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Most-Read Stories of 2011: Perry, UT, the Budget

Image courtesy Texas Tribune

As 2011 comes to a close, we are taking a look back at the stories our readers liked best, judging by the number of pageviews they received.

With our governor jumping into the GOP presidential fray in August, stories about Rick Perry quickly and definitively became the most popular on the Trib site. And he didn't fail to provide excellent material. Seven of the 10 most-read stories this year are about Perry — his politics, his past and his policy stances.

In a year with a legislative session where lawmakers were trying to scrimp and save and cut pennies, it's little surprise that people were also intensely interested in knowing which state services would face the budget ax. 

Just up the street from the Capitol, at the University of Texas, the latest intrigue in a year of controversies at the state's flagship institution also caught readers' attention: the forced resignation of law school dean Larry Sager earlier this month.

And what list of Texas stories would be complete without a kooky fight with the feds? Number three on the list was the Tribune's story about the federal government threatening to shut down Texas airports when legislators debated a bill that would have prevented intrusive airport security pat-downs.

Here's the full list of the top 10 most-read stories of 2011: 

1. Under Scrutiny, Perry Walks Back HPV Decision— 152,826 pageviews

2. Perry "Retires" to Boost Pension Pay — 63,680 pageviews

3. Fed Threat Shuts Down TSA "Groping" Bill in Texas — 57,301 pageviews

4. Texas House Budget Proposes Sweeping Cuts — 40,781 pageviews

5. Spending on Perry's Austin Mansion Hits $800,000— 30,247 pageviews

6. Texas A&M Years Launched Perry — and a Rivalry— 29,580 pageviews

7. Rick Perry's Taxpayer-Funded Security Costs Rise — 27,916 pageviews

8. UT President Asks Law School Dean to Resign Immediately — 26,668 pageviews

9. UT/TT Poll: Most Texans Don't Credit Perry on Economy — 25,461 pageviews

10. Perry Downplayed Allegations at Centers for Disabled — 24,420 pageviews

Brandi Grissom joined the Tribune after four years at the El Paso Times, where she acted as a one-woman Capitol bureau during the last two legislative sessions. Grissom won the Associated Press Managing Editors First-Place Award in 2007 for using the Freedom of Information Act to report stories on a variety of government programs and entities, and the ACLU of Texas named her legislative reporter of the year in 2007 for her immigration reporting. She previously served as managing editor at The Daily Texan and has worked for the Alliance Times-Herald, the Taylor Daily Press, the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung and The Associated Press. A native of Alliance, Neb., she has a degree in history from the University of Texas.