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NHPR Digital Picks: Our Best Online Stories of 2015

Sara Plourde for NHPR

This year, NHPR created more online-only content than ever before, from digital-first reporting to data maps, blogs, videos, and interactive infographics.

Here's a compilation of our favorite digital stories of 2015, arranged by category.

Online Reporting: Opioid Prescriber's Story a Cautionary Tale as N.H. Faces Growing Crisis

Credit Brian Wallstin/NHPR
Physician Assistant Chris Clough listens to testimony at his disciplinary hearing before the Board of Medicine in March of 2015.

"For years, Chris Clough prescribed more pain medication than almost anyone else in New Hampshire. Along the way, state regulators say, he broke nearly every rule in the book."

Through the story of one physicians assistant, digital journalist Brian Wallstin investigates the connection between the over-prescription of pain medications and the state's opioid crisis.

Click here to read the story.

Other stories you should read:

N.H. Primary Data Reporting/Analysis by Steve Koczela

Why the Long Wait for Medical Marijuana in New Hampshire?

Hefty Ad Spending Doesn't Buy Voter Love for GOP

Media Upstart Fails to Cash in on N.H. Primary Spending

Campaigns Ramp Up Spending, Political Insiders Reap the Benefits

The New Hampshire Telephone Museum Dials In to the Past

Photography: The 2016 New Hampshire Primary Campaign

Throughout the campaign season, photographer Allegra Boverman has been dutifully -- and often creatively -- capturing the candidates on the trail for NHPR.

Here's a gallery of some of our favorite shots, which also includes photos by photographer Kate Harper and NHPR reporters. Check back, as we're still adding photos to this best-of gallery!

Data Map: Why Towns Matter in the New Hampshire Primary

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are in a tight race as New Hampshire's Primary Day approaches. Clinton is no stranger to hard-fought Granite State contests. She edged out Barack Obama in the 2008 state primary by just 2 percent of the vote. 

But the bottom-line vote tallies can obscure a simple fact: The New Hampshire primary is not just a statewide contest. It's fought town by town, city by city. A candidate may “win” the New Hampshire primary while also “losing” large portions of the state.

By mapping election results across the state, State of Democracy's Dan Barrick examined the 2008 Democratic primary and investigated what it might foretell for 2016. An illustration of the maps used in the story is below, but you can click here to explore the interactive versions.


Other interesting data maps we produced in 2015:

How Would School Funding Changes Affect My District?

How Much Will Budget Downshifting Cost Your Town?

Mapping the Money - How Much Granite Staters are Giving 2016 Candidates

How All Day Kindergarten Has Taken Hold in N.H.

Where to Go Apple Picking in New Hampshire

Boating Accidents on Lake Winnepesaukee

North Country Campaign Stops are Few and Far Between

Confusion Over Narcan Access Slows Roll-Out to N.H. First Responders

Video: Candidates Make Their (Literal) Elevator Pitch for President

NHPR's studio is on the 6th (and top) floor of building in Concord which, believe it or not, is one of the tallest in the city. Our building also has the dubious honor of having one of the slowest elevators around, which makes for an ideal journalism opportunity.

When 2016 candidates visit NHPR for interviews and forums, reporter Casey McDermott meets them in the lobby for the ride up to ask one question: Why you should be President? 

Click here to see all the elevator pitches we've collected so far.

Watch now: Bernie Sanders makes his pitch - and then meets a baby.

Runner-up: That Time When Lindsey Graham Taught a Public Radio Reporter to Fire a Shotgun

Another runner-up: Sam Evans-Brown spends a morning with an ultramarathoner

Infographic: House by House Across Income Lines

As part of our May 2015 special series The First Decade, reporter Emily Corwin examined the factors that affect the way a family with children lives. In a collaboration with Digital Producer Sara Plourde, Emily selected 10 of these -- factors which affect income, access to resources, and stability -- and combined them to illustrate how New Hampshire families are doing at either end of the income spectrum.

This graphic illustrates how the top 25% and bottom 25% compare, and how the bottom 25% compares with the average of all New Hampshire families.


Other great infographics:

A Tale of Teeth in Two N.H. Cities

What N.H.'s State Budget Compromise Looks Like

A Timeline of Lead Concerns in a Manchester Apartment Building

A Taxing Issue: Some Background on N.H.'s Business Tax Battle

Interactive: A Three-Way Tie

We couldn't choose our favorite digital interactive of the year, so here are our three finalists:

Where Democratic candidates stand on guns

As part of our continuing 2016 Primary series "Where They Stand," Paige Sutherland looked at the key differences among the Democratic candidates on the issue of gun control. As part of the story, Paige and Digital Producer Sara Plourde created this interactive timeline to show how candidates' stances have evolved over time.

