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.

8. EF5 tornado strikes in Moore, Okla. (37 percent)

Nate Billings/ The Oklahoman/ AP
People walk through a neighborhood ravaged by a tornado that struck south Oklahoma City and Moore, Okla., on May 20, 2013.

On May 20, thousands cowered in basements or fled in panic as one of the strongest tornadoes ever recorded struck the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, tearing up horse farms and trailers with 200-plus-mile-per-hour winds before destroying dense clumps of blue-collar tract houses.

The nearly mile-wide EF5 tornado stayed on the ground for 40 minutes and killed 23 people – including children who sought shelter in a school basement. Days later another tornado, nearly as large, struck near Oklahoma City again, injuring and killing several professional tornado chasers.

The May 20 twister was not Moore's first brush with big tornadoes. A tornado outburst in 1999 spawned a massive twister that took a nearly identical path through the town. This time, the storm showcased Oklahomans' deep storm experience and rapid response, while also bringing renewed attention to building standards.

– Patrik Jonsson, Staff writer 

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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.”

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