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The 20 Top Stories On NPR In 2019

Surprise, anger, parenting and Lizzo: That's one way to sum up NPR's list of our most engaging stories in 2019, as those themes drew a huge amount of interest from our readers this year. Other big topics included consumerism and climate change — and officials behaving badly.

People often linger for several minutes on these popular pages. Collectively, NPR's readers spent the equivalent of more than 35 years' worth of time reading our top five stories. The top draw was a story about how to help kids handle anger; altogether, readers spent nearly 16 years' worth of time reading that report.

The 10 Most Engaging Stories Of 2019 On NPR.org

1. How Inuit Parents Teach Kids To Control Their Anger

At the top of the world, the Inuit culture has developed a sophisticated way to sculpt kids' behavior without yelling or scolding. Could discipline actually be playful?

2. American With No Medical Training Ran Center For Malnourished Ugandan Kids. 105 Died
When she was 19, Renee Bach founded a charity that went on to care for more than 900 severely malnourished babies and children. Now she is being sued by two of the mothers whose children died.

3. 'The Best Thing You Can Do Is Not Buy More Stuff,' Says 'Secondhand' Expert
"Your average thrift store in the United States only sells about one-third of the stuff that ends up on its shelves," Adam Minter says. His book explores what happens to the things that don't sell.

4. U.S. Charges Dozens Of Parents, Coaches In Massive College Admissions Scandal
Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are among 33 parents who paid large sums of money to cheat admissions standards at prestigious schools, federal prosecutors say.

5. Trump Tweets Sensitive Surveillance Image Of Iran
The tweet had experts picking up their jaws from the floor when they saw a photo of an Iranian space facility — an image that was almost certainly taken by a classified satellite or drone.

6. The Mysterious Death Of The Hacker Who Turned In Chelsea Manning

A jailhouse note from Chelsea Manning passed to NPR through her attorney. She said that when it came to Adrian Lamo, there was nothing to forgive.
/ Shuran Huang/NPR
A jailhouse note from Chelsea Manning passed to NPR through her attorney. She said that when it came to Adrian Lamo, there was nothing to forgive.

Adrian Lamo was a hero in the hacker community for years. Everything changed when he began exchanging messages with U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.

7. FACT CHECK: Trump's State Of The Union Address
NPR reporters provided context and analysis in real time as President Trump delivered the annual speech to Congress: "Remarkably, President Trump did not acknowledge the new power dynamic in Washington."

8. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Releases Green New Deal Outline
"Even the solutions that we have considered big and bold are nowhere near the scale of the actual problem that climate change presents to us," Ocasio-Cortez said.

9. 'Game Of Thrones' Season 8, Episode 5: 'Let It Be Fear'
In the series' penultimate episode, the quality of mercy gets seriously strained. And stabbed. And set aflame. And razed. And several characters meet their final fates.

10. NPR's Book Concierge
The end-of-year Book Concierge recommends more than 350 great reads across 30 genres — hand-picked by NPR staff and trusted critics.

In terms of page views, a slightly different list emerges. While some of the top stories are the same, here are the top 10 most-viewed stories that didn't also appear in the above list. All of the pages drew more than 1 million views on NPR's website, not including traffic on other platforms, such as Apple News or Facebook.

The 10 Most-Viewed Stories Of 2019 On NPR.org

1. Lizzo: Tiny Desk Concert

Lizzo plays a Tiny Desk concert on May 21.
Claire Harbage / NPR
Lizzo plays a Tiny Desk concert on May 21.

Backed by a band assembled just for this occasion, the breakthrough pop icon performs three joyfully showy songs from Cuz I Love You.

2. Patient With 'Tree Man' Syndrome Says He 'Can Finally Live A Normal Life'
The man, who lives in Gaza, has undergone a pioneering treatment by Israeli surgeons for a severe case of this rare condition.

3. Speaker Pelosi Revokes Vice President Pence's House Office Space
Republicans had given Pence, a former House member, a first-floor bonus office in the House side of the U.S. Capitol shortly after President Trump was inaugurated.

4. Court Says Using Chalk On Tires For Parking Enforcement Violates Constitution
A federal appeals court in Michigan cited the Fourth Amendment, which protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures.

5. 'Not One Drop Of Blood': Cattle Mysteriously Mutilated In Oregon

The crumpled carcass of a bull lies on U.S. Forest Service ground. It was among several killed and mutilated this summer in eastern Oregon.
Anna King / Northwest News Network
The crumpled carcass of a bull lies on U.S. Forest Service ground. It was among several killed and mutilated this summer in eastern Oregon.

Five young, purebred bulls mysteriously showed up dead on the ranch this past summer, drained of blood and with body parts precisely removed.

6. 3 Indiana Judges Suspended After White Castle Brawl That Left 2 Of Them Wounded
A fight apparently started when one of the judges raised a middle finger at two men yelling from a passing SUV. The Indiana Supreme Court found that the three had "gravely undermined public trust."

7. Workers Are Falling Ill, Even Dying, After Making Kitchen Countertops
Irreversible lung disease has started to show up among young workers who cut, grind and polish countertops made of increasingly popular "engineered" stone. The material is more than 90% silica.

8. Taylor Swift: Tiny Desk Concert
As she settled in for the set at NPR's offices, Taylor Swift looked out over the crowd. "I just decided to take this as an opportunity to show you guys how the songs sounded when I first wrote them."

9. Notre Dame Cathedral Fire Extinguished; Spire Collapsed, Towers Still Standing
As night fell on Paris and the fire continued to burn, people knelt and sang "Ave Maria" as they watched the blaze.

10. Florida Governor Declares State Of Emergency As Hurricane Dorian Gains Force
As the storm neared, the National Hurricane Center said Dorian's winds could top 115 mph — making it a Category 3 storm.

NPR senior manager for digital analytics Christina Macholan contributed to this report.

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