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Albers staff makes top news picks

Albers staff makes top news picks

It’s that time of year again, when newspapers, magazines and TV shows make their picks for the top this-or-that of 2011. Since we work in the news business, I asked our staff to choose their top news story of the year and provide their thoughts on why. Here’s what our PR Specialists had to say:

Julie Swartz: Omaha floods
One of the most dominant local stories in 2011 was the flood and its ongoing impact on local families. The floods came at a time when Omaha was in the national spotlight – for the first College World Series at the new TD Ameritrade Park. The flood’s impact on Omaha was lasting and is the biggest local news story of the year, in my opinion.

Staci Dudley: Tornadoes in Joplin, Miss. and Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Mother Nature’s wrath ended up being a great example of how generosity can triumph over tragedy. Seeing the media follow the story – from the initial impact of the storms, to the outpouring of support from around the country, to the lives being rebuilt afterward – made America feel connected. One national news program showed a home that had been leveled, with only a hallway still standing. The family who lived in that home had hidden in that very hallway – and they survived. I’ll never forget the miracle illustrated by that imagery.

Jenna Gabrial Gallagher: Middle East
The Middle East is a topic that always has a prominent place in international news. In 2011, social media led the charge in a relatively peaceful revolution. Would the chains of events leading to the falls of Mubarak and Qaddafi have been possible if people hadn’t felt empowered by revolutions elsewhere? In any other era, the iron fisted government control of media in these countries would have made revolution nearly impossible. In many ways, social media empowered the powerless.

Joni Williams: Casey Anthony trial
The judgment against Casey Anthony may have been innocent in the justice system, but in the court of public opinion, social media found Anthony guilty. Through the twists and turns of the trial, plus the ongoing news coverage and live-streaming of the verdict, the public was able to follow every detail of the case in real-time – and we were all hooked.

Sally Stalnaker: Millard South tragedy
The New Year started off with a dramatic story in Omaha news: The shooting death of the principal at Millard South High School, serious injury of the assistant principal and suicide of the shooter. Yet this story is another example of how tragedy can unite a community. In the hours, days and weeks after the shooting, the outpouring of unity and support from other schools, as well as the general public, was admirable.

Kristine Danley-Greiner: Gabrielle Giffords’ shooting
On Jan. 8, 2011, innocent bystanders were gunned down at a peaceful political gathering outside a busy local supermarket. Among the targets was Gabrielle Giffords, a Democratic congresswoman from Arizona’s 8th District. Six people were killed, and Rep. Giffords suffered a near-fatal head wound. Moments before the shooting, Giffords had Tweeted that she was ready to begin her first “Congress on the Corner” event. Social media kept the public up-to-date on the events as they unfolded. Giffords’ spirit throughout this tragedy serves as an example of how good triumphs over evil and how a person with a wonderful spirit can persevere – even when faced with a dire situation.

Tom Albers: Osama bin Laden’s Death
As a news story, the death of Osama bin Laden came out of nowhere. After so many years, it seemed like we would never know what became of him. And, all of a sudden, bin Laden had become a trending topic. While many bloggers have broken stories online, I will remember bin Laden’s demise as the first worldwide story where almost everyone, including myself, either heard about the story first through social media, or at the least, went to the web for confirmation prior to President Obama’s telecast.

These are just a few examples of news stories that resonated with our staff, and I’m sure we could pick several more. Please share with us your top news story for 2011 and how it has impacted you.