Here are the 2020 stories that drew the largest audiences online

Guardsmen prepare to remove Bus 142 in June 2020. (Alaska National Guard Public Affairs)

Our site had millions of readers over the last year. Much of that audience was drawn by reporting which helped readers navigate changes to public life that came with the pandemic, as well as unique stories about Alaska life and politics. Our most-read stories bring back stand-out events from a year full of tumultuous news.

Here are the ten stories that drew the largest audiences

1. Helicopter removes ‘Into the Wild’ bus that lured Alaska travelers to their deaths

“An Army National Guard heavy-lift helicopter has removed the old Fairbanks city bus from the spot near Denali National Park where it once housed Christopher McCandless, the subject of the popular nonfiction book ‘Into the Wild.'”

2. Rescuers found lost Nunam Iqua children in a hole in the snow, huddled around the youngest child

“Snowmaching along the Black River, Simon scanned the white landscape for any minute detail, like he’s been trained to do. A hundred yards away, on the highest snowdrift, he saw something he said was suspicious.”

Kids on the basketball court in Nunam Iqua. (Korie Hickel)

3. Alaska Senator Murkowski said Friday she would not vote for a justice ahead of Inauguration Day

“Shortly before the announcement that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died Friday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski said in an interview that if she was presented with a vacancy on the court, she would not vote to confirm a nominee before the election.”

(In a reversal, Murkowski did vote to confirm Justice Amy Coney Barrett on Oct. 26, 2020.)

4. Business bruised by COVID-19? SBA may have a $10,000 grant for you. 

“The Small Business Administration says it’s ready to make immediate “loan advances” of up to $10,000 to companies hurt by the coronavirus. But you don’t have to be a traditional company, and this is a “loan” you won’t have to pay back.”

A black and red tender with a white cabin with a hilly spruce tree forest in the background
Scandies Rose (KMXT)

5. When the Scandies Rose sunk west of Kodiak, he survived. Now he’s grappling with losing his crewmates.

“Dean Gribble describes it as a “whirlwind” — everything that happened between 10 p.m. on Dec. 31, 2019, when the crew hit the mayday button, and 2 a.m. on New Year’s Day, when he and Lawler were rescued by a U.S. Coast Guard swimmer.”

6. Alaska US Senate race: Gross trails Sullivan but says math is in his favor

“U.S. Senate candidate Al Gross is far behind in the votes counted so far, but his campaign claims he can still beat Republican incumbent Dan Sullivan.”

(Gross eventually conceded to Sen. Sullivan, who won his second term with around 54% of the vote, compared to Gross’ 41%.)

7. Here’s why Alaska is the slowest in the nation when it comes to vote counting

“Questions, confusion and speculation about Alaska’s vote-counting process have erupted as state officials wait to count more than 100,000 absentee and other ballots until next week — long after other U.S. states count the vast majority of their votes.”

people hold up signs that spell out "VOTE"
Volunteers and organizers with the Alaska Civic Engagement State (AKCES) Table gather on Election Day 2020 in Mountain View to remind residents to vote. AKCES is a nonpartisan group with 75 volunteers that have been showing up at the polls to support voter education and safety. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

8. State Senate approves $1,000 stimulus checks

“The Alaska Senate passed the state budget on Monday, including a $1,000 economic stimulus payment to everyone who received a permanent fund dividend last year.”

9. Fairbanks is now considered Alaska’s coronavirus ‘hot spot’

“Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Anne Zink, explained at a Monday evening press conference that calling Fairbanks a hot spot is about more than just the numbers. It’s based on things like the rate of infection among people who have not recently traveled or been in close contact with someone known to be infected, also known as community transmission, as well as where the disease is spreading in the city.”

10. The state has revised its two-week quarantine requirement. Here’s what we know about the changes.

“For more than two months, Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration required people traveling to Alaska from out of state to quarantine for two weeks once they got here. But, that changed Saturday, June 6.”

A traveler off of a flight from Seattle makes his way through a COVID-19 screening line at Juneau International Airport on June 26, 2020. (Jeremy Hsieh/KTOO)
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