From ‘America’s most remarkable kid’ to sports controversy, these were our most-read stories of 2022
Our readers found interest in people doing extraordinary things. They also followed the drama of shows like ‘The Chosen’ and ‘Real Housewives of Salt Lake City’
Headlines about COVID-19 didn’t fade in 2022. Even two years into the pandemic, articles about the disease proved to be the most-read Deseret News stories of 2022.
But in between the coverage of symptoms and variants and masks, our readers found interest in people doing extraordinary things. They followed the drama of shows like “The Chosen” and “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.” They read faith-inspiring stories and dove into societal issues.
As 2022 comes to a close, here’s a look at some of the most-read stories on Deseret.com.
Emerging near the end of 2021, omicron and its subsequent COVID-19 variants dominated the early 2022 news cycle, with persistent questions about symptoms, new variants, reinfections and masks. Below are our top five omicron stories this year:
- 3 main omicron variant symptoms to expect.
- 7 signs you might have had omicron variant without knowing it.
- New omicron subvariant has new COVID symptoms.
- Omicron variant symptoms are different than past COVID-19 variant symptoms, expert says.
- The early omicron variant symptoms to remember.
Outside of omicron coverage, the most-read Deseret News story in 2022 was the story of Kevin Cooper, an entrepreneur who wrote an autobiography, had plans to expand his 350-acre farm, was working on a movie script and a series of children’s books about business literacy — all by the age of 14. Cooper, who lived in Newcastle, Utah, drowned in a kayaking accident last June.
Another profile that captivated readers was the story of Kim Peek, the “megasavant” who was the inspiration for the movie “Rain Man.” It’s estimated that Peek, who lived in Utah, memorized 12,000 books in his lifetime — including the entirety of Latter-day Saint scripture.
- America’s most remarkable kid died in Newcastle, Utah — his legacy never will.
- The world’s smartest man lived in the Salt Lake City library and memorized every verse of Latter-day Saint scripture.
Several TV shows generated interest with our readers this year, ranging from the long-running quiz show “Jeopardy!” to the drama — onscreen and off — of “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” to true crime stories like “Under the Banner of Heaven” to the faith-based series “The Chosen.”
It was a big year for “Jeopardy!” — the show saw an unprecedented number of super-champions in a single season and finally named its permanent hosts. More than a year and a half after longtime host Alex Trebek’s death — and following an unusual scandal for the quiz show — “Jeopardy!” named legendary contestant Ken Jennings and “Big Bang Theory” star Mayim Bialik as its official co-hosts to carry the show into a new era.
Below are our top “Jeopardy!” stories of the year:
- The ‘Jeopardy!’ episode when Ken Jennings provided the correct name of the church.
- Reports: ‘Jeopardy!’ has decided who will permanently host the show.
- A historic season of ‘Jeopardy!’ is over. Here’s what to expect now.
Reality competition shows were also of high interest, from the unexpected dropout of a top “American Idol” singer to the criminal activities of “RHOSLC” star Jen Shah.
- She unexpectedly dropped out of ‘American Idol.’ Now the show’s judges are speaking out,
- When reality TV gets too real — behind the downfall of Salt Lake’s most notorious ‘Real Housewife.’
- A singer has unexpectedly dropped out of ‘American Idol’ ... again.
True crime stories came in droves this year. The “Tinder Swindler,” about a man who manipulated and conned women on the dating app Tinder, and “Under the Banner of Heaven,” which centered on the infamous Lafferty murders in Utah, were of particular interest to readers.
- ‘Tinder Swindler’ true story: Where is Simon Leviev now?
- Exclusive: The real Brenda Lafferty is lost in ‘Under the Banner of Heaven’ series, her sister says.
- The Lafferty murders: What really happened? A timeline of events.
More than 350 million people have watched “The Chosen,” a faith-based drama about the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. This year saw a lot of anticipation around Season 3, including the theatrical release of the first two episodes, and a unique — and briefly controversial — ad campaign to help bring even more viewers to the show.
- ‘Defaced’ billboards part of strategic ad campaign by ‘The Chosen’ to grow audience.
- Here’s how — and when — ‘The Chosen’ is releasing the first two episodes of Season 3.
- The rumor involving Latter-day Saints that producers of ‘The Chosen’ want to squash.
- What the creator of ‘The Chosen’ said about the alleged Book of Mormon quote in Season 3.
Just as surely as people are watching true crime documentaries, so are they eating fast food — especially Taco Bell. The fast-food chain brought its customers much joy this year, bringing back the Enchirito and Mexican Pizza. McDonald’s even got in on the Taco Bell love, with restaurants in Spain adding nachos to its menu.
- McDonald’s adds a Taco Bell favorite to the menu.