Click through the timeline below. For optimized timeline viewing on mobile, click here.  

Match-A-PAC 2016:

It can be tricky to figure out when political ads are being paid for by candidates, and when they're being funded by political action committees, or PACs. What's even trickier is judging which PACs belong to which candidate, based on their names alone. Play this game, created by Digital Producer Sara Plourde and State of Democracy's Dan Barrick, to test you PAC savvy.

Playing on your smartphone? Click here!

2016 Voices from New Hampshire's White Mountains

The towns in New Hampshire's White Mountains region have been must-stops on the campaign schedules of presidential candidates for decades. But what’s in it for the voters? How engaged are they, away from the campaign stops and photo ops? NHPR's Natasha Haverty wanted to find out, and collaborated with Sara Plourde to create the interactive map below to get a sense of how candidates are talking to voters in the White Mountains -- and how those voters are talking back.

Explore the map:

Other interactives to explore:

Where They Stand: Democrats Focus on Lowering Tuition, But Their Tactics Differ

Where They Stand: On Foreign Policy, GOP Candidates Vary In Little But Tone

Multi-Media Package: Abuse and Neglect at Lakeview


In March, reporter Jack Rodolico reported a series of stories on problems at a New Hampshire rehabilitation facility that had been the subject of accusations of abuse and neglect for years. Those stories turned into a longer series, and this fall, was the subject of a new investigation and collaboration with Reveal and the Center for Investigative Reporting. (Click here to see that project.)

From the beginning, the Lakeview story has been a digital project as well, and throughout, there have been some standout online elements accompanying Jack's reporting. 

Photography by Greta Rybus:

In the summer of 2011, Ryan Libbey, an eleven year-old boy with autism, left Lakeview with 22 marks on his body: bruises on his throat and cheeks, abrasions on his shoulders, and severe diaper rash. He had also pulled fistfuls of hair from his own head. Ryan had been at Lakeview for just over a month. His mother, Jennifer Cote, spoke to Jack about her son's story, and photographer Greta Rybus photographed Jennifer and Ryan at a facility he was recided at in Maine at the time of Jack's reporting.

SLIDESHOW:Photos of Jennifer Cote and her son Ryan Libbey at a Maine group home in January 2015. Photography by Greta Rybus for NHPR.

Reporter's Notebook:


Early in NHPR's investigation into Lakeview, it became clear this was a story where source documentation would be a valuable resource to make available to the public. Working with NHPR's digital team, Jack created an online reporter's notebook, a repository of police reports, investigators' notes, state inspection documents, and more. The notebook because one of the most visited stories on NHPR.org in 2015.

Click here to see the the documents. 

Timeline of Mental Health Care in N.H.:

The former New Hampshire Asylum for the Insane is seen in a mid-19th century stereograph.

Just 25 years ago, New Hampshire was a national leader in caring for people with mental and physical disabilities. Today, the state ranks closer to the bottom, and New Hampshire is in the middle of a period of dramatic change. Jack worked with Sara Plourde to create a timeline to tell the story of New Hampshire's history of care, and the state's approach to it. Click here to see the full timeline.

Live Blog: Governor Hassan's Budget Address

The governor's biennial budget address was delivered on the floor of the State House on February 12th. Although she received the standard amount of applause from the lawmakers assembled, the speech was the kick-off for a protracted, partisan budget battle that resulted in a stalemate -- and no state budget -- by the end of the legislative session.

While a budget did ultimately pass in a special session convened in September, this live blog includes details that foreshadow the fight to come, including Republican Rep. Neal Kurk's response recorded immediately after the speech. Also included is the full text of the speech, photos by Allegra Boverman, infographics, links to previous policy reporting, audio clips, and analysis by NHPR reporters in the studio.

Click to read the blog

Credit Allegra Boverman for NHPR
Hassan's budget address, delivered on February 12th, kicked off a protracted budget battle that resulted in no budget being passed during the regular session.

Show Blog: Dr. Seuss's Surprising Side Gig


While you’re probably familiar with The Lorax, The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs & Ham, and the dozens of other world-famous Seuss books, there is one chapter of Geisel’s professional history that remains relatively unknown.  As Word of Mouth's Taylor Quimby and Molly Donahue discovered, before he was world famous for his children’s books, Dr. Seuss employed his rich imagination and skillful illustrations for another purpose - drawing political cartoons desiged to convince Americans to go to war.

Read the blog right here.


From Topknots to Pineapples: The Unofficial Guide to the Man-Bun

Why We Love Sad Songs, and Other Musical Mysteries Explained by Science

Did we forget to include your favorite NHPR online story of 2015? Send us an email with a link, and we'll share it!

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