You ranked them: 10 top stories in America in 2013

Here are 10 top stories Americans followed in 2013, ranked by respondents to a Monitor/TIPP poll according to the percentage who said they followed the story very closely.

2. Boston Marathon bombings (68 percent)

Melanie Stetson Freeman/ The Christian Science Monitor/ File
A makeshift memorial multiplies near the site of the Boston Marathon bombings two days after the attack. Two pressure-cooker bombs exploded near the marathon finish line on April 15, 2013, killing three people and injuring more than 150.

In the first major terrorism attack in the United States since 9/11, two pressure-cooker bombs exploded near the Boston Marathon finish line April 15, killing three people and wounding more than 200 others. Three days later, hours after the Federal Bureau of Investigation released surveillance photos of two suspected bombers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev led authorities on a hunt across Boston. Tamerlan was killed during one shootout; his younger brother, Dzhokhar, was wounded, and was later found hiding in a boat in a backyard.

Dzhokhar is expected to go on trial next year, charged with use of a weapon of mass destruction, a capital crime. Intelligence agencies and the FBI failed to prevent the plot despite tips from Russian authorities that the Muslim brothers had been radicalized. Terrorism analysts are studying what may have caused the brothers to allegedly transform from young party-throwing American immigrants to suspected bomb-toting terrorists willing to attack their adopted country.

Mark Clayton, Staff writer   

9 of 10

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

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