- Taco Bell brings back menu item for first time in 10 years.
- Coca-Cola has a new soda called Starlight, and no one knows what it tastes like.
- The Mexican Pizza is coming back to Taco Bell.
Our most-read entertainment coverage — aside from TV news — centered on death, controversy and the Utah film industry.
This year saw the shocking loss of comedic giant and “Full House” star Bob Saget, and Broadway actor Quentin Oliver Lee, who was well known for his role as the Phantom in the 2018 national touring production of “Phantom of the Opera.” “The Mandalorian” star Gina Carano continued to make headlines a year after getting dropped from the show, the movie “Lightyear” — sans Tim Allen — was banned in several countries, and “Yellowstone” star Kevin Costner opened up about his love of filming in Utah.
- ‘Full House’ legend Bob Saget has passed away. Here’s what happened.
- Former ‘Mandalorian’ star Gina Carano slams ‘double standards’ after Whoopi Goldberg suspension.
- ‘Lightyear’ has already been banned in 14 countries— before its official release.
- Kevin Costner wants to film 5 movies in Utah. But there’s a catch — and it hinges on lawmakers.
- ‘Phantom of the Opera’ star Quentin Oliver Lee has died at 34.
This year saw a number of local sports controversies — particularly in the college football world. A discussion on body paint surfaced after two female students wore body paint as tops to a University of Utah game. BYU fans, meanwhile, were subjected to what was described as “despicable chants” about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during a matchup between Brigham Young University and the University of Oregon. The Latter-day Saint faith was also the subject of a controversial halftime show during BYU’s game against Stanford University.
- University of Utah investigating 2 female students who wore body paint as tops to football game.
- After a girl beat their daughters in sports, Utah parents triggered investigation into whether she was transgender.
- Oregon apologizes for ‘despicable chants’ directed at BYU fans and their religion during Saturday’s game at Autzen Stadium.
- Stanford Athletics says it ‘deeply regrets’ offense caused by band’s halftime show.
Bizarre news is the gift that keeps on giving. Throughout the year, some of our more unusual stories — like the one about 1.4 billion pounds of cheese being stored in a cave underneath Springfield, Missouri — would resurface in popularity. Readers dug this and other strange stories up time and time again.
- Why does the U.S. government have 1.4 billion pounds of cheese stored in a cave underneath Springfield, Missouri?
- The Latter-day Saint ghost town that keeps emerging from Lake Mead.
- An asteroid is flying by Earth today and you can watch it live.
Family life and parenting
Stories about family life and parenting, particularly understanding generational differences, resonated with our readers. The long-term impact of birth order on siblings’ and other familial relationships, as well as Gen Z language and traditions, were especially popular.
- How does birth order change siblings’ family relationships and futures?
- A back-to-school necklace sounds innocent — but it has a darker meaning.
- Feeling lost with Gen Z slang? OK boomer, here are the basics.
Several faith-based stories made the cut for our most-read articles this year. Among the most popular was a story about the discovery of a potential image of Joseph Smith — the first president and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — in a forgotten family heirloom, and the various accounts and roles of women in the New Testament.
- Does an image of Joseph Smith exist? What one descendant found in a forgotten family heirloom.
- What did Jesus say about women in the Bible?
Day-to-day questions — like the purpose of airplane mode on your phone and how to play Wordle spinoffs — were popular this year, along with questions about specific news events like the Canada trucker strikes and the cryptocurrency collapse.
- What does putting your phone on airplane mode actually do?
- Is Wordle a part of your daily routine? Here are 21+ spinoffs
- Why bitcoin and cryptocurrency values are dropping quick
- What’s going on with the Canada trucker strikes?
The tumultuous housing market, economic inequality and the science behind essential oils were some of our most popular issue-driven stories this year.
- What ski towns tell us about the inequality crisis.
- Elon Musk on housing bubble: ‘They dug their own graves — a lesson we should all take to heart.’
- Essential oils conquered medicine cabinets across the West. But do they work?
Our most popular perspective pieces primarily came from the entertainment sector. Perspectives on the inaccuracies of “Under the Banner of Heaven” and the politically divisive 2022 Oscars — which will forever be remembered for Will Smith’s slap — critiqued Hollywood culture. The ubiquity of soda shops in Utah and a response to “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling’s comment about Joseph Smith and the golden plates also generated enormous interest.
Below were our top five perspective pieces of the year:
- Perspective: I’m from Canada. Don’t believe everything you hear about the trucker protests.
- Perspective: Under the Banner of Hollywood.
- Perspective: Chris Rock wasn’t the only person who got punched at the Oscars.
- Perspective: Utah’s ‘dirty soda’ war may give way to a revolution.
- Perspective: What J.K. Rowling got wrong about Joseph Smith and the golden plates.