Home News TIME's 2018 Person of the Year: 'The Guardians and the War on Truth' – AOL

TIME's 2018 Person of the Year: 'The Guardians and the War on Truth' – AOL

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A group of journalists whose work has landed them in jail — or cost them their lives — have been named TIME’s Person of the Year for 2018.

“Like all human gifts, courage comes to us at varying levels and at varying moments,” the magazine’s editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal wrote in an essay about the selection. “This year we are recognizing four journalists and one news organization who have paid a terrible price to seize the challenge of this moment: Jamal Khashoggi, Maria Ressa, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo and the Capital Gazette of Annapolis, Md.”

Jamal Khashoggi is the Washington Post columnist murdered for his criticism of the Saudi crown prince. Maria Ressa is the editor of a Philippine news website renowned for its critical coverage of its president’s controversially violent policies. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are two Reuters journalists who were arrested in Myanmar while investigating a massacre of Rohingya Muslims.

The Capital Gazette is the paper targeted by a gunman who opened fire into the newsroom, killing four journalists and a sales assistant.


All of TIME's Person of the Year recipients

See Gallery

**Click through the following slides to see every TIME Person of the Year recipient since the tradition began in 1927.** 

(Photo credit should read ERIC BARADAT/AFP/Getty Images)

TIME’s 2018 Person of the Year is… “The Guardians and the War on Truth.” https://t.co/fyMlpUQ5Ph

2017: The Silence Breakers, #MeToo Movement

(REUTERS/Rebecca Cook)

2016: President-elect Donald Trump

(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

2015: German Chancellor Angela Merkel

(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

2014: Ebola fighters

(Photo by Kevin Sieff/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

2013: Pope Francis

(Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

2012: President Barack Obama

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

2011: The Protester

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

2010: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

(REUTERS/Robert Galbraith)

2009: Ben Bernanke

  • Chairman of the Federal Reserve during the recession 

(JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

2008: President-elect Barack Obama

(REUTERS/Shephard Fairey/TIME/Handout). 

2007: Russian President Vladimir Putin

(REUTERS/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

2006: ‘You’


2005: Good Samaritans

  • Bill Gates
  • Bono
  • Melinda Gates

(REUTERS/Gregory Heisler for Time/Handout)

2004: President George W. Bush

(Photo by The Washington Post/Getty Images)

2003: The American solider

(REUTERS/Erik de Castro)

2002: The Whistleblowers

  • Sherron Watkins, Enron
  • Cynthia Cooper, WorldCom 
  • Coleen Rowley, the FBI

(REUTERS/Win McNamee)

2001: New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani


2000: President-elect George W. Bush

(Reuters Photographer/Reuters)

1999: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

(REUTERS/Gus Ruelas)

1998: President Bill Clinton and independent prosecutor Kenneth Starr

  • Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives as a result of Starr’s investigation

(Photo: Reuters)

1997: Founder of Intel Andrew Grove

(Photo by Alain BUU/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

1996: HIV/Aids researcher Dr. David Ho

(Photo by Ted Thai/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

1995: House Speaker Newt Gingrich 

(Photo by John Zich/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

1994: Pope John Paul II 

(Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

1993: The Peacekeepers

  • Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin
  • African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela
  • South African President Frederik W. de Klerk
  • Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat 

(Photo credit should read H.O/AFP/Getty Images)

1992: President-elect Bill Clinton

(Photo by Steve Liss/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

1991: Founder of CNN Ted Turner 

(Photo by Mark Mainz/Getty Images)

1990: President George H.W. Bush

(Photo by Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

1989: Mikhail Gorbachev, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union  

(ITAR-TASS / Yuri Lizunov)

1988: The endangered earth

(REUTERS/NASA/Handout via Reuters/File Photo)

1987: Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev

(Photo by Dirck Halstead/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

1986: Philippines’ President Corazon Aquino

(Photo by Sandro Tucci/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

1985: Chinese communist leader Deng Xiaoping

(Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

1984: Peter Ueberroth

  • The man behind the Los Angeles Olympics

(REUTERS/Robert Galbraith RG/GAC)

1983: President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Yuri Andropov

(Photo via Getty)

1982: The computer

(Photo by f8 Imaging/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

1981: Polish labor activist Lech Walesa

(Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

1980: President-elect Ronald Reagan

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

1979: Ruhollah Khomeini, Supreme religious leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran

(JOEL ROBINE/AFP/Getty Images)

1978: Deng Xiaoping, Chinese revolutionary and statesman

(Universal History Archive/ UIG via Getty Images)

1977: President of Egypt, Anwar Sadat 

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

1976: President-elect Jimmy Carter

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

1975: American Women

  • Susan Brownmiller
  • Kathleen Byerly 
  • Alison Cheek 
  • Jill Conway 
  • Betty Ford
  •  Ella Grasso 
  • Carla Hills
  • Barbara Jordan
  • Billie Jean King
  • Carol Sutton
  • Susie Sharp
  • Addie L. Wyatt

(Getty Images)

1974: King Faisal of Saudi Arabia

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

1973: Chief District Judge John J. Sirica 

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

1972: President Richard Nixon with National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger

(Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

1971: President Richard Nixon 

(Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

1970: German Chancellor Willy Brandt

(Photo by Rudolf Dietrich/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

1969: The Middle Americans

(Photo by Vernon Merritt III/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

1968: Apollo 8 astronauts

  • James Lovell
  • William Anders
  • Frank Borman

(Photo by NASA/Interim Archives/Getty Images)

1967: President Lyndon B. Johnson

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

1966: Men and women aged 25 and under, ‘Baby Boomers’

