25 Tales for December 25th

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Every December, media organizations publish lists of the most read stories of the year (and the Times list can be found in a newsletter next week). But today – at Christmas – we’re going to do something different.

In 2020, three tremendous stories – a pandemic, an election, and a racial justice movement – dominated the news. They were so big that they overshadowed many other subjects. So I asked top editors from all over the Times to tell me about their favorite articles they published this year.

Overlooked, of course, is a subjective idea, and you may have read some of them by now. But I am confident that many of you have not. They are a deeply human mix of discovery, joy and pain. Some touch on the big issues of the year, others are completely different.

On December 25th, we’re bringing you 25 great stories:

1. Perhaps here is the skull of Pliny the Elder.

2. Dog aging can provide useful clues for humans.

11. In recent years, women runners have gotten much faster.

12. A 16-year-old bridge player asked an 82-year-old player – one of the best of all time – to team up with him for a tournament.

13. A reporter traveled 5,000 miles to say goodbye to her father from a distance of two meters.

14th He fired a bullet in New Zealand to save his son: a story of stubborn love battling trauma that won’t let go.

15th She was denied access to a telescope because of her gender, but she progressed and made pioneering discoveries about the cosmos. E. Margaret Burbidge died at the age of 100.

16. Modern prospectors make thousands of dollars selling gems they have unearthed.

17th “The Power Broker,” Robert Caro’s 1,246-page book, has become a home-screen television stereotype.

18th Is this New York’s nicest public bathroom?

19th As a Senator, Joe Biden talked about changing China through trade. He doesn’t do it anymore.

20th The leadership of the military is predominantly white. Even so, Lloyd Austin rose to the top.

21st The NAACP tries to end the manipulation by the energy industry.

22nd Times Magazine went behind the scenes and watched California inmates serving life sentences try to win parole.

23. Life on an icebreaker: constant darkness and minus 50 degrees Celsius.

24. Tad Jones, who lived in a forest for decades, found himself facing an existential battle with wildfire in Last Chance, California.

25th Black actors, writers, and other creators talked about the art that inspires them.

A program note: I will be leaving next week. My colleagues will fill out the form and The Morning will appear in your inbox every weekday. See you in 2021. – David

A Christmas Pandemic: Bethlehem attracts pilgrims, tourists and dignitaries every year, but the pandemic has left the West Bank city without visitors, with hotels in trouble and beds in intensive care.

Modern love: A son is allowed to spend Christmas with his father, who was released from prison just in time.

Lived life: Xin Xing, the star of Chongqing Zoo in China, was the world’s oldest captive panda. She had more than 150 offspring in several countries. She died at the age of 38, which is at least 110 human years.

This holiday season, think about journalism that will help your friends and family understand what’s going on in the world and how to deal with it. Give a Times subscription today.

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