Top Five Media Stories of 2013

Friday, December 20, 2013 at 05:08PM
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Yes, it’s hard to believe, but it’s that time of year again: time for me to share with you my picks for the top news stories of the year. This year, it’s a mix of local, national and international stories. Agree, disagree, say what you will.

Here goes.

Number Five: The Royal Baby George

You may recall that the Royal Engagement made my top stories list for 2010. And now…baby makes three!

Roll your eyes all you want, but there were few stories that got more airtime and ink than little baby George in 2013 (even before he was born). Cute as he is (and let’s face it, he’s scrumptious), I really don’t know what all the fuss is about. I mean, he’s a baby and he won’t be king for a very, very long time. But people just can’t seem to get enough of royalty and babies…and there it is.

Number Four: The passing of Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela has long been one of my personal heroes. His 1995 autobiography, The Long Walk to Freedom, is amongst the best books of non-fiction I’ve ever read. From this book, I didn’t just learn about the African National Congress or Mandela’s role in opposing apartheid, but also about the responsibility we all have to take action against oppression and injustice.

Much has already been written about those eulogizing Mandela - including Barack Obama and the UK's David Cameron - who fail to mention that, until very recently, their nations considered Mandela a ‘terrorist’. And yet, if any man deserves to be celebrated, it is Mandela.

With so many accomplishments to his name, the love and affection of millions, and the blessing of 95 years on this earth, Mandela’s passing is not a time to be sad, but rather, to celebrate the powerful force for change this delightful gentleman was for generations of people around the world.

Number three: Philippines Typhoon Haiyan

“Super storms” like Typhoon Haiyan – which hit the Philippines November 8 and resulted in the deaths of over 6,000 people, while leaving tens of thousands of injured and millions of Filipinos homeless – are becoming fixtures of my annual top news story blogs. Last year, it was Hurricane Sandy and in 2011, it was the Japanese tsunami.

Several weeks after the typhoon hit land, millions of Filipinos are still without shelter, food or safe water. Aid agencies from around the world continue to raise funds for relief. Earlier this week, Phillipines president Benigno Aquino said that total damage from the typhoon to date has topped $12.7 billion, and that rebuilding will continue well into 2017.

US Secretary of State John Kerry noted this week that Typhoon Haiyan is yet one more example of the extreme weather events that are accompanying global climate change, and he’s right.

Here at home, as we watch Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) approve the Northern Gateway Pipeline project (with conditions), we can no longer turn away from the implications of oil extraction, refining and consumption on our world’s future. The future is now – and it’s time to act now.

Number Two: Week of Reconciliation

The Week of Reconciliation in Vancouver in September 2013 – which began with an All Nations Canoe Gathering (left) and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s National Gathering at the PNE, and ended with Reconciliation Canada’s Walk for Reconciliation – was a historic moment for our city, and for Canada’s relationship with First Nations people.

Reconciliation Canada – build on the vision of Chief Dr. Robert Joseph and brought to life by his daughter, Karen Joseph – was founded to help Canadians gain an understanding of one another’s shared history, beginning with the stories of Aboriginal people and the Indian residential school system. Vancouver’s Week of Reconciliation was just the beginning.

Tens of thousands of British Columbians – both aboriginal and non-aboriginal – walked together on September 22 for a new way forward. This video tells the story better than I ever could.

Boldt Communications was honoured to work with Reconciliation Canada in 2013 to help bring their message to a national audience.

Number One: 2013 BC Election results

There were many political events in Canada in 2013 worthy of placement on this list – the Senate scandal (still going) and the Rob Ford scandal (still going) being the two biggest and most obvious examples. But in B.C., no one can deny that the May 2013 election results were a jaw-dropping stunner for political observers, including yours truly.

Satirical humour filled my living room on election night as the results rolled in, but in many ways, the election’s result was no laughing matter. As my dad would say, BC NDP leader Adrian Dix snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, squandering a 30-point lead in the polls to go down in spectacular defeat to Premier Christy Clark and the BC Liberals.

The BC Liberal victory was nothing short of remarkable, and is a testament to the political skills of the Premier and her team, led by her campaign director (and my long-time friend) Mike McDonald.

Smarter minds than mine have since read the entrails of the NDP’s stunning loss, and now, the BC NDP finds itself in a period of intense introspection as it decides what to do next. I, for one, believe there’s significant public support for a progressive electoral option in BC. Is the BC NDP that option? We’ll see what happens in the months ahead, as the BC NDP prepares to choose Dix’s successor in September 2014.

And…that’s all she wrote. What do you think of my picks?

Wishing you all a very happy and prosperous new year. We’ll see what new stories 2014 brings!

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