One thing we at Philly.com know about our readers is that they savor their news like a good cheesesteak: It's gotta be locally made, wit a drenching of sports, topped with a relish of the offbeat - all while managing to be soft and crusty at the same time.
So what did the local connoisseurs of news swallow whole in 2012? We tallied the numbers for headlines that grabbed the most interest, and here they are in rough order of most viewed.
Republican candidate Mitt Romney might have captured nearly 48 percent of the vote when he lost to President Obama, but he was absolutely blown out of the water in Philadelphia. In fact, results were so low for Romney as to almost be nonexistent – and to raise eyebrows.
It was the head-spinning top story for all of 2012, which was picked up and run on other national news websites: In 50 voting divisions in the city, Mitt Romney received not one vote. Zero. Zilch. The numbers sent Republicans into paroxysms of voter-fraud angst, but political science experts said the results weren't so startling when you consider the density of Democrats in Philadelphia, especially in most of those divisions. (Note: The original story reported 59 divisions reported no Romney votes. That was amended to 50.)
Elsewhere, readers mourned along with Andy Reid when his trouble son, Garrett, was found dead in a Lehigh University dorm room in August during Eagles training camp. They continued to follow the saga as it played out with subsequent drug testing of Garrett's blood, and findings released in December that 19 vials of liquid anabolic steroids were found in his at the time of his death.
Readers also couldn't pull themselves away from the race to find Autumn Pasquale, a seventh-grader from Clayton, Gloucester County who went missing for several days in October until her body was found dumped in a recycling bucket. They seemed especially incensed when one of her alleged teen killers had logged onto Facebook and clicked "Like" on the FIND AUTUMN PASQUALE page.
In other news, Roman Catholics throughout the region, fearing the worst for their schools, jumped on the list of Philadelphia Archdiocese school closings and mergers when they were announced nearly a year ago.
And, of course, readers liked the oddball stories of 2012. Take the story of Pauline Davis, 45, who sued South Jersey-based J&J Snack Foods, claiming she was wrongfully fired because she wore a prosthetic penis to work. She told co-workers about the device, and one of them told management, according to the complaint.
Davis was then fired. Her attorney argued that the fake penis was concealed and "in no way interfered with her ability to do her job." 'Nough said.
A story in March about a new book called The Jesus Discovery set readers' imaginations aflame. The work contends that two Jerusalem tombs beneath a condominium complex can be traced to Jesus of Nazareth, his family or his followers.
And, finally, the story of former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky's sexual abuse of boys dominated headlines for months. Collectively, it might have been the biggest story of the year for many readers. But one headline from the trial riveted readers – when another former coach, Michael McQueary took the stand and told how he witnessed Sandusky raping a boy in a locker room shower.
Here is the list:
-In 59 Philadelphia voting divisions, Mitt Romney got zero votes
-Alleged killer 'liked' Find Autumn Pasquale Facebook page
-Garrett Reid found dead in Lehigh dorm room
-Woman says her fake penis got her fired
-Poll: Obama still ahead in Pa., but Romney up
-Archdiocese school closings/mergers
-'Jesus Discovery' has Web abuzz
-Former coach testifies he saw Sandusky raping boy
Other stories that drew high interest:
Romney calls, but she's not home; Abducted baby found dead, family friend held in ransom plot; Report: Paterno, PSU officials in 14-year cover-up; Three Triton High teachers accused of sex with students; Despite 'Castle Doctrine' defendant is convicted in slaying; Dirty Dancing: Strippers bring prostitution, violence, cops say; Whatever happened to Dajuan Wagner?; and, Wedding Crashers: Dozens brawl in hotel after Society Hill ceremony