Baltimore saw whirlwind of headlines in 2015, from riot coverage to the Serial podcast buzz. Here are the top eight videos watched by our viewers this year:
Footage of Toya Graham, a mother outraged by her son’s involvement in the early hours of the April unrest, got the nation buzzing and went viral. The video, captured by ABC2’s own Manny Locke, shows Graham giving her teenage son some tough love after finding him outside of Mondawmin Mall in the midst of the protests that followed Freddie Gray’s death. The clip was has been viewed directly on the ABC2 News website more than 180,000 times this year, while the original video has garnered more than 8.6 million views on YouTube to date.
WMAR archival footage showing an interview with Hae Min Lee, the high school student whose death was chronicled in the popular “Serial” podcast, takes our #2 most-watched spot. The video shows Lee speaking about how she balances studies with extracurricular activities, and offers a rare glimpse into the life of a girl whose story sparked a cultural phenomenon. It’s been viewed more than 30,000 times on our site, with more than 260,000 YouTube views. Lee’s body was found in Leakin Park back in 1999, and her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, became the subject of the podcast’s investigation into the state’s handling of the case.
Does the Shakeology diet craze really work? That’s what Trang Do set out to investigate in our third most popular video of 2015. The video racked up nearly 28,000 views on the website with a spirited debate in the comments section about the meal-replacement drink’s effectiveness. Weight loss tool or a quick fix fad? You be the judge.
Research from Harvard stem-cell scientists indicating a possible cure for Type 1 diabetes brought in more than 20,000 views this year. The video reports that scientists have effectively recreated insulin-producing cells that those with Type 1 diabetes lack. This form of diabetes is typically diagnosed at an early age. Researchers hailed the development as “one of the most important advances to date in the stem cell field."
Watch the video HERE.
Peaceful protests turned violent in April, and our cameras were there to document the events that unfolded. On Saturday, April 25, protesters gathered at City Hall and continued to Camden Yards where a clash with police led to five police cars being vandalized and one set on fire. Video footage of the aftermath garnered more than 17,000 views on our website, and more than 20,000 hits on YouTube.
A senior housing center under construction in East Baltimore burned to the ground during the April mayhem, and a Good Samaritan in Indianapolis, Ind. came forward to help rebuild. Pastor Donte Hickman of Southern Baptist Church stopped by the ABC2 studio to discuss the senior center’s fate, which his church worked to fund and build. Our cameras were rolling when Dr. Michael J. Bluitt of one of the largest African American church architecture firms in the nation, surprised Pastor Hickman with a free rendering and design consultation worth $40,000. With more than 14,000 web views, and more than 66,000 views on YouTube, this bit of good news was a welcomed shift during the riot coverage.
Viewers wanted to learn more about the tragic death of Harris Wittels, executive producer and writer for NBC's "Parks and Recreation." Nearly 13,000 views came in for the video reporting the 30-year-old's death from an accidental drug overdose.
Watch the video HERE.
A lunchroom brawl caught on camera a viewed more than 12,000 times on our website. The video shows a student beating another student unconscious at Frederick Douglass High School. The injured student was transferred to Shock Trauma, and 17-year-old Sean Johnson was later charged as an adult with attempted murder.