To say 2012 has been a whirlwind of local activity would be the understatement of the year.
Beginning in Wednesday’s edition, the Cleveland Daily Banner will review the year by revisiting the Top 10 news stories of 2012; at least, in the opinions of those who wrote about them — the reporters and editors of the newsroom.
Actually, this year’s Top 10 will include 12 stories because the newspaper staff’s vote included two-way ties for two positions — No. 3 and No. 4.
The selection process followed the same route as used in previous years. Using a cutoff date of mid-December, Banner writers and editors chose preliminary selections from their respective news beats that were assembled into a complete listing. From here, each member of the same group cast their ballots, marking what they believed to be the community’s Top 10 stories of the year.
News stories taking place in the final couple of weeks of the year were not included in the newsroom balloting due to deadline constraints.
Stories were weighted on their respective rankings on each ballot. For example, a first place vote received 10 points, a second place vote received 9, and on down the line through 10th place which earned one point. Once all ballots were completed and submitted, they were tabulated.
The results will be reported beginning Wednesday.
Unlike past years when the entire list was published within one lengthy article, this year the news stories will be revisited one at a time. Each will be written by the staff writer or editor who provided primary coverage of the original news story during the year, or in some cases by a team of writers and editors.
Wednesday’s edition of the Banner will launch the 10-day series which will conclude on Dec. 31. Stories will be presented in reverse order. Story No. 10 will begin the series; Story No. 1 will close it.
Fifty-five points separated 10th place from first; however, only 16 points represented the difference between 10th place and 5th. This is mentioned because it points to the evenness in voting; and, it helps to explain why some extremely newsworthy stories did not make the Top 10. A few missed the ranking by only a few points.
Some of those “honorable mentions” — stories that most Banner readers and area residents will remember — include the continuing drive to obtain funding for the new veterans home; the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s announcement for funding of the Exit 20 (SR 311) interchange improvements and accompanying work on APD 40; the ongoing search for Bradley County resident Marsha Brantley; the recently announced plans by Lee University to expand and to physically connect to downtown Cleveland, which will include the conversion of the former First Baptist Church sanctuary into a music performance hall; and on a sports-related note involving Lee, the university’s acceptance into NCAA Division II and its pending membership in the celebrated Gulf South Conference.
Obviously, news rankings are matters of perception and interpretation. What one newspaper reader considers a top story might be deemed less so by another.
Regardless of opinions about news rankings, none can argue 2012 has been 365 days of local news activity in Bradley County — and this remains the priority of the Cleveland Daily Banner.