From Oklahoma to the end of the world: the 6th-10th most read stories of 2011

Every year (and a lot more often actually) we take a look at which stories people read, which stories bring rushes of eyeballs to the site. Sometimes our most important stories get the most traffic, but a lot of times it is fun stories, off-beat stories that attract the most readers. We all know that car crashes and sex scandals sell newspapers.

This year, the most read stories had to do with marijuana, earthquakes, Big Bird, Al Gore (come back tomorrow for Gore and Big Bird) and the end of the world. Today, we list stories 10-6. Tomorrow 5-1, plus a look at some of the more important stories that might not have drawn such crowds.

10) The 10th most read story was our take on Jon Stewart‘s take on the impending (or not) end of the world. Pretty much any time we can sneak a Jon Stewart video into a story, people are going to look at it, at least if it has some tenuous connection to Colorado politics.

Because doomsday preacher Harold Camping had once lived in Colorado, we had the local connection we needed to write about his end-of-the-world rantings.

Where other publications found a mildly amusing story, though, we took a hard look at Camping’s gay-bashing.

9) This was certainly a year when medical marijuana was in the news, and we covered most angles of this story at one time or another. Our ninth most-read story of the year was one in which we examine the IRS’s attack on medical marijuana businesses.

We also covered Rep. Jared Polis’s efforts to get to the bottom of why the IRS and other branches of the federal government are so intent on making life difficult for legal medical marijuana businesses in Colorado and elsewhere.

8) When Oklahoma got hit with a raft of earthquake activity a few months ago, we wrote about the possible connection between fracking activity and seismic activity.

While anecdotal evidence might suggest a connection — as fracking has gone up in Oklahoma so have earthquakes — the science is simply not that clear yet.

7) The Cash Hyde story — about a three-year-old using cannabis to fight a brain tumor — has continued to draw a steady stream of readers months after it was originally published. It’s easy to see why as a recent Google search for “Cash Hyde” delivered nearly 15 million results.

The once seemingly happy ending, though, can no longer be taken for granted as Cash’s tumor is back and he is back in the hospital receiving radiation therapy.

Visit The Cash Hyde Foundation here.

6) Only one story from the 2011 Colorado Legislature made our top 10 and of course it had to do with medical marijuana. When the Legislature was considering a bill to more tightly regulate edible marijuana products, the medical marijuana community came out in droves to protest.

Seems some legislators equate cannabis soda, granola bars or suckers as candy and didn’t think medical marijuana should be made into candy that might appeal to kids. What they might not have counted on is that a lot of medical marijuana patients aren’t stoners and don’t want to smoke a joint but do want to ingest cannabis. They got organized and they affected change.

Later this week, stories 1-5.

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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