The biggest stories of 2012?
Thats the subject of a Page 1 article today and a topic the media is discussing everywhere at years end as we look back on the news events that captured our interest and imagination.
At The Miami Herald, our top 10 is really two lists of five what our staff selected as the top five local stories, and the picks for the top five on the national and international scene.
For levitys sake and in a year like this, we all need a laugh we offer Dave Barrys year in review in Tropical Life. Its a month-by-month look at how 2012 unfolded, and a different view, for sure.
Our local stories included the death of Trayvon Martin, the attack on the MacArthur Causeway, the opening of the Marlins Stadium and the dismantling of the baseball team, the Miami Heats NBA triumph and the saga of Miamian Christian Aguilar, a University of Florida freshman allegedly murdered by his roommate.
Our national and international list featured the 2012 presidential election; the mass shootings in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo.; Hurricane Sandy; the milieu in the Middle East (Syria, Egypt and the Israel-Palestine conflict) and the scandal around resigned CIA chief David Petraeus.
Reporters Audra D.S Burch and Connie Ogle, who worked on the list, said one measure involved a storys staying power. We looked at how long a story stayed in our mindset, on the front page, in the conversation, Burch told me. The causeway attack, she said, was shocking, of course. But it sticks with you because we still dont know why it happened. The death of college student Christian Aguilar made the list, she said, because of how it connected with parents and families. Every parent could relate to a child going away and learning he will never come back again.
No list is perfect, and weve had arguments aplenty at The Herald on what did or didnt make either list. Such as:
• We listed the fall of military hero and CIA chief David Petraeus in our top five national/international stories, but not the saga of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. The rationale? Chavezs health and Venezuelas future has high interest in South Florida and Latin America, but further from the radar elsewhere in the state and the country.
• Our list lacks a major local business story. The real estate rebound? No. The struggles of Citizens Insurance and the rise of property insurance in general? No. American Airlines fight to emerge from bankruptcy? The Costa Concordia disaster and its effect on corporate parent Carnival? No and no.
• We dont list Floridas various voting snafus in the local top five. Our state government and politics editor, Sergio Bustos, asserted that the defeat of U.S. Rep. David Rivera, amid allegations he secretly funded the campaign of a political unknown to challenge his chief re-election rival, ought to be on the list. Political writer Marc Caputo recommended another story as Floridas top political news event the resurrection of former Gov. Charlie Crist.
• Our newsroom colleagues with the WLRN-Miami Herald News on 91.3 FM have done a series of reports on top local stories this year. One, by reporter Rick Stone, focused on the weirdest stories in Florida this year. In addition to the causeway attack, it features the disembodied blue eye found on the beach (turned out to be from a swordfish) and a woman arrested while riding a manatee.