The most-read news stories on The RiotACT in 2018 marked milestones and transitions and highlighted multiple transport issues – from buses and trams to Ubers.
Our articles kept readers informed as the Pierce’s Creek fire raged, while our police stories attracted strong readership.
But the big news as RiotACT continued to thrive, grow, and bring you independent journalism and analysis from respected contributors, was that Tim Gavel and Genevieve Jacobs had joined the team.
Ian Bushnell’s article about urban expansion rocketed into the top ten news stories not long after hitting the website in December. He reported that Chief Minister Andrew Barr had called time on suburban sprawls in the ACT, declaring that the era of establishing new suburbs cheaply is over and that the future of the town centres is high-rise.
Articles about transport proved popular with RiotACT readers in 2018, and Ian Bushnell’s piece about the unveiling of the ACT Government’s new public transport network, incorporating light rail, was no different.
The news that Xpresso services would be replaced – and that there would be trade-offs such as more bus changes, shorter routes, fewer bus stops and dedicated school services – was greeted less than enthusiastically by many readers.
It wasn’t just the proposed bus network that caused concern among Canberrans during the year. In one of many stories about the route for Stage 2 of light rail, Ian Bushnell reported that concern was mounting about the impact of the preferred route.
The route chosen by ACT Government deviates through the Parliamentary zone and would mean longer journey times, leading to questions about the impact on Southside commuters and the efficiency of the network.
Glynis Quinlan entered the top ten when she highlighted problems found during a survey of drivers working for Uber and other ride-share companies.
She reported that a Canberra Uber driver was asked for sexual favours, another was the subject of racist comments and another was left with large debts after being deactivated without the chance to respond to bad ratings from “difficult passengers”.
Lachlan Roberts covered several stories about men approaching students in the ACT. This story in September was accompanied by face-fits of the men who approached students in Banks and Wright. It came as ACT Policing announced the launch of a dedicated taskforce to handle the escalating number of incidents of men approaching children in the ACT.
In July, former ABC sports commentator Tim Gavel made a life-changing decision to move on from a role he’d held for almost 30 years.
We reported that Tim had traded in the microphone and would be adding his voice to the pages of The RiotACT, writing on all aspects of sport in the national capital, big and small.
In August, Glynis Quinlan reported on a viral Facebook video of a mob of about 20 kangaroos hopping at speed past a Deakin office, attracting 1.6 million views and 29,000 shares at the time of writing.
The number of kangaroos hopping through the heart of Canberra followed by the fun commentary provided by the videographer’s workmates added to the video’s slightly comic appeal.
Coming in at number three on the top ten news stories is another police report by Lachlan Roberts.
In September, he reported that a stolen car rolled at a McDonald’s drive-through in Belconnen in an unsuccessful attempt to evade police.
Our coverage of the Pierce’s Creek bushfire kept Canberrans informed about the latest developments as the uncontrolled blaze caused concern in early November.
This article from Ian Bushnell brought news that Tuggeranong residents were breathing a sigh of relief after a relentless air campaign combined with more benign conditions had kept the Pierce’s Creek bushfire at bay, providing hope that it could be contained over the next few days.
Coming in at number one news story in 2018, in a year when The RiotACT underwent significant growth, was the news that former ABC radio Mornings presenter Genevieve Jacobs was joining the team, developing a series of in-depth articles on key local issues that resonated with Canberrans.
In further exciting news, Region Media later announced that some of the most trusted and respected names in local media, including Genevieve Jacobs and Tim Gavel, had joined the group in senior leadership roles, with Genevieve as Group Editor.
We look forward to bringing you more on all things Canberra from Genevieve, Tim and The RiotACT team in 2019.