Each year about this time I wonder why the news media blow off the last week (or two) of the year. Even before the year ends, we're already bombarded with 'The Best of 2014', 'Notable Deaths of 2014', etc. Whatever happened to actually waiting until the year ends?
Why, TIME even named its '2014 Person of the Year' on 10 December 2014! It was a very worthy selection - the Ebola fighters. No complaints from me. But what if someone had perpetrated a devastating terrorist attack, discovered a cure for AIDS, started a nuclear war, negotiated a lasting Middle East peace, exposed the Kardashians as a bunch of no-talent morons, or performed some other remarkable feat between 10 and 31 December?
What would have been lost by waiting? Would someone else have beaten TIME to the punch?
Below is the cover of the 31 December 2014 issue of The Week, which arrived today, 26 December 2014. The news is already close to a week old. Yet the magazine is chock full of 2014 lists, some of whose items could be obsolete by 1 January 2015.
I suppose much of this is motivated by journalistic one-upmanship. But it seems to me that be that, in this case, one-opmanship would best be illustrated by waiting until the year is actually over. Do something different - do it right.
Interesting to note that today is the 10th anniversary of Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. If you search old (unedited) 'Notable Events of 2004' I wonder how many have this devastating disaster listed?
Note added on 28 December 2014: the media are bursting with stories about the disappearance of AirAsia Flight 8501. You can bet it's too late to appear on many 2014 lists, even though it might prove worthy of inclusion.
"We cannot make good news out of bad practice." - Edward R. Murrow