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These were CNN’s top 100 digital stories of 2021



One of the year’s most read stories happened during the first week of the year: the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. Readers followed that story from its first few minutes to the weeks and months of fallout that followed, as well as coverage of the Georgia runoffs that won Democrats the Senate, former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial, and the lead-up to President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Audiences continued to seek answers about Covid-19 and its Delta and Omicron variants as the pandemic evolved. While Trump’s exit and mass shootings in Colorado and Indiana dominated the news during the first half of the year, the second half saw readers focus on the disappearances (and later deaths) of Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie, a case that came to wide attention through TikTok, the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan and the deadly crowd crush at the Astroworld music festival.

This year was a challenging one, punctuated by upsetting losses. But it also saw the mass availability of Covid-19 vaccines in the US, a peaceful inauguration after a tumultuous transfer of power and a ship so big it got lodged in the Suez Canal, offering a bizarre alternative to the heavier news of the day.


If the last two years have taught us anything, it’s that we can never predict what the future has in store. Revisiting these stories isn’t easy, but here’s hoping it inspires us to make our world safer and stabler in 2022.

Readers closely followed news of Gabby Petito's disappearance and death.
The Ever Given was lodged in the Suez Canal for nearly a week.
President Joe Biden, masked, in the Oval Office in January.
Ten people died after a dangerous crowd surge at Travis Scott's Astroworld Festival in Houston in November.
Hurricane Ida struck southern Louisiana in late August.
The airport attack in Afghanistan occurred as the US and its allies raced to evacuate Afghans amid the Taliban's resurgence.
Oprah Winfrey interviewed Harry and Meghan in March in a must-see primetime event.
In November, Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted on all charges after fatally shooting two men and injuring another last year.
Here, President Donald Trump appears before reporters almost a week after the insurrection.

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