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My Favorite Story: GLT's Staff Chooses 2018 Top Picks

Football players run
Jeff Smudde
GLT's Eric Stock reported on the impact of concussions on the popularity of youth football. Above, Ridgeview-Lexington plays El Paso-Gridley during a September game.

Sometimes our favorite thing isn’t the most popular thing. It’s special for a reason.

As 2018 draws to a close, we’re looking back on the year on WGLT.org with lists of our most-read stories of the year, our best photos, and the top local music you heard on GLT's Sound Ideas.

Beyond those picks, here are the favorite stories of 2018, as chosen by GLT’s staff:

Charlie Schlenker, news director
Favorite story: Lack Of Child Psychiatrists Poses Threat To McLean County Youth

“A tragic outcome for a young woman who waited and waited for aid while backlogs of patients and a lack of psychiatric care for young people combined to prevent help from getting to her. Mary Cullen's story shows large gaps remain even as behavioral health experts try to expand care in the Twin Cities.”

Pat Peterson, director of individual giving
Friday Night Lights Out: Football's Uncertain Future

“This story exemplifies everything I depend on public media to provide. Eric takes a national subject and brings it beautifully home to central Illinois. He brings all sides of the issue to light. The narrative online is rich and compelling. And most important to me: I learned A LOT. Which is why I am so passionate about excellent journalism. I always learn something. And the something I learn stays with me.” 

Program director Mike McCurdy chose the same story:

“I really liked this story because of the intersection between sports, small towns and schools, and the issue of athlete safety and concussions. Eric did an excellent job with this mini-documentary, and it told me that some officials still don't get that a concussion can have forever-implications. I also learned that small town football, something many with which many communities identify, may be going extinct.”

Jon Norton, music director and Morning Edition host
We Asked For Your Favorite Anthems. You Answered 'America'

“I love how the producers used four voices to show how the song touched them when they were coming of age in a turbulent time, and how the song still resonates in what many now consider similarly turbulent times.  It's probably difficult for young people today who think the current political climate is more toxic than ever that the United States was ripping at the seams when this song was released 50 years ago by some of the same issues we're grappling with today.”

Mia works on an art project
Credit Laura Kennedy / WGLT
A new grant to the Children's Discovery Museum allowed it to throw open the doors to let the kids go out and about to find new artistic experiences and spark a little creativity.

Melissa Libert, development director
New Partnership Inspires Creativity In Kids

“This piece hits on so many things I love about Bloomington-Normal: an innovative community partnership (this one between the Children’s Discovery Museum and University Galleries), some of the amazing resources we have for families and kids, and it also highlights a few of our fantastic female leaders. Laura captures it all and the perspective from the kids is so wonderful … hearing from them brings it all together and makes my heart smile.”

Ryan Denham, digital content director
Special Swimmer From Normal Races Toward College and Paralympics

Years after GLT first reported on Trevor Tucci, GLT correspondent Bryan Bloodworth followed up with the successful local swimmer. Trevor can't use his legs—the result of a severe form of spina bifida—but he overcame that to become a varsity swimmer at Normal Community High School. Bryan's story focuses on Trevor winning a scholarship to swim at Olivet Nazarene University, and his long-term goal of making the Paralympic Games in 2020 in Tokyo or 2024 in Paris. In a year filled with tragedy and strife, this was a welcome bit of inspiration.

Eric Stock, reporter
Rivian Rolls Out Pickup Under The Stars In LA

“My favorite GLT story of 2018 was actually much more than one story.

GLT’s ongoing coverage of Rivian’s development of new electric vehicles, including Ryan Denham’s daily updates from the L.A. Auto Show, helped quench my thirst for knowledge about a project that shows promise but has operated largely behind the scenes since its inception. It’s understandable, but it’s also left the community to put its trust in an operation (and ultimately, people) they know almost nothing about.

GLT’s ongoing stories provided depth on what Rivian is trying to do, how they are trying to do it, what experts think about their chances for success and what drives R.J. Scaringe to make this reality. 

We are all anxiously awaiting how Rivian will make news in 2019 and we know GLT will be there.”

You can also listen to the full conversation between Ryan Denham, Jon Norton, and Charlie Schlenker:

GLT's conversation with Ryan Denham and Jon Norton.

People like you value experienced, knowledgeable and award-winning journalism that covers meaningful stories in Bloomington-Normal. To support more stories and interviews like this one, please consider making a contribution.

Stories, music, and more from the GLT staff.