's 10 Most Viewed Stories in 2012

There are many ways to gauge the popularity of stories we publish: Percentage of issues picked up, number of Facebook "likes," how many people call or email or comment with complaints. On our website, however, there's the highly scientific Page Views Report, which neatly ranks our pages according to how many views each one has earned. Thus, here are the top-10 most-viewed stories we posted in 2012:

1. "Former Lady Vols Sports Information Director Debby Jennings Considers Legal Action Against UT" by Betty Bean

Posted May 23, 2012 at 10:01 a.m.

This story made national headlines—and was a bona fide scoop, though none of the later stories bothered to credit Betty Bean. Nevertheless, she got the story first: How a loyal, longtime employee of the University of Tennessee's Lady Vols was terminated in the new post-Pat Summitt era, and why she believed that she and others in the troubled athletic department had been wronged. Jennings did decide to file suit against UT in September, alleging "unlawful discrimination and retaliation."

2. "The Reed Family's Alien Nightmare" by Mike Gibson

Posted February 15, 2012 at 11:44 a.m.

Okay, we run across a lot of weird stories in the course of putting out a weekly paper—you guys do some pretty odd stuff. But not too many personal accounts are as bizarre as Thomas Reed's singular story of his family's recurring alien abductions. The kicker: He's perfectly "normal."

3. "Best of Knoxville 2012: Food" by Metro Pulse staff

Posted May 3, 2012 at 12:01 a.m.

Yep, we know what's near and dear to our readers' hearts.

4. "‘Mass Effect 3,' Pt. II: How an Ending Can Wreck a Trilogy" by David Doyle

Posted March 28, 2012 at 10:52 a.m.

When the conclusion to the Mass Effect trilogy revealed a particularly unsatisfying denouement, video-game geeks took to the Internets to voice their rage. Reviewer David Doyle decided to create a new verb: "After three games and countless stories, Bioware finally wrote themselves into a corner. Once they realized it, they decided to Michael Bay their way out of it and hope nobody noticed." Later in the year, Penny Arcade named Doyle the recipient of its annual academic scholarship. Coincidence?

5. "Making a Home in an Abandoned House" by Eleanor Scott

Posted December 21, 2011 at 11:56 a.m.

Eleanor Scott's column, A Living World, probes Knoxville's nooks and crannies for surprising stories of people doing unusual things. Her profile of young squatters "Joon and Tae" rips away preconceptions of what such people must be like. Taking up residence in an abandoned house (illegally), they did their best to improve the structure and help the neighborhood.

6. "Swedish Occult Band Ghost Reanimates the Sound and Image of '80s Metal" by Matthew Everett

Posted April 11, 2012 at 11:18 a.m.

Which just goes to show, Swedish occult metal bands will always be a popular global magnet for page views. Always.

7. "Knoxville's New Wave of Food Trucks" by Cari Wade Gervin

Posted June 27, 2012 at 12:53 p.m.

Ah, we love a new food trend (no matter how belated), and this one's a humdinger: young chefs bringing innovative cuisine to town, on wheels. These aren't your ordinary lunch trucks or festival food trailers—these mobile food purveyors promise delights not often found on the menus of Knoxville's brick-and-mortar restaurants.

8. "Tennessee's Red-State Blues" by Jack Neely

Posted February 29, 2012 at 12:24 p.m.

With every election, talk of "blue" states and "red" states dominates political analysis—and it's always a foregone conclusion that Tennessee is bright, bright red. Well, how did we get that way? Jack Neely gave our redness a historical look, and addressed what it means to our future.

9. "How Gay Is Knoxville, Really?" by Mike Gibson

Posted June 20, 2012 at 5:40 p.m.

Way back in January, The Advocate magazine famously rated Knoxville number eight on its list of Gayest Cities in America. While their survey was slightly tongue in cheek, it nevertheless did reflect the progress made by Knoxville's LGBT community to become more accepted and have a bigger presence in civic affairs. And example number one is the annual Pride Festival, once the target of protesters, and now bigger than ever and drawing a mainstream crowd to Market Square.

10. "Three Historic Houses Threatened by UT Expansion Plans" by Jack Neely

Posted June 20, 2012 at 3:26 p.m.

This may seem like a recurring theme because it is: The University of Tennessee rarely sees any reason to refrain from bulldozing historic houses and buildings in its relentless drive to expand. This Secret History column profiled three 1890s Victorians whose property owners the university had sent "letters of inquiry" to, with the intent of eventually acquiring and demolishing them.