Not all the stories we thought were important got the attention they deserved. Here are 10 stories from the past year that, based on our online traffic figures, you may have overlooked. (Unless you read them in print, in which case, this is why we went to journalism school.)
1. “Sexual Assaults at UGA, Often Fueled by Drinking, Go Unpunished,” by Alex Laughlin
University of Virginia student “Jackie” recently made national news with her account of being gang-raped at a fraternity party, The difference between Flagpole and Rolling Stone? Our story ran eight months earlier, and no one questioned the veracity of our reporting. Laughlin’s investigation told the harrowing account of Katherine Garcia, who says she also was sexually assaulted at a UGA frat party in 2012, and delved into why, out of 16 reported sex offenses on campus two years ago, police made no arrests. We followed up in the fall with articles about the “Red Zone,” when students are most likely to be raped, and the skyrocketing number of sexual assault reports filed at UGA last year. Those stories were all fairly well-read, but we wish they’d been read by everyone.
2. “Swamp Photo Essay,” by Randy Schafer
The former Flagpole photo intern shadowed Swamp for months, producing a revealing look at what it’s really like to be in an Athens band, though, unfortunately, hardly anyone saw it.
Photo Credit: Randy Schafer
3. “Dogs and Their Homeless Owners Share Love, if not Shelter,” by Stephanie Talmadge
Talmadge, another Flagpole news intern, kept noticing a homeless couple with a Chihuahua hanging out downtown and got curious about how homeless people take care of their pets. She found Mitchell, who lived in a shack in the woods with his Australian cattle dog Blueberry, and David, who has survived off rabbits caught by his dog, Charlie. As it turns out, homeless dog owners sometimes need a bit of help from friends and service providers, but the bond between them and their furry friends is no less strong than anyone else’s. The article is accompanied by Schafer’s heartstring-tugging audio slideshow featuring Mitchell and Blueberry, but it couldn’t compete with PDS.
The local bluegrass band filed hilarious daily dispatches from their gig on Kid Rock’s Chillin’ the Most cruise, even getting a chance to jam on the “Inspector Gadget” theme song with human beatbox Doug E. Fresh and Bob Ritchie himself.
5. “Behind the Scene,” by Dan Mistich and DTproductions
This series of videos on our Homedrone music blog pays homage to the unsung heroes who book the shows, engineer the sound and promote the bands that make up the Athens music scene. It’s not getting a lot of clicks, but in a fairer world, it would.
6. “Pushback on Prince,” by Blake Aued
As revealed in emails obtained by Flagpole in March through an open-records request, Mayor Nancy Denson and Athens-Clarke County Manager Alan Reddish pumped the brakes last year on two proposals to make Prince Avenue safer for pedestrians, including one as simple as moving a crosswalk 20 feet. We’re still waiting (for cars to stop so we can cross the street).
7. “Thinking Outside the Box,” by Blake Aued, and “Art Rocks Athens Documents Classic City Creativity,” by Gordon Lamb
About a year ago, the boxed-up collection of the defunct Georgia Music Hall of Fame in Macon—including Pylon’s drums, John Bell’s shoe and thousands of other artifacts—were shipped to the UGA Special Collections Library for storage. Part of the collection contributed to an Art Rocks Athens exhibit on the nexus of art and music that was the Athens music scene in the 1970s and ’80s—a celebration that spanned several months and multiple venues.
8. “WUOG GM Akeeme Martin Dismissed from Station,” by Gabe Vodicka
Even folks in Athens were flipping out over Georgia Public Broadcasting’s takeover of legendary Georgia State University station WRAS 88.5’s daytime programming. So we were a bit surprised that few people cared about the drama at our local UGA college-radio station, which had been plagued by staff shortages, scheduling inconsistencies and technical glitches for years.
9. “Families Are Needed to Take in Hundreds of Athens Children,” by Carolyn Crist
The Cavins are one of 20 foster families in Athens, but as of November, more than 200 children here needed foster homes, a shortage that advocates called a “crisis.” Children who’ve already been hit hard by sexual and physical abuse and neglect have their lives further uprooted when they’re forced to move to a different school in a different city.
10. “Bruce Hornsby Live in 2014: A Point-Counterpoint Review,” by Joe VanHoose and Johnathan McGinty
This amusing review of a Georgia Theatre concert by two casual (at best) fans of the ’80s soft-rocker set the Hornsbynet on fire. Unfortunately, unlike the Internet, the Hornsbynet is a very small place, so our traffic didn’t exactly go through the roof. That’s just the way it is.
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