Time magazine on Tuesday announced a group of journalists it called “The Guardians” as 2018 Person of the Year, referring to individuals “who have taken great risks in pursuit of greater truths.”
Slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi was among several individuals named in the award, along with Filipina journalist Maria Ressa and Reuters’ Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. The Capital Gazette, the Maryland media company that lost five staffers to a mass shooting in June, also was included in the honor.
Time editor in chief Edward Felsenthal announced the 2018 Person of the Year on NBC’s “Today” show, noting this was the first time the weekly newsmagazine chose someone who is no longer alive.
“As we looked at the choices, it became clear that the manipulation and abuse of truth is really the common thread in so many of this year’s major stories ― from Russia to Riyadh to Silicon Valley,” Felsenthal said.
“This is the first time we’ve chosen someone no longer alive as Person of the Year, but it’s also very rare that a person’s influence grows so immensely in death.” TIME Editor-in-Chief @efelsenthal talks Jamal Khashoggi’s 2018 Person of the Year cover
Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October. The CIA determined the crown prince ordered Khashoggi’s assassination, but President Donald Trump shrugged off the evidence and said the U.S. will continue to partner with the Middle Eastern kingdom.
“It’s very rare that a person’s influence grows so immensely in death,” Felsenthal said. “[Khashoggi’s] murder has prompted a global reassessment of the Saudi crown prince and a really long overdue look at the devastating war in Yemen.”
Ressa is a veteran reporter on global terrorism and CEO of Filipino news site Rappler. She’s helped drive the site’s highly critical coverage of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte and his violent drug war.
Last month, the Duterte administration charged Ressa and Rappler with multiple counts of tax fraud in what Ressa described as trumped-up charges meant to “harass and intimidate.” She could face up to 10 years in prison.
Reuters’ Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested in Myanmar in December 2017. They were investigating a mass grave for Rohingya villagers, victims of what the United Nations has called the “genocidal intent” of Myanmar officials.
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were found guilty of illegally obtaining secret state documents, even though a Myanmar police captain testified the two journalists had been framed. They were sentenced to seven years in prison.
Four journalists and one newspaper “are representative of a broader fight by countless others around the world.”
Time’s annual Person of the Year feature profiles an individual or individuals who had the biggest effect ― for better or worse ― on news headlines over the previous 12 months.
Time announced its shortlist for this year’s nominees on Monday, which included Trump, special counsel Robert Mueller, “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler, research psychologist Christine Blasey Ford, March for Our Lives activists, Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, and families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Trump, who was named Person of the Year in 2016, was named this year’s runner-up. Mueller came in third place.
Last year, Time chose “The Silence Breakers” as its Person of the Year, referring to “the individuals who set off a national reckoning over the prevalence of sexual harassment.”
The cover image for the 2017 selection featured women who spoke out against sexual misconduct, from high-profile figures, such as Taylor Swift, to lesser-known survivors, such as former Uber engineer Susan Fowler and Mexican migrant farmworker Isabel Pascual.
K-pop band BTS won this year’s Time reader poll for Person of the Year, narrowly beating out Planet Earth. In third place were the Thai cave divers, whose heroic rescue mission to save a trapped youth soccer team and their coach captivated the world.
In November, Trump told reporters outside the White House that he should be Time’s 2018 Person of the Year.
“I can’t imagine anybody else other than Trump,” the president said. “Can you imagine anybody other than Trump?”