The horrific massacre of 26 children and staff at a Connecticut school, along with other mass shootings, was the top news story of 2012, edging out the U.S. election, according to the Associated Press’ annual poll of U.S. editors and news directors. The results followed a decision by the AP to reconduct the voting, which had ended Dec. 13, a day before the Newtown shootings.
Robert and Alissa Parker leave a firehouse staging area after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., where a gunman killed 26 children and adults, including the Parkers' daughter Emilie, 6.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and President Obama spar during the second presidential debate in Hempstead, N.Y.
A woman covers her ears in Hoboken, N.J., as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the New York City area.
Dr. Sonia Nagda puts on a pin supporting the healthcare reform law as she gathers with other health-care professionals outside the Supreme Court.
5. LIBYA: Even amid yearlong turmoil in Libya, it was a jarring incident — the Sept. 11 assault in Benghazi, widely blamed on a group with suspected links to al-Qaeda — that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stephens and three other Americans. The American ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, later bowed out of consideration to be the next secretary of state because of her assertions in television interviews that a spontaneous demonstration over an anti-Muslim video triggered the deadly attack.
6. PENN STATE: It was a daunting year for Penn State and its storied football program. In January, longtime coach Joe Paterno died, his legacy tarnished by the sex-abuse scandal involving his former assistant, Jerry Sandusky. In June, Sandusky was convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys and was later sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison. In July, the NCAA imposed severe sanctions on the school’s football program.
7. U.S. ECONOMY: By many measures, the economy was on a welcome upswing. The unemployment rate dipped to a four-year-low of 7.7 percent, stock markets rose, builders broke ground on more homes, and November was the best sales month in nearly five years for U.S. automakers. But overshadowing the good news was deep anxiety about the economic consequences if Mr. Obama and the Democrats failed to reach a tax-and-spending deal with the Republicans.
8. FISCAL CLIFF: Mr. Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner engaged in highstakes negotiations over a deal to avert the socalled “fiscal cliff” that would trigger automatic tax hikes and spending cuts. The leaders narrowed some differences on Social Security and tax rates for the wealthy, but faced intense pressure from their bases to resist certain compromises.
Terry Gilbert, left, celebrates with his husband Paul Beppler after their wedding at Seattle City Hall, becoming among the first gay couples to legally wed in the state of Washington.
Ahmed, center, mourns his father, Abdulaziz Abu Ahmed Khrer, who was killed by a Syrian army sniper, during his funeral in Idlib in northern Syria.