The top 19 Los Angeles Times stories of 2019


The top 19 most read stories of the year include pieces on Nipsey Hussle, the college admissions scandal and two topics that are very California: earthquakes and rising waters. And one story appears twice, in both Spanish and English.

Readers spent a total of about 529,276 hours or 31,756,565 minutes, the equivalent of more than 22,000 days, reading the 19 stories below.

Nipsey Hussle’s brother found him dying. These are his final moments

Corina Samarco of Ypsilanti, Mich., lights a candle in the parking lot of the Marathon Clothing Company before the start of the Nipsey Hussle Celebration of Life procession on April 11.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Our most read story of the year was in the aftermath of Nipsey Hussle’s tragic death in March, when he was gunned down in the parking lot of his clothing store.

Readers spent about 86,818 hours or 5,209,107 minutes with this story

More of our coverage of Hussle:
Before his death, he was trying to buy back his neighborhood
After the shooting, students closest to him vow to lift up their community

In the days following the rapper’s death, his brother recounted his final moments to The Times. “If somebody would’ve been there — if I would’ve been there — I would’ve shot back,” Samiel Asghedom said. “I just wish I would’ve been there.”

Lo han mantenido vivo con tubos durante casi 17 años. ¿Quién es él y existe la posibilidad de que esté consciente?

Ignacio, known to the nurses as "Nacho" and also known as “Sixty-Six Garage," spends his days in the subacute unit at the Villa Coronado Skilled Nursing Facility at Sharp Hospital  in Coronado, Calif., on July 10.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Readers spent about 52,371 hours or 3,142,288 minutes with this story

This story originally appeared in English. The English version was also one of our most read stories of the year

Uno de nuestros artículos más leídos fue sobre una víctima con lesión cerebral resultado de un accidente automovilístico en 1999 y la búsqueda de su verdadera identidad. La historia del hombre conocido como “Sixty-Six Garage” también fue narrada en una serie de podcast.

This year, good news was overshadowed by a government shutdown, impeachment debates, mass shootings and cheating scandals.

Dec. 19, 2019

Damage to homes, but no deaths reported, in 7.1 magnitude California earthquake

Javaid Waseem, owner of Minit Gas Station and store on Ridgecrest Boulevard, after the second of two quakes in July.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

In July, Southern California was rattled by two major earthquakes in less than two days. This story covered the second of the two — a 7.1 magnitude quake that struck near Ridgecrest.

Readers spent about 36,669 hours or 2,200,169 minutes with this story

Look back on all our coverage of the Ridgecrest quakes

Get caught up on all Times stories on earthquakes

“By the grace of God, we’ve had no casualties, and we’ve only had minor injuries,” said Jed McLaughlin, the Ridgecrest police chief. That outcome, he said, “is amazing, considering these two big earthquakes that we’ve experienced.”

Biggest earthquake in years rattles Southern California

Buckled asphalt courses through a parking lot in Argus, which experienced two major earthquakes in July. The Ridgecrest quakes were the largest in Southern California in two decades.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Fourth on the list is the first of the two July earthquakes, as a 6.4 magnitude quake struck about 125 miles northeast of Los Angeles, in the remote Searles Valley area. The earthquake ended a quiet period in the state’s seismic history.

Readers spent about 33,340 hours or 2,000,413 minutes with this story

“It was the scare of my life,” one resident said immediately following the quake

“It looks like a tornado went through,” another in the town of Trona had said

Striking at 10:33 a.m. on the Fourth of July, the quake was felt as far away as Ensenada and Mexicali in Mexico, as well as Las Vegas, Phoenix, Reno and Chico. A 7.1 temblor shook the area the next day.

The bizarre story of the L.A. dad who exposed the college admissions scandal

The college admissions scandal caught the attention of Southern California and L.A. Times readers as it was initially revealed, and the news continued to roll out. This piece dove into the source of the investigation: the L.A. dad who cut a deal with federal prosecutors and, in so doing, exposed the scandal.

Readers spent about 30,661 hours or 1,389,696 minutes with this story

More admissions scandal coverage:
How an L.A. parent’s tip uncovered massive college admissions scandal
The mastermind behind the college admissions scandal knew whom to target: the wealthy

Morrie Tobin’s role in kicking off the investigation is one in an array of enticing details disclosed in court hearings, documents and interviews that together explain how a team of prosecutors working with FBI and IRS agents pieced together an investigation that has rattled the rarefied worlds of the rich and powerful in L.A., the Bay Area, and the East Coast.

