Top 10s you may have missed

Posted on January 30, 2014. Filed under: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Columns | Tags: , , , , |

As the digital media revolution continues, everything is amped up, and that includes tabulations.

It used to be that there would be a few Top 10 lists at the end of each year.

Just about every news outlet would report the Top 10 news stories as it saw them. Dollar figures would be calculated to determine the Top 10 box-office films or album sales or book best-sellers.

But in the new millennium, the “record everything” nature of the Internet has opened the digital floodgates for all kinds of imaginative Top 10 itemizations.

In fact, several major media outfits published comprehensive Top 10 stories.

Time.com put out a “Top 10 Everything of 2013.” The New York Times put “The Top 10 Top 10 Lists of 2013” on its website. The Washington Post’s version was the “Top 10 Best of 2013 Lists of 2013.”

Other more specialized media outlets narrowed their list to Top 10s in specific areas appropriate to their focus and purpose.

Forbes.com featured an op-ed piece detailing “President Obama’s Top 10 Constitutional Violations of 2013” (No. 1—Delay of Obamacare’s out-of-pocket caps without legislation).

Archaeology magazine unearthed the “Top 10 Discoveries of 2013” (No. 1—Confirmation that bones found in Leicester in England believed to belong to King Richard III were actually his).

WorldNetDaily listed all the news that wasn’t fit to print in its “Top 10 Major Media Cover-ups of 2013” (No.1—The lies concerning Obamacare).

The Heritage Foundation posted “Top 10 Examples of Government Waste in 2013” on its blog (No. 1—Government employee trip to the Buccaneer Hotel in St. Croix, Virgin Islands, the resort made famous on The Bachelor).

Gallup even reviewed its “Top 10 World News Findings of 2013” on its web page (No. 1—Worldwide, only 13 percent of employees are “engaged” at work).

The phenomenon has expanded to include federal agencies. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) posted its “Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards” (No. 1—Fall Protection).

Going back to Time.com’s “Everything” list, one of its subcategories is Politics and News, and there it chronicles the Top 10 Under reported Stories of 2013.

A few items off that list are worth mentioning, starting with No. 6, the “Massive South Dakota Snowstorm” that dumped four feet of deadly autumn snow, devastating cattle herds. A footnote to the story is that neighboring ranchers in Montana began sending pregnant cows across the border after the blizzard.

No. 5 is “Heightened Violence in Iraq,” where the carnage is difficult for us in America to comprehend. More than 8,000 Iraqi civilians were killed in 2013 as all-out civil war looms on the horizon.

It’s easy to forget that Third World lives are as precious as ours.

The second Most Under reported Story of 2013 is closer to home, and that’s “U.S. Violent Crime Rises for Second Straight Year.” Victims of the nation’s 1.2 million violent crimes-that’s more than 3,000 every single day-know all too well that the myth of “low” and “falling” crime rates makes for better headlines than the reality.

Another noteworthy subcategory among the Time.com “Everything” lists is one called “Top 10 Heartwarming Stories of 2013.”

Inspirational and touching stories rarely earn the same coverage and headlines as tragedies and disasters because that’s the nature of news.

The Time.com editors selected some real winners, starting with No. 10, in which an Olivet, Mich., middle-school football team devised a secret play (without the coach’s knowledge) to down the ball at the one-yard line, and then allow developmentally disabled teammate Keith Orr to score his first touchdown.

No. 8 on the Heartwarming list was the live interview of a woman standing amid the rubble that was once her home in Moore, Okla., following the May tornado that killed 20 people. Someone from the television station noticed her dog moving underneath some of the debris, and the woman’s reunion with her pet was classic live television at its best.

Other stories highlighted a homeless man who returned a backpack filled with cash, a disfigured man kissed by Pope Francis, and of course the fairy-tale of the year, the birth of an English prince to the royal couple. The No. 1 Heartwarming Story earned its honors not only for its subject matter-a Make-A Wish fulfillment for a child cancer survivor-but also for its scope.

Five-year-old Miles Scott is in remission for leukemia, and he didn’t merely get to be Batkid (emulating his favorite superhero) for a day, but he also got to save the city of San Francisco (which became Gotham City for a day).

More than 10,000 social media posts spread Miles’ story, and on November 15 thousands of local residents lined the streets as the cape-crusading Batkid foiled the Penguin, saved a damsel in distress and accepted a city key from the mayor-while also managing to down a cheeseburger.

The San Francisco Chronicle even published a special edition headlining the Batkid’s heroism.

Hearts there were warmed, and dry eyes were scarce.

With the turning of the calendar, there’s also a new online onslaught of Top 10 lists—for 2014 resolutions.

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