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MediaDecember 26, 2017

The most-read stories on The Spinoff in the year AD 2017


Clicks and content, content and clicks: these are the posts that attracted the most eyeballs on friendly fledgling website ‘The Spinoff’ this year.


Parents in low income families are always being told that they’re making bad choices in the supermarket; many wealthy or comfortable families seem to believe they’d be better able to survive and thrive. But, as Rebekah Graham explains, No, poor NZ families don’t just need to make ‘better choices’.


Earlier this year a group of students at Wellington College expressed horrific opinions about rape and sexual assault. Student Eva McGauley explained it was essentially the status quo in her essay ‘This is what it’s like for us’ – a teenager on Wellington College Facebook comments and rape culture.


Back in March of this year Netflix released 13 Reasons Why, a controversial original series dealing with the rape and eventual suicide of a young girl. In response, we published A teenager outlines what 13 Reasons Why gets dangerously wrong about teen suicide.


In August Jacinda Ardern was elevated to leader of the Labour Party. Madeleine Holden chronicled An incomplete account of the sexism in Jacinda Ardern’s first 24 hours as Labour leader.


The Waikato Times has run a fair few terrible columns, but perhaps none worse than an April effort on the suffering faced by poor men during a woman’s period. Michele A’Court offered a certain kind of sympathy in her response Here, let me help. Start by imagining your penis is bleeding.


The National government were entirely absent from a conference on a potential sugar tax earlier this year. A few people were pissed off, but none went as far as Jamie Oliver, calling it ‘a bloody disgrace’. We republished Jamie Oliver’s video message to the NZ government on sugar tax.


A food shopping Disneyland with live country music, a TV room for the kids and giant animatronic vegetables swaying in the rafters – did Big Fresh ever really exist? It sure did, and Kristin Hall published her tribute Remembering Big Fresh, New Zealand’s greatest supermarket of all time.


In March Jono Pryor used the final minutes of Jono and Ben to shine a light on mental health following the recent suicide of a friend. In a poignant reaction, Jess McAllen explained that It’s not just what Jono said – it’s how he said it.

Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images


Ah, Waitangi Day, the bane of any right-leaning Prime Minister. Bill English spent his first (and possibly last) Waitangi Day not at the treaty grounds, but at Bastion Point. Simon Wilson was there and reported that PM Bill English gave two speeches on Waitangi Day. Both were remarkable. Both were almost entirely ignored.


Like the changing of the seasons, it’s an inevitability that at some point during the year a group of scientifically illiterate conspiracy theorists will come forward bemoaning vaccinations as tools of the Illuminati – or something like that. Ahead of a screening of propaganda film Vaxxed in Kaikohe, 2014 New Zealander of the Year Dr Lance O’Sullivan staged a protest. In the immediate aftermath, Don Rowe called to ask Dr O’Sullivan why he stormed the stage at an anti-vaxx screening.


Lorde’s Melodrama was released this year to universal acclaim, racking up every accolade from every publication that matters. In June, Spinoff music editor Henry Oliver recorded an exclusive podcast called Behind the Melodrama, in which Lorde explains the backstory behind every song on her new album.


I’m sorry I white-washed your world: A letter to my Māori daughter by Nichole Brown was perhaps the most affecting essay on history and identity published on The Spinoff this year.


2017 was defined in large part by one of the more unusual elections in recent history. But the usual way electoral results maps are presented can be deceiving, overemphasising the relative importance of large but sparsely populated rural areas. And so Stephen Beban created a better visual breakdown of the 2017 election results.


Weird internet guy David Farrier attracts weird stories like a magnet attracts black sand. But none have been so sinister as ‘Hello, my name is Ally’ – how children are being exploited by YouTube predators.


One of the biggest Disney hits of the year was Moana. Ahead of the inevitable costume parties and Halloween season, Emmaline Matagi penned a guide on How to dress your Pākehā child up as Maui or Moana without appropriating Pasifika culture.


2017 was another hellish year on the congested arteries we call the Auckland transport system. Way back in April Simon Wilson analysed the map that will solve Auckland’s broken transport system.


In the hours before the first Lions test in Auckland, a group of girls aged between 13 and 16 took to the Kingsland streets to entertain fans with their circus skills. In return, they were met with a barrage of lewd comments. Carlene Newall de Jesus reports on what happens when rugby brings out the worst.


After two years of trying, Emily Writes succeeded in getting her son to sleep through the night four whole times, earning an automatic qualification as a sleep therapist. She explains her methods in the sleep bible Emily Writes: My baby slept through the night six times so now I’m an expert on getting your kid to do that.


In the very next breath, she slams the competition: Putting to bed bad advice about infant and toddler sleep


Indisputably the biggest post to ever grace The Spinoff was Lucy Kelly’s discussion How working in an abortion clinic changed my mind about terminations. The piece drove hundreds of thousands of international clicks as it made its way around the various pro and anti-abortion groups in the UK, clocking in almost half a million views in a few short months. Bravo, Lucy Kelly.

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