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The Year In Review: Our Top Idaho Web Stories Of 2020

2020 has been … a lot. A global pandemic. Racial injustice. A historic election. Feeling like you’d rather skip the end-of-the year reflections and set your sights on 2021 instead? Chances are you’re not alone.


If not a year to remember, 2020 will certainly be a year impossible to forget. And when all is said and done and we’re years beyond this, what will come to mind when we think of 2020? Zoom meetings. George Floyd. Face masks. Absentee ballots. Toilet paper. Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Hand sanitizer. Protests.


And I’m sure you wouldn’t be shocked if I told you the most-viewed Boise State Public Radio stories in 2020 were related to the COVID-19 pandemic — it’s most likely the story of our generation. But a reminder: Amid the uncertainty and tragedy of this past year, there have been small moments of hope and growth. Here’s to hoping we can focus on those and make real progress in 2021.


What were some of your favorite stories from 2020? Here’s a list of the top 10 most-viewed stories on BoiseStatePublicRadio.org:


Credit Public Domain CC01.0

This story from the beginning of April captures the early difficulties of enforcing health recommendations within a community — and this was before the CDC recommended wearing face masks in public.

Credit Heath Druzin / Boise State Public Radio
Boise State Public Radio

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are encouraged to be prepared to take care of themselves and help their neighbors. So prior to Idaho's first reported case of COVID-19 in mid-March, a Mormon family in Meridian was already well ahead in their disaster preparation.

Credit James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio
Boise State Public Radio

​Idaho was one of the last states to detect a lab-confirmed COVID-19 case. In a tele-town hall call hosted by AARP the Tuesday following the Gem State's first case, callers questioned Gov. Little on the state's lack of testing preparation for the virus.

Credit Photo by Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash

As public health officials restructured their COVID-19 prevention recommendations to include wearing face masks in public, Idaho saw a growing number of cities adopt mask mandates over the summer. To date, a statewide mask mandates has never been issued in Idaho.

Credit Ted S. Warren / AP Images
AP Images

​As coronavirus cases and deaths began to rise, our Idaho Matters team dedicated a portion of every Wednesday's show to answering listener questions and concerns about how to stay healthy and how to protect the community.

The segment has since been branded as the Idaho Matters "Doctors Roundtable" and it regularly features doctors and health professionals who get us updated on the state of the pandemic in Idaho and answer listener questions.

Credit Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman
Idaho Statesman

Just five days into Idaho's phased reopening plan, Gov. Brad Little joined Idaho Matters to address the number of businesses choosing to violate the state's plan by reopening early. Little said the state would consider revoking a professional or other Idaho-issued license should a business not follow his phased reopening plan.

Credit Idaho Legislature
Idaho Legislature

Earlier this summer, Sen. Steven Thayn (R-Emmett) was among a group of Idaho lawmakers pushed a bill that would strip the power of public health districts to close schools during an emergency or mandate masks to prevent the spread of disease.
"We're letting a few fearful people control the lives of those of us who are not fearful," Thayn said.

However, polls have consistently shown most Americans support aggressive measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, including mask mandates.

Credit Brandy Burke / U.S. Air National Guard
U.S. Air National Guard

In mid-April, this rural Montana community had one of the highest per capita death rates from COVID-19 in the entire West. And although many of the West's rural communities had remained insulated from the virus at the time, this town's story served as a harrowing warning of how quickly the coronavirus could wreak havoc on these typically older residents living in areas with limited medical capacities.

Credit AP Images

​Even before the state of Idaho confirmed its first case of COVID-19, we knew our audience needed a centralized place for timely news and resources. And so, the coronavirus live blog was born. We followed business and school closures, health district meetings and recommendations, the state's reopening phases, and the climbing case numbers and death toll of COVID-19 in our state.

Credit Ada County Sheriff's Office

When one of the advocates of a movement urging Idahoans to disobey the governor's stay-at-home order was arrested, it caught the attention of some. But when people found out that advocate was a mother being arrested after staging a play-date protest at a closed playground in the suburban city of Meridian, it caught the attention of many more.
For more local news, follow the Boise State Public Radio newsroom on Twitter @KBSX915

Copyright 2020 Boise State Public Radio

By day, I manage all things digital at Boise State Public Radio. I also co-host and produce the podcast You Know The Place. By night, I'm probably counting pollinators in my garden, getting a work out done in the garage gym, or adding to my winning tally of Yahtzee games against my wife.

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