The Indianapolis area spent a lot of time in the national spotlight in 2015, between passage and the subsequent "fix" of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the arrest and conviction of Subway spokesman Jared Fogle. However, as a testament to the power and value of a locally focused news team, many of the best-read stories on IBJ’s website were the result of deeply sourced reporting on people, businesses and issues specific to central Indiana.
Here are the best-read stories of 2015:
10. Anthem data breach already sparks class action lawsuit
Health care reporter J.K. Wall hit on the next logical step after Anthem Inc. reported that hackers had stolen data on as many as 80 million of its customers. Fewer than 12 hours after Anthem's revelation, a local attorney was preparing a class-action lawsuit against the company.
9. Salesforce CEO: We’re canceling travel to Indiana
One of the first major reactions from the business community to RFRA was a vow from Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff to cancel corporate programs that required travel to Indiana. In the end, the tech sector would exert significant influence on legislators mulling the RFRA “fix.”
8. IU Health on course to spare Methodist, close University
As the health care community awaited word on how IU Health would consolidate its downtown hospitals, Wall moved the story forward with evidence that Methodist Hospital would survive the transition.
7. IU Health fires nurse who was part of union organizing
In April, Wall revealed the abrupt firing of a nurse who was trying to organize a union at IU Health’s downtown hospitals. She had been quoted in an IBJ story about the effort that ran two days before her termination. IU Health later rescinded the firing.
6. IU Health nurses to vote on union
This was Wall’s earlier story on the unionizing effort, which also revealed dissatisfaction among the nursing staff regarding changes in their work environments and policies. The unionization effort ultimately lost steam, and a vote was not held.
5. Katina Powell: ‘This story is the truth’
In October, IBJ Publishing LLC (a sister company to the IBJ news organization) produced a book from a former stripper and escort who alleged sex-related recruiting violations in the University of Louisville’s basketball program. Sports reporter Anthony Schoettle broke news of the blockbuster allegations prior to the official publishing date. This was a follow-up to Schoettle's original story.
4. Swedish retailer IKEA plans to open store in Fishers
After years of traveling to either Chicago or Cincinnati to buy cheap contemporary furniture, Hoosiers finally received news that mod Swedish retailer Ikea would open one of its mammoth stores in Fishers. North of 96th reporter Lindsey Erdody had the story first.
3. WIBC pulling plug on ‘Rush Limbaugh Show,’ takes long view
Rush Limbaugh is a cultural lightning rod who always has drawn a sizable listenership in central Indiana. So it was a major surprise that WIBC-FM 93.1 would decide to pull the show, allegedly to shore up its conservative lineup for the long haul.
2. McMillin resigns from Indiana House over sex video
Early in her tenure at IBJ’s managing editor, Lesley Weidenbener used her deep contacts in state government to ferret out what was behind a seemingly innocuous decision by Rep. Jud McMillin to step down. IBJ broke the news that at least one sexually explicit video was discovered on his phone.
1. Book: Louisville staffer hired prostitutes to woo recruits
This was Schoettle’s original story on former escort Katina Powell's allegations that a University of Louisville basketball official paid to provide sex to teenage recruits over four years. NCAA and grand jury investigations into the claims are ongoing.