All week we're looking back at the most popular Indy Blog posts from 2011.
Next up: tragedy.
Three particular posts this year resonated with readers because they delivered hard news about difficult topics.
Alex Sakariassen wrote July 18 about an oil spill on the Blackfeet Reservation that initially went unreported. It occurred around the same time a larger ExxonMobil pipeline ruptured in the state.
In March, Alex interviewed Brian McGrath, a Missoula native who experienced the record-breaking 9.0-magnitude earthquake that devastated Japan. "My village only has a population of about 5,000, so it is really inspirational for me to witness even the smaller communities offering their help," said McGrath, who's teaching English. "My respect for the Japanese people has grown deeply since the disaster."
Finally, Elouise Cobell, the Blackfeet woman who fought for more than a decade to win a $3.4 billion settlement for American Indians robbed of their Individual Indian Money trust accounts, died on Oct. 16. The following day we linked to Alex's 2010 feature interview with Cobell. The post was shared through social media sites more than 400 times.
Photo by Cathrine L. Walters