The 10 Berkeleyside stories that garnered the most page-views this year ran the gamut from crime, misdeeds, a traffic fatality, racism, local elections, prefab building and food — the latter reporting on the closing, without warning, of two of Berkeley’s most popular food destinations.
The article that heads the list is about Eric Clanton, a former East Bay college philosophy professor and antifa sympathizer, who took a deal after being charged with four counts of felony assault with a deadly weapon during a Berkeley protest last year. Its popularity is partly a result of a level of interest in the 2017 Berkeley political clashes that reaches far beyond the confines of our city. Our coverage relating to the demonstrations and their key protagonists, whether on the far right or far left, is regularly picked up by national and international platforms with much larger reach than Berkeleyside, which drives up our traffic.
That the abrupt closures of the Elmwood Café and Ici ice cream stores made the top 10 is a testament to a passion locally for all things food-related. This is reflected in the loyal and enthusiastic reader base Berkeleyside enjoys for its restaurant and drinks coverage, and the fact that Nosh is our single most heavily trafficked landing page. Although we excluded opinion pieces from this list, one penned by TV host and comedian Kamau Bell, in which he discussed the Elmwood Café closure, would have comfortably made the ranking.
We were gratified that so many of you tuned in to our live local election coverage, the culmination of several weeks of reporting in the lead-up to Nov. 6. Given how compelling the mid-terms proved to be nationally, it was good to see that local representation is determined to be worth following too.
Our second-ranked story — an exclusive, investigative report on what was deemed to be a lack of judgment and possible ethical breach by a Berkeley city councilman — embodies all that we believe is important in terms of local journalism keeping the powerful accountable. If, as many argue, a country’s democracy relies on reporters being at city halls and school boards in towns across the nation, this carefully reported article demonstrates why.