CRAWFORD | Drone down, Kim Davis, and more: WDRB.com's most-read - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Drone down, Kim Davis, and more: WDRB.com's most-read of 2015

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Long ago, in a time that seems far away, when something was “viral” you wanted to stay as far away from it as possible.

Now, we chase it like gold. The most-read stories at WDRB.com this year represent some that included the most important news developments in the city and state, and some that just caught the wind of public attention and took off.

The web is a wide and wonderful mirror of the public’s attention. The metrics we measure show us where interest lies, and help provide information on our audience.

Sometimes a story can take off because a popular national website gets a hold of it. Sometimes a local story makes national news.

A man shooting a drone down over his Hillview home was a gift that kept on giving at WDRB.com this year, as was Rowan County clerk Kim Davis.

But there were some surprises, too, in the WDRB listing of most-read stories of 2015. Here’s a look at the list, in ascending order:

10. Social media post sparks controversy in Henry County over school lunches (Dec. 11). Josh Breslow, a new addition to the WDRB reporting staff, found a story that resonated when he followed up on the Facebook post of a Henry County High School student who said, in part, “if I see Henry County High School take ONE more kid’s food from them because ‘they don’t have enough money,’ I’m going to flip!”

This proves the old adage — nothing will stop people in their tracks like a good food fight. The public flipped for this tale, which included about $6,200 in unpaid lunch tabs for the Henry County district, and how the school is dealing with the problem.

9. Bardstown police replacing guns after dangerous defects found (May 15). A good gun story can draw interest from all over, and that certainly was the case for Fallon Glick’s look at the gun supply in the Bardstown Police Department. Nearly half the weapons in department use were taken out of commission when hairline fractures were found. About $12,000 was appropriated by the city to buy 30 new guns to replace all police weapons.

8. Rick Bozich’s weekly AP college basketball Top 25 ballot. If Rick Bozich has discussed it once, we’ve talked about it a dozen times — being a voter for the AP Top 25 is a web-hit gold mine. He’s the only AP poll voter in Kentucky, and one of only 65 nationally. So his ballots, when he publishes them, are of interest not just here but all over.

7. Family Feud auditions to be held in Louisville (Jan. 13). I’d like to say this was a wonderful piece of journalism. Instead, it was a six-sentence notice on an upcoming local audition for the game show that generated 92,000 Facebook recommendations. Hey, don't knock it. Steve Harvey is a big deal — and not just when he’s messing up the Miss Universe pageant (this story was posted months before). The Family Feud, in case you didn’t know, has been a late-morning ratings winner for WDRB for some time. Now, as this Top 10-ranking tells us, we know it has some pull on the web, too.

6. Phoenix Hill Tavern, Jim Porter's close abruptly (June 1). It’s always big news when a popular local eatery or tavern closes. In this case, the news was a double whammy. One of my pet peeves is whenever a local restaurant closes, it’s usually accompanied by the word “popular.” And my comment is always the same — “If it’s so popular, why is it closing?” But in the case of these establishments, the word fit. Both had bands booked for weeks in advance at the time of their closing. But in order to settle debts, owner Ben Rogers had to pull the plug abruptly.

5. Man accused of raping, murdering 7-year-old, pleads not guilty (Nov. 23). This is one of the more heartbreaking stories in a year of heartbreaking stories. WDRB’s Emily Mieure told the tale of a girl whose rape and murder at a Nov. 14 Allen County High School football game shocked and devastated the town of Scottsville, Ky. Mieure had previously interviewed the man accused. One resident of the town told her, “It's a really sad thing because you've got a precious little 7-year-old girl at a football game and you wouldn't think something like that would take place at something like that. It's hurt me in my heart. I've been crying. It's just torn me all to pieces." 

4. Louisville judge questioned for dismissing juries based on lack of minorities (Oct. 20). This was already a big story in Louisville, news of Jefferson Circuit Court judge Olu Stevens halting a drug trial and dismissing the entire jury panel because he said it did not include minorities and was not representative of the community. But when Jason Riley’s story was picked up by The Drudge Report, it got an infusion of national interest. This story is the first of the WDRB Top 4, all of which drew significant national interest — and traffic.

3. Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis found in contempt of court; taken into custody (Sept. 3). The story of Davis refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples already was a national story and of intense interest on the web, then she went to jail, and the lid blew off. This story, about U.S. District Court judge David Bunning finding her in contempt and sending her to jail, took it up a notch. “Mrs. Davis took an oath,” Bunning said. “Oaths mean things.” From a news standpoint, it meant a great deal of reader (and viewer) interest, and opinion.

2. Drone owner disputes shooter’s story; produces video he claims shows flight path (July 30). The biggest story of the year for WDRB.com actually was two stories. People like drones. And they’re incredibly interested in privacy issues. And when you combine drones and guns, well, just sit back and watch the fun. In this story, a Gilbert Corsey follow-up to what would be the website’s most-read story of 2015, drone owner David Boggs said that he had a video to dispute the version of events offered by William Merideth, who shot down Boggs’ drone when it flew over his Hillview home. Meredith subsequently was arrested, and a national conversation ensued about the rights of property owners and the responsibility of drone pilots.

1. Hillview man arrested for shooting down drone; cites rite to privacy (July 28). It didn’t take long for Ryan Cummings’ original story on a Hillview man shooting down a drone over his home to go viral. Within two days, both the drone owner and the man who shot it down were on national television, and the story itself was picked up by The Drudge Report, People.com, Reddit and other aggregators. This first story on the incident was a runaway winner, and the collection of WDRB’s stories on the incident also dwarfed any other news story of the year in terms of web interest. Therein lies a lesson — if you’re looking for web traffic, watch the skies.

Copyright 2015 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.

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