Zaza Pachulia, Atlanta Hawks center, is a native of the Republic of Georgia.

Zaza Pachulia, a 6-foot-11 basketball player from the nation of Georgia, was a fan favorite on GlobalAtlanta in 2009, scoring 66,493 page views from readers across the world.

The year’s top 10 most-read stories covered a broad range of topics, from the Quran to China trade, Delta Air Lines Inc.’s suspension of flights to India, and a program to ship leftover soap from Atlanta hotels to refugee camps in Africa.

Here is the Top 10 on the GlobalAtlanta hit list for 2009:

1.  High-flying Hawk

Mr. Pachulia, a center for the Atlanta Hawks, granted GlobalAtlanta an interview in February about life in the NBA and the U.S. His advice to professional athletes from other countries: learn English. “It’s very important to communicate with people, to understand people. It makes your life easier,”  he said.

The story has received nearly 50,000 page views. Later in the year, GlobalAtlanta was first to report that Mr. Pachulia had purchased a restaurant in Atlanta, Eno in Midtown, which the basketball player promptly renamed Eno by Zaza. Two stories on the restaurant have received more than 17,000 page views so far,  bringing the total to more than 66,000 page views on three stories about the 25-year-old Mr. Pachulia.

 2. Filipino Honored

Didi O’Connor, a past president of several Atlanta-based Filipino business and civic associations, was awarded the “Outstanding Community Leader” award on the 111th anniversary of Philippines independence.

The Philippines’ honorary consul general, Ray Donato, presented Ms. O’Connor with the award on June 12 for 26 years of service to the Philippine community. The story attracted nearly 10,000 page views in 2009.

3.  A New Look at the Quran 

Indian film maker Faruq Masudi stopped by GlobalAtlanta’s office studio for an interview about his newest work, “Quran: Contemporary Connections.” In the film, Mr. Masudi tries to correct what he views as misinterpretations of Islam in in much of the world. “To say that American lifestyle or society is at loggerheads with the concept of the Quran is very, very wrong,” said Mr. Masudi. The story has generated more than 8,000 page views.


4. Lesser Leaves McKenna Long

Craig Lesser, former commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, left the Atlanta law firm of McKenna, Long & Aldridge LLP in early 2009 to launch his own public affairs consulting firm. As Georgia’s top economic developer from 2004-2006, Mr. Lesser was instrumental in recruiting Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, which has constructed a $1.2 billion plant in West Point. The story has received more than 8,000 page views.


5. Hotel Soap Headed to Africa

GlobalAtlanta was the first to report on a new non-profit group in Atlanta collecting leftover soap from Atlanta hotels, which it hopes to recycle and ship to refugee camps in Africa. The Global Soap Project was founded by Derreck Kayongo and his wife, Sarah, who are both from Uganda. The story has received more than 8,000 page views.

6. China Trade Fair

The China Import and Export Fair, also known as the Canton Fair, is the largest trade show in the world by attendance. It has been held in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou in the spring and fall of each year since 1957. Last year, a total of nearly 400,000 buyers from more than 200 countries attended the two sessions. A GlobalAtlanta story about it was one of the most popular in 2009, garnering nearly 8,000 page views.


7. State of Georgia Trade Offices

As Georgia companies expand their international business, they have a worldwide network of advocates, thanks to the state of Georgia. A story profiling the state’s 10 trade representatives has received more than 7,800 page views. Most of the individual state pages have received a few thousand views on their own.


8. Georgia’s Hungarian Connection

John Parkerson, director of international programs at Clayton State University, took GlobalAtlanta along on a trip to Budapest, Hungary, where government officials greeted him as an old friend. He is Hungary’s honorary consul for the Southeast U.S. and is constantly working to promote trade between Hungary and the region. A story on the trip has received 6,700 page views.


9. YKK Corporation

The Japanese manufacturer of zippers and other products has two plants in Georgia and its U.S. corporate headquarters in Marietta. An interview with YKK Corp. of America president and CEO Alex Gregory has received 6,600 page views.


10. Delta Suspends India Flights

Delta Air Lines Inc. moved its Atlanta-Mumbai flight to New York, then suspended the service outright, effective in October, which left the carrier with no direct service from the U.S. to India. A story on the service reduction and reaction from the Atlanta Indian-American community received more than 6,500 page views.

Editor’s note: Page views were tabulated from the beginning of the calendar year, meaning that stories posted earlier in the year had more time to accumulate viewership. True popularity would take into account the ratio of page views to time since publication. Below are some noteworthy stories that skyrocketed near the top 10 relatively quickly:

Changing Costa Rica With Education – 6,322 views – September

Canadian Consul to Focus on Border Issues in New Post – 6,321 -August

Headmaster Aims for Local Education With Global Perspective5,490 – October

Procter & Gamble Will Close Nioxin Headquarters, Factory 3,985 – July 

U.S. Trade Rep: No Timeline for Votes on Pending FTAs – 3,873 – October