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Your Favorite NPR One Stories In 2018

Angie Wang for NPR

End of year "best of" lists can be very revealing — in this case offering a peek into the world of our audience and what resonated with the most people.

This year was filled with big news stories. The ones that grabbed the attention of NPR One listeners, the ones they spent the most time listening to, included President Trump's press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, and CNN's lawsuit seeking to reinstate correspondent Jim Acosta's White House press pass.

Listeners in 2018 also showed a lot of affection for stories reporting on improving the lives of young people. A story that might help fix back pain also turned heads. These stories were marked as "interesting" or shared the most with others.

But there was one story that stood out no matter what measure of success is considered: An interview with a writer who believes young people are avoiding intimacy.

We know all this because the NPR One app collects data about listening. This information helps our curation staff and our algorithm ( See details on our algorithm) present a mix of stories and podcasts specifically for you. And we can use this listening data to make these end-of-the-year lists!

What you loved:

When listeners mark stories in the NPR One app as interesting, or share them, we can rank those stories by the amount of "love" they get. Here's what rose to the top.

To Fix That Pain In Your Back, You Might Have To Change The Way You Sit


Perhaps your office is like the NPR newsroom in the number of standing desks that have appeared. Many of us are going to great lengths to try to keep our back pain at bay. NPR's science reporter Michaeleen Doucleff discovers the problem may be that we modern humans don't know how to sit properly. The trick is to imagine you have a tail that could wag!

Is Sleeping With Your Baby As Dangerous As Doctors Say?


Some parents of newborn babies have a secret they won't share with their pediatrician — they sleep with their babies. For years, the standard advice has been that letting your baby sleep in bed with you was a dangerous practice that could cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS.) But Michaeleen Doucleff from NPR's science team takes a look at whether there is science back up the warnings.

Young Americans Are Retreating From Intimacy


There are so many ways to connect with people these days from social media to the phones we keep by our sides (if not in our hands). You'd think it would mean we'd be more intimately connected to each other than ever before. But Kate Julian argues otherwise in her story in The Atlanticmagazine. She talks with NPR's David Greene about her article "The Sex Recession," which says young Americans are avoiding intimacy.

Empowering Kids In An Anxious World


Back in my kid days, we had hours and hours of time to roam the neighborhood riding bikes and having adventures with nary a parent in sight. These days, though, free play is a thing of the past. Kids may be safer, but they aren't learning the social and emotional skills that develop when parents aren't there to protect them, direct them, and solve their problems. Corey Turner from NPR's education desk talks to the authors of two books that suggest that we need to empower kids by giving them the space to take risks and develop their own internal motivations.

5 Things To Encourage Brain Development In Your Little One


A researcher discovered five things parents and caregivers can do to give young children a head start in life. NPR's Elissa Nadworny shares the five things and explains how they are being used in Boston to help close the "achievement gap" between children of different socioeconomic statuses.

What captured your attention this year:

We can see how long you spend with a story — meaning we can rate audio stories based on so-called "listening rates." These are the stories you spent the most time on this year.

Even Conservative Media, Trump's Usual Defenders, Struggle To Explain Helsinki


When President Trump seemingly believed Putin over U.S. intelligence agencies at a press conference in Helsinki, even supporters of the president were left scratching their heads. North Country Public Radio's Brian Mann reports on how conservative commentators on Fox News programs who have supported Trump in the past were critical of deferential tone toward Putin

Decision Delayed To Friday In CNN Suit Over White House Revoking Acosta's Press Pass


After the White House revoked Jim Acosta's press pass, his employer CNN sued. In this report, NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg details the arguments both sides made in court.

CNN's Jim Acosta walks into federal court in Washington to attend a hearing on a legal challenge against the Trump administration.
Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP
CNN's Jim Acosta walks into federal court in Washington to attend a hearing on a legal challenge against the Trump administration.

Local Dallas Sportscaster Goes Viral For His 'Unplugged' Commentary


A local sportscaster in Dallas has become an internet sensation for his commentaries that tackle tough social issues such as LGBT rights and racism. NPR's Wayne Goodwin profiles WFAA sportscaster Dale Hansen.

Trump Refuses To Back Intelligence Agencies' Election Interference Findings


This report looks at what happened in Helsinki during a press conference after President Trump held a one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. While American intelligence agencies have reason to believe Russia interfered in the 2016 election, during the press conference Trump said, "I have President Putin. He just said it's not Russia. I will say this. I don't see any reason why it would be."

Young Americans Are Retreating From Intimacy


Apparently, no matter how we slice it, this story was a winner! Clearly, you were fascinated and affected by David Greene's conversation with Atlantic writer Kate Julian about the possibility that emotional and physical intimacy has become a challenge for so many people in our society.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Tamar Charney is the Managing Director for Personalization and Curation. In this role, she creates and executes new editorial strategies for programming a unique and customizable mix of the best international, national, and local public radio news that is blended with hand curated podcasts. Previously, she held the title of Managing Editor of NPR One.
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