Slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Capital Gazette newsroom and three other journalists are TIME's 2018 Person of the Year, revealed a day after the magazine announced its shortlist on NBC's Today Show.
As reported Monday, 10 finalists on the shortlist were President Donald Trump, separated families, Russian President Vladimir Putin, special counsel Robert Mueller, creator of "Black Panther" Ryan Coogler, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, sexual assault accuser Christine Blasey Ford, deceased journalist Jamal Khashoggi, March For Our Lives activists, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle.
The Person of the Year has four cover editions, one with Jamal Khashoggi, another with the staff of the Capital Gazette, one with Philippines website editor Maria Ressa, and a final cover with imprisoned Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo.
TIME gave the journalists the title "Guardians of Truth" and said they decided on the journalists because democracy, free speech and truth are under attack throughout the world.
"Today, democracy around the world faces its biggest crisis in decades, its foundation undermined by invective from on high and toxins from below, by new technologies that power ancient impulses, by a poisonous cocktail of strongmen and weakening institutions," wrote TIME Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal in an essay about the decision. "From Russia to Riyadh to Silicon Valley, manipulation and abuse of truth is the common thread in so many of this year's major headlines, an insidious and growing threat to freedom."
Jamal Khashoggi was a columnist for the Washington Post, an author and a well-known critic of the Saudi Arabian government. He attended high school with terrorist Osama bin Laden, but became a defender of democracy, starting several newsrooms in Saudi Arabia before moving to America after clashing with government officials on freedom of speech.
Khashoggi was killed in early October in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey after trying to obtain copies of his divorce documents so he could remarry. Turkish officials announced he was murdered by Saudi government officials inside the consulate and his body dismembered and disposed. Khashoggi's body has not yet been found. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was implicated in the murder. Turkish intelligence and C.I.A. officials concluded the crown prince ordered Khashoggi's killing to silence him, which the crown prince vehemently denies and has laid blamed on rogue operators.
The staff of the Capital, a newspaper published by Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md. that was the target of a mass shooting, dons a second cover. Five journalists died in the shooting in June after an aggravated reader stormed into the newsroom with a shotgun.
"Still intact, indeed strengthened after the mass shooting, are the bonds of trust and community that for national news outlets have been eroded on strikingly partisan lines, never more than this year," wrote Felsenthal.
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are two Reuters journalists imprisoned for their reporting of a mass execution of 10 Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. They were arrested for investigating the Rohingya massacre and now face 14 years in prison.
Maria Ressa is the editor of Rappler, an independent news website in the Philippines that, according to Felsenthal, publishes "fearless reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte's propaganda machine and extrajudicial killings." Ressa has faced several government lawsuits, including accusations of tax evasion for which she recently posted bail ahead of the issuance of her arrest. She has also been the target of violent hate messages on social media.
TIME's Persons of the Year, according to its editor-in-chief, "are representative of a broader fight by countless others around the world."
So far this year, at least 52 journalists have been murdered.