2019 is careening toward us like a VW Beetle overflowing with killer zombie clowns, so it must be time to look back on 2018. The lists are everywhere: best songs, best albums, best books, best photos, top news stories. As sure as walking into any store will get “O Little Town of Bethlehem” stuck in your head for the rest of the day, there’s a year in review list somewhere in your email, or your Facebook feed, or on the TV today. Here’s another one.
In running the numbers this morning, I discovered that the world sometimes likes old news (oxymoron alert), better than new news (redundancy alert). The actual top NCPR story for 2018 is from 2014: Natural Selections: How do turtles survive a winter underwater? Every day in 2018, more than 100 visitors want to know. Thanks, search algorithm.
Other old news in our top 20 stories of 2018: What are your rights at a Border Patrol checkpoint? Here are some answers., Early milk transportation & dairy plants, from the 1800s to the 1930s, Our mildly venomous neighbor, the Hognose snake, Those annoying little bugs aren’t fruitflies, they’re fungus gnats. Here’s how to get rid of them. Climate change could green the Sahara and unleash monster hurricanes on the U.S., and NY lawmakers pass bills to allow alcohol sales on Sunday morning. Lots of Sunday drinkers out there I guess, and fans of wordy headlines.
Top stories from 2018 that we actually reported in 2018? We have them, too. Top honors for crime reporting goes to Zach Hirsch for State Police: Plattsburgh teen had AR-15 rifles, high-capacity magazines in car. And to Lauren Rosenthal for Prosecutor plans new review of Garrett Phillips case. In mystery reporting, Brian Mann told us about a skier who disappeared from Whiteface, and later turned up in California. Spoiler Alert: the mystery is still a little mysterious. And in politics and the culture wars, an undercover video of a candidate’s statement on gun control filmed by an undercover teen on the NRCC payroll put a dent in Tedra Cobb’s NY-21 campaign, and a rash of hate speech attacks on SUNY Plattsburgh students led to demonstrations and a call for the resignation of college officials.
Not a feel-good story in sight, but that’s the news biz, or that’s 2018, or both.
I’d show you our top NPR stories of the year, but that would just be depressing. Instead, here’s one of our top photos of 2018: From January 1, it’s Adonis the Llama, in your face. Thanks, Anne Phinney of Moose River Farm.