10 of the most-read stories in Atlanta in 2018

It’s been a significant and important year for local journalism, with exclusive investigations that have held your public officials accountable, exposed how your tax dollars were being misspent and focused on our community’s most important issues. As the end of 2018 approaches, it's a good time to look back at the year and remember the biggest stories that dominated Atlanta headlines.

Here's a look at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution coverage that was worth knowing this year.

RELATED: Read the AJC's 7 eye-opening investigative stories in 2018

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

1. Former Mayor Kasim Reed's political fallout 

In the wake of a federal probe investigating alleged bribery on the part of then-Mayor Kasim Reed, AJC investigations revealed a number of violations committed by the mayor's office, including repeated noncompliance with the state's open records laws, staff bonuses that violated the state's constitution and legal bills related to the federal probe that cost taxpayers more than $7.5 million. In 2018, city government took steps to move past Reed's checkered tenure by reaching a settlement with the AJC over the city's abuse of records requests, while the city of Atlanta passed an ordinance to ensure greater transparency and access to open records.

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

2. Midterm elections make national news 

The midterm elections suggested major shifts may be taking place on the Georgia political landscape, with a wave of suburban voters helping Democrats gain seats in the Georgia Legislature. Meanwhile, in the race for state governor, Republican Brian Kemp accused the Democrats of attempting to hack into the election, while Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams said she would not concede the contest and announced plans to launch a voting rights group to file litigation challenging election policies.

3. Amazon considers Atlanta for its HQ2 

The online retail giant launched a nationwide search for a city that could host its second headquarters location, and Atlanta was considered an early favorite to land the headquarters and all the jobs that came with it. In the end, though, Amazon opted to split its new HQ2 between New York City and the suburbs outside of Washington D.C.

Credit: Bob Andres

Credit: Bob Andres

4. UGA reaches the college football championship game 

In his second season at Georgia, coach Kirby Smart led the Bulldogs to the national championship game against SEC rival Alabama. Georgia came close but fell short in overtime, losing 26-23 to the Crimson Tide.

5. The 50th anniversary of the MLK assassination 

Fifty years after he was shot and killed in Memphis, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was remembered through an in-depth retrospective of his life and legacy.

Credit: Bob Andres

Credit: Bob Andres

6. Tex McIver is convicted of murder 

The long courtroom saga around Tex McIver and the 2016 death of his wife, Diane, ended in April when the prominent attorney was convicted of felony murder. The trial was one of the most-watched courtroom events in Atlanta in recent memory.

7. New hands-free law cracks down on distracted driving 

A new hands-free law banning the use of cellphones while driving went into effect this summer, forcing some Georgia drivers to change their behaviors. Police officers and highway patrol helped ease drivers into the new regulations by offering warnings and education in the early days of enforcement.

Credit: Bob Andres

Credit: Bob Andres

8. MARTA expansion and toll road opening 

Atlanta's transportation infrastructure received significant upgrades and funding this year in multiple forms. New expansion plans for the MARTA public transit system were approved and funded with a half-penny sales tax increase, clearing the way for a 40-year plan to upgrade public transit infrastructure. Meanwhile, new toll lanes in the Atlanta metro area will alleviate traffic congestion for drivers willing to pay an extra 10 cents per mile.

9. Atlanta's 'Dancing Doctor' goes viral for the wrong reasons 

Cosmetic surgeon Dr. Windell Boutte got national attention for filming videos of herself dancing while performing surgery. But past patients accused her of disfiguring them and filming them without their approval, with one patient even saying she suffered brain damage as a result of Boutte's malpractice. Boutte promptly had her license suspended by the state medical board.

10. "March for Our Lives" draws a crowd 

In the wake of multiple mass shootings at schools across the country, "March for Our Lives" was organized as a student-led protest calling for better gun control across the United States. Thirty-thousand marched through Atlanta on March 24 to raise awareness for the issue and take a stand against gun violence.

RELATED: Read the AJC's 7 eye-opening investigative stories in 2018