-- Mel Brooks
At the end of one year and the beginning of the next, news media like to review the year's "top stories."
We didn't do that this year, but I can tell you something about the news of 2010 -- the 10 most popular stories on The Augusta Chronicle's Web site augustachronicle.com.
I set up a computer search that provided the number of page views different stories received. It's not as clean as the usual "top 10" list. Often, multiple versions of stories show up -- sometimes several in one day as news develops and headlines change. I didn't combine any of these efforts because I wasn't sure if I might overlook a little-noticed update.
That being said, here's the list:
NO. 10 with 12,508 page views -- "Judge shoots intruder." This was the story from Aug. 20 when Chief Superior Court Judge Carlisle Overstreet awoke to discover a burglar in his home and shot him dead.
NO. 9 with 12,965 page views was "Ku Klux Klan plans rally for ASU student's rights" on Oct. 5. The student, of course, was Jennifer Keeton, who had sued the school because she said it warned her it would expel her from the graduate Counselor Education program because "she holds Christian ethical convictions on matters of human sexuality and gender identity," according to court documents.
Keeton immediately issued a statement that she didn't want the Klan's help, but on Oct. 23 they showed up anyway.
NO. 8 with 13,906 page views was "Live chicken set on fire for video." This Oct. 26 story reported how an Augusta teen's mother turned him in to police after finding the video posted by her son and his friends on Facebook and YouTube.
NO. 7 with 14,205 page views was "I-20 wreck kills Augusta pediatrician, wife" on Aug. 16. It is a measure of the respect and admiration this community had for Dr. Julian Tanenbaum and his wife, Beverly, to see the interest in the accident that claimed their lives.
NO. 6 with 14,441 page views was another Jennifer Keeton story, "ASU student says gays have identity confusion." It was a July 23 story in which Keeton explained her dispute with the school in an interview with The Chronicle .
NO. 5 with 16,804 page views was my favorite: Masters Champ Phil Mickelson -- wearing his green jacket -- and driving through the Washington Road Krispy Kreme drive-thru, as captured by a surprised (but alert) Krispy Kreme employee on April 13, the morning after his Masters Tournament victory.
NO. 4 with 18,533 page views was "Shoplifting suspect stabs Marine, police say," This was Black Friday when local Marine Cpl. Phillip Duggan helped subdue a theft suspect at Best Buy and got stabbed in the back for his efforts. The story went national. Fortunately Duggan wasn't severely injured and was soon back helping with Toys for Tots donation collections.
NO. 3 with 20,016 page views was "Man killed in break-in at judge's home identified." Again, this Aug. 19 story only made the Web site as an update to the story at No. 10.
NO. 2 with 21,237 page views was "Basketball league for white Americans targets Augusta." This story ran last Jan. 19 and quickly gained local scorn and national notoriety.
Interest in the mysterious white basketball league, however, seems to have dribbled away.
Finally, the NO. 1 story of 2010: with 21,252 page views was "Christian student sues ASU." this July 22 story was the first about Jennifer Keeton, the ASU student who took the school to court.
Now here's the surprise, to me at least, that the No. 1 news headline was actually No. 179 on our list of the Web site's most viewed items.
Many other things, categories, subdivisions and features of our Web site got many more mouse clicks. Our databases, particularly the salary databases of county employees and MCG workers were more popular than any single news story.
Other sections and features of our Web site do very well, too. Online obituaries are quite popular, no doubt attracting the regular interest of former Augustans living far away.
It also goes without saying that many of our past Masters Golf Tournament features and databases continue to get frequent visitors. Golf fans love to read our Masters site year-round, not just that first full week of April.
And finally, if you're wondering how my columns did, the most popular one online was Aug. 20 in which I suggested the Postal Service could make money selling its most popular item -- those plastic tote boxes.
With 3,271 page views, it ranked No. 1,006 on our top online stories of 2010.
I'll do better next year.