Actress Peggy Lipton, star of ‘The Mod Squad’ and ‘Twin Peaks,’ dies at 72

Rashida Jones, left, and her mom, actress Peggy Lipton, at the premiere of "I Love You, Man" in Los Angeles in 2009.
(Associated Press / Matt Sayles)

Actress and former model Peggy Lipton, who rose to stardom in the late 1960s on the counterculture police series “The Mod Squad” and later starred on TV’s “Twin Peaks,” died in May at 72. The cause of death was cancer.

Readers spent about 27,145 hours or 1,628,734 minutes with this story

Take a look through our notable deaths photo gallery

“She made her journey peacefully with her daughters and nieces by her side,” Lipton’s daughters said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. “We feel so lucky for every moment we spent with her.”

‘Go back to California’: Wave of newcomers fuels backlash in Boise

Wayne Richey
Boise mayoral candidate Wayne Richey poses for a portrait Oct. 2.
(Otto Kitsinger / For The Times)

Californians are moving to Idaho in spades — and are bringing income inequality with them. That hasn’t inspired the warmest of welcomes among their new neighbors.

Readers spent about 25,451 hours or 1,527,076 minutes with this story

Get caught up on more Golden State news

Last month’s mayoral election in Boise was the most competitive race in recent memory, a referendum on growth in the rapidly expanding capital of Idaho. And candidate Wayne Richey ran on a very simple platform: Stop the California invasion.

He’d been kept alive with tubes for nearly 17 years. Who is he, and is it possible he’s conscious?

For more than 15 years, a man known only as “Sixty-Six Garage” lay in his hospital bed unidentified and unconscious. Or so everyone believed. This story was the subject of “Room 20,” a podcast and story series about the search for a brain-injured man’s identity and the truth about his accident.

Readers spent about 23,431 hours or 1,405,898 minutes with this story

This story was translated into Spanish. That version was our second most read story of the year

College admissions scandal: Here is everyone charged in the case

Felicity Huffman, left, and Lori Loughlin outside federal court in Boston on April 3.
(Charles Krupa / Associated Press; Steven Senne / Associated Press)

As the names and charges continued to pile up, it became hard to keep track of all the people involved in the college admissions scandal. Enter this story.

Readers spent about 23,204 hours or 1,392,262 minutes with this story

Catch up with nearly 200 stories about the admissions scandal

Those charged include Hollywood actresses, former CEOs, a famed parenting book writer, a fashion icon, a Newport Beach college counselor and university athletic officials.

Killing of Nipsey Hussle in South L.A. likely has some ties to gangs, source says; LAPD seeks suspect

Nipsey Hussle memorial
The memorial for Nipsey Hussle outside his Marathon Clothing store in Los Angeles earlier this year.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Nipsey Hussle, a Grammy-nominated rapper known as much for his work in the community as for his music, was killed in March, gunned down outside his store in South Los Angeles.

Readers spent about 22,263 hours or 1,335,823 minutes with this story

Get caught up on nearly 50 stories about Hussle

In the days following Hussle’s death, police had said that Eric Holder, the man accused of killing Hussle, appeared to be affiliated with a gang.

Oscars 2019: ‘Green Book’ is the worst best picture winner since ‘Crash’

The Oscars made a controversial pick for its biggest award in 2019, and film critic Justin Chang was ready to make his opinion on the subject known.

Readers spent about 20,829 hours or 1,252,162 minutes with this story

Look back on Kenneth Turan’s review of the film

Check out the rest of our movie coverage

“‘Green Book,’ a slick crowd-pleaser set in the Deep South in 1962, strains to put you in a good mood. Its victory is appalling but far from shocking...” Chang wrote.

The official fast food French fry power rankings

Upper right quadrant of our French fry power rankings.
(Lucas Kwan Peterson / Stephen Lurvey)

The official French fry power rankings kicked off a Twitter battle between our social media intern and food columnist Lucas Kwan Peterson, and the return of Peterson’s food power rankings.

Readers spent about 20,331 hours or 1,219,914 minutes with this story

More power rankings:
The official instant ramen power rankings
The official candy bar power rankings

“I ordered medium- or regular-sized fries (when available) and judged them based on the two metrics: (1) taste and (2) texture, which includes fry shape and mouthfeel,” Peterson wrote about his rankings.

