Readers visit our desktop and mobile sites for countless reasons. Often, they're searching our events database for something to do, or they're using our Drinkspotter web app to find a happy hour special. For the past few years, for example, thousands of people have clicked on Inlander.com just to learn how to pronounce rapper Macklemore's name (from a story we posted in 2013). The point is, the Inlander plays many roles — as a source of news and, sometimes, even inspiration (see this week's poetry selections) — but if you examined the most clicked-on stories of 2016*, you could draw certain conclusions. The pipeline protest in North Dakota resonated with people. So did the story of a teenager who worked as a drug informant for the Idaho State Police. Oh, and don't forget about cats and Dolly Parton!
1. DAKOTA PROTESTS Contributor Tara Dowd's column (9/8/16), "To Kill the Black Snake," looked at the Standing Rock protesters fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline, also known as the black snake. Her analysis was read by people around the globe.
2. DRUG INFORMANT In "Unfinished Business" (11/17/16), staff reporter Mitch Ryals exposed how the Idaho State Police employed a 19-year-old Coeur d'Alene kid as a drug informant and how, 11 days later, the teenager was dead.
3. CATS In January (1/13/16), calendar editor Chey Scott broke news about a huge cat show, the Evergreen Cat Fanciers' weekend-long On Safari show, coming to town.
4. CONCERTS Music editor Laura Johnson delighted readers (3/28/16) with news that Dolly Parton and Duran Duran were joining Northern Quest Resort & Casino's summer lineup.
5. HOUSE FLIPPING Calendar editor Chey Scott had a story (4/15/16) about a South Perry home being featured in an HGTV pilot episode.
6. FATALITY In "Lights and Siren" (6/2/16), staff reporter Mitch Ryals examines the death of Ryan Holyk, a 15-year-old killed in Spokane Valley when he crossed paths with a speeding sheriff's deputy.
7. WOLVES Chey Scott's short story about a wolf captured on camera on Mount Spokane (8/5/16) tapped into the ongoing debate about reintroducing wolves in the Northwest.
8. EDUCATION In "A Blind Eye" (8/11/16), education reporter Wilson Criscione explored a brawl at a WSU house party that involved players from the university's football team.
9. HISTORY News that the Ice Storm of '96 (11/21/16, by Chey Scott) was turning 20 got readers thinking about the historic weather event that crippled the Inland Northwest.
10. CRIME In "Stealing Washington" (3/3/16), news reporters Daniel Walters and Mitch Ryals examined the quirks, loopholes and screw-ups that give Washington state the highest property crime rate in the nation. ♦
* Note: For the purposes of this Top 10 list, we focused on traffic to our mobile website; however, people who visited Inlander.com from their computers, rather than phones, generally liked the same stories.