By RICK NORTON
Depending on who’s doing the talking, 2017 has been a great year filled with unbridled joy and future memories, an abysmal year stacked with disillusionment and dismay, or maybe one of those so-so …
Depending on who’s doing the talking, 2017 has been a great year filled with unbridled joy and future memories, an abysmal year stacked with disillusionment and dismay, or maybe one of those so-so years with a little of both.
Either way, it has been a newsy year. Or, perhaps better phrased, it has been yet another newsy year.
Looking back at the past 11 months and 18 days, what was it like for you … a typical Cleveland and Bradley County resident who prefers a healthy balance in life, but who is appreciative when more days hedge toward the good?
It’s the same question we asked about this same time last year … and the year before that, and the year before that, and … well, point made.
In short, 2017 has been a typical year, one that featured the best of times and sometimes the worst of times.
To borrow some of our words from Dec. 19, 2016, when announcing the start of our annual “Newsmakers” series …
It has been a year of sadness; it has been a year of joy.
It has been a year of celebration; it has been a year of disappointment.
It has been a year of discovery; it has been a year of retrospective.
It has been a year of reunion; it has been a year of pained separation.
It has been a year of life; it has been a year of tragic death.
It has been a year of growth; it has been a year of retreat.
It has been a year of looking ahead; it has been a year of glancing back.
It has been a year of laughing; it has been a year of crying.
It has been a year of bewilderment; it has been a year of enlightenment.
It has been a year of anger; it has been a year of contentment.
It has been a year of giving back; it has been a year of giving in.
It has been a year of transgression; it has been a year of forgiveness.
It has been a year of the church; it has been a year of tested faith.
It has been a year of spirit; it has been a year of the spiritless.
It has been a year of dreams; it has been a year of reality.
It has been a year of community for both the young and the old.
It has been a year of hometown for those born here as well as for those who have come here.
To more than 100,000 Cleveland and Bradley County residents, 2017 has served as a year of experiences. And in many cases, these episodes have fueled one or more news stories that have canvassed the front page of the Cleveland Daily Banner over the past 12 months.
And that brings us to today.
It is time for this newspaper to publish our annual “Top 10 Newsmakers” list for 2017. The series will begin in Tuesday’s edition and will conclude with a collection of “Honorable Mentions” that were strong news stories in their own right, but not quite as impactful as those that were chosen; at least, from the perspective of the Banner staff writers and editors who reported on them.
Some readers might argue, “But wait, the calendar year still has almost two weeks remaining. More news can happen in that time, and some of it might be as powerful as those prior stories that already collected newsroom votes.”
Should big news happen, it will be featured either as “Honorable Mentions” or in another form. In other words, it will be a “wait and see” arrangement.
Our intent is to close the series as we begin a new year, so we must start now.
For Banner readers new to this annual year-ending review, here’s how it works: Each of our reporters and editors was asked to submit a selection of stories that they covered over the past year, and which they felt were worthy of nomination. The collective newsroom list totaled almost 100 entries.
The same group of writers and editors were then asked to vote for their “Top 10” from the assembled list of nominees. Remember, these are not defined as “best” news stories based on quality of journalism or photography. Instead, they are stories that have carried the most significant impact with our community — for the better or for the worse.
Through a weighted calculation in which First Place votes get 10 points, and 10th Place votes get 1 point, the “Top 10” ranking was identified.
In Tuesday’s edition, Newsmaker No. 10 will be presented, and will include a narrative written by the reporter — or reporters — who covered the story in 2017. We won’t spoil the surprise. But we will offer this hint: Newsmaker No. 10 is not one story. It is three, based on a tie in accrued points.
Multiple stories also tied in a few other rankings.
On Wednesday, Newsmaker No. 9 will be presented; on Thursday, it’ll be No. 8, and then No. 7 in Friday’s edition.
We’ll take a break on Sunday, Dec. 24, because that’s our “Good News” edition and front page will be loaded with news off the beaten path, and all of it will be “good.”
In keeping with our Christmas Day tradition, the Banner won’t publish on Monday, Dec. 25.
The “Newsmakers” series will resume Tuesday, Dec. 26, with No. 6, and then No. 5 on Wednesday, Dec. 27. The series will continue on Thursday, Dec. 28, with No. 4; on Friday, Dec. 29, with No. 3; on Sunday, Dec. 31, with No. 2; and finally on Monday, Jan. 1, the No. 1 Newsmaker will be unveiled.
A list of “Honorable Mentions” will follow on Tuesday, Jan. 2.
As Banner readers, what do you consider the most impactful news stories of 2017? Give it some thought. And then compare your opinions to the reporters and editors who wrote about them.
Oh, and just this: Our staff writers and editors have been sworn to secrecy. So don’t bother asking them for insider info.
Expectation is half the fun.
Oh yeah, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Whatever you do to celebrate the holiday season, please do it responsibly and with safety in mind on every trip you take and in every decision you make.
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