A GetReligionista looks back on some of his — and his colleagues' — most-clicked posts of 2018

I write more than 200 posts a year for GetReligion.

My pieces range from our bread-and-butter critiques of mainstream news media coverage of religion to our weekly Friday Five columns highlighting each week’s major (or just plain quirky) developments on the Godbeat.

At the end of each year, I’m always curious to see which posts caught the attention of the most readers.

What makes a GetReligion post go viral? In 2017, key ingredients included Joel Osteen, same-sex wedding cakes and the Mark of the Beast. The previous year — 2016 — Donald Trump’s “Two Corinthians,” Merle Haggard’s Church of Christ mama and a rare opening of a Chick-fil-A on Sunday were in the mix.

2018? Well, let’s check out the top five posts for GetReligionista Julia Duin, GetReligion editor Terry Mattingly and myself.

We’ll start with Julia, for reasons that will become obvious:

5. How journalists can nail down the rest of the Cardinal McCarrick story – for good

4. Cardinal Ted McCarrick, Part II: The New York Times takes a stab at this old story

3. Catholic News Agency pulls off investigative coup in the 'Uncle Ted' McCarrick saga

2. Another #ChurchToo: The Chicago Tribune investigates Bill Hybels in 6,000 words

1. The scandal of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and why no major media outed him

See any common thread there? That’s right — McCarrick and the Catholic clergy sex abuse scandal were huge news and big traffic drivers to GetReligion in 2018, as was the related #ChurchToo news that also made headlines.

Hybels shows up again in tmatt’s top five. But there are other compelling topics here, too (think aliens, Chris Pratt and Donald Trump, albeit not together):

5. Faith-free thinking about aliens: Oxford experts say we probably are all alone in universe

4. So a Chicago priest who was once abused burns a rainbow-cross flag: All heck breaks out

3. Can I get an 'Amen'? For the press, that was the White House correspondents' dinner from hell

2. Chris Pratt uses MTV as pulpit for his faith: Were his 'nine rules for living' news or not?

1. She kept stacks of journals: Bill Hybels drama enters a shocking new #MeToo chapter

I mentioned the top five posts of our regular contributors who post three or more times a week. We have other wonderful, experienced journalists — including Richard Ostling, Ira Rifkin and Clemente Lisi — who regularly offer brilliant analysis but do so less often. Suffice it to say that I am blessed to work with such a wonderful team here at GetReligion.

The end of one year and beginning of another is an excellent time for reflection and feedback. If you have thoughts on what you like about GetReligion or what we could do better, please don’t hesitate to comment below or tweet us at @GetReligion.

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