Important news stories are happening every day, in communities big and small. Whether it’s accountability journalism relating to a local election, or watchdog reporting on ethnic conflicts the world over, the most important news stories are the ones that most urgently need telling.
Trust in both national and local media splits along the familiar fault line of partisanship, and regardless of what side you find yourself on, that’s dangerous. When mistrust is spread by tech companies, politicians, or news organizations themselves, those stories that most urgently need telling go unheard. According to Pew, Americans are the most divided they’ve been over the last five years when it comes to trust in news organizations, with a gap of 43 percentage points between Democrats—who are more trusting of the news—and Republicans.
This is all the more interesting when one considers the major events that made headlines this year. From insurrection and the COVID-19 pandemic to mental health and humanity’s step toward space travel, these are all things that impact us as a nation, or simply as humans with a shared reality. And yet, partisan divides persist in the coverage of these topics.
Despite ideological splits, good, bad, and neutral news breaks each day, and 2021 was replete with high-impact headlines. Stacker referenced news coverage from a wide array of publishers from around the world to highlight 10 of the most impactful stories from 2021. This is not a ranking of importance, nor is it an exhaustive list of the newsworthy events that happened, but rather a snapshot of another unprecedented year.
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