Time magazine sidestepped both Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin to name their watchdogs as Person of the Year. Announced on NBC’s Today show this morning, the magazine’s 2018 Person of the Year is, collectively, The Guardians in the war on truth. The magazine specifically cited four journalists and one newspaper as “representative of a broader fight by countless others around the world.”
The journalists, including Jamal Khashoggi (see his cover below), each of whom have been either jailed or killed in doing their work, include Maria Ressa, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo and staff of the Capital Gazette of Annapolis, Md.
Time’s editor in chief, Edward Felsenthal, wrote in an essay about the choice, “Like all human gifts, courage comes to us at varying levels and at varying moments. This year we are recognizing four journalists and one news organization who have paid a terrible price to seize the challenge of this moment.”
The journalists, Felsenthal writes, “are representative of a broader fight by countless others around the world — as of Dec. 10, at least 52 journalists have been murdered in 2018 — who risk all to tell the story of our time.”
The magazine will feature on four separate covers Khashoggi, Ressa, the Gazette staff and the wives of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo.
Khashoggi, of course, is the Washington Post columnist and Saudi dissident assassinated in October. Maria Ressa is the editor of a Philippine news website known for its critical coverage of its president’s violent policies, and Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are two Reuters journalists arrested in Myanmar while investigating a massacre of Rohingya Muslims. The five Capital Gazette staff members were killed by a gunman.
Khashoggi was among 10 finalists for Person of the Year announced by Time yesterday, but “Guardians” as a group was not – perhaps an attempt to throw press and speculators off the trail. The others were President Donald Trump, Separated Families, Vladimir Putin, Robert Mueller, Ryan Coogler, Christine Blasey Ford, March for Our Lives Activists, Moon Jae-In and Meghan Markle.
The Person of the Year title is not necessarily an honor, but rather the person or idea that’s had the most impact. Hitler and Stalin were, famously, among the cover choices.
Last year’s choice was “The Silence Breakers,” individuals who spoke up against sexual harassment and assault. or award, but representative of the influence the person — or idea — has had on the news within the past year, for better or worse.
Time says this year’s choice marks the first posthumous Person of the Year.