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AP top 10

Dec 31, 2012 - By Steven R. Peck

We agreed with most of their choices, with some exceptions

Each year as December winds down, our newspaper gets to participate in the process of choosing the top 10 news stories of the year in conjunction with the Associated Press, of which we were Wyoming's very first member newspaper in 1953.

The full top-10 story with pictures appears on page A-2 of today's edition. Our voter agreed with most of the AP's top 10, but not completely.

With the awful Newtown, Conn., school shooting fresh in their minds, most of the AP editors named the rash of mass shootings in 2012 as the top story of the year, with the 2012 election second. Our voter transposed the two, putting the election No. 1. Not an easy choice, but from this chair the historic significance of the re-election of the first black president, and the longer-term ramifications of the volatile 2012 race from top to bottom tipped the scale.

Interestingly, the AP scrapped its original vote and invited editors to revote after the Newtown shooting, which seemed like an instruction to vote the shootings into the top spot. Four years ago, when the tsunami in the Indian Ocean killed 275,000 people the day after Christmas, it didn't even make the AP's top 10 list. The voting already had been done.

No. 3 on the AP's list was "superstorm" Sandy. Our vote put it fifth. There are more AP members along the eastern seaboard than anywhere else, and the New York-centric nature of the storm ensured it a high ranking.

AP voters placed the Supreme Court's vote upholding the national health care reform act, commonly called Obamacare, as the No. 4 story. That's about where we had it as well.

Next on the AP's list was the ongoing crisis in Libya. No. 5 in the final poll, it held onto the No. 4 position on our ballot. It, too, had implications for the election following the killing of the U.S. ambassador and others at the consulate in Benghazi.

No. 6 in the final tally was the Penn State football sex scandal and aftermath. We thought it was ranked too high last year and the same goes for 2012. It did not make our top 10 at all.

Editors nationwide voted a general heading called "U.S. Economy" to the No. 7 spot. We often question the construction of the AP's ballot, and this is one such case. The No. 8 story -- the "fiscal cliff" standoff -- very easily could have been grouped as part of "the economy" and ranked higher on the list as one story instead of two. As it was, with all the economic battles, difficulties and improvements in mind, we voted the economy the No. 3 story.

Fiscal cliff (No. 8 nationally) could have been an element of a larger story under the heading "gridlock continues" or "partisan gridlock." As it was, we lumped it with "the economy" and didn't rank it separately in the top 10.

No. 9 on the final ballot went to the evolution in public perception, acceptance, and legal endorsement of same-sex marriage. We voted it almost the same way, at No. 10.

The ugly civil war in Syria came in 10th for the AP. We voted it a few spots higher on our ballot. We tend to vote war higher than peace, and we tend toward stories that made headlines on our own World and Nation page day after day. We had a lot of headlines about Syria in 2012.

A new year awaits. We'll be here to cover it.

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