Top 20 Columbus Underground Articles of 2014
While the popularity of specific news articles and features here on CU doesn’t necessarily dictate their overall importance, we do take our site analytics pretty seriously as an indicator of what types of reading material our visitors are searching for. To that end, we always like to take a big-picture look at those statistics at the end of each year, and share some of that back with our readers to showcase what was the most well read here at CU.
Below, you’ll find the Top 20 most well read articles and features of 2014:
Columbus loves a good festival. And when there’s over 260 to choose from, you’re likely to find something that just about anyone can enjoy. Anne Evans painstakingly compiles the most robust list of regional festivals every Spring, which brings readers back to this article for great reference material all year long.
We frequently publish community-contributed opinion pieces here on Columbus Underground, but this one from James Ragland resounded with our audience, propelling it into the number two spot for the year. That’s pretty impressive considering that it was only written four weeks ago.
One of the most well read posts of the past few years here on CU was a “Top 10 Things to Do” list that we originally compiled way back in 2007. Which meant that we were long overdue for an update. So we decided to expanded that update into a two-part Top 20 list in 2014, and published it in June.
Local CrossFit instructor Mitch Potterf contributed an article on the topic which went viral — both locally and nationally. Locally, it stirred up strong emotions from people who are rabid fans of CrossFit as well as from those who dislike it. The story was also shared by the national social media accounts of CrossFit, blasting it out to their two million followers on Twitter and Facebook.
The second half of our updated Top 20 list didn’t get as many reads as the first half, which goes to show that people are always looking for more things to do than less things to do.
A profanity-laden fitness followup from Mitch Potterf toward the end of January re-stoked the embers of both CrossFit fans and those who want a more approachable guide to fitness and exercise. Needless to say, the controversy stirred up the interest of many readers.
Columbus Underground broke the news in January that The Short North would be getting the city’s first-ever “board game bar” and to our surprise, the entire city rejoiced at the news. Some of the games offered in the library are pretty much the definition of hardcore nerdiness, but the appeal of this venue has attracted a wide range of fans.
April 1st is always one of the most well-read days of the year on Columbus Underground, thanks to the hard work we put into our April Fools Day content. This year’s joke about a Portlandia tv show expansion took the cake as the most well-read joke that day, and the video (created by local video editing guru Mike Beaumont) was the icing on that cake.
Locals were treated to an incredibly harsh cold snap in January, and Gay Street residents got the bonus of a water main break during that period. The broken main flooded the streets with water-turned-ice overnight. Thankfully, the repair and cleanup crews did an amazing job to prevent any major damage or negative side effects, despite the negative 26 (yes, -26) degree wind chill they worked through that night.
In April, the Columbus Zoo announced some big plans for their Downtown expansion. The article drew a lot of attention, both from those who were excited about the project, and from those who saw it as a big waste of money. Ultimately, the project was scrapped as the zoo levy failed at the ballot box in May.
It was announced at the beginning of November that The Jury Room restaurant and bar was closing and being sold to new owners. And at the end of November it was revealed that the new owners planned to change the name of the restaurant to “Balls”. Many readers expressed displeasure with the name change. Ultimately, the name got another tweak to become “1831 Tavern: Balls Bar”.
Another well-read opinion piece came from Dan Longerbone, who took issue with the national media’s poor coverage of Columbus during the bidding process to host the Democratic National Convention. The piece was well received by locals, and Columbus has continued to advance to become one the final three cities in contest to host the convention. A decision on the host city may come as early as January.
In early October, we were forwarded a letter addressed to Columbus City School teachers who were being asked by the district’s Superintendent to repay bonuses incorrectly issued during the period where administrators had tampered with data. The article drew a strong response from local readers who argued about whether or not teachers should be punished for mistakes made by the administration.
The newest article on our list is only a week old, but was incredibly well read during the short amount of time it has been published. That would be the list of restaurants open during Christmas this year, as compiled by CU Food Writer Rebecca Wagner. With 30 restaurants in her list, it became one of the most robust and well-distributed lists for those looking for holiday dining options this year.
One of the most hotly anticipated bars of 2014 was the new 18,000 square foot Hofbräuhaus brewery that opened in Grandview Yard in October. When we got a chance to take a sneak peek inside a week early, readers were eager to view and share our photos during the pre-opening excitement.
On January first, Columbus Underground broke the news that Short North staple Betty’s would be closing their doors in 2014, but a plan was in the works to relocate the restaurant to a new home on Gay Street near CCAD. The news was surprising to many, and the relocation was met with positive response. Ultimately, the move was cancelled and Betty’s closed up for good in July.
In February, Cincinnati-based Tom & Chee announced plans to enter the Columbus market, and local grilled cheese fans rejoiced. The first two locations landed in the far west and far east suburbs of Pickerington and Hilliard, but a third location soon followed in the University District next to OSU.
The North Market announced in March that it would begin a summer movie series in collaboration with the Gateway Film Center, essentially bringing a pop-up drive-in theater to Downtown Columbus. The first season proved to be a popular one, showing Toy Story, Ghostbusters and Jaws.
Another of our popular lists is the Farmers Market seasonal guide, also compiled by Anne Evans. With over 40 farmers markets in the region, our robust list is one of the most definitive guides, which serves readers all throughout the growing season.
Bareburger was voted the best new restaurant in Columbus of 2014 by our readers, and their excitement for the New York chain’s expansion to Downtown Columbus began prior to their doors even being open. When CU published a sneak preview article ahead of the opening, it proved to be even more popular than the actual review that followed.
What types of news and articles do you think will be the most popular in 2015? Leave us a comment below!