2011's Most Popular Stories at Metropulse.com

In our Year in Review issue, we've excerpted stories that we either liked a lot or that we felt reflected some of the big issues Knoxville faced in 2011. But what do our readers feel are our most interesting stories? Well, that's easy enough to determine at our website by generating a most-popular pages report for the past year. Here are the individual articles that got the most page views at metropulse.com in 2011.

1. "Investigating the Drugs-Related Death of Henry Granju"

by Betty Bean (March 23)

When nationally known blogger Katie Allison Granju's son Henry died in 2010 due to a drug overdose, she expected a thorough police investigation into the circumstances to see if anyone (drug dealers, for instance) was culpable. A year later, she still did not think the Knox County Sheriff's Department had done enough work on it—so she engaged in a full-on social media-driven investigation of her own. It became a national story. In September, the Knoxville Police Department arrested three people on unrelated drug charges who had also been identified in Katie Granju's blog as being involved in Henry's death.

2. "Q&A: Noam Chomsky"

by Cari Wade Gervin (Jan. 19)

The world's most famous linguist gave a speech at the University of Tennessee, and we were able to score a 15-minute phone interview beforehand. Why did his thoughts on the Tea Party and his lack of personal reading time attract so many readers? Apparently, there are still a lot of Chomsky groupies out there.

3. "OPPORTUNITYISNOWHERE: Derek Dooley On the Vols' 2011 Season"

by Cari Wade Gervin (Aug. 31)

It's pretty much a given that any time we interview the head football coach of the Vols, no matter what the questions are, it will garner two things: 1. Lots of readers, 2. Lots of outraged comments on Vol message boards. This creates an ever-expanding loop of disgruntled sports fans sending the link out to other fans who in turn become disgruntled and etc., etc. However, let's note that 2011 was the year that academia triumphed over sports on campus (so to speak): Chomsky got more hits than Dooley!

4. "How the Harbrace Handbook of English Changed the Way Americans Learn About Writing"

by Brooks Clark and Cari Wade Gervin (June 15)

This year was the 70th anniversary of the Harbrace Handbook, the best-selling college textbook of all time—and it's the creation of former UT English professor John C. Hodges. Our cultural history of the book got a lot of attention in academic blogs, which meant a lot of English teachers around the country were reading it. Scary.

5. "Same-Gender Couple Carol Ann and Laura Stutte Sue Alleged Arsonist"

by Rose Kennedy (Feb. 2)

Five months after their house burned to the ground, Vonore couple Carol Ann and Laura Stutte and their adult daughter filed suit against the woman they believe set the fire—their next-door neighbor. However, there still had been no arrests in the case, and their insurance company, ANPAC, has refused to reimburse them and later refuted their claims.

6. "Is Downtown Recession-Proof? Not Exactly."

by Michael Haynes (Oct. 19)

While Knoxville's downtown appears to be still thriving amid the Great Recession, there are some warning signs if you look closely, and our wary columnist apparently struck a few chords with his observations.

7. "Roll Play: Knoxville's Adult Board Gamers"

by Jack Neely (June 8)

For our annual Comics & Puzzles Issue, we probed the world of mature gaming geekdom. We suspect many of them own computers with Internet connections.

8. "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Brings the Thunder Back to Tamriel"

by Dave Prince (Nov. 23)

It's the biggest video game of the year. We're not sure if Dave's review had anything to do with its success, but his write-up was very popular.

9. "The Inside Skinny on Quentin Tarantino's New Movie, 'Django Unchained'"

by Mike Gibson (June 9)

Here was our one chance at celebrity news, and we took it! When Quentin Tarantino visited town to scout locations for his next film, he had to talk to local people, right? Turns out he's a very chatty fellow. We debriefed a film buff who had his attention for about an hour and came away with some inside dirt.

10. "Can UT Afford Not to Spend the Money for an SEC-Contending Coach?"

by Frank Cagle (Dec. 7)

Frank Cagle professes to not being a sports expert, just an opinionated fan. While that puts him into a well-populated category online, local Vol fans never seem to agree with his football columns. Which means they must tell others, and the vicious cycle commences. (See #3.)