(Photo by Fairfax Media/Fairfax Media via Getty Images)

1965: General William Westmorland

  • Senior commander of American troops in Vietnam (1964-1968)

(Tim Page/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

1964: President-elect Lyndon B. Johnson

(Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

1963: Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

1962: Pope John XXIII 

(Photo by Hank Walker/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

1961: President-elect John F. Kennedy 

(Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

1960: US Scientists

  • George Beadle
  • Charles Draper
  • John Enders
  • Donald A. Glaser
  • Joshua Lederberg
  • Willard Libby
  • Linus Pauling
  • Edward Purcell
  • Isidor Rabi
  • Emilio Segre
  • William Shockley
  • Edward Teller
  • Charles Townes
  • James Van Allen
  • Robert Woodward

(Ted Streshinsky/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

1959: President Dwight D. Eisenhower

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

1958: President of France Charles de Gaulle

(Photo by REPORTERS ASSOCIESGamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

1957: Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev

  • Politician who led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War

(Photo by: Universal History Archive/ UIG via Getty Images)

1956: Hungarian freedom fighters

(Photo by Michael Rougier/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

1955: GM executive vice-president Harlow Curtice 

(Photo by Leonard Mccombe/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

1954: Secretary of State John Foster Dulles

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

1953: Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor of Germany

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

1952: Queen Elizabeth II

(Photo by Ron Bell/PA Images via Getty Images)

1951: Prime Minister Of Iran Mohammad Mosaddegh

(Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

1950: The American Fighting Man

  • Signified troops fighting during the Korean War

(Photo by Breeding/US Army/National Archives/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

1949: Winston Churchill, English statesman, author and prime minister

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

1948: President Harry Truman 

(Photo by James Whitmore/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

1947: Secretary of State George Marshall, Jr.

(Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

1946: Secretary of State James F. Byrnes

(Photo by PhotoQuest/Getty Images)

1945: President Harry Truman

  • He put an end to World War II by using the atomic bomb against Japan in 1945.

(Photo by: Photo12/UIG via Getty Images)

1944: General Dwight D. Eisenhower

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

1943: US Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Marshall

(Photo by Ed Clark/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

1942: Joseph Stalin, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union


1941: President Franklin D. Roosevelt

  • The president called the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, ‘a date which will live in infamy.’

(Photo by Thomas D. Mcavoy/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

1940: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill

(Photo by ullstein bild via Getty Images)

1939: Joseph Stalin,  Secretary General of the All-Union Communist Party

(Photo by: Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images)

1938: Adolf Hitler

(Photo by Lothar Ruebelt / ullstein bild via Getty Images)

1937: General Chiang Kai-Shek and his wife, Mei-Ling Soong

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

1936: Wallis Simpson

  • Well known in London society, she met Edward, Prince of Wales in 1931, She obtained a divorce in 1936, the year of his accession, and he made it plain to the British government that he was determined to marry her, even if it meant giving up the throne. They married in 1937 in France, the Royal Family did not accept her until the late 1960s. 

(Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

1935: Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia

(Photo by Universal History Archive/Getty Images)

1934: President Franklin D. Roosevelt

(Photo by Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

1933: General Hugh S. Johnson 

  • Speech writer for Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • Named head of National Recovery Administration by FDR

(Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

1932: President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt

(Photo by VCG Wilson/Corbis via Getty Images)

1931: French Prime Minister Pierre Laval

(Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

1930: Mahatma Ghandi 

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

1929: Owen D. Young

  • His ‘Young Plan’ settled German reparations debts after WWI

(Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

1928: Walter Chrysler

  • American automobile manufacturer
  • Built the Chrysler Building in New York in 1928

(Photo by George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images)

1927: American aviator Charles Lindbergh

(Bettmann via Getty Images)






TIME said the four individuals and the lone newspaper symbolize something bigger than themselves.

“They are representative of a broader fight by countless others around the world — as of Dec. 10, at least 52 journalists have been murdered in 2018 — who risk all to tell the story of our time,” Felsenthal wrote in his essay.

The Person of the Year title is not necessarily an honor or award, but representative of the influence the person — or idea — has had on the news within the past year, for better or worse.

This marks the first year TIME has named someone who is no longer alive a Person of the Year, the magazine noted.

TIME has made the designation every year since 1927. Last year, magazine editors selected The Silence Breakers, the individuals who spoke up and sparked a national reckoning over the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault.

The year before that, 2016, was Donald Trump, who had just become president-elect after his stunning White House victory.

Editors named Trump as this year’s runner up, citing “a crowning irony” to the president’s influence.

“His ultimate impact may be determined as much by the resistance he engenders as by the goals he pursues,” the magazine said.

“This year brought forth the consequences of Trump’s disruption. The deficit soared. The stock market trembled. The voters revolted. Special counsel Robert Mueller circled closer. Trump has tested the system and exposed its weaknesses, but also revealed its strength.”

Following close behind as the third runner-up was Trump’s nemesis and the frequent subject of his anger on Twitter: Robert Mueller, the special counsel heading the investigation into Russia’s meddling into the 2016 presidential election.

“To critics on the right, Mueller is an overzealous prosecutor drunk on power and roaming beyond his mandate in a bid to drum Trump out of office. To liberals, he is a crusading hero who won’t quit until he brings the President to justice,” the magazine said. “The public narrative of Mueller’s investigation this year has often described its central character more as myth than man.”

Others who made the 2018 shortlist include the student activists who led a march on Washington — and hundreds of satellite marches across the world. The protests were led by the survivors of the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler, and the former Meghan Markle, now Duchess of Sussex were also among this year’s “Person of the Year” finalists.

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