Editorial: Four Years of Feedback

It’s our four-year anniversary. Here’s a list I like to call, “OTM Articles That Got the Biggest Reader Response—Good and Bad—From Our First Four Years.” In reverse order of impact:

7. “The Best Local Rocks You’ve Never Climbed,” a cover story by in our September 2006 issue is still our most requested back issue. The story features a map and route descriptions of the McLellan Rocks in Riverside State Park.

6. “Critical Mass Controversy” in our January 2006 issue, which featured pro and con letters to the editor was the result of a flurry of contentious letters regarding our coverage of the event.

5. Jess Walter’s “Sledding” in our December 2006 issue. People love Jess Walter. OTM received a whole new crop of readers when Jess’ year long column ran in 2006-2007, but the piece, where he “stumbled upon some kind of sledding swingers community” might have been his most popular.

4. My Spokane Raceway Park editorial in April 2008. I’ve had some great response from editorials (especially the January 2008 one about mice in the compost pile) but this was the biggest. I was ripped for supporting “wasting fossil fuel,” and praised for endorsing country ownership of a great bicycle road-racing course.

3. “Downtown Kayak Park: Impossible Dream?” cover story from our debut issue September 2004. The Whitewater Park was effectively dead until we ran this article—and then it was added to the Great River Gorge Priority Projects list, where many dedicated folks have pushed it closer to reality.

2. Ongoing “Sustainable Living” coverage. When we launched the first green living column in local media in 2005 the response wasn’t universally positive. Our profile of the small, electric Commuter Cars prompted a reader to write that anyone who drove them was “gay.” Since then the response to “Sustainable Living” has been terrific and includes a popular spin-off, the Go Green Directory, which has just published it’s fourth annual edition.

1. Bicycles As Transportation coverage. An article we ran about bicycle commuting in December 2004 was the first in a long string of articles, cover stories, and event sponsorships that included Spokane’s first cover story on urban cycling, and a profile of the Village Bicycle Project—both in 2007—and the first local column on cycling, “Everyday Cyclist.” Readers have loved these pieces and the momentum for city cycling in the area continues to build.

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