Restaurant news, the civil rights ordinance, Whole Foods Market, and the Duggar family: These were the Flyer’s most popular topics this year.
We always enjoy digging through our analytics reports each year to see which types of stories drew the biggest audiences, and how much the Flyer grew.
We posted over 1,128 stories in 2014, which was down a bit from the 1,347 we published last year. However, traffic increased to 2.5 million pageviews, a 26 percent increase over 2013. We also reached over 18,400 likes on Facebook, nearly 12,900 Twitter followers, and more than 29,000 Instagram followers.
Thanks for reading, and for supporting the awesome local businesses that keep us flying.
Here are our top 25 most popular stories of the year:
Watercolor by Daniel Kerlin / University Libraries
We write a lot about new restaurants that are opening in Fayetteville throughout the year. Back in July, we took a break from that format to focus on some of the city’s most missed restaurants that are now closed. We took to Facebook and asked “If you could bring back any restaurant from Fayetteville’s past, what would it be?” The answers brought back some pretty great memories.
A robocall placed to area voters in August urged residents to speak out against Fayetteville’s then-proposed civil rights ordinance, which would have prohibited business owners and landlords from unjustly firing or evicting someone because of their sexual orientation, gender identity and other characteristics. The call was narrated by Michelle Duggar, star of the TV show “19 Kids and Counting.” In the call, Duggar claimed that civil rights protections based on gender identity could lead to men using women’s restrooms or showers, and that the ordinance would be opening a door for pedophiles and sexual predators who wish to abuse people.
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar / Wikipedia
Springdale couple Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar donated $10,000 toward the campaigns of the three most outspoken opponents to a recently-passed civil rights ordinance that prohibited business owners and landlords from unjustly firing or evicting someone because of their sexual orientation, gender identity and other characteristics. The ordinance was eventually repealed when 52 percent of voters struck down the new law in a special election.
Our annual guide on where to watch fireworks around the Fourth of July is always a top story. This year’s post, which included 15 area fireworks displays, moved up two spots to No. 4.
Fayetteville rules, which is why the city is frequently named to a host of nationwide “Best Of” lists. For the second year in a row, Fayetteville was named as one of the best college towns in the nation in 2014 by Livability.com, which provides data for small- and medium-sized cities based on the data it collects throughout the year. This year, cities were divided up by their college’s Football Bowl Subdivision conference and then ranked within each group before compiling the list. That means Fayetteville beat out all other SEC college towns, and was then ranked as the fourth-best in the nation.
Fayetteville voters in December repealed a contentious civil rights law that prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and other characteristics. The decision came during a special election called by petitioners, some who said the new law was overreaching and underdeveloped, and others who repeated the claims of many local faith leaders who said that civil rights protections based on gender identity would be opening a door for pedophiles and sexual predators.
It had been a while since we’d written an update on what was new in the restaurant world. As a result, the news had really piled up on us. This post included 20 restaurants and food trucks that had opened, closed, or had planned to be up and running by mid-2014 in Fayetteville. The story was one of seven restaurant news columns to make the top 25 this year.
Photo by Eric Stuve, OKRroads.com
The news that Interstate 540 would soon become I-49 came as a surprise to many folks around Northwest Arkansas, and led to a lot of traffic here at the Flyer. The interstate was redesignated as part of a longterm plan to incorporate the stretch of road into a highway running from Kansas City to New Orleans. It was a quick turnaround, too, as state crews began replacing the nearly 700 road signs along the 65-mile stretch just seven days after the announcement was made.
Fayetteville aldermen passed a contentious civil rights ordinance after nearly six weeks of public discussion, followed by a marathon City Council meeting that lasted until 3:45 a.m. on Aug. 20. The law prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic background, marital status, and veteran status. The law would’ve outlawed business owners and landlords from unjustly firing or evicting someone simply for being gay, but it was overturned when 52 percent of voters struck down the ordinance in a special election held in December.
We broke the news in January that officials were eyeing a car lot near the corner of College Avenue and Millsap Road as the future home of a new shopping center anchored by a Whole Foods Market. The story went rampant for months until site plans were finally submitted, laying to rest any uncertainty in our reporting. It was the first of eight stories written about the new development, two more of which made the top 25 (see below).