2020: A Year Like No Other For Local News, Including NH Patch

·5 min read

CONCORD, NH — Goodbye 2020. We cannot say that we hardly knew you because you made your mark on all of us and will for generations to come.

At Patch in New Hampshire, it was a historic year for audience, stories, reader comments and engagement, too, on the 12 news and community websites covering Amherst, Bedford, Concord, Exeter, Hampton, Londonderry, Merrimack, Milford, Nashua, North Hampton, Portsmouth, Salem, and Windham. Thousands of stories were published which led to more than 23.5 million page views on our sites as of Dec. 30 — a crazy amount of page views and 6.8 million more than 2019, which was our previous best year. We had help getting there from our news partners Jeffrey Hastings and InDepthNH.org with assistance from NEWSCAM 603. Late this year, we added a third news partner, NH Journal, to provide even more content to Patch readers in New Hampshire.

Not surprisingly, the coronavirus and COVID-19 pandemic dominated headlines. But there were other stories, too, that were popular with readers. Some of my personal favorites for 2020 that did not get into the Top 10 include …

'Welcome To Hell': Concord Homeless Camp Growth Raises Concerns, a Patch exclusive, looked into the homeless problem in the city, a subject matter with subsets that I had hoped to do more work exploring this year but will in 2021.

Both Hundreds Of Votes Shift At Windham Recount — For Reasons Unknown and Windham Democrat Raises Questions About NH's AccuVote Machines looked at the unexplained weirdness surrounding the recount of a state representative race in the southern New Hampshire town that mirror some of the stories in the non-mainstream press concerning voting machine insecurity and suspected election fraud. Even with paper ballots that were recounted, there is no explanation for the divergence in these vote tallies. And this issue has yet to be resolved.

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There were other political stories, too, in 2020, including two exclusives to Patch: NH U.S. Senate Candidate Arrested For DUI In 1995 In Colorado and Senate Candidate Accused Of Domestic Incident In Colorado: Doc. I also liked this one that went deeper into some of the kinda phony arguments some candidates make about "dark money" in political campaigns.

Another Patch exclusive was Concord Second Start School Student Fired Gun At Educator: Update, which looked at one of the first school shootings in New Hampshire in decades. At the time of the shooting, many readers were critical of Patch's coverage — with some claiming we were lying about what we knew happened inside the school before a student took their own life. The reality of the incident almost went unacknowledged had Patch (and whistleblowers) not pressed investigators to confirm it was officially a "school shooting" before it also became a suicide.

While the Primo "Howie" Leung teacher-student rape case was primarily a 2019 story, there was more fallout in 2020, including Concord High School Principal Tom Sica surrendering his education credentials and this analysis piece that was an exclusive to Patch: Loose Ends Linger Throughout Concord School District Leung Report. It should be noted that many of these loose ends around the investigation remain. It is unfortunate the school board and district have not pressed the investigator for more information to truly get to the bottom of who knew what and when — and why some of them are still employed.

And how about this? The other side of the pandemic — how people come together for others: Salem First Responder Gets Birthday Parade: Watch

There were shootings, fires, crashes, and other things that are too numerous to mention.

Like we have done in past years, Patch asked readers to guess what the most-read stories of the year were. See if your guesses match the results!

So, drumroll please, here are the Top 10 most-read stories for 2020:

  1. NH Woman Accused Of Beheading Lover At Behest Of Husband: Nearly 100,000 people read this story covering one of the most gruesome crime cases of 2020 in New Hampshire.

  2. Shooting Reported At Manchester Walmart; Cops Seek Witnesses: Tens of thousands of readers checked out this post by Hastings in May.

  3. Update: Concord Teen, Missing Since Saturday, Found By Police: This missing teen story out of Concord earlier this summer had a happy ending and garnered more than 51,000 shares on Facebook.

  4. Market Basket Reducing Hours Due To Coronavirus: Patch was first to report this story and more than 61,000 people read it showing how popular Market Basket is in Concord and the state.

  5. NH Coronavirus: State Of Emergency Extended 21 More Days: More than 50,000 people read this update from April.

  6. Coronavirus Diagnosis Confirmed At Bedford Business Park: Early on in the pandemic, when a handful not thousands of people were infected, a note posted on a business door would turn into concern for tens of thousands of readers.

  7. Coronavirus Prompts NH Governor To Issue 'Stay At Home' Order: More than 55,000 people read about the state's stay at home order, issued early in the pandemic.

  8. Man Found in Merrimack River Identified As Missing Manchester Man: There were a lot of water rescues and bodies found along and in the mighty Merrimack in 2020.

  9. No Fair, No Fried Dough, No Animals, No Rides — After 143 Years: The cancelation of the Deerfield Fair upset many readers. This story was shared on Facebook more than 24,000 times.

  10. Witnesses Sought After Fatal Crash On Route 106 In Concord: Another story first reported on Patch, a horrific fatal crash at the Concord line with Loudon that killed a young man and left another with very serious injuries.

As always, thank you, Patch readers, for your time, tips, ads, comments, contributions, and more. See you again in 2021.

Got a news tip? Send it to tony.schinella@patch.com. View videos on Tony Schinella's YouTube.com channel or Rumble.com channel.

This article originally appeared on the Concord Patch

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