Like beauty, top stories in eye of beholder

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year’s Day is the perfect time to reflect on the year that was and how it impacted our lives.

In the newspaper business, it is always interesting to see what made the biggest headlines and what others think were the biggest stories of the year.

Usually the state and national stories are pretty clear cut. In 2011, the economy, the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 and the battle over Senate bBill 5 in Ohio certainly were among the biggest news makers.

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The question of what is the top local story becomes far more difficult to answer. If you ask five people, you will almost certainly get five different answers.

Many times, one person’s top five will be completely different than someone else’s top choices.

Each year The Tribune does its best to choose and rank the top stories of the year.

The first step is to simply create a list of potential stories. This is done by looking at a variety of factors including what had the most impact locally, what story made the biggest headlines, what were people talking about and what changed our lives.

The newsroom staff then each independently scores the stories with the results tallied together on a point system. That is the process by which we determine the top stories that you see published in today’s newspaper.

Do you think we got them right? Do you think we missed terribly? We would like to hear from you. Send a letter to the editor listing your top stories of 2011 and why you ranked them as such.

There is no right or wrong answer as this is entirely subjective based on an individual’s opinions and perspective.

Here is a list of Ohio’s top stories, as voted on by the state’s Associated Press newspapers and broadcasters:

“1. Owner of exotic animals sets dozens of lions, tigers and bears free, forcing authorities to kill 48 animals and sparking intense debate about Ohio’s animal regulations.

2. Ohio voters overwhelmingly reject Republican-backed law that limited the bargaining abilities of public workers.

3. Scandal involving Ohio State football players violating NCAA rules by selling or trading memorabilia to the owner of a tattoo parlor leads to forced resignation of Jim Tressel, departure of star quarterback Terrelle Pryor, vacating of 2010 season wins.

4. Jurors convict and sentence Anthony Sowell to death for killing 11 women whose remains were found in and around his Cleveland home.

5. Post-recession Ohio economy sputters, with continued high unemployment.

6. Republican U.S. Rep John Boehner of Ohio is elected House speaker, succeeding Democrat Nancy Pelosi.

7. Ohio man pleads guilty to all charges in deaths of 3 people found dismembered in hollow tree, sentenced to life in prison without parole.

8. GOP sets new U.S. House districts that put Democrats Kaptur, Kucinich in same district, lead to initiation of repeal effort by Democrats.

9. Ohio homeless man with a smooth radio voice is offered multiple jobs after newspaper video clip becomes online sensation, eventually lands in rehab for alcohol and drug dependency.

10. Ohio sells one prison, turns two over to private operator, returns one facility to state control.”

Clearly, 2011 was an historic year — on a local, state, national and global level. It is very likely 2012 will be the same.

Through the highs and lows of life, we must not forget to appreciate the fact we are living history.


Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at