Communities 10 Most Read News Stories of 2012: Kony, Paul, Whitney, Olympics

Communities readers are a diverse and inquisitive bunch. Our most popular stories of 2012 show you  work hard and you play hard, too. Photo: AP/Invisible Children/AP

SAN DIEGO, Dec 27, 2012 –  The rise of an unlikely Presidential candidate. The death of a diva. The hunt for a despot. The cancellation of a popular TV show. Athletes, politicians, celebrities, ballroom dancing and floats. 

These were the topics and people featured in some of the 10 most popular stories on Communities at Washington Times in 2012.

“No one can hazard a guess as to what will, or won’t be read, and the always varied voices at Communities proves htat,” observed Jacquie Kubin, editor in chief of Communities Digital News, LLC . “I am always amazed by the stories that take off, become social media magnets and those that create robust conversations among the readers. Often times it’s a story that perfectly captures a moment in time when we all come together.

“This is the new face of journalism, one that reacts quickly, fully and decisively, bringing the reader a fresh voice, not just the same story rewritten, but a fresh new look at the news of the day.”

Here’s a look back at these stories along with updates about what’s happened since our readers first learned about these issues.

1.      KONY 2012: Bringing Joseph Kony to justice, Conserving Freedom, John Paul Cassil, March 5

The Story: Within hours of its release by the activist group Invisible Children, the KONY 2012 documentary became an Internet sensation with over 95 million views to date.  Most viewers were referred from Facebook and were between 13 and 24 years of age. But would Facebook clicks turn into results, or simply amount to “slacktivism”?

Quote: “Kony won’t stop simply because more people know about him.  In fact, some think that this makes him more powerful, like Gadhafi or Hussein…  Invisible Children’s heart is in the right place, but is their head?

Ron Paul, not going anywhere. Photo: Associated Press.

2.      Ron Paul has already won, The Remnant – As Bureaucracy Fails, Kevin Kelly, May 22

The Story: Though many political writers discounted Paul’s candidacy for President, he continues to draw huge crowds to rallies and inspired millions of voters, most of them younger voters. Kelly pointed out that Paul’s victory could be measured in ways other than winning a presidential nomination.

Quote: “Ron Paul may or may not win the Republican nomination, but he has won the battle of ideas. Many are moving in Paul’s direction, and that is a victory larger than winning the Republican nomination.”          

3.      “Anti-Occupy” law ends American’s right to protest, Leading Edge Legal Advice for Everyday Matters, Paul Samakow, August 1

The Story: Communities legal columnist, Washington D.C. based attorney Samakow,  informed readers about a new law that had received almost zero media coverage which severely limited the right to protest. Stunned readers were shocked; they shared this information with their networks to help spread the word, thanks to Samakow.

Quote: “The government should be able to impose reasonable limits to ensure public order, but that power must have a limit; it must never be used to quell unpopular opinion or to discriminate against disfavored speakers.”

The cast of the CBS TV show CSI: Miami. No, it’s not coming back. Photo: CBS

4.      House, CSI Miami cancelled; Fall 2012 TV renewals announced, TV Den, Gayle Falkenthal, May 13

The Story: News about the unexpected cancellation of long-running crime drama “CSI: Miami” enraged its many fans, irate about being left with a cliffhanger storyline due to the surprise decision by CBS. We heard from them loud and clear. It wasn’t enough to bring Horatio and his team back to life. 

Quote: “Most of the formal upfronts are this week, but forget keeping things under wraps. Details come out hours or even days ahead of time. Several decisions will disappoint some longtime fans. CSI Miami is ending its run after ten years on CBS.”

5.      Olympics 2012: Closing Ceremony schedule, live online, Sunday, 4 p.m. NBC TV 7 p.m. tape (Eastern Time), 2012 London Summer Olympic Games, Gayle Falkenthal, August 11

The Story: The successful 2012 Summer Olympic Games came to a close in London, England, and Communities readers celebrated along with the rest of the world as the Closing Ceremonies took place. A last-minute decision by NBC to offer the event live online rather than waiting for prime-TV generated interest, along with details of the lineup for the event.

Quote: “The opening ceremony was watched by 40.7 million people, more than watched the Grammys and Oscars this year. But NBC took heat for not making the event available to anyone in the U.S. for hours after the fact.”

