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Friday, August 23, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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The Spokesman-Review’s most-read online stories of 2018

Washington State Cougars wide receiver Kyle Sweet (17) wore a "3" on his arm during warmups in honor of quarterback Tyler Hilinski before the first half of the 2018 Alamo Bowl on Friday, December 28, 2018. Local tragedies often lead the news and Hilinski’s death was a case in point. The story was among The Spokesman-Review’s most read online in 2018. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Washington State Cougars wide receiver Kyle Sweet (17) wore a "3" on his arm during warmups in honor of quarterback Tyler Hilinski before the first half of the 2018 Alamo Bowl on Friday, December 28, 2018. Local tragedies often lead the news and Hilinski’s death was a case in point. The story was among The Spokesman-Review’s most read online in 2018. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
From staff reports

Local tragedies often attract the most online readers of The Spokesman-Review.

However, readers also gravitate to anything related to the Washington State football team and the Gonzaga men’s basketball team.

This year was no different. The most read online stories included the suicides of Brandon Hix, an Idaho state representative and WSU quarterback Tyler Hilinski.

The high readership reflects not just the devastating news, but the community’s struggle to come to terms with the seriousness and anguish of mental health. The Spokesman-Review does not routinely publish stories about people who take their own lives.

There were also stories of wonderment and the seemingly arcane that collected online readership.

The new look of Washington driver’s licenses earned wide readership of an issue that affects most everybody as the state found a way to comply with the federal Real ID law.

And never underestimate the popularity of reading about biologists capturing a massive cougar. The story included this choice description: “The cat was so muscular the first tranquilizer dart shot at him popped out as the cat flexed its muscles.”

Washington state Rep. Matt Shea came under fire from political donors and critics alike for taking credit for a document titled “Biblical Basis for War.”

A September story that reported on a public forum between candidates for a state Supreme Court seat drew unexpectedly high readership. Many readers found the story about Steven Gonzalez and Nathan Choi in October and November after ballots dropped and voters were searching for information on this lightly reported race.

The dismissal of local rape charges against members of the Polish death metal band Decapitated drew predictably high online readership.

And sometimes stories get new life. That’s what happened with the delightful tale of former Eastern Washington University basketball player Austin McBroom and his family. The newspaper first reported on this YouTube sensation in June 2017. But took off again this year and moved its way into our top web stories list, netting tens of thousands of readers.

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