A lot happened in 2018. And a lot of people made news, from predictable heavyweights like the late John McCain to up-and-comers like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. As 2018 comes to a close, we took a look at the twenty-five top newsmakers of 2018 and revisited some of the year’s top stories.
Methodology: RelSci aggregates news from over 250 premium sources to deliver customized alerts on people, companies, and business topics. For this post, we looked at the number of articles from across these sources each individual was mentioned in during 2018.
#25 Rex Tillerson
The former Exxon CEO served as Secretary of State until his firing in March 2018. He and President Trump clashed often, both personally and in matters of policy.
#24 Scott Pruitt
#23 Bill DeBlasio
New York mayor’s won re-election to his second term in November 2017. In 2018, he made the news often, including in stories on New York’s public housing crisis and the declining state of the subway system.
#22 Bernie Sanders
The Vermont Senator hasn’t dropped out of the limelight after his unsuccessful 2016 Presidential campaign. As Democrats continue to embrace more progressive stances, Bernie remains newsworthy.
#21 Jared Kushner
The President’s son-in-law may work behind-the-scenes at the White House, but he’s no stranger to news coverage. In 2018, Kushner’s relationship with Saudi Arabia drew increased scrutiny, as did his financial dealings.
#20 Mike Pence
Vice President Mike Pence has remained in the background for some of the Trump administration’s most high-profile scandals. But he still makes the top 20 newsmakers of the year, including in stories about the administration’s vision for Space Force.
#19 Nancy Pelosi
The current minority leader is poised to become Speaker of the House when the Democrats take over the majority in January 2019. She made headlines during the midterms and throughout the year as a key member of the Democratic opposition.
#18 Emmanuel Macron
#17 James Mattis
Defense Secretary James Mattis, treated by the news media as one of the Trump Administration’s “adults in the room,” resigned in December. His published resignation letter expressed a series of disagreements with President Trump over foreign policy.
#16 Chuck Schumer
#15 James Comey
#14 Xi Jinping
#13 Andrew Cuomo
Cuomo survived a primary challenge from actor and activist Cynthia Nixon and won re-election as New York’s Governor. He made headlines for his role in bringing Amazon’s second headquarters, HQ2, to Queens.
#12 Mark Zuckerberg
The Facebook CEO is the only one of the top newsmakers of 2018 who is neither a politician nor a government official. His headlines this year have not been entirely positive. Facebook has come under fire for how it treats user data, as well as for the role Facebook ads played in Russian election interference.
The Press Secretary is featured prominently as the White House spokesperson on most political news stories. Sanders also made news this year as part of the ongoing debate on public civility when she was refused service at a Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia.
#10 Mitch McConnell
The Senate Majority Leader is one of President Trump’s biggest congressional allies. He made headlines for several policy achievements and for successfully confirming a number of the President’s judicial nominees.
Kavanaugh was nominated to the Supreme Court in July 2018. His embattled confirmation process, including accusations of sexual misconduct, was one of the year’s biggest domestic news stories.
#8 Mike Pompeo
Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who leads the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, is at the center of one of the year’s biggest storylines. He has released a series of indictments this year, including those of Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn.
As a former President, Bush often has his policies compared to those of the current administration. In late 2018, he took center stage with the death of his father, Former President George H.W. Bush.
#5 Kim Jong Un
Kim leads North Korea. The country and its nuclear arsenal have been big international stories in 2018.
Putin was re-elected to the Russian Presidency in 2018. His relationship with President Trump has drawn intense media scrutiny. So have his controversial domestic and foreign policies, including ongoing activity in Ukraine.
The former Secretary of State and unsuccessful presidential candidate hasn’t fallen out of the limelight this year. Though she has no official role, she remains a major figure in American politics.
#2 Barack Obama
The former President remains in the news, and not just as a foil to President Trump. This year, he has made a number of international trips, backed gerrymandering reforms, and signed on to produce a Netflix docu-series with his wife, Michelle.
#1 Donald Trump
It’s no surprise that America’s President and tweeter-in-chief tops the list of 2018 newsmakers. President Trump has too many major storylines to count, and closes out 2018 embroiled in a partial government shutdown.
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