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article imageTopFinds: The Top Citizen Journalist Stories of 2007

By Chris Hogg     Dec 28, 2007 in Internet
With a mighty stable of citizen journalists, has exploded with an array of news coverage of more than 40,000 events. But which ones stood out above them all? These are the top stories, voted on by you.
Every article on features a bright orange "Vote it Up" button that allows readers to decide what news hits the front page. Every time it's pressed, it gets a little bit closer to being featured on the front page. The "Vote it Up" button is the world's way of voting for what stories they believe are the most newsworthy, interesting or just plain quirky.
With more than 14 million pageviews in the last 12 months, and more than 40,000 articles written by citizen journalists, it can be challenging to find the most important stories of the year. With that in mind, we've gathered everything that was top-rated this year in our year-end TopFinds wrap-up. also pays every citizen journalist for his or her contributions, and so far we've dolled out more than $25,000.
This is a comprehensive review of what articles were the most viewed, and what articles readers thought were important -- as decided by how many votes each article received -- from January to November 30, 2007. For top news in December, click here and have a look through.

January 2007

The beginning of the year in news was peppered with, well, obscurity. Some of the top-rated stories by Digital Journal readers included one about a woman waking up after childbirth just to find out all of her limbs were amputated; Tom Cruise was dubbed the Jesus Christ of Scientology (they can have him); and a sweet story about a man who bet his wife in a game of poker, and lost. The jury is still out on whether this was a horrible loss, or a stroke of good luck.
The most viewed article of the month: Paris caught in another sex tape scandal (38,500+ views)

February 2007

This cold winter month was heated with news, and the three top-rated stories included: A national TV newscast featured; a passionate story about computers titled “Windows Vista: I Hate You”; and a revealing update from Wolfman about a criminal who molested his daughter being denied parole.
The most viewed article of the month: Sergeant Michelle Manhart who posed nude for Playboy (90,000+ views)

March 2007

The world famous term for addiction to Digital Journal was invented this month (this should be in the dictionary). The word “digital journalitis” was coined by cruiseroo in an article about succeeding on a citizen journalism website; Best Buy reportedly has a secret in-house website that can block some consumers from getting cheaper prices advertised on while shopping in the store; and an article about women in the military discussed women who died of dehydration just to avoid sexual assault.
The most viewed article of the month: The red lunar eclipse (21,100+ pageviews)

April 2007

Perhaps surprising to some, the most popular article this month was not news. In fact, it was a goofy post in which I (Editor of showed off my less serious side in a light-hearted mystery date joke feature, co-written by museinspiredart. If you’re ever looking for a laugh, this moment in history captures it. As far as news goes, the most popular stories this month included coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting, and an article on presidential candidates who want to stop global warming, yet all fly in separate jets to a debate (a good follow-up to this article can be found here, as 17,200 scientists debated global warming).
The most popular article of the month: Sexy photos of the sister of American Idol star Sanjaya were exposed. (25,000+ pageviews)

May 2007

The top story this month was about a citizen sleuth who fought for his rights to keep sources and information confidential from the courts in the face of a police investigation. In a totally unrelated story, the second most popular article this month penetrated the world of designer vaginas. And coming in third, a story about people who masturbate for charity. Trust me, we couldn’t make this stuff up if we tried. On the more serious side, we recommend this article on the flaws of the medication regulatory system; and this article about scientists who are working to create new forms of life from DNA up.
The most popular article of the month: Designer vaginas (54,000+ pageviews)

June 2007

This month saw an interesting mix of top stories, as two of them focused on, well, you: museinspiredart revealed details of his private life; a collection of citizen journalists gave out secrets about their lives; and a massive ocean was discovered inside the earth. All interesting reads, and’s editorial board also wants to point out this incredible article that answers everything you need to know about MSG, and this one about the milky way, the cannibal eating our galaxy.
The most viewed article this month: A $3 water filter ideal for people in areas where water is dangerous to drink (37,000+ pageviews)

