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LWC’s Top 12 most-read stories of 2021

It was another amazing year of coverage for LiveWire Calgary. We endeavour to create as much original content as we can, telling stories no one else covers. While there’s some crossover here with mainstream media outlets, our top stories are ones found here at LWC.

Here are the top stories of 2021:

  1. Tesla Driver speeding ticket pits on board data against Calgary police officer estimate

Human versus computer in this April 2021 story where Calgarian Scott McKay got an estimated speeding ticket from a Calgary police officer. The sticking point:  McKay’s Tesla has an onboard computer that sends data back to the Tesla system, tracking all vehicle data points.   He said it shows that he wasn’t doing the estimated speed of 120 km/h that the officer ticketed him for.

McKay has since been able to gather a swath of data through discovery as he plans to continue the fight in court.

2. ‘Lies are not opinion’: Mayor Nenshi slams area reeve for Covid-19 statement

Former Mayor Naheed Nenshi didn’t just glide into post-mayoral life. In this story, the mayor blasted Foothills County Reeve Suzanne Oel for making such claims as the COVID-19 vaccine was experimental, and that it doesn’t prevent infection or transmission.  Oel, who made the comments at a Calgary Metropolitan Region Board meeting, said a diversity of views was important.

“Yes, we have to have a diversity of views, we don’t have a diversity of BS like that,” the mayor responded.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi during a Calgary Metropolitan Region Board in September 2021. YOUTUBE SCREENSHOT

3. Calgary Election 2021: Candidates list – Mayor, Ward 1-14

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. It was a big Calgary election year, with several open seats up for grabs. This initially started off as a data sheet by Calgary civic advocate Jeremy Zhao. A partnership turned it into a conduit where Calgary voters could get information on each of the candidates.

While we set a lofty goal to write a story on all candidates, we ended up landing just over 80 interviews and stories to provide Calgary with solid election information.

4. High utility rates and cold weather are costing Calgarians

Another story from April saw cold weather and rising heating costs collide. One Calgary resident we talked to saw a spike in her bill. Enmax said that the spike in April bills was likely due to corrected usage from a deep freeze in February.

Later in the year, Aryn Toombs did a piece on how Calgarians could save hundreds by moving to a fixed contract for both electricity and heating.

5. Our membership page?

We were as intrigued as you are about this one. Thousands of Calgarians got curious about how they could support quality local journalism. Membership is going to be a major focus for 2022 as we chart the path to further managed growth. Join in to Know More Stuff and take advantage of all of the exclusive content members enjoy.

6. Zane Novak joins Calgary’s 2021 race for mayor

The bottom half of our most-read stories for 2021 take a decidedly political focus (mostly). In this one, we introduce Calgary to mayoral candidate Zane Novak. Novak made his announcement fairly early and many Calgarians didn’t know much about him. We think that curiosity about mayoral candidates drove thousands to look into this candidate.

7. New blueprint for Calgary: Grace Yan announces run for mayor

Chalk curiosity up to another mayoral candidate, Grace Yan. The commercial real-estate broker was one of the other mayoral candidates to try and mount a challenge to the top three candidates: Jyoti Gondek, Jeromy Farkas and Jeff Davison.

8. Third-party advertiser goes undisclosed to Calgarians for six weeks

The emergence of this story during the Calgary election may have stunted the rise of former Ward 6 Coun. Jeff Davison to the top of the mayor’s race.  The third-party advertiser Calgary Tomorrow initially asked to not be disclosed to the public.  That TPA was later tied to most of Davison’s campaign marketing material and other fundraising events.

9. Huge responsibility’: David Spence reflects on 40 years of broadcasting

What makes this story an interesting entrant into our top 12 of 2021 is that the story was done in the summer of 2019. That’s when famed Calgary meteorologist David Spence celebrated 40 years in the TV weather business.  What breathed new life into the story was that Spence retired in 2021 and people were curious about the man that had been delivering forecasts into their home for the better part of four decades.

10. Proposed licensing may put an end to chicken flap in Calgary

After years of pecking away at the issue, Calgary decided to move ahead with the licensing of backyard chickens.

11. Calgary Votes 2021: Live election results

This story in itself is pretty straightforward. For LiveWire Calgary as a local media player, it held a few milestones.  It was our first municipal election (we intend to be around for the next one, too!).  It was also one of the first forays for our new multi-talented, reporting, visual, data guru, Aryn Toombs.  Aryn has brought several new dimensions to LiveWire Calgary that we just didn’t have before.   This was also our first test of live broadcast capabilities, as we did a three hour (or more) live show the night of the election.  While it was just a page to get results for many, for LWC it was a major step ahead in our local news production.

12. Quiz: Calgary’s plain language policy – how many acronyms do you know?

City administration, councillors and sometimes even the media get accused of using too many acronyms when explaining certain parts of the civic system.  That prompted another call for all parties to stop using these acronyms and use plain language.  We decided to have some fun with it and create a quiz to see how many Calgarians knew the oft-used acronyms at the city. It’s as fun today as it was nearly one year ago! Former Ward 11 Coun. Jeromy Farkas even produced a video around taking our quiz.

That’s it! Another fun-filled year of stories that hundreds of thousands of Calgarians viewed last year. We look forward to digging up more great content for you in 2022.