If 2020 was a year spent in limbo, 2021 was a time of reckoning.

Twenty-two months into the pandemic we've had plenty of opportunity to ponder what kind of future is in store for us, with the understanding that life will not be the same as it was before COVID-19. Although it hasn't acted in a concerted manner, the media has had a lot to do with our reaching that conclusion. Isolated and stuck in a rut, each of us turns to our TV, computer and phone for answers and reassurances that they can't deliver because there is no uniform, coherent message except that the virus isn't going away soon. Breaking through the static was more difficult than it has ever been.

Media topic of the year 1: Japan conquers COVID-19