The Most Important Story of 2016

Megan Hill | December 30, 2016

Last week, The New York Times released its “Year in Pictures.” The collection is the Times’ annual attempt to survey the noteworthy moments of the year, and 2016’s month-by-month arrangement of images is, as always, evocative.

A Zika-infected mother and baby smile nose-to-nose. Black cloth drapes Justice Scalia’s Supreme Court chair. Rubble mounts in Syria. Rubble in Brussels. Rubble in Iraq. Union Jack flags wave for Brexit. Beyoncé dances. Prince dances. A swirl of dancers at the New York City Ballet. The empty eyes and shrunken bodies of refugees from South Sudan and Syria. Memorials in Orlando. Memorials in Nice. Memorials in Berlin. Olympians leaping and diving for a place on the podium. President Obama. Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump again. Rising sea levels and disappearing lakes. Protestors everywhere. A tangle of triumphant Chicago Cubs. The bodies of fatally shot African-American men.

Jeffrey Henson Scales, the lead photo editor for the project, explained that he reviewed between 120,000 and 180,000 images (10,148 alone were of Donald Trump) before selecting the approximately 100 that illustrate both “news value” and “the compelling nature of the human experience.”

This project—like the many other year-end reviews published each December—is a…

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