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December 31, 2003


The Associated Press named its stories of 2003.

If YOU didn't know, which seems likely, though you might have guessed, the AP polls all its member newspapers. They give a large list, in no particular order, and ask each reporter at the paper to fill out a Top 10. These results are compiled and each newspaper sends in one ballot.
ome newspapers may just have the editors fill in the list.

The Top 10 stories were:

1. War in Iraq
2. Columbia Disaster
3. California Recall
5. Northeast Blackout
6. Improving economy
7. California Wildfires
8. Bush Tax Cut
9. Elizabeth Smart
10. Democratic campaign

See my list below and I how I chose my top 10

Now for maybe a slight bit of interest, here’s the complete listing of stories. Each person was to give their ranking, 1, for top story, two for 2nd etc. etc. People were also allowed to write in their own choice for a top 10. (By the way there were separate ballots for each state, international, sports, as well as Nation and the World). Note, the ballots went out in the first week of December, before Saddam's capture.

The complete list, with exact wording given, in the listed order given, was:

__ *War in Iraq: Saddam is toppled, but occupation proves difficult.
__ Race for Democratic presidential nomination; Howard Dean leads polls
__ California recall campaign; Arnold Schwarzenegger elected governor
__ Death mounts in Israeli-Palestinian conflict; peace plan flounders
__ Economy improves but joblessness and state budgets remain problems
__ *Space shuttle Columbia breaks apart; seven astronauts die
__ *Southern California wildfires kill 22, destroys 3,600 homes
__ *Crisis over North Korea's nuclear weapons program
__ Illinois governor commutes 167 condemned inmates' sentences
__ *Trials of Washington-area sniper suspects
__ President Bush pushes through budget with tax cuts and deficits
__ Consecration of gay Episcopal bishop divides Anglicans worldwide
__ Air Force Academy scandal involving dozens of rape allegations
__ *Elizabeth Smart found nine months after her abduction in Utah
__ Arson attack on South Korea subway trains; 198 killed
__ *Fire during rock concert at Rhode Island nightclub kills 100
__ *Assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic
__ *Outbreak of SARS kills nearly 800 worldwide
__ Dispute over continued care for brain-damaged Florida woman
__ *Rescue of Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch from Iraqi hospital
__ Tornadoes kill 40 in Kansas, Missouri and Tennessee
__ Terror blasts in Saudi Arabia, Philippines, Morocco, Indonesia, Turkey
__ Investigation of mutual funds leads to another corporate scandal
__ Jayson Blair scandal at New York Times; top two editors resign
__ Warfare in Liberia; Charles Taylor forced from power
__ Supreme Court allows colleges to select students based partly on race
__ Staten Island ferry crashes into pier; 10 killed
__ *Supreme Court strikes down state bans on homosexual sex
__ Actress Katherine Hepburn dies at 96
__ Basketball star Kobe Bryant charged with sexual assault
__ *Congressional probe finds lapses by CIA, FBI before Sept. 11 attacks
__ *Green River killer Gary Leon Ridgway pleads guilty to 48 slayings
__ *Bob Hope dies at 100
__ Blackout hits parts of US and Canada; millions lose power
__ Violence persists in Afghanistan
__ *Thousands die in European heat wave
__ Efforts to provide more funding, cheaper drugs for global AIDS crisis
__ Paul Hill executed in Florida for slaying of abortion doctor
__ Global hunt for al-Qaida leaders; new bin Laden video surfaces
__ New York Stock Exchange chairman resigns over pay package
__ Hurricane Isabele pounds North Carolina, knocks out power to 1 million
__ *Republican lawmakers approve disputed Texas redistricting plan
__ *Congress bans “partial birth abortion”; court challenge follows
__ Smugglers abandon illegal immigrants in trailer in Texas; 19 die
__ Lawyer/activist Iranian woman wins Nobel peace prize
__ *China conducts first space mission
__ Olympic bombing suspect Eric Rudolph arrested in North Carolina
__ Track and field threatened with major scandal over steroid THG
__ *Alabama Supreme Court chief justice ousted in Ten Commandments dispute
__ Massachusetts high court rules gay couples have right to marry
__ * Michael Jackson faces child molestation charges
Your other story nominations (write-in): Johnny Cash dies; CIA spy Valerie Plame’s name leaked.

The * items above were my choices after a quick run down. Winnowing it down became harder. The first one was easy, The War In Iraq. The rest were harder to rationalize. I didn’t want to concentrate on one person, though Bob Hope’s death ended up as one of my choices.

I also added one to my final Top 10 list for the AP poll, which seemed a glaring oversight. I thought the final AP result was too Ameri-centric. Reporters and editors vote on the top stories. It most certainly does not reflect a liberal bias. It also is not a listing of negative stories, the always persistent puke that gets thrown out there.

I tried to focus on higher casualties when death was involved and how many people were actually effected. I tried not to pick something that happens every year or regularly – presidential election, people dying in floods etc etc. And, factored in, of course, was what seemed to be everlasting global news that would be rightly remembered years from now and would have an impact for years to come. That was a mix that seemed right.

BYTE BACK’s AP ballot Top 10.
1. War in Iraq: Saddam is toppled, but occupation proves difficult
2. Congressional probe finds lapses by CIA, FBI before Sept. 11 attacks
3. Space shuttle Columbia breaks apart; seven astronauts die
4. Thousands die in European heat wave
5. Crisis over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program
6. Trials of Washington-area sniper suspects
7. Rescue of Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch from Iraqi hospital
8. CIA spy Valerie Plame’s name leaked
9. Assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic
10. Bob Hope dies at 100.

Your list would be? A good list?