What stories did visitors to our Web site think were most important this year?
Well, depends on how you measure it. We surveyed visitors to our Web site starting Dec. 18, and offered 22 story choices, asking them to pick as many as 10 stories they found most important. The stories named most often by about 300 survey respondents:
1. NIU football team to play in Orange Bowl (83 percent).
2. Jack D. McCullough convicted of 1957 kidnapping and murder of Maria Ridulph (79 percent).
3. NIU Police Chief Don Grady and a lieutenant placed on leave after judge finds police hid evidence (65 percent).
4. “Coffee fund” investigation leads to charges against nine NIU employees (62 percent).
5. Worst drought in decades leaves DeKalb County fields parched (59 percent).
6. NIU Pike pledge David Bogenberger dies at party; 22 frat members charged (57 percent).
7. Republican Clay Campbell is unseated as state's attorney by Democrat Richard Schmack (49 percent).
8. Cole Hall reopens in January for classes for first time since 2008 shooting (48 percent).
9. "Mr. Pumpkin" Wally Thurow, credited with starting Pumpkin Fest, dies on Feb. 3. (45 percent).
10. NIU earns right to host IHSA state football championships every other year (32 percent).
Here are the headlines from the 10 stories that were most viewed on our website in 2012, and the date they appeared:
1. Drug sweep nets 22 of 30 targets, Feb. 24.
2. NIU probes existence of "coffee fund", Aug. 4.
3. NIU student found dead in Pike house, Nov. 2.
4. McCullough sentenced to life in prison, Dec. 10.
5. 9 charged in NIU "coffee fund" investigation, Oct. 17.
6. Campbell wants investigation of NIU P.D., Nov. 5.
7. NIU, ex-administrators reach settlements, Aug. 15.
8. Sycamore child porn suspect found dead, Feb. 3.
9. Nine arrest warrants in "coffee fund" case, Oct. 16.
10. NIU police chief, lieutenant on leave over mishandled evidence, Nov. 10.