Unless something changes within the next few weeks, 2011 will mark my first full calendar year of working here at the Tucson Weekly. It's been fun to get a sense of what people are interested in over the course of the year, and I can say without reservation that people in Tucson are very concerned about KOLD Channel 13's Chuck George and his well-being.
Of the nearly 3,500 posts that appeared on The Range in 2011, two were about Chuck George. One announced his leave of absence in early September, and the other, on Oct. 24, broke the news of his return to the air—and both posts as of now are among the 10 most popular of the year.
Four of the remaining 10 were connected to the Jan. 8 shooting. The other four were a post about a local woman appearing in Playboy; a post about Christian Halloween replacement JesusWeen; a post about the closing of downtown restaurant Grill; and a post regarding Roseanne Barr talking about TV.
Chuck George is a notable media figure, and the semi-mysterious circumstances surrounding his time away from the newscasts did lead to some extra interest in the story—so what really surprised me was the number of comments wishing George well that were left long after the post was published.
I haven't personally noticed if George is a better weatherman or more charming than his rivals on the other channels, but whatever he's doing to engage the audience, he should keep it up.
We watched Jon Stewart smack down Sen. John McCain (again); shared some leaked guidelines the federal government is using in its crackdown on medical marijuana; wondered whether Rick Perry was high when he made that weird gay-bashing ad claiming that Obama was leading a war against Christianity; told you that the courts once again denied Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne's efforts to undermine the Independent Redistricting Commission; and brought you the latest edition of Arizona Illustrated's Political Roundtable, moderated by Jim Nintzel.
We discovered that the Arizona Democratic Party was out to ruin Project White House 2012, our reality-journalism competition that allows you to run for president (but only on the Republican ticket now); introduced you to the first candidate to announce he was joining Project White House 2012; found new ways to promote this weekend's Great Cover-Up (find details in Soundbites); shared more recommendations from our music writers; and told you that Andrew Bird, Tool, Childish Gambino and Noam Chomsky are all coming to town.
We brought you the latest cycling news; told you how to mix up a hot toddy; wondered why there are no Tucson establishments on Food and Wine's list of the Best Bars in America; and celebrated the opening of Borderlands Brewing Company in the downtown Warehouse District and the Bisbee Breakfast Club on Ina Road.
We told you what Major League Soccer teams were going to be visiting Tucson as part of the Desert Diamond Cup in February; advised you on what baby names to avoid in 2012; broke down the differences between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to watching TV; gave Cub Scouts a tour of Weekly World Central; realized that Katy Perry was going to ruin our Saturday; talked about comic books; worried about depressed moms; and wondered about designer vaginas.
"Ahh. I was glad before the Tucson Weekly hired you, Dan. It was a better paper before it went corporate. ... You, Dan, are writing for a third-tier paper in a second-tier city."
—TucsonWeekly.com commenter "billly" jumped to the defense of a musician making a silly statement ("Today's Nü-Rock Political Moment From Korn," The Range, Dec. 10).
We launched Project White House 2012 (aka Project White House: Electoral Boogaloo) two weeks ago, and now we have a dedicated webpage recapping all of the latest news on the Arizona presidential primary front, including the candidates who have announced so far; the best homemade campaign ads; and, of course, a reminder that you should not come down to our offices as part of the race for the Tucson Weekly endorsement. (Seriously, please don't come by.) The shockingly easy-to-fill- out nomination form is on the page, too, so don't miss your opportunity to add "presidential candidate in the state of Arizona" to your résumé. This chance only arises every four years, after all.