In a year-end tradition dating back to 1936, newspapers rank their top 10 stories. These are the multi-headline attention-grabbers, the emotion-evokers — stories that leave readers thinking long after the ink dries.
You’ll see our Top 10 soon. Meantime, here’s the Associated Press’ (an international cooperative news service with a longtime newspaper partnership) top 10 stories of 2017:
1. Sexual misconduct. While scandals are nothing new, when a couple of celebrities came forward with their own stories about prominent men, coupled with the #metoo movement, a torrent of allegations and public discussions swelled like never before. America’s common view of what is and isn’t acceptable behavior is shifting.
2. Trump’s first year. Every president’s first year is news, but this time controversies began on Inauguration Day and never let up. This president also publicly communicates more and differently (e.g. on social media), which provides more fodder for public reaction.
3. Vegas shooting. Mass violence usually rears its ugly head, although we keep hoping otherwise. A 64-year-old video poker player amassed an arsenal before unleashing a barrage of gunfire from a high-rise, killing 58 and injuring hundreds at an open-air concert.
4. Hurricanes. In just four weeks, hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria ravaged Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands, killing and injuring hundreds, costing billions, and leaving many without power for extended periods, which later resulted in heat-related deaths.
5. North Korea. Two world leaders with nuclear arms at their disposal — ours and North Korea’s — seem to be fueling more worldwide tension as time goes by.
6. Russia probe. Soon after the president fired FBI Director James Comey, another former FBI chief, Robert Mueller, was appointed to investigate possible coordination between Russia and the president’s election campaign, resulting in federal charges against (so far) four people.
7. Obamacare. Despite strong efforts, majority Republicans in Congress haven’t yet repealed or replaced Obama’s health care law. Questions also remain as to how the current one will fare going forward, without substantive help from the Trump administration.
8. Tax bill. Republicans passed a $1.5 trillion tax overhaul that would cut corporate taxes while producing mixed results for individuals. Its proponents and critics predict very different long-term consequences; we’ll have to wait for the economy’s answer.
9. Worldwide terror attacks. Terrorism is usually among the top 10, but look at it this way: It’s fallen a few notches in recent years, when terrorism consistently made the top four.
10. ISIS. Also semi-good news here. After lengthy assaults, allied forces drove the Islamic State from its main strongholds in Iraq and Syria, leaving them without significant territory in either country.
Look for North Idaho’s own top 10 stories of 2017, coming soon.
Sholeh Patrick is a columnist for the Hagadone News Network. Contact her at Sholeh@cdapress.com.