The coffin holding the remains of singer Whitney Houston is carried to a hearse after funeral services at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, N.J., Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012. Houston died Saturday at the Beverly Hills Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif., at the age 48. AP Photo/Mel Evans

6.      Whitney Houston funeral schedule on cable TV & online Saturday, Media Migraine, Gayle Falkenthal, February 17

The Story: News of Houston’s death at age 48 sent shockwaves through the nation as her fans mourned her loss, while celebrating her talents, her legacy, and the magical music moments she gave to the world. Readers turned to Communities to learn the latest about her funeral, which was seen around the world and which featured many of music and acting’s greatest performers. 

Quote: “The service will be especially emotional because it is taking place at New Hope Baptist Church in Houston’s hometown, where she first raised her magnificent voice in song by singing in the church choir. Although the funeral services themselves are private for 1,500 invitation-only guests, several cable television networks and one prominent radio station plan to air live coverage of the funeral.”

7.      New Year’s Day TV schedule: Rose Parade, college bowl games take Sunday off, TV Den, Gayle Falkenthal, December 31

The Story: Southern Californian Gayle Falkenthal was surprised to find out the Rose Parade wouldn’t take place on January 1 in 2012 because it was a Sunday. She thought Communities readers might also be caught by surprise and filled them in. 

Quote: “If you’re on auto-pilot New Year’s Day morning after having fun the night before like most of America, you will stumble over to your TV and turn it on expecting to see the dazzling floats and energetic marching bands of the 2012 Tournament of Roses Parade. Instead, you’re going to think you forgot what day it was.”

8.      Dancing With The Stars 2012: Surprising week 1 results, TV Den, Gayle Falkenthal, March 20

The Story: Interest in ABC’s reality ballroom dance competition show hits its peak in March 2012, and so did the interest of Communities readers who flocked to the show and to our live chats.

Quote: “Critics and fans gushed across Twitter, Facebook, and fan blogs. Who knew a lineup of former TV icons, several singers, a handful of athletes, a Disney star and a Motown legend would light up the dance floor?”

Photo: Franco Bouly

The case of Brandon Raub: Can the government detain you over Facebook posts?, Citizen Warrior, Tiffany Madison, August 22

The Story: Political writer Madison brought to light the shocking arrest of a former Marine due to Raub’s Facebook posts, which expressed his frustration with the political direction of the United States, calling for the arrest of bankers and politicians who consistently defy their oath to the United States Constitution. Alarmed and outraged Communities readers shared the information and sounded off about Raub’s situation. He was freed the next day.

Quote: “Very few civilized nations allow unchecked power of this magnitude in the 21st century.”

10.  DREAM Act: Questions and answers about President Obama’s immigration order for undocumented children, Ad Lib, Catherine Poe, June 22

The Story: Following President Obama’s executive order halting the deportation of as many as one million illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, Poe addressed the provisions of the DREAM Act in a question and answer format for readers.

Quote: “Just stay realistic and understand this will not open the path to U.S. citizenship for DREAMers nor make you or them a legal resident. But it does give you an opportunity to apply for jobs legally, which means fair pay and not being taken advantage of by an unscrupulous employer, and the knowledge that you can stay in America without the fear of deportation.”

Runners-up included controversy over President Obama’s draft card, Candy Crowley’s comment about President Obama calling the attack on Benghazi a “terror” attack, a story about the website the CHIVE, more Dancing With The Stars coverage, more Ron Paul coverage, more Benghazi coverage, and The Celebrity Apprentice.

And it seems our readers around the world can’t get enough boxing.

We make no predictions about the most popular stories of 2013. Our crystal ball is in the shop. We can safely say there will be many surprises, and we can also promise that the entire Communities at Washington Times team will provide the kind of coverage and analysis you’ve come to rely on.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t close by thanking you, the reader, for making 2012 a success in every way. You are our partner in this venture.

Please continue to provide your feedback and your thoughts. We don’t have a monopoly on information or the truth at Communities. Happy News Year!


Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. Read more Media Migraine in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.


Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities at” when quoting from or linking to this story.  

Copyright © 2012 by Falcon Valley Group



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Gayle Falkenthal

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, MS, APR, is President of the Falcon Valley Group, a San Diego based communications consulting firm. Falkenthal is a veteran award winning broadcast and print journalist, editor, producer, talk host and commentator. She is an instructor at National University in San Diego, and previously taught in the School of Journalism & Media Studies at San Diego State University.


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