Home > Photo Gallery > Our Top Stories and Images of 2018 (Plus Some Announcements)

Our Top Stories and Images of 2018 (Plus Some Announcements)

By Bob Conrad
Image: Ty O’Neil.

This year was pivotal for us in many ways. We continue to grow, our numbers across our of media channels have increased, and we’ve seen more reader engagement than ever before. We typically end the year with a roundup of our most popular stories. Scroll down to find them.

But first, we have some announcements to make.

  1. We are proud to recognize that 2019 will be our tenth year in operation. We are planning a celebration nearer our actual anniversary date in August. Details will be announced closer to the actual date.
  2. In May, photojournalist Ty O’Neil and I are kicking off an exhibit that pays homage to ThisisReno’s visual work in recent years. Details will be announced in the future.
  3. Lastly, we are implementing a subscription-based partial paywall starting January 1, 2019. Read more below.

The Best Images From 2018

Photos by Ty O’Neil, Bob Conrad, and Nick McCabe.

New Premium Content Subscription

Subscriptions will give full access to our site’s content. More than 85 percent of our content – our news briefs, breaking news, newsletters, the Reno Business Weekly, social media channels, free events calendar, and sponsored content — will not be affected by this change. 

What will change is that our original reporting will mostly only be available to paying subscribers. We ran a voluntary membership program in 2018 with some success, and a great amount of community support; however, it fell short of goals despite the generosity of many of our readers.

So why charge for premium content? Being for-profit and ad-driven has its plusses and minuses. At the end of the day, however, we’re moving to premium content subscriptions for one main reason. 

Independent journalism is an inherently risky enterprise. An operation like ours has physical, mental, legal, and financial risks that don’t come with a public safety pension. Despite our audience growth, revenue remains tight with increased expenses. Having readers support us financially will strengthen our position and give us more resources to continue to grow. Importantly, we can better continue to offer local, Reno news you often cannot get anywhere else.

In short, diversifying income sources will make us stronger and allow us to hopefully continue for another decade. I recognize some will simply refuse to pay for content, but the fact is, asking for support didn’t take us far enough. It is hoped that those who do value what we do will continue to support us directly by subscribing. 

Five Reasons to Join

  1. Get full site access with reduced advertising.
  2. Support truly local independent journalism.
  3. Get news often not available anywhere else.
  4. Contribute to quality investigations, photo galleries, arts and local government news coverage.
  5. Gain access to our members-only Facebook group, where our news is often first posted.


  1. $6 / Month, Billed Annually ($72/year)
  2. $8 / Month, Billed Every 6 Months ($96/year)
  3. $10 / Month, Billed Quarterly ($120/year)
  4. $19.99 / Month, Billed Month-to-Month

I thank you for reading ThisisReno. You may subscribe with the links below. After that, please read on for what topped our charts in 2018.


The Top 10 Stories of 2018

1. Aaron Salazar

Aaron Salazar, left, pictured with his sister Alyssa. Photo courtesy of his family.
Aaron Salazar, left,
pictured with his sister
Alyssa. Photo courtesy
of his family.

Aaron Salazar’s story is far from over. When the young man was found in May nearly dead on train tracks outside of Truckee, Calif., it was quickly determined that the circumstances surrounding his condition did not make sense. His stories continue to top our list of the most shared articles in 2018. Amtrak remains mum about what happened, and we continue to follow the case. Read complete coverage here.

2. Feds Target Burners

It was confirmed by the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe that the federal government was targeting burners heading to Burning Man 2018. The directive, according to the tribe, came “from the top,” and the story spread online like wildfire. The punchline is that the targeting was later deemed unconstitutional.

Washoe schools Superintendent Traci Davis gives the state of education address at Billinghurst Middle School. Image: Bob Conrad.
Washoe schools Superintendent Traci Davis
gives the state of education address at
Billinghurst Middle School. Image: Bob Conrad.

3. School District Administrator Battles for Career

The Washoe County School District’s treatment of former High High School Assistant Principal Trina Olsen raised eyebrows around the community. The district was outed by Olsen as most probably violating one or more state laws in how she was fired. Documents showed how Olsen was targeted after filing complaints to the district over disparate treatment. Her case remains unsettled at the time of this writing, and the school district has repeatedly tried to keep this story from the public eye. We will continue to report on her situation and other issues that were uncovered as part of investigating Olsen’s case. The original story was published in partnership with the Reno News & Review.

4. Tenure Denied, Complaints Lodged Against TMCC

Truckee Meadows Community College continues to face complaints of discrimination and retaliation. Instructor Kyle Simmons’ controversial guest opinion in March alleged a number of problems at the college, including one lawsuit against the college that was subsequently dismissed. TMCC, like the school district, tried to deny public records requests, and personnel continue to refuse to answer simple questions about goings on at the school.

5. Lawsuit Reveals ‘Crazy’ Texts Among City Employees

Former City Manager Andrew Clinger’s new job at the Nevada System of Higher Education came under the cloud of the ongoing lawsuit that stemmed from his tenure at the city. Documents filed with the court revealed that Clinger engaged with some employees in candid text message conversations that denigrated other staff, members of the public, and city councilmembers. 

6. Business Closes After Exotic Animal Ordinance Passed by County

One local business blamed Washoe County commissioners for going out of business after the commission passed an updated exotic animal ordinance. Sierra Aquatics, which catered to exotic pets and their owners, shut its doors in January saying that the new codes were too burdensome for the business to survive. The county said that the ordinance update was necessary and that many of the concerns cited by exotic animal advocates were simply not true. 

Washoe County school bus on a snow day. Image: Carla O'Day.
Washoe County school bus on a snowy day. Image: Carla O’Day.

7. Snow Days Replaced with Digital Days at Washoe County Schools

A newly passed policy at local schools was put to the test during snowy weather this winter. Instead of risking the trip to school, as reported by Carla O’Day, students in inclement weather can work on assignments from home.

8. Pignic Gets Back Its Food Service

The Washoe County Health District was accused of being heavy handed against local restaurant owners. Internal documents supported the allegation that Health District officials were engaging in retaliatory and bullying behavior. Many local small business owners contacted us expressing similar concerns about how Health District officials treat their constituents, as well as what they called exorbitant fees charged by the district to users. Most refused to speak on the record for fear of retaliation by Health District staff. A detailed investigation was later published in partnership with the Reno News & Review.

9. House of Mexica Review

Logo at House of Mexica
Logo at House of Mexica.
Image: Kyle Young

Kyle Young’s restaurant and food reviews have been an astounding addition to our community news coverage in 2018. His review of House of Mexica topped our charts in 2018. Find out why by reading it here.

10. City Orders Artists to Paint Over Mural

An alleged communication disconnect between Mural Expo organizers and city officials had the city demanding that a mural be painted over. The community was invited to participate in the flat beige paint-over.

Mural coverup. Image: Ty O’Neil.



Pam McNeil January 2, 2019 - 9:16 am

And Happy New Year. I am currently a “voluntary member.” Do I need to switch over to a subscription and be billed? Thanks for all you do.

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