Having a good year without ‘newsmakers’

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As another calendar year turns the dial, and western Newfoundland gets ready to close the door on 2013, many are consumed by thoughts of betterment in 2014.

While the snow will continue to fall on Wednesday, roads will continue to need clearing, kids will need to be bundled up and work will need to get done. Besides writing the wrong year on personal cheques and a more pressing need to figure out how bad Christmas spending was, Jan. 1 is pretty much the same as Dec. 31.

The news of the day, as many often notice, seems to repeat itself as well. Each year, there will always, unfortunately, be crime that no one can explain or justify, as there will be people unfed, charities needing help, businesses closing and good deeds in places we least expect them.

Last week, the Canadian Press named its newsmaker of the year following a poll from news organizations throughout the country. Much to the chagrin of many — and the surprise of some — Toronto mayor Rob Ford topped the list. The crack-smoking, abrasive, “drunken stupor” leader of the country’s largest municipality collected 63 per cent of the vote in the annual survey.

The choice brings bewilderment to many until they realize this is not an award for volunteer or citizen of the year, titles usually bestowed upon recipients for the “good” they perform. Like Time’s Person of the Year, “newsmaker” carries with it a disclaimer that allows for “better or worse” accomplishments.

It’s for this reason the list’s No. 2, rock ’n’ rolling astronaut Chris Hadfield placed a distant second in the vote-getting with 16 per cent.

Sure, Ford is more than often seen as a joke to most of the country, but when every bumble he makes turns into international news, the choice for newsmaker of the year seems to make a little more sense.

In our backyard, of course, the choice would be a lot different. From the surprise municipal election results, to the anti-fracking mission, or the missteps in the formation of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq band, or the popularity of the race for leader of the Official Opposition, there have been many local newsmakers of the year for western Newfoundland.

While these are far more important to the people in The Western Star’s coverage area, they may not hold up as the talk of a nation. But, as we saw — and will continue to see — with the Ford debacle, that’s not entirely bad.

So, as we say goodbye to 2013 and welcome another year, even though the weather will still mean we keep the shovel attached to our hands, and the bills will continue to pile up, there is plenty to be celebrated from 2013, even if the news of our own year is a little more quiet.

Organizations: Ford, Canadian Press

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Toronto, Western Star

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