2012 in review

December 31, 2012

Etc.

2012 was an interesting year for “Fountain’s Pen.”

On the one hand, I wrote 15 original posts in 2012, the fewest per calendar year since I began the blog in the fall of 2010. But since I was in the first year of a new job and learning a new kind of reporting during that time, I’m not going to knock myself too hard about that.

However, I expanded the blog into some new areas and formats during 2012, to mostly good effect, including its first foray into music criticism, coverage of the implosion of a Houston architectural icon and two photo essays on street festivals (see below).

And I continued to follow a single, multifaceted legal story through the courts, scooping many mainstream media outlets along the way. Related to that, I hit the road a couple of times this year to cover hearings in Austin and New Orleans. The latter trip afforded me the opportunity to visit that city’s Lower Ninth Ward, still stricken from 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, resulting in one of my very best posts.

So here are the blog’s top 10 posts of the year in terms of individual views, including publishing date and some commentary. You’ll notice that many of the posts were published earlier than 2012.

1. Bygone bylines, July 2012 — This post, about editorial changes at a newspaper I once worked for, quickly rose to the position of second-most-viewed post since the blog’s inception. Make of that what you will. It also accounted for the year’s busiest day for the blog (and the second-busiest in its history), on July 16.

2. Astrophysicist star Neil deGrasse Tyson calls for Mars mission, April 2011 —  This post is another of the blog’s top click-getters, which I primarily attribute to the innate coolness of both Dr. Neil and the space program. Also, going by search results, a lot of people are interested in where Tyson bought his Saturn V tie. (Last September, I marked my birthday by hearing a talk by legendary NASA flight director Gene Kranz, which I write about here.)

3. A walk in the Lower Ninth Ward, October 2012 — As I mentioned, this is one of my favorite posts since I began the blog. Seeing firsthand this still-devastated but slowly recovering community was a deeply moving experience.

4. Santorum takes on JFK, a half-century later, September 2010 — One of my earliest posts, about a speech in Houston by the former Pennsylvania senator, gained new cachet with Santorum’s unexpectedly strong showing in the Republican presidential primaries.

5. Anthony Graves and his “angel” recount fight for freedom, February 2011 — The story of Texas Death Row exoneree Graves has gained international attention since his release from prison after 18 years. This post, which was once linked to by a piece in the online Slate magazine, remains the blog’s most viewed.

6. Appeals court hears arguments in Burke case, March 2012 — One of several posts I wrote this year on the ongoing court cases stemming from a 2007 incident in Beaumont, Texas, which I first covered as a newspaper reporter there. My first coverage of a hearing at the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

7. WikiLeaks’ Assange: Journalist, Source, Activist or Peter Pan?, January 2012 — This post covers a fascinating discussion of the mercurial Assange, as well as the intersection of such organizations, the media and law enforcement in a rapidly evolving digital age.

8. ‘Zero Tolerance’ policy questioned in Newman appeal arguments, February 2012 — Another post on the Beaumont case. I was able to cover this New Orleans hearing virtually, by listening to a recording of the arguments posted online. Later, I covered a hearing there in person (see below).

9. Viva Via Colori, November 2012 — My first attempt at a photo essay for the blog. The photos turned out well, but I need to work on the formatting a bit. A few weeks later, I tried it again with What the Dickens?

10. Attorneys for Burke, Guedry ask appeals court to dismiss Newman case, October 2012 — Another post on the Beaumont case, my first coverage of a hearing at the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

Here’s to more good blogging in 2013. Namaste.

Copyright © 2012 Ken Fountain. All rights reserved.

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About Ken Fountain

I'm a journalist and writer in Houston, Texas. My areas of specialty include law and courts, local government and industry and environmental issues. You can follow me on Twitter at @twitter.com/kenfountain and email me at kenfountain1 (at) gmail (dot) com.

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