As we all take a few moments to reflect on the past year and look forward to what 2011 will bring, we at the Clarke Daily News would like to take this opportunity to look back on the past year in local news.
Our effort to return local news to Clarke County launched a little over one year ago. Our first official post was put online on December 17, 2009. Since that time our site has had 219,800 visits with 731,104 page views. In one year’s time our writers and contributors have written and posted 1,290 articles.
When looking back over the news of 2010, events like “Snowmagedden” and the construction of the new high school certainly led the way, but we thought we would adopt a slightly different measure for the news in review for Clarke County and provide the top ten most commented articles of 2010.
One of the features our site provides is the ability for the community to discuss the news in an open forum. The comments on articles provide a voice for people to say things they think but may be reticent to discuss openly in a small town. This has proven volatile at times. While we make every effort to moderate in a way that allows for productive discussion, inevitably some comments will ruffle some feathers. However, discussions in any forum will always have people voicing and defending positions that will not be shared by everyone. It is the nature of any conversation and we believe conversation is a good thing. While some readers have been very outspoken about our policy, we believe it provides a valuable feedback mechanism for the residents of our community. The goal is to allow discussion where none was possible before. Based on the data from our site, our readers agree. The 1290 articles on our site have generated a staggering 4,313 comments.
So as we reflect on the year in news, the measuring stick for significance in this top ten list is the number of comments articles generated. Here’s our retrospective list:
- Manslaughter Charges Filed in Connection to Death of Aaron Shirley – 268 comments
The tragic death of Clarke County High School student Aaron Shirley shook the community to the foundation. The accident involved underage drinking and caused the entire community to face the problem.
- Amir Banks Named in Connection with Aaron Shirley Death – 149 comments
Once the driver in the accident that claimed Aaron Shirley’s life was identified the community was forced to wrestle with issues of forgiveness and punishment.
- School Board Told that Teacher Salaries & Computers Need Funding Boost – 118 comments
In times of tight budgets and limited funds the Clarke County Education Association representative made an appeal for specific funding considerations and the community responded to the issue.
- Letter to the Editor: Clarke County Band Association Fund Raiser Denied – 117 comments
The only “Letter to the Editor” to make the list was an appeal for fairness in fundraising procedures at the high school and it garnered a significant response.
- Remodeling Project Underway at the Former Lighthouse Restaurant – 110 comments
The beleaguered property that was the Lighthouse Restaurant has undergone some significant changes over the past year and readers had a wide array of opinions on the changes.
- Clarke Community Seeks Answers on Underage Drinking – 97 comments
Brought into the public consciousness by the death of Aaron Shirley, underage drinking became a lightning rod for conversation.
- School News Round-Up – No Guitar Heroes At CCPS – 96 comments
A dust up over the scheduling of Band Camp lead to discussion of teachers salaries.
- Survey Finds Young Farmers Optimistic But Concerned Over Activists – 95 comments
This was the earliest post in the list and veered from farming into animal cruelty and the agricultural community in Clarke responded.
- Sex Ed Coming to Clarke Schools 90 comments
As Family Life Education makes a planned return to the curriculum in Clarke, residents voiced opinions on education and morality.
- Ashburn Man Arrested in Metro Terror Plot – 66 comments
An incident with local connections to terrorism launched a long back and forth discussion about racial profiling and safety issues.
There were many more comments and many more issues that are near and dear to Clarke County and we hope to continue bringing the news to you in 2011. We would also like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of our readers and contributors and extend our wishes for a happy and prosperous new year to you all.