What You Read In 2015
Hello from 2016 — a year in which the U.S. picks some new leaders, the Cubs finally win a World Series and we look back on the most-read posts from WBAA.org in 2015.*
*Note: at least two of these three things will happen.
So, in backwards-countdown fashion, here are the top ten posts that you, the public radio website viewer, read, shared, sneered at, consumed, tweeted, Facebooked, Insta-Snap-Vine-thingyed, et cetera in the last 12 months:
#10: A Ride Aboard The ‘New’ Hoosier State Line (Sept 16)
This story, from Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Barbara Brosher, tells a little about the changes made when the Hoosier State Line transitioned to control by Iowa Pacific Holdings from Amtrak. We plan to update this story in 2016.
#9: Amazon Opening Brings Questions Of Space Use, Competition (February 25)
When he was governor, Mitch Daniels frequently espoused his belief in the free market — that government shouldn’t “picks winners and losers.” So when Purdue signed on with Amazon to operate two bookstores on campus (even though there’s a bookstore just off campus that’s been there for decades), wasn’t the President going against his previous statement? Also, the student body president says the building in which one Amazon store is located was supposed to be for student groups, not e-commerce.
#8: Monthly Conversation With Mitch Daniels: Tuition Freeze And Raises (May 20)
Purdue, as expected, announced a fourth year of tuition freezes in 2015. All the while, the University forked over an additional 3.5-percent for salary increases — as long as departments fell in line with President Mitch Daniels’ call to innovate. And there’s another topic tucked into this show that appears later on the list, too…
#7: Indiana E-Cigarette Regulations: Too Far Or Not Far Enough? (March 5)
Indiana and other states have struggled in recent years to keep legislation current with an exploding market for dangerous products. Previously it was bath salts and synthetic marijuana. In 2015, it was the rise of e-cigarettes and vaping liquids. But state lawmakers must now decide, product-by-product, which sales fall under which statutes — all while not making the law so vague that it’ll be struck down in court.
#6: Purdue Tenure Policy Could Change To Reflect Gallup Index (July 16)
2015 was the second year of the Gallup-Purdue Index, which attempts to measure what causes college grads to succeed in life and feel engaged in their communities. However, this story was the tip of the iceberg of a discussion that eventually led to a heated discussion about how professors achieve tenure at Purdues and some Purdue professors claiming the survey results were skewed and found only what Purdue officials wanted to find so they could make changes under the guise of a study.
#5: Christian Group Holding Its Conference In Indy Wants Notice Of LGBT Worshipers (July 6)
Despite the backlash over the state’s so-called religious freedom bill, a Christian group made a point to say it was coming to Indianapolis in an effort to show faith communities weren’t governed by hate and did welcome LGBTQ parishioners.
#4: Committee Approves Bill Creating Alternative Energy Fee (February 19)
This story, from IPBS Statehouse Reporter Brandon Smith, chronicled one of the less-heated issues of the 2015 session. Basically, consumers benefit if they can install solar panels, so lawmakers tried to find a way to make utility companies benefit, too.
#3:For Hoosier State Line, The Clock Is Running Even If New Trains Aren’t (July 8)
Want to know one of the big reasons WBAA hired Chris Morisse Vizza from the Journal and Courier? She kept beating me on stories — particularly about the Hoosier State Line. I worked a long time on this story, trying to balance quotes from multiple sides (INDOT, Amtrak, Iowa Pacific) who don’t seem to like each other very much. This story also produced this interview with Amtrak’s Marc Magliari, who wins the award for lowest percentage of questions directly answered in a WBAA Q&A.
#2: Worried About A Lawsuit From Hetero Couples, Purdue Nixing Same-sex Benefits (December 18)
This one came right at the end of the year, but blew away most other stories in terms of interest. Purdue is between a rock and a hard place. Sure they could legitimately be sued by heterosexual couples who think they deserve benefits even if they’re not married, but if you do this and you force people to marry to receive benefits, isn’t that tacit pressure to wed on behalf of a university that should take no stake in such matters?
#1: Purdue RFRA Response Differs From Other Colleges (April 1)
If this was meant to be an April Fool’s Day joke, it was a doozy. Many presidents of Indiana colleges penned letters condemning the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Most used their own names or spoke in the first person. But Purdue’s letter was signed “Office of the President.” Purdue officials expressed confusion about why there was such a hubbub about their letter diverging from the pack. After WBAA questioned them on it, the signature line and the headline on the website were changed.