December 8, 2022

Time magazine has named its 2022 Person of the Year and it really comes as no surprise:

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.

(Courtesy of Time)

In a letter to readers, Time editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal wrote, “This year’s choice was the most clear-cut in memory. Whether the battle for Ukraine fills one with hope or with fear, the world marched to Volodymyr Zelensky’s beat in 2022. In the weeks after Russian bombs began falling on Feb. 24, his decision not to flee Kyiv but to stay and rally support was fateful. From his first 40-second Instagram post on Feb. 25 … Ukraine’s president was everywhere. His information offensive shifted the geopolitical weather system, setting off a wave of action that swept the globe. In a world that had come to be defined by its divisiveness, there was a coming together around this cause, around this country that some outside it might not be able to find on a map.”

The latest cover is the ninth time this year that Zelensky and Ukraine have been featured on the cover of the magazine. The cover story was written (terrifically, I might add) by Simon Shuster, who has spent nine months covering the war. Shuster started as Time’s Moscow correspondent in 2009 and moved to Ukraine in 2014. Time said Zelensky gave Shuster “unparalleled access to work inside the presidential compound.”

Felsenthal added, “The impact of this story on 2022 is the essence of what Person of the Year was designed to capture, the idea that fateful events on the global stage are shaped — for better and worse — by the talents, priorities, fears, and foibles of individual human beings. … For proving that courage can be as contagious as fear, for stirring people and nations to come together in defense of freedom, for reminding the world of the fragility of democracy–and of peace, Volodymyr Zelensky and the spirit of Ukraine are TIME’s 2022 Person of the Year.”

More Time people of the year

Along with Zelensky, Time also recognized others in 2022:

  • Heroes of the year: The women of Iran.
  • Innovators of the year: The NASA team who built the James Webb Space Telescope.
  • Athlete of the year: Aaron Judge.
  • Entertainer of the year: Blackpink.
  • Icon of the year: Michelle Yeoh.
  • Breakthrough artist of the year: Mickey Guyton.

Sports Illustrated’s sportsperson of the year

On the topic of people of the year, Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year still remains a big deal among sports fans. The 2022 Sportsperson of the Year is NBA star Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors.

Michael Rosenberg wrote why Curry was named SI’s Sportsperson of the Year: “This is What Steph Curry did this year: He won his fourth championship. He won that Finals MVP award after scoring an efficient 31.2 points per game against the best defensive team in the league. He graduated from Davidson, 13 years after he left for the NBA following his junior season. He expanded his charitable reach: Since 2019, the Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation he and (wife) Ayesha founded has served more than 25 million meals to food-insecure children, spent $2.5 million on literacy-focused grants and distributed 500,000 books, according to Curry’s representatives. He has also provided seed funding for men’s and women’s golf teams at Howard University, a historically Black school, and started the Underrated Golf Tour, a junior circuit designed to make the game more inclusive. He is co-chair of Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote initiative. And now we name him Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year. Curry, who also shared the award with the 2017–18 Warriors, joins LeBron James, Tom Brady and Tiger Woods as the only multiple-time winners. We salute him this year not just for what he did, but for how he did it.”

Georgia on our minds

Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia, in Washington on Wednesday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The national 2022 midterms are finally over. The runoff for the U.S. Senate seat in Georgia was decided Tuesday night when Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock defeated Republican challenger Herschel Walker. Warnock’s victory means the Democrats now control the Senate by a 51-49 margin. That’s slightly better for Democrats than how it had been: a 50-50 split with Vice President Kamala Harris holding the tie-breaking vote.

What does a 51-49 edge mean? The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake wrote that it will be easier for Democrats to move legislation. Democrats will still have some wiggle room if a Democratic senator — such as West Virginia’s Joe Manchin or Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema — vote against party lines. And there will be fewer challenges navigating within the Senate’s various committees.

In addition, Democrats will keep the majority if there is a party switch or vacancy in the senate over the next two years.

And, finally, Blake writes, “The third is that it improves their chances in what should be a tough 2024. The map is exceedingly difficult for Democrats, with the eight most competitive seats all being ones Democrats are defending — at least to start out with. Without Georgia, they wouldn’t have been able to lose any of them; now, they’ll have at least a little bit of a buffer.”

An anchor called Trump

Tuesday’s result was another blow to former President Donald Trump, who had practically hand-picked Walker to run. But as the election grew closer, Republicans kept Trump at an arm’s length.

Politico’s David Siders wrote, “… it was Trump who hand-picked Walker for the Georgia Senate run, just as he had chosen GOP nominees in other high-profile contests this year, and the result was one more blemish on Trump’s record — and a fitting coda to his demoralizing fall from power.”