July 2007

The three top stories this month included a critical look at atheist Richard Dawkins; a comparison of the Web and print mediums, in which won praise from readers for its unique forum; and another installment of museinspiredart’s “Behind the Citizen Journalist” column that looked at what citizen journalists do as a day job.’s editorial board also wants to give special attention to Pamela Jean’s article covering Michael Moore blasting CNN; and franklin’s article on the math behind beauty.
The most viewed article this month: A welcome message from U.S. Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee who did not stick around long when hit with a barrage of questions (6,000+ pageviews)

August 2007

The top story this month, as chosen by reader votes, was museinspiredart’s “Behind the Citizen Journalist” feature that showed real photos of the people behind the avatars. It was a rare glimpse at passionate CJs who have devoted more than a year to covering news from an alternative perspective. A fantastic example of the power of citizen journalism was demonstrated in Pamela Jean’s coverage of the Interstate 35W bridge collapse in Minnesota. The article was published way before any mainstream media was even aware Minnesota had a major bridge spanning the Mississippi.
The most viewed article of the month: A dog waited 11 years for its owner to return (164,000+ views).

September 2007

This month’s news featured some bizarre stories, as the two top-rated articles included this one about a security guard who asked a 14-year-old girl if she was menstruating, and this one about a Bosnian couple who filed for divorce after discovering they both had an online affair with each other under fake names. Special mention goes out to Nathale C’s coverage of scandals in Iraq reconstruction projects; this article on teens who say meth is easy to get, and it’s healthy; and Wanderlaugh’s coverage of a Czech man who was in a car accident and woke up with the ability to speak fluent English.
The most viewed article this month: A water bottle makes dirty water instantly drinkable (26,000+ views)

October 2007

This month brought with it a record: The top five articles, as voted on by readers, were all written by the same citizen journalist: cgull. In order of upvotes, they were: JK Rowling revealling Dumbledore is gay; the Airbus A380’s sex ban; a 75-year-old woman who smashed Comcast’s office with a hammer for receiving poor service; coverage of Robert Dziekanski who was tasered to death in a Vancouver airport; and this diamond about a couple who called off a wedding, ending up in court over a dispute on who the $48,800 ring belonged to. Congrats cgull.
The most viewed article of the month: Nigeria denied Bill Gates' Visa application (3,500 views)

November 2007

The most popular stories this month included a report on a 13-year-old girl who committed suicide after a cruel hoax that began on the popular social networking site, MySpace; Ron Paul supporters will be happy to learn private currency (including the Ron Paul gold Liberty dollar) is selling very well on eBay; and a rape victim in Saudi Arabia got 200 lashes. We would also like to highlight two other great reports: Wounded U.S. soldiers are being sought after by the Pentagon to return portions of their enlistment sign-on bonus because they cannot fulfill the rest of their commitment; and boys in Afghanistan have been sold into the worlds of prostitution and sex slavery.
The most viewed article of the month: Nude photos of Toronto Maple Leafs rookie Tlusty surface online (3,400 views)

The top 10 most upvoted articles written by Citizen Journalists this year were:

(1.) JK Rowling says Dumbledore is gay
(2.) 13-year-old teen commits suicide after MySpace prank
(3.) GodTube is Christianity's response to YouTube
(4.) The $3 Water filter gadget
(5.) Dog waits 11 years for his owner's return
(6.) A father's point of view of sexual abuse
(7.) 17,200 scientists dispute global warming
(8.) Download LimeWire Pro Free
(9.) An update from Wolfman about parole of a sexual offender
(10.) The Airbust 380 sex ban


This is the second article in a two-part series. To see's First Annual Awards for Excellence in Citizen Journalism (including who won the Best Writer of the Year), check out part one in this series.
As a special add-on to this series, we've also produced an episode of Digital Journal TV that delves deep inside the world of citizen journalism to show you who the big industry players are, how citizen journalism has affected mainstream news and why it's here to stay. (Stay tuned throughout the whole video for a blooper reel and credits to the many people who help make what it is today).
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