How befriending Mister Rogers’ widow allowed me to learn the true meaning of his legacy

Joanne Rogers, wife of Fred Rogers, in her Pittsburgh home prior to the movie premiere of "A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood."
(Jeff Swensen / For The Times)

At 91, Joanne Rogers tends to the legacy of her late husband, known to generations as Mister Rogers. But she doesn’t want him put on a pedestal, even with Tom Hanks playing him in a movie. Through a friendship with Rogers, reporter Amy Kaufman came to understand why.

Readers spent about 19,678 hours or 1,180,699 minutes with this story

More Mister Rogers coverage:
Tom Hanks becomes Mister Rogers in ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’

Micah Fitzerman-Blue, who wrote the film with Noah Harpster, said Joanne “really only had one request: that we not treat her husband as a saint.”

These are the 737 inmates on California’s death row

In March, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order to impose a moratorium on the death penalty in California.

Readers spent about 19,057 hours or 1,143,434 minutes with this story

Browse our latest special projects

The order granted temporary reprieves to all 737 condemned inmates on California’s death row, the largest in the nation.

Steve Lopez: Rats at the police station, filth on L.A. streets — scenes from the collapse of a city that’s lost control

Piles of trash
Piles of trash near the intersection of 25th Street and Long Beach Avenue.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

“Is it the 21st century in the largest city of a state that ranks among the world’s most robust economies, or did someone turn back the calendar a few hundred years?”

Readers spent about 18,707 hours or 1,122,439 minutes with this story

Read the latest from Steve Lopez

That’s the question columnist Steve Lopez asked as he traversed L.A. for this column, describing a scene of despair among the homeless.

Tyler Skaggs’ autopsy: Fentanyl, oxycodone and alcohol led to death by choking on vomit

Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs had the opioids fentanyl and oxycodone along with alcohol in his system when he was found dead in his Texas hotel room July 1, according to a toxicology report.

Readers spent about 18,395 hours or 1,103,706 minutes with this story

Look through more of our sports coverage

The Angels were staying at a hotel in Southlake ahead of a four-game series against the Texas Rangers the night Skaggs died. The team arrived the evening of June 30, and Skaggs’ body was found in his room at approximately 2:18 p.m. the next day.

Saugus High shooter opened fire on crowded quad in 16-second attack that left 2 dead and 3 wounded, sheriff says

A vigil takes place for the victims of the Saugus High shooting in November.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

On Nov. 14, a 16-year-old Saugus High School student pulled out a gun in the quad area and opened fire, leaving two students dead and three wounded, before turning the gun on himself.

Readers spent about 17,410 hours or 1,044,635 minutes with this story:

More on the Saugus High shooting:
Stunned with grief: ‘The scares and trauma we see on TV came to Santa Clarita’

“It seems like we just got through one tragedy with families losing their homes in the fire,” Marsha McLean, the mayor of Santa Clarita, said at a news conference. “And then this? It’s really hard to describe.”

The California coast is disappearing under the rising sea. Our choices are grim

For the fourth time this year, the bluffs above the beach in Del Mar between 9th and 10th streets have sloughed off onto the beach below.
(John Gibbins / San Diego Union-Tribune)

The reality of sea level rise has California cornered, and we don’t have many ways out. In this special report, reporter Rosanna Xia wrote about just how dire that reality has become.

Readers spent about 17,220 hours or 1,033,249 minutes with this story

Read the story in Spanish

“The world is getting hotter, the great ice sheets still melting, the rising ocean a slow-moving disaster that has already swept past California’s front door. Seaside cliffs are crumbling in Pacifica, bringing down entire buildings.”

Rare L.A. mega-storm could overwhelm dam and flood dozens of cities, experts say

Whittier Narrows Dam
An aerial view of the Whittier Narrows Dam in the area between Montebello and Pico Rivera on Feb. 12.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Scientists call it California’s “other big one,” and they say it could cause three times as much damage as a major earthquake ripping along the San Andreas fault.

Readers spent about 16,247 hours or 974,861 minutes with this story

More ArkStorm coverage:
The ‘nightmare’ California flood more dangerous than a huge earthquake

Catch up on more climate and environment news

Although it might sound absurd to those who still recall five years of withering drought and mandatory water restrictions, researchers and engineers warn that California may be due for rain of biblical proportions — or what experts call an ARkStorm.

Tessa A. Bangs, Gabriela Fernandez, Jessica Martinez, Samantha Melbourneweaver and Alexa Sonnenfeld contributed to this story.