Believe it or not, 2020 was only one year long.
Here’s a snapshot, in the form of our top articles from the year. It’s a look at the coverage you found most compelling, from the unfolding of coronavirus to how the Black Lives Matter movement reverberated through the humanitarian sector.
Proclaiming which articles are “most compelling” is more of an art than a science, to be honest. Yes, we have statistics in the form of unique pageviews; the list below is in order of the most-viewed articles first. Why you gravitated to these particular reports, and just what impact those stories had on you, is often little more than conjecture, though.
Sex, conspiracy theories, and allegations of corruption always attract clicks, and our coverage is no exception. It’s no surprise that coronavirus-themed coverage was a big draw, as the world scrambled for information. The need to find bright spots in a particularly trying year perhaps accounts for the interest in coverage that upended usually dire pandemic news, such as our piece on potentially positive changes in the works in South Africa. And there’s comfort perhaps in counting on the appearance of a perpetual favourite: our 10 crises and trends to watch list.
If you missed any of these stories the first time around, there’s still time to catch up before the countdown to 2021 (and our 10 Crises and Trends to Watch list, to be published in mid-January) begins. And as we round off our 25th anniversary year, take a look too at our 25 most popular articles of all time.
(Compiled by TNH Audience Engagement Editor Whitney Patterson.)
TNH Senior Editor Ben Parker breaks down why Bill Gates is not trying to tag you, in this explainer that joins the dots on a public health conspiracy theory. As the coronavirus was making landfall in the West, the scale and speed of a “vortex” of COVID-19 misinformation swept up a small nonprofit.
The Tanzanian government’s tepid response to COVID-19 and seeming lack of transparency over coronavirus cases fuelled concern that it was covering up the true extent of the pandemic.
As people around the world found themselves glued to dire headlines, they also craved some silver linings to the global pandemic. This article explored some of the positives that emerged from South Africa’s coronavirus experience, and the potential for longer-lasting changes as the government uses the crisis to drive controversial economic and social reforms.
As Page Six as The New Humanitarian gets, this article piqued the interest of readers when a blurry video showed a woman straddling a man suggestively in a UN car in Tel Aviv. The UN has strict rules about sexual abuse and exploitation, including a ban on paying for sex, but has struggled to stamp out sexual misconduct by its staff and peacekeepers. No wonder people were paying attention.
As the coronavirus spread beyond mainland China, April Zhu looked at a study ranking the vulnerability of African countries to the highly contagious respiratory disease.
In chronicling the arrival of COVID-19 in Tanzania, Jaclynn Ashly wanted to demonstrate the challenges faced by less wealthy countries in dealing with coronavirus. This diary unfolds in real time as people in Tanzania navigate what would become the new normal – a situation that is likely recognisable to readers around the world.
Nigeria successfully managed an Ebola outbreak, but COVID-19 is a very different matter. From the early days of the virus, doctors in Nigeria took a difficult stance and our readers took note.
Don’t call it a ranking. All year long we have our eyes on humanitarian crises large and small, but once a year we take a step back and try to distil trends to keep your eye on. We truly hate to be proven right. Stay tuned for 2021’s list in mid-January.
2020 was a year of many things, and one of those things was definitely a hunger for coronavirus data, updates, and mapped information. Starting in the early days of the outbreak, we kept a running tally of country-by-country infections. This page is still updated with global trends and country-level info.
Our joint investigation with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, a year in the making, shed light not only on these women’s stories but on structural failures of safeguarding, whistleblowing, and reporting mechanisms in the aid sector. Governments, UN agencies and NGOs, local residents, and readers were called to attention.
Aid funds believed to total several million dollars were diverted from displaced people and vulnerable communities in a scam that shocked senior humanitarian officials and exposed deep-rooted problems with the way aid organisations fight corruption in Congo and beyond. In an investigation that spanned more than nine months, TNH traced the anatomy of the scam using leaked documents and interviews with fraud ringleaders, aid workers, IDPs, and anti-corruption specialists. Our reporting explores the impact such scams may have on the future of communities and aid organisations working in one of the world’s longest-running humanitarian crises.
Right now, we’re working with contributors on the ground in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries to tell the stories of people enduring and responding to a rapidly evolving humanitarian crisis.
We’re documenting the threats to humanitarian response in the country and providing a platform for those bearing the brunt of the invasion. Our goal is to bring you the truth at a time when disinformation is rampant.
But while much of the world’s focus may be on Ukraine, we are continuing our reporting on myriad other humanitarian disasters – from Haiti to the Sahel to Afghanistan to Myanmar. We’ve been covering humanitarian crises for more than 25 years, and our journalism has always been free, accessible for all, and – most importantly – balanced.
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