The Year In Review for 2013

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The Big Picture –
By Glynn Wilson

Facebook users are faced with a new link on their pages promoting them to “See Your 2013 Year in Review: Look back at your 20 biggest moments from the past year.”

The problem is, as usual with new technology, programming code is choosing those big moments for people. And those so-called big moments may not be so big, after all.

I’ve said all along that a blog archive organized by date and key word category is a far better way to keep up with what happens over time than any mass social networking software invented to date. The Facebook Year in Review proves my point. The entries don’t even appear to be organized by what got the most likes or comments. The choices appear to be totally random without any organizing principle behind them.

Since the end of the year is approaching and I had planned on doing a year in review column anyway, and the news has slowed down already in the holiday season, I took the time this morning to look back on the past year’s news in the monthly archives and choose what I think are the biggest moments of the past year.

January

Of course the year started out with the second inauguration of President Barack Obama, and in my coverage — unlike any other coverage in the country — I highlighted what the president said about the environment and labor. These are themes that run throughout the news during the past year anyway, as you will soon see.

President Obama Devotes Comments in Second Inaugural Address to Environment, Labor

February

In February, one of the biggest and most important protests in the history of Washington protests took place, and I was there to cover it.

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The front of the march on Washington for action on climate change: Glynn Wilson

About 35,000 March on Washington for Action on Climate Change

April

By April, I was back in Washington again, this time providing the best coverage in the country at a very important Good Jobs, Green Jobs conference in the nation’s capital.

Union Leaders, Environmentalists Discuss Building a National Dialogue on Climate Change, Good Jobs and Reclaiming Democracy

AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka Joins Labor With Environmentalists in BlueGreen Alliance

Also in April, we finalized a big investigative news feature with photos and video highlighting an ill-conceived plan by the U.S. Forest Service to open up the Talladega National Forest for gas drilling with the possibility of fracking.

A Future Fracking Zone? Looking out over the national forest from the Talladega Scenic Drive toward Mt. Cheaha, the highest peak in Alabama’s Appalachian Mountains off in the distance (click on the images for a larger view) -

A Future Fracking Zone? Looking out over the national forest from the Talladega Scenic Drive toward Mt. Cheaha, the highest peak in Alabama’s Appalachian Mountains off in the distance (click on the images for a larger view): Glynn Wilson –

Fracking in the Talladega National Forest is Not in the National, State or Local Interest

I confronted Forest Supervisor Steve Lohr at a so-called “public meeting” (not a formal public hearing) in Montgomery and found out the real story of what was going on.

Fracking Leases Proposed for National Forests White Washed at ‘Public Meeting’

May

In May, my reporting led the Sierra Club to draft a formal letter opposing gas drilling and fracking in the national forests.

Sierra Club Asks U.S. Forest Service to Withdraw Oil and Gas Lease Sale in Talladega National Forest

June

By June, the Sierra Club pressure on the White House to begin doing something about climate change due to global warming from the burning of fossil fuels had a quantitative effect.

President Obama Outlines Ambitious Plan to Combat Global Climate Change

Also in June, however, the domestic spying story finally grew legs due to the whistleblowing of Ed Snowden who approached Glenn Greenwald and got the story out.

Domestic Spying Story Finally Grows Legs

But at the same time, the Sierra Club and labor union pressure on the Senate to break the gridlock and get things moving in Washington had the desired effect.

Senate Gridlock Breaks: McCarthy Approved at EPA, Perez at Labor

July

By July, the Sierra Club pressure on the Forest Service had the desired effect.

Forest Service Backs Down on Oil and Gas Leases in the Talladega National Forest

Then another important meeting in Mobile helped start a real fight against tax subsidized expansion of international petrochemical storage and transportation hubs in Alabama’s port city.

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A tar sands crude holding tank along the old Mobile causeway: Glynn Wilson

More Than 200 Pack Mobile Bay Conference Center to Fight Canadian Tar Sands Crude Pipeline

August

By the Dog Days of August, one of the great 20th Century institutions in the U.S. announced it was selling out to the owner of Amazon.com, bringing up serous questions about the future of serious journalism in America.

Washington Post Sale to Amazon’s Bezos Brings Up Questions About the Future of America’s Great Institutions

September

By September, Harvard University released a report on the intersection of American journalism and new technology that also raised profound questions on the past 30 years of our history as well as our direction in the future.

Riptide: An Oral History of the Epic Collision Between Journalism and Digital Technology

Meanwhile, I proposed a permanent ban on all gas fracking in U.S. national forests.

U.S. Forest Service Should Ban Fracking in All National Forests, Now

Then I recounted that it was a ground breaking year for environmental journalism and activism in the U.S. and my home state.

A Groundbreaking Year for Environmental Journalism and Activism

October

In October, the new coalition of citizen activists that formed in the wake of the BP oil spill in the Gulf in 2010, reenergized by the movement of tar sands oil by rail to Mobile, chartered a bus to protest in Montgomery.

Citizens Pack Public Service Commission Chamber for Hearing on Mobile Oil Pipeline

At the same time, tea party Republicans in Congress were monkeying around with our way of life again, shutting down the government to try to make a point. But the people showed they are not all ignorant, uneducated and easily manipulated by false rhetoric on talk radio and Fox News.

Large Majority of Americans Blame Republicans in Congress for Government Shutdown

No Winners in Government Shutdown: Organized Labor Makes Demands on Congress

Republican Party Favorability Rating Sinks to Record Low

November

By November, all the right-wing hand-wringing over illegal immigration in Alabama proved to be for naught.

Alabama’s Immigration Law Permanently Blocked in Justice Department Lawsuit

And several year’s worth of public pressure on the U.S. Senate finally paid off.

Democrats in the U.S. Senate Use ‘Nuclear Option’ to Change Filibuster Rules

All in all, the year 2013 was a banner year for the Web Press.

Internet Use Reaches Milestone: 87 Percent of Americans Get Information Online

December

Perhaps all the movement of people getting their information online instead of from talk radio, Fox News or even traditional newspapers led to positive movement in public opinion.

U.S. Tea Party Favorability Rating Falls to Record Low

Unfortunately, as in all things except for football, my poor home state of Alabama is still way behind the trend line.

Alabama’s Christian Doctor Governor Turns Back on Poor to Get Tea Party Votes

BhamHealthRally2

Progressive Democrats Challenge Bentley to expand Medicaid: Kenny Walters

© 2013, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.

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