By: Editorial Staff
THE EXPLOSION OF Paris-bound TWA Flight 800 off the Long Island, N.Y., coast-line in July was voted the biggest news story of 1996, according to the annual Associated Press poll of newspaper editors and broadcast news directors.
The jet exploded minutes after taking off from John F. Kennedy airport, killing all 230 people on board. The fact that the plane exploded over the Atlantic Ocean delayed for weeks the recovery of bodies and fuselage of the plane and resulted in heart-wrenching photos and stories. The cause of the explosion is still not known and stories since July have run the gamut of speculation.
The top news story of 1995 was another tragedy, the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City in which 169 people died and more than 500 were injured.
In 1996, for the first time in years, no international stories secured a spot in the top 10.
Placing second among the 1996 top 10 news stories was the re-election of President Clinton and the Republicans holding on to majorities in the House and Senate.
The Olympic bombing was the third biggest story of 1996 and it was another continuing saga that has not been resolved. The FBI initially leaked to the press information that Richard Jewell, working as a security guard in Olympic Park, was the suspect. For nearly three months, the investigation and news stories centered around Jewell and his steadfast denials that he did not commit the crime. The FBI eventually announced Jewell was no longer a suspect.
The arrest of the Unabomber, hermit ex-professor Theodore Kaczynski, was voted the fourth biggest story of the year. Kaczynski’s arrest ended an 18-year search for the bomber, whose lethal packages killed three people and injured or maimed 23 others. Kaczynski has pleaded not guilty and a series of trials are expected to begin in 1997.
The crash of ValuJet Flight 592 in the Florida Everglades, which killed all 110 people on board, was the fifth biggest story of the year.
The passage of a new welfare law, dismantling the 60-year old Aid to Families With Dependent Children, was the sixth biggest story of the year.
The centennial Olympic Games and the various athletic performances was the seventh biggest story of the year. The eighth biggest story was the partial shutdown of the government early in 1996. Thousands of federal workers began the year with partial paychecks or no paychecks, while tourists in Washington, D.C., could view only the outside of darkened monuments.
The Republicans blamed President Clinton because he vetoed several spending bills that would have financed federal agencies for the year. The Democrats blamed the Republicans for insisting on unacceptable spending cuts. The shutdown ended with a budget compromise.
The ninth biggest story of the year was the economic boom, which saw the stock market soar, the deficit reduced, and unemployment decline to a seven-year low.
The tenth biggest story of 1996 was the blizzard which hit the northeastern part of the U.S. in January and dumped more than two feet of snow in many states.
The second 10 biggest stories, in order, were: the Army sex scandal; Freemen standoff in Montana; air crash in the Balkans kills Commerce Secretary Ron Brown; Whitewater convictions; Saudi Arabian blast kills 19 Americans; church fires in the U.S.; Bosnian crisis; discovery of life on Mars; O.J. Simpson testifies in his civil trial; and Boris Yeltsin is re-elected as Russian president and survives heart surgery.
TWA Flight 800 explosion, Clinton re-election, Olympic bombing, arrest of Unabomber top the list
?(Information for this article was taken from an Associated Press story by Helen O’Neill.) [Caption]
January 4, 1997 n Editor & Publisher #