The Monitor’s best photos and top 10 stories of 2019 (video)

Journalism can do more than inform, it can uplift and enlighten. Here we present a tour of our best photos of 2019 and our top 10 favorite stories of the year.

Where are you looking?

People have a well-documented bias for bad news, which as researchers point out, can be a survival instinct. But hope and progress are going on at the same time, if you just know where to look.

As Americas correspondent Sara Miller Llana once said, being a Monitor reporter often means being where other journalists are not. She proved that once again this year by covering the Canadian elections from Alberta, finding a sense of Western alienation there months ahead of it becoming the hot topic in the country in the fall.

We cover the big stories, of course. From U.S. farmers battling Midwestern floods to floods of protesters in Hong Kong fighting for their civil rights, our reporters were there. We were in El Paso after a shooter targeted Latinos in the Texas border city, and in the Bahamas after a hurricane flattened the island nation. And we were in the United Kingdom, covering elections and the vexed topic of Brexit; and in Congress and on the campaign trail, examining the stresses testing U.S. democracy.

But we were also in a Yurok courtroom, learning how a pioneering judge has redefined justice for her people. We were in Tunisia during that country’s crash course in democracy, discovering how it is helping stabilize a rocky region and leading to rights for minority citizens. And in Botswana, our reporter was one of the few foreign journalists in the room when that country jubilantly laid down a historic marker, becoming the first in Africa to declare that homosexuality is not a crime.

The Monitor believes journalism can do more than inform, it can uplift and enlighten. Above is a guided visual tour of some our photographers’ best work of 2019. Below, our top 10 favorite stories, as determined by readers and editors, also show examples of a wide embrace of humanity. Thanks for joining us on that journey last year. And here’s to more in 2020.

1. Behind Hong Kong’s resolve: Locals’ view of a city under siege

2. For U.S. veterans, what does it mean to heal a moral injury?

3. On U.S. slavery’s 400th anniversary, how ancestry quests help heal

4. Abortion wars: In Louisiana, softer tone paves way for sharp restrictions

5. A rapper’s quest to be president

6. Melinda Gates: What she’s learned

7. When dam burst, here’s how one Nebraska town met the epic floods

8. Native justice: How tribal values shape Judge Abby’s court

9. How ‘safety first’ ethos is destabilizing U.S. society

10. Can the Prairie Generation save rural America?

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Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

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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