Each year for the past 90 years, Time magazine has picked the person who has wielded the most influence over the preceding year and dubs that individual the “Person of the Year.” For 2016, Time bestowed the title upon Donald Trump, just one month after he won the U.S. presidential election.
Time editor Nancy Gibbs said in a TV interview that it was one of the more “straightforward years” in terms of the difficulty of the decision, noting that Trump had dominated news coverage all year long.
Trump said he appreciated the decision. “It means a lot, especially me growing up reading Time magazine,” he said in a TV interview after the announcement. “I consider this a very, very great honor.”
Hillary Clinton, the first woman to receive the U.S. presidential nomination of a major political party, came in second in the Person of the Year competition. Third place went to “The Hackers” who represented digital breaches that took place throughout the year.
Is it always a newly elected president?
In recent years, yes. With the selection of Trump, Time‘s editors have continued an every-four-years tradition over the past two decades of giving the title to the president-elect. Barack Obama and George W. Bush were each named Person of the Year twice, after their election victories.
— TIME (@TIME) December 7, 2016
What does it mean?
According to former Time managing editor Walter Isaacson in 1998, the title goes to “the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, and embodied what was important about the year, for better or worse.”
That means the person is not always a hero — Joseph Stalin was named twice. Sometimes Time highlights the influence of an object, as in 1982 when the personal computer was honored, or in 2011 when the “Protester” was named Person of the Year because of protests that changed the world that year.
In a separate online poll, readers chose Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as Person of the Year.