The TIME person of the year this year is, once more, a group of people. The magazine has chosen "The Guardians and the War on Truth," a group that includes four journalists and one newspaper. The journalists are Jamal Khashoggi, Maria Ressa, Wa Lone, and Kyaw Soe Oo, and the newspaper is the Capital Gazette which operates in Annapolis, Maryland.
Earlier this year, the offices of the Capital Gazette were attacked by a gunman who killed four journalists and one assistant. Khashoggi was a Washington Post columnist who was likely murdered by Saudi authorities. Ressa, a Philipines-based journalist who operates the outlet Rappler, was arrested in November of this year, facing charges of tax evasion that she claims are false. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are both Reuters reporters; the Myanmar government arrested the reporters for allegedly breaking the Open Secrets Act, a charge that later proved to be false.
"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," TIME magazine editor-in-chief Edward Rosenthal wrote in the accompanying essay.
"In 2018, journalists took note of what people said, and of what people did," Rosenthal concluded. "When those two things differed, they took note of that too. The year brought no great change in what they do or how they do it. What changed was how much it matters."
This is the first time the magazine has named someone Person of the Year posthumously, in the case of Khashoggi. During an appearance on TODAY, Rosenthal remarked, "It’s...very rare that a person’s influence grows so immensely in death...[Khashoggi's] murder has prompted a global reassessment of the Saudi crown prince and a really long overdue look at the devastating war in Yemen."
The four covers for the issue feature, respectively, Khashoggi, Ressa, the wives of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe O, and the staff of the Capital-Gazette.
The short list this year for TIME's prestigious title included separated families at the border, Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Meghan Markle, Ryan Coogler, and Robert Mueller, among others. Per Rosenthal's appearance on TODAY, Mueller was the third runner-up and Trump the second.