Top News Stories of 2011

In January of this year I came up with the idea to keep a running list of the “Big News Stories of 2011″. It’s around this time of year, that I always enjoy thinking back on the memorable events of the past twelve months. In particular, I wanted to recall the news as I saw it. What were the events that came to my notice as they happened?

What follows is my list of the top news stories of 2011. It’s a wild understatement to say that it is by no means comprehensive. Oftentimes, it simply reflects the news as I saw it on the NBC Nightly News broadcast or read it on the NYTimes website. Regardless, it serves as a list which captures many stories of national interest during 2011.

(NOTE: Our second daughter was born on September 26, 2011. Therefore, my news monitoring dropped off significantly after that point.)


  • Originally posted as a YouTube video, a Columbus Dispatch video about Ted Williams, The Man with the Golden Voice is the first viral video of 2011.
  • 1/8 – Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords shot in a parking lot while meeting with her constituents.
  • Tunisian revolution followed by Egyptian protests
  • Verizon iPhone announced.
  • Most snow ever in the North East.
  • 1/25 – President Obama speaks before the new congress during the State of the Union Address. Parties are mixed together (e.g. Senator John McCain and Senator John Kerry sat next to each other). Audience is much more civil than in years past.


  • 2/11 – Revolution succeeds in Egypt with Hosni Mubarak stepping down.
  • Omar Kaddafi is defiant in the face of a populace moving towards revolution and his overthrow
  • Wisconsin teachers protest over the governor’s plan to do away with their ability to collective bargain.

MARCH 2011

  • 3/11 – 9.0 earthquake, followed by tsunamis and nuclear disaster in Japan.
  • Omar Kaddafi brutally fights back against his country’s revolutionaries. International community establishes a no-fly zone.
  • 3/23 – Elizabeth Taylor dies.
  • Rebecca Black’s Friday is an Internet viral sensation

APRIL 2011

  • Wednesday, April 27 – Storms with tornadoes and large hail cause widespread damage throughout the south. My wife and I learn that our baby is a girl.
  • Friday, April 29 – Prince William marries Kate Middleton

MAY 2011

  • Late on May 1, the news breaks that Osama Bin Laden has been killed by a team of Navy Seals.
  • The Mississippi River reaches record flood stage in several states
  • May 21st comes and goes with no Rapture.

JUNE 2011

  • 6/3 – Jack Kevorkian dies.
  • The largest fire in New Mexico’s history rages across the state
  • 6/23 – Peter Falk (aka “Columbo”) dies.

JULY 2011


  • First signs of a “double dip” recession start to mount.
  • 8/23:
    • 5.8 earthquake strikes east coast, centered around Mineral, VA.
    • Rebel forces take Kadaffi’s compound.
    • Pat Summit announces that she has early onset dementia, a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Hurricane Irene – post storm flooding makes it in the top ten most costly disasters in US history.




  • 11/5 – Andy Rooney dies.
  • Joe Paterno resigns as head coach of the Penn State football team amidst a child sex abuse scandal involving former assistant Jerry Sandusky.
  • 11/8 – Joe Frazier and Heavy D die.
  • 11/15 – In the early hours of the morning, the NYPD forcibly removes Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zuccotti Park.


  • 12/15 – Christopher Hitchens dies after a battle with esophageal cancer
  • 12/17 – Kim Jong Il, Supreme Commander of North Korea, dies.

What stories did I forget to mention? What were your thoughts as you read this list? Please share in the comments below.

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