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2017 biggest stories

The Citizen front page from Dec. 31 presenting the 2017 biggest local stories list.

There's a whiteboard on a newsroom wall at The Citizen that starts to fill up with writing starting around Thanksgiving. That has happened again this year, and soon, readers will see the final product that results from what's written on that board — a list of big local stories from the past year.

As the calendar winds down on the year, it's human nature to reflect on what has transpired over the previous 12 months. Inspired by that, news organizations often compile year-in-review packages for publication or broadcast in the final weeks of December. These packages are popular with our audiences, but they also can lead to some helpful reflection for all of us. What have we learned over the past year? How have we changed? What does it mean for our future?

The staff at The Citizen and our corporate parent, Lee Enterprises, are working hard on a wide range of year-in-review features that will be published in the newspaper and at

Those include online slideshows of the most-read local articles in news, sports, features and arts/entertainment, the most compelling local photojournalism, the most-viewed photo galleries and more. Similar packages will be pushed out related to national and international stories of 2018.

For us, the capstone of the year-in-review coverage comes with the publication of the 10 biggest local stories of the year. It's not the same as a most-read list, although there can be some overlap. The "biggest stories" list is the collection of stories that had the most community impact.

How do we arrive at our list? It starts, as I noted, simply with a big staff brainstorm to come up with a much larger list. We then ask employees to pick their 10 biggest and rank them. We also put out a list to readers at and ask them to weigh in. All of that feedback is then collected and tabulated to arrive at a final package.

One thing to note about this list and about our online reader survey, which you should see at soon: This list is most definitely not a celebration. Instead, it's a reflection. That means some stories that are considered and selected can be controversial. Some can be tragic. And sometimes they are stories that made everyone smile. What binds them all together is how they commanded the community's collective attention.

Our plan is to publish the 2018 biggest stories feature in the Dec. 30 edition of The Citizen and that same day.

Comic change reminder

As I noted in this space about a month ago, we're soon going to have a lineup change in our Sunday comics section. This Sunday's section (Dec. 16) will be the final appearance of Intelligent Life, which is switching to a digital-only format. Its replacement will debut on Dec. 23. Macanudo is the creation of international artist Liniers, an Argentina native whose strip has been resonating with readers around the world. We think you'll love the change and look forward to hearing your feedback.

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Executive editor Jeremy Boyer’s column appears Thursdays in The Citizen and he can be reached at (315) 282-2231 or Follow him on Twitter @CitizenBoyer