Since 1927, TIME magazine has named an individual or group as the “Time Person of the Year,” recognizing their impact on the world over the last twelve months. This year, “the Guardians“—journalists fighting to report fairly in the face of violence, oppression, and accusations of “fake news”—are TIME’s 2018 Person of the Year.
Probably the most well-known “guardian” is Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabian dissident and Washington Post reporter who was allegedly murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Khashoggi’s death has made headlines for over two months, as governments debate how to respond to a killing likely orchestrated by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
According to CNN, this is the first time that TIME’s Person of the Year has recognized a deceased individual.
“From Russia to Riyadh to Silicon Valley, manipulation and abuse of truth is the common thread in so many of this year’s major headlines, an insidious and growing threat to freedom,” Edward Felsenthal, TIME’s editor-in-chief, wrote of the Person of the Year selection.
In four different black and white magazine covers, TIME highlights Khashoggi and other journalists fighting the “war on truth.”
Among them is the staff of the Capital Gazette, a newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland that lost five of its employees in June when a shooter opened fire. The suspected gunman was thought to have specifically targeted the newspaper due to a personal grudge.
Capital Gazette reporters were applauded for their resilience following the attack. Hours after the shooting, the publication tweeted, “Yes, we’re putting out a damn paper tomorrow.”
TIME also recognized Maria Ressa, chief executive of the Philippine news website Rappler. The country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte, has been conducting a violent “drug war” that’s killed more than 12,000 in two years, according to a January estimate from Human Rights Watch. Ressa’s publication has been highly critical of Duterte’s administration, and in November she and Rappler were charged with five counts of tax fraud—charges that Ressa has said are meant to “intimidate” them.
A fourth TIME cover depicts the wives of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo holding photographs of their husbands—two Reuters journalists who were arrested in Myanmar last year for obtaining “state secrets.” The two journalists claim they were framed in an effort to stop them from writing about a massacre in Rakhine State reportedly associated with state security forces,TIME reports. In September, each were sentenced to seven years in prison.
Runner-ups for Person of the Year included U.S. President Donald Trump, the families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border, Russian President Vladimir Putin, special counsel Robert Mueller, “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler, the March for Our Lives activists, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, and Christine Blasey Ford, who made headlines for testifying to Congress about her alleged sexual assault by Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh earlier this year.
The four journalists and the Capital Gazette were ultimately chosen for “taking great risks in pursuit of greater truths, for the imperfect but essential quest for facts that are central to civil discourse, for speaking up and for speaking out,” Felsenthal wrote.