Year-In-Review: The 10 Most Popular Oklahoma News Stories On News9.com For 2018


Monday, December 31st 2018, 12:48 pm
By: News 9


It's a tradition as old as time across newsrooms far and wide, a look back at the top stories of the year gone by.

In our case, we've crunched the numbers from our Google Analytics data and counted all the page views we could count. We also have limited this list to Oklahoma stories, giving you a sense of what the data tells us about the stories most important to you.

We'd love to hear from you in the comments below as to the stories you thought were most important in 2018 and what you'd like to see covered or covered more in 2019.

No. 1 story: Louie's shooting

A mother and daughter were shot at a popular restaurant on Lake Hefner in northwest Oklahoma City on May 24.

Story link: 2 Shot, At Least 1 Dead In Shooting At Louie's On Lake Hefner

News 9's Christy Lewis later talked with good Samaritan Bryan Whittle about what happened that night at Louie's and his gratitude to Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater for ruling the deadly self-defense shooting of suspect Alexander Tilghman as justified.

 

No. 2 story: Norman school bus crash in Texas

A Norman school bus taking students to San Antonio was involved in a rollover crash on September 29. Students from Cleveland Elementary School were headed to Sea World when the bus driver lost control near an airport in Lampasas, Texas.

Story Link: Norman School Bus Involved In Rollover Crash In Lampasas, Texas

The story took another turn in early December when the school district had to take parents to court in an administrative move. Norman Public Schools has $1 million in insurance to pay out for medical bills for everyone injured. And while that's the maximum limit under Oklahoma law, it won't be enough to cover everyone involved.

The lawsuit was a move to force parents to gather and work with the district on distributing those funds. 

News 9's Sylvia Corkill talked to Norman parent Leslie Draper about the aftermath of the wreck on her family, especially her daughter, Piper. 


No. 3 story: Medical marijuana becomes legal in Oklahoma

When we talk about digital content in the newsroom, it is often divided between what does well on the News 9 website and app and what does well on social. In 2018, no other story achieved as highly (forgive the pun) on both as Oklahoma voters deciding that medical marijuana should become legal in the Sooner State.

Stories before the vote did well as have stories since the decision, especially as it pertains to how the new law and subsequent rules will be implemented across the state. However, confusion about those rules produced the most popular medical marijuana story of the year on News9.com.

An Oklahoma woman was charged with marijuana possession, despite having a valid medical marijuana license. Regina Gist had her first appearance in Adair County court Tuesday, October 16. (Editor's Note: District Attorney Jack Thorp eventually dismissed the charge.)

Story Link: Oklahoma Woman Charged With Possession, Despite Having Medical Marijuana License


In late September, Oklahoma City's city council passed an ordinance to reduce municipal penalties concerning marijuana. This was the second most-popular medical marijuana story of the year on News9.com.

No. 4 story: Bricktown Canal accident

One man was electrocuted after falling into the Bricktown canal in downtown Oklahoma City in late September. Fire officials said the victim tripped over a light pole and fell into the canal near the 100 block of South Mickey Mantle Drive. While trying to get out, police said the man grabbed exposed wires from the lamp.

Story Link: 2 Adults Shocked After Falling Into Bricktown Canal

Wesley Seely was killed, but there was a hero nearby who tried to save him. Brandon Gann jumped in to help Seely, but he was shocked, too, and stayed under for several minutes. Gann was in the hospital for several weeks, coming in and out of a coma.

Nearly a month after the accident, News 9's Caleigh Bourgeois talked to Taylor Gann, Brandon's wife. They had gotten married less than 24 hours before the canal accident.


No. 5 story: No 'Horns Down'

University of Oklahoma football is always a big deal in the Sooner State, but the 2018 season was quite the drama. The Sooners got off to a fast start, and their two-sport star quarterback, Kyler Murray, won the university's second-consecutive Heisman trophy. OU even made it to the College Football Playoff for the second-straight year and third in the past four.

You have to know that a couple of Sooners stories are going to make the Top 10.

In this case, it was the news that Big 12 officials had told head coach Lincoln Riley that Sooners players couldn't do the 'Horns Down' when celebrating big plays in the Big 12 championship. Oklahoma's only regular-season loss came to Texas in October, 48-45, but the Sooners exacted revenge, 39-27, in Dallas to win another conference title.

Story Link:  Big 12 Conference Tells Sooners No 'Horns Down'

In an unrelated story but also popular on News9.com, Riley spent some time with a kiddo at the Children's Center in Bethany. If you're looking to close out your 2018 with a smile, this is the video to watch!


No. 6 story: Busy at the Biltmore Hotel 

The discovery of a woman stabbed to death at an Oklahoma City hotel led to another discovery: that Oklahoma City police responded to nearly 400 emergency calls in 2018 at the Biltmore Hotel near Interstate 40 and Meridian Avenue.

Story Link: OCPD Says Hundreds Of 911 Calls, Including Woman's Murder At OKC Hotel

While detectives investigated the only murder of the year at the hotel, police said it can be a dangerous area. Disturbances at the hotel lead the list, followed by domestic situations, thefts, car thefts and check the welfare calls. The 2018 month with the most calls was May, with 46 emergency calls made by the public.


No. 7 story: Oklahoma's new alcohol laws

If somebody would have told the average Oklahoman ten years ago that medical marijuana would soon be legal and high-point beer readily available at area grocery stores, how quickly would you have laughed them out of the room? But in 2018, both happened.

As in the case of medical marijuana, the new alcohol laws in Oklahoma came with their own questions, concerns and new rules. For example, everybody who sells high-point beer and liquor in Oklahoma will have to be at least 18 years old and have a liquor license. This includes both convenience store and grocery store employees.

Story Link: New Age Limits To Sell Strong Beer, Wine In Oklahoma

Then when October 1 came around, the question on every Oklahoman's mind was: when can we buy our wine? News 9's Bonnie Campo had the answers:


No. 8 story: October tornado Outbreak

There's not a year that goes by in Oklahoma that doesn't have a few days like we had on October 9. Severe storms started spawning funnels during the daily commute. What made this day's weather unique for Oklahoma is that the tornado outbreak happened during the morning commute.

Story Link: Preliminary Reports Show 8 Tornadoes Touched Down In Central Oklahoma

Watch our team coverage from the noon newscast that day featuring News 9 reporters Ashley Holden, Chris Gilmore, Aaron Brilbeck and Jennifer Pierce

 

No. 9 story: Mike Stoops fired as OU's defensive coordinator

Even with a repeat appearance in the College Football Playoff, the 2018 Oklahoma Sooners campaign was fraught with frustration for fans who wanted to see the team play a better, more aggressive brand of defense. After OU gave up 48 points to Texas, that frustration was met with action.

Long-time defensive coordinator Mike Stoops was fired by head coach Lincoln Riley.

Story Link: Mike Stoops Out As Defensive Coordinator For OU

Ruffin McNeill was given the defensive reins on an interim basis, and the results weren't any better, giving up 46 points to Texas Tech, 47 to Oklahoma State, 40 to Kansas and 56 to West Virginia. However, the resilient, gritty Sooners managed to win every game and even improved defensively in a Big 12 title win over Texas and for three quarters against Alabama.

Oh, if not for that first quarter.

No. 10 story: Local vet helps tortured dog

A Lawton family got good news at the hand of an Oklahoma City veterinarian who agreed to cover the expenses for a young dachshund named Sprocket who was tortured by a child. The brutal attack was caught on video back in October.

Story Link: Local Vet Covers Surgery Costs For Lawton Dog Tortured By Child

What was your favorite story from News 9 this year? Tell us in the comments below.