Top news story in AP sur­vey: Florida school shoot­ing

Belleville News-Democrat (Sunday) - - News - BY DAVID CRARY

The mass shoot­ing at a Park­land, Florida high school that killed 17 stu­dents and staff and sparked na­tion­wide stu­dent-led marches for gun con­trol was the top news story of 2018, ac­cord­ing to The As­so­ci­ated Press’ poll of U.S. ed­i­tors and news di­rec­tors.

The first AP top-sto­ries poll was con­ducted in 1936, when ed­i­tors chose the ab­di­ca­tion of Bri­tain’s King Ed­ward VIII.

Given that most of the vot­ers in the AP poll are U.S.-based, sev­eral ma­jor in­ter­na­tional news sto­ries did not make the Top 10. Among them was the drama over Bri­tain’s planned exit from the Euro­pean Union, the elec­tion of new lead­ers in Brazil and Mex­ico, the dra­matic res­cue of a youth soccer team from a hardto-reach cave in Thai­land, and the dev­as­tat­ing earthquake and tsunami in In­done­sia in Septem­ber that killed thou­sands.

Here are 2018’s top 10 sto­ries, in or­der:

1. Park­land school shoot­ing:

It hap­pened on Valen­tine’s Day – an act of sense­less hate by a gun­man with a semi-au­to­matic ri­fle who killed 14 stu­dents and three staff mem­bers at Mar­jory Stone­man Dou­glas High School. Pre­vi­ous mass shootings had prompted pas­sion­ate calls for tighter gun-con­trol laws, but this time was dif­fer­ent. A group of stu­dent sur­vivors at the school, soon joined by al­lies na­tion­wide, launched the March for Our Lives move­ment that or­ga­nized mas­sive walk­outs and peace­ful protests at schools across the coun­try. The move­ment re­mains ac­tive, and has helped en­er­gize the broader cam­paign for tougher gun laws.

2. Trump-Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion:

Through­out 2018, Mueller’s team in­ves­ti­gated Trump cam­paign links with Rus­sia ahead of the 2016 elec­tion and whether the pres­i­dent ob­structed the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. The ev­i­dence so far shows a range of Trump as­so­ciates had Rus­sia-re­lated con­tacts dur­ing the cam­paign and tran­si­tion pe­riod; some for­mer Trump aides have been in­dicted for ly­ing. In a sep­a­rate case in New York, pros­e­cu­tors say Trump di­rected his per­sonal lawyer Michael Co­hen to make il­le­gal hush money pay­ments to two women in a bid to quash po­ten­tial sex scan­dals dur­ing the cam­paign.

3. #MeToo:

The #MeToo move­ment, which sur- faced late in 2017, main­tained its mo­men­tum through­out 2018 as many more pow­er­ful men were forced to ac­count for past in­stances of sex­ual as­sault and mis­con­duct. Oncerevered co­me­dian Bill Cosby was sen­tenced to prison; so was Larry Nas­sar, the for­mer Michi­gan State and USA Gym­nas­tics sports doc­tor con­victed of mo­lest­ing hun­dreds of young women. Dis­graced Hol­ly­wood mogul Har­vey We­in­stein was charged with rape. And Les Moonves was ousted as top ex­ec­u­tive at CBS af­ter a dozen women ac­cused him of sex­ual mis­con­duct.

4. Mass shootings:

When a Ma­rine com­bat vet­eran shot dead 12 peo­ple at a coun­try mu­sic bar in Cal­i­for­nia in Novem­ber, it was a “Not again” mo­ment for many Amer­i­cans — the fifth mass shoot­ing of the year in the U.S. that pro­duced na­tion­wide shock and sor­row. In May, two months af­ter the Park­land shoot­ing, eight stu­dents and two teach­ers were killed at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas. In June, a gun­man shot dead five em­ploy­ees at the Cap­i­tal Gazette news­pa­per in An­napo­lis, Mary­land. And in Oc­to­ber, 11 peo­ple were killed at the Tree of Life syn­a­gogue in Pitts­burgh dur­ing Shab­bat morn­ing ser­vices.

