Paul Janensch Time to pick news media superlatives
It’s time to round up the news media’s Person, Lie, Quote, Word and Correction of the Year.
Time magazine named four journalists and a newspaper staff as a collective Person of the Year. Time called them “guardians” in the “war for truth.”
As a former news hound myself, I was glad to see journalists honored.
One Time cover shows Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi dissident who was killed and dismembered in Turkey by a squad connected to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Khashoggi had criticized Saudi Arabia’s regime in opinion pieces carried by The Washington Post and other outlets.
A second cover shows a Philippine journalist arrested on charges of tax evasion. Her online news service had been critical of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s government.
A third cover shows two Reuters reporters who were imprisoned in Myanmar. They had been investigating the mass killing of Rohingya Muslims by security police in the predominantly Buddhist country.
A fourth cover shows staffers of the Capital Gazette newspapers in Annapolis, Md., where four journalists and a sales assistant were shot to death in June.
The survivors managed to put out an issue of The Capital the next day.
Charged with murder was a man who held a grudge against the newspaper for reporting his guilty plea to criminal harassment. Unlike the others recognized by Time as “guardians,” these journalists were not targeted by a government force.
Lie of the Year? PolitiFact.com picked the stream of falsehoods posted on the internet after the February shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school, in which 17 students and staff members were killed.
Baseless claims were made about students who survived and became anti-gun activists. One student was said to be an actor from California. Another was said to have ties to Cuba.
Quote of the Year? Fred Shapiro, associate director of the Yale Law School library, picked “truth isn’t truth.” It was said in August by Rudy Giuliani on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, was asked by host Chuck Todd whether Trump should testify in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Giuliani said testimony is “somebody’s version of the truth, not the truth.” Todd said, “Truth is truth.” Giuliani responded: “No, it isn’t truth. Truth isn’t truth”
Word of the Year? Oxford Dictionaries picked “toxic.” It means “poisonous.”
“This year more than ever, people have been using ‘toxic’ to describe a vast array of things, situations, concerns and events,” said the British publisher.
Correction of the Year? CJR.org, the website of the Columbia Journalism Review, liked this one published in November by The Wall Street Journal:
“Vladimir Putin is president of Russia. An editing mistake erroneously identified him as Vladimir Trump.”
Paul Janensch, of Bridgeport, was a newspaper editor and taught journalism at Quinnipiac University. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.