As the clock begins on yet another year, SNEWS® thought we'd all enjoy a look back at what you, our readers, found to be the ten most compelling stories of 2011 -- the ones you clicked to read in the highest numbers. Some of the results may surprise you -- they did us.
First, on a solemn note, four of our most read stories in 2011 were 'In Memoriam' tributes to friends. We pray this trend of having to write too many obits in just one year does not continue. As for the other results, we certainly expected to see our eye-opening investigative coverage of the third party pro deal system near the top; but who could have imagined our investigative story on sunscreen from 2010 would also continue to be one of the most read stories in 2011? We’re very proud of our investigative efforts, and reader interest in our stories is proof you expect this type of reporting from us. We promise to keep delivering.
These are overall reader favorites by black-and-white numbers according to Google Analytics, but are your favorite reads on the top 10 list? If not, use our "Chat" function at the end of this report to let us and your colleagues know which stories moved, inspired or simply had you talking the most in 2011.
And, heck, maybe you missed a couple! Now’s the time to catch-up; just click the link (as an All Access Subscriber) to get shot directly to the story.
Among outdoor headlines, the top 10 most read stories for 2011 were (in descending order):
(April 12, 2011; By Michael Hodgson) The news of our friend Mark Fulton passing arrived like a punch to the gut on April 8. He succumbed to congestive heart failure due to a rare blood disease -- amyloidosis. We were down for the count, unable to do much more than send an email asking some of his many friends to share their thoughts about this wonderful man. Fulton was just 55 years young.
2. Is Wallenfels out at Timbuk2?
(April 1, 2011; By Michael Hodgson)Many of you fell for our April Fool's joke. In what appears to be the first sign that the bloom is off the rose that brought Mike Wallenfels from Mountain Hardwear to Timbuk2 in 2009, SNEWS® has learned that efforts are underway by company representatives to replace Wallenfels with Dharma.
3. Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2011: SNEWS BOB Awards
(August 17, 2011; By Robin Enright) The creativity and innovation at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market didn’t stop at gear and apparel, but carried over into booth design and visual merchandising. As a result, the SNEWS® team was happily challenged in deciding winners of the coveted BOB (Best of Booth) awards. Visual merchandising is subjective, but excellence can be uncovered when answering the questions: “Did this booth catch my eye and make me slow my feet? If so, why?” Creativity, color, lighting, and the telling of brand story are always at the heart of the SNEWS BOB awards at Outdoor Retailer, but may not be immediately obvious to the casual observer and this story explains who we chose and why.
4. In memoriam: Holger Bismann, general manager of Patagonia Europe and avid cyclist
(October 21, 2011; By Ana Trujillo) On Oct. 15, 2011 Holger Bismann, the general manager of Patagonia Europe, died at a hospital near Munich, surrounded by his wife, Christelle Bismann, and two daughters, Helena Bismann and Johanna Bismann. He was 50.
5. Alpine Experience climbing buyer feared dead on Rainier
(June 15, 2011; By David Clucas) The search on Mount Rainier for a stranded climber and outdoor retail buyer was suspended late June 14 due to weather and signs that Rob Plankers may have perished in a slide or fall.
(April 7, 2011; By Michael Hodgson) Paul Marsh, a legendary industry rep who has worked for Patagonia, Marmot, Moonstone, Danner, Asolo, Layers, Gramicci, GoLite, Bula, Princeton Tec, Chaco, and more, passed away suddenly April 2 after his wife took him to the hospital with breathing problems. He was 65. Though he had been wrestling with health problems recently, he just thought he had the flu one of his friends shared. It was much worse, and he died of sepsis later that night.
7. SNEWS® View: Third Party Pro Deal in need of immediate repair
(March 11, 2011; By Michael Hodgson)
After a four-month investigation into the state of the third-party pro-deal system, which retailers have alleged is spinning out of control and needs immediate reform, SNEWS finds a broken system, albeit one that is fixable. You owe it to your business to read this.
8. Getting burned - resources: SNEWS offers summaries of FDA actions on sunscreen, ingredients and resources
(May 31, 2010; By Therese Iknoian)
What SNEWS found in our exclusive, in-depth, three-part investigation into the world of sunscreen, FDA oversight, marketing and manufacturing that ran May 26 (part 1), May 28 (part 2) and May 31 (part 3) stunned us: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which oversees over-the-counter drugs including sunscreen, has been unable to pass some of the most basic regulations for 32 years since it first broached the topic of sunscreen. Meanwhile, we are all left confused about what we should know, use, ask or even believe. Forget the risk of early skin aging and wrinkles. The dangers are in the risk of deadly melanoma cancer. Below, we offer some additional information to help in your education to protect your customers and yourself.
9. Whatever happened to valuing time away from work?
(July 4, 2011; By Michael Hodgson) It's July 4 and I'm not at work. It's Independence Day -- both for the country and for me. This long weekend represents three days of not answering my email, checking into the office, opening my laptop, or otherwise thinking about work.
10. Job listing on SNEWS was a scam, as are all the rest seeking ‘secret consumers’
(October 24, 2011; By Michael Hodgson)It seemed like a good opportunity for Randy Smith to land a job. A SNEWS® subscriber, Smith responded to an Outdoor Industry Jobs listing posted on the SNEWS job site seeking a "Secret Shopper" with relevant market research experience. Smith was not alone in responding as SNEWS learned, and this is a scam. We have the details.