5. U.S. midterm elec­tions:

Democrats man­aged to flip 40 seats in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives to seize con­trol of that cham­ber from Repub­li­cans. Democrats also flipped sev­eral gov­er­nor­ships around the coun­try. But the GOP boosted its slim ma­jor­ity in the Se­nate and will have a 53-47 edge in the next ses­sion of Congress.

6. U.S. immigration:

Events along the U.S.Mex­ico bor­der pro­duced year­long drama and con­tro­versy. At the height of the midterm elec­tion cam­paign, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump de­ployed thou­sands of Army troops to the bor­der, warn­ing of threats from a car­a­van of mi­grants who’d jour­neyed from Cen­tral Amer­ica. Ear­lier, a zero-tol­er­ance or­der from Trump re­sulted in more than 2,500 mi­grant chil­dren be­ing sep­a­rated from their fam­i­lies. The prac­tice sparked global out­rage from politi­cians, hu­man­i­tar­i­ans and re­li­gious groups; im­ages of weep­ing chil­dren and an­guished par­ents were splashed across news­pa­pers and tele­vi­sion.

7. Ka­vanaugh hear­ings:

Trump nom­i­nee Brett Ka­vanaugh was nar­rowly con­firmed to fill a va­cancy on the U.S. Supreme Court af­ter ex­plo­sive Se­nate hear­ings on al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual ha­rass­ment and as­sault stem­ming from his high school and col­lege years. While mil­lions of Amer­i­cans watched on

TV, sen­a­tors heard tes­ti­mony from Ka­vanaugh, who de­nied any wrong­do­ing, and ac­cuser Chris­tine Blasey Ford, who said he at­tempted to rape her dur­ing a party when they were in high school. Ka­vanaugh’s pres­ence on the high court gives its con­ser­va­tive bloc a 5-4 ma­jor­ity.

8. Cal­i­for­nia wild­fires:

The Camp Fire in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia swept through the city of Par­adise, killing at least 86 peo­ple – the dead­li­est U.S. wild­fire in a cen­tury. Nearly 14,000 homes and hun­dreds of busi­nesses were de­stroyed. In South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, three peo­ple died and 1,500 struc­tures were de­stroyed by the Woolsey Fire. The two fires and a third smaller blaze pro­duced $9 bil­lion in ini­tial in­surance claims; de­bris cleanup is pegged at $3 bil­lion.

9. Cli­mate change:

Wors­en­ing nat­u­ral dis­as­ters around the world in­ten­si­fied the fo­cus on cli­mate change; del­e­gates at a global sum­mit in Poland ne­go­ti­ated an agree­ment on the next steps to min­i­mize harm. In the U.S., a gov­ern­ment re­port warned of dev­as­tat­ing im­pact, prompt­ing push­back by Pres­i­dent Trump.

10. Khashoggi killing:

For weeks, Saudi au­thor­i­ties is­sued a va­ri­ety of de­nials. But even­tu­ally it be­came clear that Wash­ing­ton

Post colum­nist Ja­mal Khashoggi was killed on Oct. 2 in­side the Saudi Con­sulate in Is­tan­bul. Khashoggi, a na­tive of Saudi Ara­bia, was fiercely crit­i­cal of its royal regime and the Saudi role in the cat­a­strophic war in Ye­men. The mur­der has had ma­jor diplo­matic reper­cus­sions, in part be­cause of wide­spread be­lief that Saudi Ara­bia’s pow­er­ful crown prince, Mo­hammed bin Sal­man, was in­volved. The U.S. Se­nate passed a mea­sure blam­ing the crown prince for the death, a move op­posed by Pres­i­dent Trump as he tries to pre­serve close U.S.-Saudi ties.

JAE C. HONG AP Mourn­ers gather Nov. 8 out­side a cof­fee shop for a vigil for Sean Adler in Simi Val­ley, Calif. When a Ma­rine com­bat vet­eran shot dead 12 peo­ple at a coun­try mu­sic bar, it was a “not again” mo­ment for many Amer­i­cans.

JAE C. HONG AP Pro­test­ers gather Jan. 20 at the Grand Park in LosAn­ge­les for a Women’s March against sex­ual vi­o­lence and the poli­cies of the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.

MAR­CIO JOSE SANCHEZ AP Roger Bloxberg, right, and his wife, Anne, em­brace as they watch a wild­fire on a hill top near their home Nov. 9 in West Hills, Calif.

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