When it comes to measuring influence, there are few higher honors than being named TIME's Person of the Year. Each year when the cover of the Person of the Year issue is revealed, Twitter jumps to respond — and this year was no different. But this year, instead of picking one person,TIME is honoring a handful of deceased and imprisoned journalists and reporters for their truth-seeking pursuits. These tweets about TIME's Person of the Year show that people still think the truth is important.
This 2018 TIME Person of the Year winners are "The Guardians and the War on Truth," according to TODAY.com. The winners were announced on the TODAY Show on Tuesday, Dec. 11. These individuals are members of the press from around the world who have gone to extraordinary lengths — including death and serving prison time — in a quest for the truth. On each of the four covers, TIME will feature the following people as the 2018 Persons of the Year:
- Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post columnist who had criticized the Saudi Arabian government and was killed in October at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul;
- Maria Ressa, editor of Philippine online news website Rappler, who has led harsh coverage of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's violent war on drugs within the country;
- Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, two Reuters journalists who were jailed in Dec. 2017 (and are still serving time) for their work investigating the killings of 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys in Myanmar. Their wives are featured on the cover holding pictures of the two men;
- The staff of the Capital Gazette of Annapolis, Maryland. Five journalists lost their lives when a gunman entered the building during a "targeted attack" in June.
In a time where fake news is plastered on social media and even spouted from the mouth (and fingertips) of President Trump himself, journalists like the individuals named to TIME's Person of the Year are here to set the record straight. Per a story published on TODAY.com, TIME selected this dignified group of reporters "for taking great risks in pursuit of greater truths, for the imperfect but essential quest for facts that are central to civil discourse, for speaking up and speaking out."
The press is an issue that divides many people, but people on Twitter seem to agree that TIME made the right choice by selecting "journalism" as this year's Person of the Year.
In 2017, TIME once again broke from the tradition of naming a single Person of the Year and touched the world by choosing the "Silence Breakers." This group is made up of women and men who came forward as survivors of sexual assault and propelled the country into a movement to shed a light on sexual assault in America. Among those included in the issue were the women who came forward to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault — bringing down one of Hollywood's biggest and responsible for driving the force behind #MeToo. Weinstein has denied all allegations of "non-consensual sex" per a statement from a representative.
TIME's cultural shift in naming groups of people instead of individuals might just be a sign of the times. The purpose of TIME's Person of the Year designation is not to honor a person or group that is most popular, but rather recognize those who have influenced the news cycle "for better or for worse," according to TIME.
President Donald Trump was the second runner up for TIME's Person of the Year, with Robert Mueller, the former director of the FBI and special counsel for the United States Department of Justice, coming in third place, according to the announcement made by TIME on the TODAY Show.