A look back at Vanguard’s 25 most read stories of 2017

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John "Based Spartan" Turano at Joey Gibson's June 4 rally. Jake Johnson/PSU Vanguard

It’s been a tumultuous year in general, so it might come as little surprise Portland State Vanguard’s most popular stories dealt with a rise in right-wing extremist activity. Whether it’s neo Nazis or white nationalists organizing publicly, or more vague concepts like xenophobic attacks, vandalism or inciting a disturbance of the peace, 2017 was marked by a pendulum swing. People also like to read about weed, Lady Gaga and strip clubs. Here’s a look back on the stories that got us here.

NOTE: This piece has been updated from print to include three stories that gained significant readership after the print edition of this list was published.  


*Honorable Mentions: 

ASPSU President Resigns

ASPSU President Liela Forbes resigned over Spring Break. Within 48 hours, so did Vice President Kaitlyn Verret. Forbes was later re-elected to ASPSU as a senator based on a handful of write-in ballot votes.

The Definitive List of PNW Serial Killers

A lot of you were into our Vangourd guide to Pacific Northwest serial killers, for some reason.

DACA: Know Your Rights

Student Legal Services gave PSU students a presentation on their rights under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival immigrants, or DREAMers, before Donald Trump announced the end of the Obama-era program.

Shut Down: PSU’s Final Dance Program

After PSU ended its school of dance (despite having loads of money for the athletic department), we reviewed their final performance.


25. Neo Nazi Propaganda Found Near PSU

Over winter break, neo Nazis dispersed fliers on cars and park benches near PSU’s Park Blocks. An Online Exclusive story.

24. Moore Lessons: White People Are Sick

An op-ed indictment of Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore amid his allegations of gross sexual misconduct and assault upset numerous white male commenters. An Online Exclusive story.

23. May Day riots: “A Change is Gonna Come”

Although we’ve covered the history of May Day protests before, this was the first year Donald Trump got to experience the American tradition as president.

22. When pro-life comes to campus

A Portland State student group teamed up with an outside pro-life organization to erect a two-story display equating abortion to genocide. It caused counter-protests, donations to Planned Parenthood and numerous responses ranging from open letters to vandalism.

21. Slutwalk response

Angry comments from event organizers caused an op-ed about Slutwalk PDX to receive significantly more coverage than the article which inspired it.

20. Banned Book Week: A Different BBW

The Trump Administration’s first Banned Book Week certainly felt relevant, didn’t it?

19. Joey Gibson does San Francisco

The founder of Patriot Prayer isn’t welcome in California.

18. Viking Voices’ “Dialogue as a Two Way Street”

A student leader shared their negative experiences engaging online with Associated Students of PSU officials about divisive subjects like the pro-life demonstration on campus and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

17. Unapologetic?

One of our first pieces about white nationalists after a spike in hate crimes in Oregon.

16. Chadwick Moore comes to Portland

We wrote a preview about gay right-wing writer Chadwick Moore’s campus talk.

TIED: 15. Legal weed

The debate over legalizing marijuana across the United States was not only the most popular article from our Green Guide but almost Top 10 Most Popular of 2017.

TIED: 15. Rallies collide

Three protests with competing ideologies choked downtown Portland streets.

14. PSU student stabbed

When Jeremy Christian killed two men and wounded another in a racist attack at the Hollywood Transit Center, the survivor was revealed to be a PSU student.

13. Offensive sign

Area 52, a neighborhood bar in outer East Portland, found an offensive chalk message outside its door, and neighbors said it wasn’t the first time they saw a message like this. Since that article’s publishing, Area 52 has transferred ownership.

12. Brawlt-right

One of our July cover stories documented alt-right vs. antifa confrontations at the height of tension shortly after the Hollywood Transit attack.

11. Lady Gaga seen in Portland

One of the world’s biggest pop stars was seen outside a Portland recording studio. The OregonianPortland MercuryWillamette Week and TV stations covered our story.

10. Ex-cabbie harasses gay bar patrons

Daniel Svoboda, a man who made international news for harassing gay bar patrons, came back to the same bar the same day Donald Trump announced his ban on transgender service members in the armed forces.

9. Nazis vandalize PCC campus in historically black neighborhood two days before Christmas

The most recent story to make our list. An Online Exclusive story.

8. Identity Evropa coordinator resigns

White teenager quits white nationalist club to find Jesus, prepare for college.

7. Interfaith panel goes viral

Questions over context caused two major uproars on PSU campus and across the internet.

6. Internet claps at Sandy Hut, Sandy Hut claps back

Sightings of right-wing men’s club members at Sandy Hut forced the almost 100-year-old bar to clear up rumors that they proudly serve Proud Boys.

5. Strip club etiquette guide

Our most popular story which isn’t a hard news piece per se.

4. Whatever happened to Patriot Prayer?

We covered what looks like the end of Joey Gibson’s movement, which lasted less than a year but managed to disrupt the peace everywhere it went.

3. One of Portland’s oldest, largest gay bars is closing

Embers Avenue, a gay bar and staple of Portland’s Old Town Chinatown, announced it would close its doors after nearly 50 years in business just 48 hours before it closed. An Online Exclusive story.

2. Fired for telling the truth?

A former Vanguard multimedia editor’s termination went viral on right-wing blogs, got mentioned in Willamette Week, got hundreds of comments and still isn’t our most-read story.

1. Fascists reveal themselves

This profile on white nationalists in the Portland metro led to one’s resignation from his high-profile post within a club.

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