To wrap up a tumultuous year, here are some of our Top 20 Stories of 2009 (see list below).
As we did last year, our top news reports and opinions were selected by our editors based on ratings from the NewsTrust community -- to represent the broad range of events and news sources that covered them.
The Year in Review
It was a difficult year to summarize in one sweep, to be sure. The year began with the outbreak of war in Gaza, alongside the inauguration of a new U.S. president. In February, a new U.S. Congress authorized hundreds of billions of dollars into to be poured into the economy to help stimulate recovery from the previous fall's financial crisis. Months later, the economy showed signs of growth, but unemployment remained at record highs.
The war in Afghanistan intensified, as did the debate over a new strategy. President Obama deployed thousands of troops and trainers in the spring, and vowed later in the year to send many more. Conflict spilled into neighboring Pakistan, amid ongoing conflict between Pakistani and Taliban forces. Hamid Karzai secured a second term as president in an election many world leaders and international bodies said was marred by fraud.
In June, another corrupt presidential election, this one in Iran, gave way to large-scale protests against Iran's system of government. The demonstrations, organized with the help of Twitter and other social networking tools, resulted in violent confrontation between protestors and government forces, and captured the attention of media around the world.
Debate over the Democratic Party's ambitious plans for health care reform erupted over the summer, with accusations of euthanasia, socialism and "death panels" appearing on the front pages of major newspapers. Months of debate in Congress have brought an overhaul of the nation's health care system close to a vote, though much later than President Obama had intended.
A far cry from 2008, in which the presidential election (and later the financial crisis) dominated the news cycle, the news stories and opinions that define 2009 cover a diversity of topics and complex issues. Where does the massacre at Fort Hood fit into this picture? The failed climate negotiations at Copenhagen? The confirmation of Sonya Sotomayor? Debate over torture?
Best Stories of 2009
To spotlight a wide range of stories and sources, NewsTrust staff editors compiled a list of NewsTrust's top rated news and opinion from 2009. To qualify, each story had to have at least 10 reviews, with an overall rating of 4.0 or higher, as well 5 or more reviews with notes from trusted members. No publication could win twice in this Top 20 list.
Here they are, NewsTrust's Best Stories of 2009:
Top 5 News Stories - Mainstream
- Familiar Players in Health Bill Lobbying - Washington Post (Reviews)
- In Netherlands, insurers compete over quality of care - PBS NewsHour (Reviews)
- Green Giant - New Yorker (Reviews)
- Obama to Shut Guantanamo Site and C.I.A. Prisons - New York Times (Reviews)
- The most dangerous place in the world - Foreign Policy (Reviews)
Top 5 News Stories - Independent
- "Climategate" - FactCheck (Reviews)
- God, the Army, and PTSD - Boston Review (Reviews)
- Gaza Media War - Link TV / Global Pulse (Reviews)
- The Homemakers - Miller-McCune (Reviews)
- The U.S. Economic stimulus plan - Council on Foreign Relations (Reviews)
Top 5 Opinions - Mainstream
- Keeping Iran Honest - Guardian (Reviews)
- Fear was no excuse to condone torture - Miami Herald (Reviews)
- Why should I respect these oppressive religions - The Independent (Reviews)
- The big takeover - Rolling Stone (Reviews)
- Jon Stewart rips into CNBC - Daily Show (Reviews)
Top 5 Opinions - Independent
- Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable - Clay Shirky (Reviews)
- Why the Critics of a Public Option for Health Care Are Wrong - Robert Reich (Reviews)
- All of Them Must Go - The Nation (Reviews)
- The 13 people who made torture possible - Salon (Reviews)
- Yoo for the Defense - Harper's (Reviews)
We hope you enjoy these stories as much as we did selecting them for you.
Happy New Year!
-- by Derek Hawkins, with Fabrice Florin and Kaizar Campwala