SALT LAKE CITY — The stories the KSL News staff considered the most important of 2011 are not necessarily the stories our ksl.com readers clicked on the most. Get ready. Here comes the Top 10 Most Viewed Stories of 2011.
10. The 10th most viewed story on ksl.com could have turned tragic. But a 12-year-old Boy Scout, missing in Daggett County for nearly 24 hours was found alive and well. Young Jared Ropelato spent the night in a lean-to he build to stay warm.
9. Number 9 featured another story of human perseverance, as dozens of bystanders in Logan saved motorcyclist's life. A nearby camera captured them pulling the man out from under a burning car.
"It's the average man being a hero, the Good Samaritan come to life," said Graydon Johns, ksl.com's news director.
8. The eighth most popular story revealed new evidence in the search for missing West Valley mother Susan Powell. Human remains were discovered in the west desert in September. By year's end, there's still no word on what that discovery means. The only person of interest in the case, Susan's husband, Josh Powell, remains free.
"(Readers) have a lot invested in that kind of story because they've been following it for so long," Johns explained.
7. No. 7 is all about the Utah Jazz. When tension mounted with his point guard, head coach Jerry Sloan resigned after 26 years of leading the team.
6. The sixth most popular story has do to with Utah's wacky weather. As spring flooding intensified, a levee broke in Weber County, flooding farmland and threatening more than a dozen homes east of the Great Salt Lake.
5. But it wasn't all hard news in the top 10. In May, Utah pop culture icon Marie Osmond remarried her first husband a second time. The wedding ended up as No. 5 on our list.
"That's a guaranteed smash hit on a local website like this," Johns said.
4. Another unusual pick came in fourth: A horse herpes outbreak forced rodeo queens in Davis County to trot around the arena with stick horses as their show ponies. Horse owners took precautions and contestants in the Sheriff's Mounted Posse Junior Queen Contest had to "cowgirl up" without their horses.
"That (story) went viral very, very quickly," Johns said. "Over a 48-hour span, it had almost a million page views — that's incredible."
3. The wind storm that walloped the Wasatch Front Dec. 1 landed at No. 3 on our list, and was the top-viewed local news story of 2011.
2. An international disaster grabbed ksl.com's No. 2 spot. In March, an 8.9 magnitude earthquake set off a tsunami that devastated Japan's eastern coast, destroying buildings, roadways and killing hundreds of people.
1. And the top viewed story on ksl.com for 2011: The British Royal wedding. On April 29, Catherine Middleton wed Prince William in the wedding of the century, so far, in front of some 2 billion witnesses worldwide.
In all, the ksl.com most viewed list is compiled of roughly 50 percent news stories and 50 percent feature stories. "That's not a surprise to me," Johns said. "Our audience is pretty well balanced."