The Top 10 News Stories of 2011: What Would Your List Include?

By Duane Shank 01-02-2012

In mid-December, the Religion Newswriters Association released its top 10 religion stories of the year.  

The Associated Press now has its annual poll of U.S. editors and news directors and their choices for the top news stories of 2011.

The AP list, in order, is:

  1. Osama bin Laden's death.
  2. Japan hit with a triple disaster of an earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown.
  3. Arab spring demonstrations overthrew strongmen in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya. Protests continue in Syria, Bahrain, and Yemen.
  4. European Union fiscal crisis triggered strikes, protests and riots.
  5. U.S. economy slowly gaining strength, but unemployment, foreclosures continue.
  6. Penn State sex abuse scandal as assistant football coach is accused of sexually molesting 10 boys, leading to the firing of longtime coach Joe Paterno and the resignation of University president Graham Spanier.
  7. Moammar Gadhafi overthrown in Libya after 42 years of often brutal rule.
  8. Fiscal showdowns in Congress over debt ceiling, budget, and deficit reduction.
  9. Occupy Wall Street protests begin in New York City, and quickly spread across the country and around the world.
  10. U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords continues to recover from being shot outside a Tucson supermarket, 6 people, including a federal judge, were killed.

My list is slightly different. I would include the overthrow of Gadhafi as part of the Arab spring rather than a separate entry, and combine the U.S. economy with Congressional battles about it.

And I would add:

  • The U.S. combat role in Iraq ends with the final withdrawal of troops, while the war in Afghanistan intensified and U.S.-Pakistan relations reach a crisis point.
  • The Supreme Court decides to hear a challenge to Arizona’s harsh anti-immigration law, as Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah passed similar legislation.

Since this exercise is certainly a subjective one, your list might also be different from mine or the AP's.  What would you add or delete from these lists?

Duane Shank is Senior Policy Advisor for Sojourners.

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