Photo by Todd Cooper

What Were You Reading?

A look back on Eugene Weekly’s top (digital) stories 

We know folks read the Weekly. We have been printing 30,000 papers a week for years and readers snap them up (and anything you don’t snap up, gardeners come grab from our recycling). 

What we can’t tell in print is what you are reading — are you flipping right to Savage Love? The Jonesin’ Crossword? Or do you thumb through the newsprint page by page on Thursday morning with your coffee in hand? 

The website, however, is another matter. There we can track what you read and what was popular. But we don’t do clickbait. Sometimes the most important stories may not have been the most popular, but they need to be written — a news story is often, as they say, the first draft of history. 

In the end, what our readers cared about was a mix of hard news, community coverage and, of course, some crazy stuff like white supremacists planning a black metal concert. 

Top 10s might be the most traditional, but the top 25 stories really give a sense of who the Weekly is and what our readers come to us for. William Sullivan’s Oregon Trails hiking column shows up several times, as do a variety of Chow food stories. 

Our obituaries for the homeless made an appearance, as did Henry Houston’s coverage of the 4J school board, a local businessman accused of trying hire a hit man to kill his wife and that crazy attempt by the UFCW Local 555 to recall state Rep. Paul Holvey. 

But what about that top 10, you ask? No. 10 was Emerson Brady’s coverage of Candice King’s efforts to keep her home after being evicted for not paying her rent in protest of high rent, out-of-state landlords and the factors that keep community members from being able to own homes.   

No. 9  was an investigative story by the Catalyst Journalism Project on how the city of Eugene is skirting the laws on homelessness.

And the eighth most read was the essay on missing people up the McKenzie by Brenton Gicker in his Out of the Void series.

And we weren’t kidding about the white supremacist trying to put on a black metal concert (called Murder Fest). The next two most popular stories covered Jacob Laskey’s musical attempts and his later arrest. Laskey, Houston writes, “was first known for an anti-Semitic attack on Eugene’s Temple Beth Israel in 2002, and later for a stabbing and posting videos espousing racist viewpoints while working at his family’s Wolfclan Armory in Creswell and later Cottage Grove.”

In the top five were our election endorsements. (What would you do without us? That’s actually a loaded question right now.) Best of Eugene, which was the second most read, and a blog post about Tina Kotek (that last one has us puzzled, someone must have hit the share button a lot.) 

Also there was the story about the jury hitting Sanipac with a $360,000 verdict in the death of Annette Montero, the homeless woman who was killed sleeping in a parking lot that inspired Eugene Weekly to write obituaries for the unhoused community. 

And the No. 1 story, to our delight and our sadness, was “Ode to Joy,” about the passing of Sang Joo Knudtson, better known as Joy from Brail’s. We don’t write stories for reader clicks, we write them for the community — and the community cares about each other, is our takeaway for this year. 

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