Top 10 Most-Read Stories in 2010

Now that New Year’s Eve is upon us, it’s time to whip out a 2010 retrospective.

Of course, this site didn’t even exist on Jan. 1, 2010 (we launched on Jan. 29) so the following list is going to be skewed toward the latter half of the year. But, without further ado, here are the top 10 most-viewed stories of 2010.

1. Man Arrested in Arlington Was Former Top Army Soldier67,195 pageviews

This story, which came to us via an anonymous tip regarding a crime report item, attracted national attention. It was linked to by the ever-popular Drudge Report on election day, bringing our server down for at least three hours. When we finally threw enough money at our hosting company to get it back up, we were deluged with colorful comments.

2. In a Moment, A Life Taken and Many More Shaken30,253 pageviews

A man’s tragic decision to end his life in a very public way attracted considerable local attention. Many Rosslynites wondered about the commotion outside the office building at 17th and North Nash Streets. Others who knew what happened were searching for an answer to a very human question: “why?”

3. NSF Building Evacuated After Apparent Lightning Strike8,892 pageviews

There’s some question about whether it was actually caused by a bolt of lightning, but a fire in the parking garage of the National Science Foundation building, following a strong fall storm, caused hundreds of people to evacuate and many more to read our story. The article was retweeted 47 times. It’s an example of a story that generated lots of public interest yet was not covered by larger local media outlets at the time.

4. EXCLUSIVE: Video Shows Rescue at Va. Square Metro Station7,220 pageviews

It wasn’t an exclusive for long, but video we obtained of a retired Marine’s brave-if-not ill-advised rescue of a man who had fallen on the tracks at the Virginia Square Metro station went viral. USA Today and AOL News linked to our story, and the CBS Early Show flew Pinzon and his wife up for an interview. The video itself received 105,000 views on YouTube. Metro made us wait two months for the video after we filed a public records request, but it only took them a couple of hours to distribute the video to all four local TV stations (without mentioning that we filed the original request). So much for that “exclusive” — at least three stations led with the story at 11:00 p.m. without a single mention of

5. Break Out the Three Buck Chuck: Clarendon Trader Joe’s Close to a Reality6,716 pageviews

We were the first with the glorious news that Trader Joe’s was in the late stages of negotiations to lease space in the Clarendon Center project. Furious retweeting (58 retweets) and lots of happy commenting followed. This story, combined with a quick post about a new music video from “Arlington Rap guy” Remy Munasifi, helped make Sept. 14 the third-biggest day traffic-wise in site history.

6. Bacon Week Starts at 3 Restaurant6,668 pageviews

To be honest, this wasn’t much of an article, effort-wise. It probably took all of 10 minutes to look at 3’s “Bacon Week” menu and slap together a short blurb (it took more time to get a screen grab from that Beggin’ Strips commercial). Yet, on the internet, sometimes effort is trumped by timing and a snappy lede. linked to the story, sending us a steady stream of bacon-loving traffic from around the world.

7. Rustico and Buzz Bakery Bringing Much-Needed Local Flair to Ballston5,416 pageviews

Chalk this one up to Google. The article was provocative and provided some additional details about two hotly-anticipated new eateries in Ballston. But the real staying power was provided by search engines. For awhile, a link to this article could be found at the top of the page when you searched Google for “Rustico Ballston.” Needless to say, quite a few people were searching for more information about Rustico’s imminent arrival.

8. Police Investigate Death at Kettler Capitals Iceplex5,359 pageviews

This is another story that received scant attention from larger local outlets, yet somehow managed to generate lots of reader interest. Other than the fact that it happened in the practice facility of a pro sports team, the most remarkable thing about this story was that the deceased was a young man who died suddenly and unexpectedly of natural causes. There was nothing suspicious about it — it was just a case of a beloved coach and co-worker who was taken from this earth too early.

9. Car Crashes into Rhodeside Grill5,329 pageviews

This story didn’t need words — the photos did all the talking. No one was hurt, thankfully. Somewhat surprisingly, the restaurant kept serving lunch, even though there was a car parked in its front window. Five months later, history nearly repeated itself. DCist sent us most of the traffic and helped make this our most-viewed story at the time.

10. Worker Falls to His Death at Courthouse Hotel5,183 pageviews

One day after a man killed himself by jumping out of a Rosslyn office building (see story #2), an ironworker accidentally fell to his death at the Arlington Court Suites Hotel. The deceased was a 35-year-old man who had recently become a father. Very sad story. The photo of the broken atrium window is haunting.

Runners up:

Note that the pageview count only include instances where someone clicked through to the article page, not instances where the article was viewed on the homepage or in an RSS reader.

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This is my last column. Over the past two years, I’ve had the privilege of sharing my views about housing with you. I don’t know if I changed anyone’s mind, but I do know I stirred up some conversation.


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