A year ago, we said good riddance to 2020, and, like a scene from “Groundhog Day,” we now say the same to 2021. But let's rise above kvetching.
Much that is good took place in Arlington this year. Let me consider what I know best: YourArlington increased its strength as a media organization by becoming a nonprofit, led by a board and open to public support for local journalism. You can donate here >>
What's more, YourArlington, now 15 years old, saw its public impact grow.
The news site continued a tradition that no other town media outlet, except for ACMi, follows -- regular reporting of Select Board and School Committee meetings. Freelancers Susan Gilbert ably provided clear summaries of the former, while Judith Pfeffer delivered accurate school news.
In addition to continuing people features, the site introduced a new beat in 2021, the Arlington Housing Authority. No media organization has covered it before on a regular basis, but freelancer Melanie Gilbert has stepped in and has broken new ground in an accurate, fair way.
If you wonder what your donations support, look at the impact of local news reporting in 2021.
As for other kinds of impact, consider this: The YourArlington report with the second most hits in 2021 is the one about Jeff and Sue Thompson, of Firefly Moon fame, whose health issues have set them back. Beyond the 12,000-plus hits the feature by Marjorie Howard has received, the GoFundMe appeal has raised more than $69,000.
Finally, as to impact, the true top local-news story in Arlington was, of course, the pandemic. YourArlington published 21 separate news stories about Covid-19. That includes the ongoing report of local cases, updated nearly daily since March 2020.
These 21 stories, listed below, totaled 60,115 hits.
Apart from subjective factors determining what puts a story on top, an online site provides the numbers telling which stories had the most hits, as measured by the website's host, SiteGround. The listings below, of news stories and opinion pieces, include the number of readers reaching the story by the date of this report, Dec. 29.
Note: A top-10 list is for pop songs. A top-11 offers a bit more.
The top-11 most-hit stories in 2021
2.) A diagnosis of ALS leaves couple in need,12,252
4.) AHS '21 class graduates outdoors,7,079
5.) Egerton house fire displaces 5, 6,987
6.) Chairful Where You Sit auction held, 6,970
10.) 2021 town election information, 6,214
The top-11 most-hit opinions in 2021
1.) Coronavirus edition: DocYard’s ‘Choice,’ stretched-out superheroes, ‘Tina’ doc, film review, 9,816
2.) Teacher asks: What are the Covid odds? 5,182
5.) A professor gone too soon, 3,926
6.) No. 69: Red Letter Poems 3.0: Haiku sampler, 3,925
7.) ADUs part 1: All about Article 43, 3,865
8.) 22 letters support Susse campaign, 3,864
9.) Those burned by April blaze coming back, 3,836
10.) YourArlington hits record traffic, 3,800
11.) Support for article seeking Prince Hall Day, 3,795
21 top-hit Covid-19 reports in 2021
2.) Town Covid cases June through August, 5,333
3.) U.K. coronavirus variant found in Reading, 5,086
10.) Face-covering order changes, effective April 30, 2,846
14.) Survey tells how many at Middlesex Jail want, 2,194
19.) 1,200 kids 5-11 get Covid shots at AHS, 1,375
20.) Fewer vaccination doses curtail town's clinic, 1,358
Dec. 30, 2020: Top 'hits' in 2020 at YourArlington
This listing, which includes opinion, was published Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021.