, the midterm elections were a pretty big deal here in the Gem State. And when you marry that with the explosive growth our state is seeing and the tragic stabbing this past July, voila—you've got your top 10 most-viewed stories from this year.
- (#10) Marijuana Possession Penalties Could Drop In Idaho Under New Bill: When every state that borders your state has some form of legal marijuana (except Wyoming), it should come as no surprise when a story like this makes it way around the web. Spoiler alert: The bill never got a hearing and therefore died in committee.
- (#9) Parachuting Beavers Into Idaho's Wilderness? Yes, It Really Happened: Okay, so parachuting beavers happened more than 60 years ago and this story was done almost four years ago, but we're not convinced this will ever get old. Plus, it's kind of a thing now.
- (#8) Our Changing Idaho: Growth In Boise: A story about a native Idahoan getting squeezed out of her hometown in search of affordable housing—it's a situation that's becoming more and more common as Idaho grows and the real estate market stays hot.
- (#7) Idaho Democrat Vies To Be First Native Governor. Does Paulette Jordan Stand A Chance? Despite her extremely motivated democratic base and her win in the primaries, Paulette Jordan ultimately lost the race for governor to Lt. Gov. Brad Little.
- (#6) How Idaho's Taxes Compare To Other States In The Region: Now why is a tax story from 2015 making the top 10 list three years later? Our guess: folks considering a move to the Gem State are doing their research (or Googling).
- (#5) East Idaho City Ditches 'Worst Flag In North America': No, this is not a typo. This story came in at the same spot on our top 10 list last year. Seems like Pocatello is really proud of its new flag!
- (#4) Idaho Bucket List: The 75 Things All Idahoans Should Try (At Least Once): Historically this is our best-performing web story ever and it always finds its way into the top 10. It falls a place in the list to #4, but we feel confident Idahoans will continue to be on the search for fun adventures.
- (#3) Idaho Lt. Gov. Candidate Supports Death Penalty For Women Who Get Abortions: Like we said in the introduction to this list—2018 was a political year. The hype started early in the year around the primary races and continued on through the midterm elections in November.
- (#2) 3-Year-Old Victim In Boise Stabbing Dies; Suspect Now Faces Murder Charge: The mass stabbing took place this summer and the tragic story generated a lot of online buzz.
- (#1) The Things That Draw People To Boise (And What Pushes Them Away): Despite its publication date of July, 9 2013, this post has remained at the top of our most-viewed site all year. We see this as a testament to the Gem State's growth and how curious everyone seems to be about life in Boise.
Cheers to 2019!
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