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The year that was through headlines

One of my favorite things to do at the conclusion of the “old year” is to look back over the news headlines.

This passing year was chock full of worthy news and events. I hope you were able to get a copy of this week’s Blackbelt Gazette where we profiled the Top 10 news stories in Marengo County.

If not, there are probably just a few copies left at our stands and countertop locations around the county.

That countdown was unique to things that happened here.

Tons of “newsy” things happened in the world, like:

The oil spill in the Gulf. It’s hard to ignore that this event, while sorely tragic in nature, was one of the top news events of 2010. Regardless of where you point the finger of blame, the impact on Alabama’s Gulf Coast was both immediate and – at the height of summer vacation – ill-timed.

Ground Zero ship discovery. In July, construction crews that are working where the World Trade Center once stood uncovered a ship from the 1700s. The ship came to rest in what was a riverbed more than 300 years ago. Considering the amount of construction that has gone on at that site – even dating back to the erection of the original Twin Towers – that the ship remained largely intact and undisturbed is nothing short of remarkable.

Wikileaks. This year’s holiday season was interrupted by news that many sensitive classified documents would be released by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Even though the site has been around for nearly four years, it reached new infamy over the past several months as it released case after case of classified documents regarding U.S. and foreign relations.

Assange and his site have done a lot to muddy the waters between responsible journalism and protecting the public’s right to know.

Conan O’Brien debacle. I never really thought Conan was funny but I doubt anyone saw the abysmal failure that was the Jay Leno Show and the plummeting ratings of the Tonight Show coming. Two of late night television’s biggest stars found themselves in unfamiliar waters – failure – and the saga that unfolded was far more entertaining than either of their shows.

These are just a few stories from various sections and various pages of newspapers from around the world that stand out in my mind.

There are countless others. While you prepare to close the book on 2010, I encourage each of you to reflect a little on the year that was as documented by your local newspaper – the Demopolis Times – and the national news coverage of your choice.

I think you’ll find that 2010 was a full year and I expect no less from 2011.

Jason Cannon is the publisher of The Demopolis Times.