Siders added, “Trump maintains a fervent base of support within the GOP, and he may rebound when the presidential campaign picks up next year. But there’s a reason Warnock aired ads in Georgia yoking Walker to Trump by simply using footage of Trump praising Walker. In a general election, the former president is that toxic.”

David Jackson and Mabinty Quarshie of USA Today wrote, “Republicans actually lost ground in the Senate, thanks to Walker and other Trumpy candidates like Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania and Blake Masters in Arizona. For the first time since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934, the president’s party successfully defended every one of their incumbent Senate seats. The reason, said many Republicans and political analysts: Trump. Numerous polls in battleground states showed dislike of the ex-president among moderates, particularly in the suburbs. Voters took it out on Trump-endorsed candidates in states like Arizona, Pennsylvania, and, now, Georgia, again.”

A few more recommended Warnock-Walker stories …

Keeping an eye on the Times

This newsletter was written and edited Wednesday night, so unless there was a last-minute development, NewsGuild members of The New York Times are set to walk off the job for 24 hours starting today. (I wrote about this in Wednesday’s Poynter Report.)

The Times website will not shut down. As I mentioned in Wednesday’s newsletter, Times editors have been working on contingency plans, using advance work and wire stories to keep the news flowing.

However, some Times staffers are asking readers to walk out with them, so to speak.

Times critic-at-large Amanda Hess tweeted, “We’re asking readers to not engage in any @nytimes platforms (Thursday) and stand with us on the digital picket line! Read local news. Listen to public radio. Make something from a cookbook. Break your Wordle streak.”

Times sports reporter Kevin Draper retweeted Hess and wrote, “Please join us in stepping away from the @nytimes tomorrow. And if you are so moved, you can write a letter to Times management imploring upon them to put forth realistic proposals that recognize our worth.”

Baseball’s version of Dewey defeats Truman

New York Yankees star Aaron Judge. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

It’s on the short list of the things that will ruin a sports journalist’s day. Or longer. He or she has a big scoop. They put it out into the world. And, thud, it turns out to be wrong.

The New York Post’s Jon Heyman is a nationally-known and well-respected baseball writer and analyst, but he swung and missed on the biggest baseball story of the offseason. New York Yankees star Aaron Judge, who set the American League record for homers last season, went into this week as the hottest free agent on the market.

On Tuesday, at baseball’s Winter Meetings in San Diego, Heyman first tweeted, “Arson Judge appears headed to Giants.” Realizing he misspelled Judge’s first name, Heyman — three minutes and more than six thousand likes/retweets/comments later — fixed the spelling and tweeted, “Aaron Judge appears headed to Giants.”

Heyman has a bit of cover by using the word “appears,” but his tweet sure made it sound as if Judge was going to the Giants. Baseball fans certainly took it that way.

Three minutes after the second tweet, Heyman tweeted, “Giants say they have not heard on Aaron Judge. My apologies for jumping the gun.”

Heyman later went on a San Francisco radio show — 95.7 The Game’s “Damon and Ratto” — and explained what happened.

“I heard he was going to the Giants from a couple of people, so I thought it was good enough,” Heyman said. “Since then, the Giants have said they haven’t heard, the Yankees have said they haven’t heard. So I think they would know before me if there’s anything definitive. At this point, the tea leaves look a lot more positive than they did before for the Giants. At this point, I would not report that, obviously, because I retracted it. I went too quickly with it. It was premature, but at this point, the tea leaves are looking better for the Giants than they have been.”

But those tea leaves were wrong, too. First thing Wednesday morning, Judge re-signed with the Yankees for $360 million over nine years.

As I mentioned, Heyman has a good reputation in the business. It’s not like he tweeted out misinformation about COVID-19 or an election. But this will stick with him for a while because it was a big deal in the sports world. And sports fans have long memories.

Sports Illustrated’s Jimmy Traina wrote, “This was a bad one. A very bad one. The absurd typo combined with getting the story flat-out wrong all because you wanted to be first is embarrassing on many levels. … I understand writers want to be first because it may impress their bosses, but you can’t sacrifice accuracy in a huge story to be first.”

Media tidbits

Hot type

Paul Carsten, Reade Levinson, David Lewis and Libby George with a Reuters’ investigation: “The Abortion Assault. Nigerian military ran secret mass abortion program in war against Boko Haram.”

Another year-end list. The Ringer’s Adam Nayman with “The Best Movies of 2022.”

And another: The Atlantic’s David Sims with his “The 10 best films of 2022.”

More resources for journalists

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Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30…
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