Your Monday briefing – The New York Times

This was a year when the news cycle seemed relentless at times and the ping of another alert usually brought more shocking news.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine turned into a long and desperate struggle that is now estimated to have killed more than 40,000 civilians and displaced up to 30 million others. The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ending constitutional abortion rights in the United States. In Pakistan, floods devastated hundreds of villages, killing about 1,500 people and affecting more than 33 million. Iran is experiencing its deadliest protests in decades.

Those were hard times economically. The British pound hit an all-time low against the US dollar and central banks tightened interest rates to curb inflation. The year is drawing to a close, the cost of heating oil is falling and a global recession is looming. China’s “zero Covid” approach to dealing with the pandemic hurt businesses and choked off growth.

In politics, people voted for change in Australia, Brazil, Italy and Sweden, and for familiar faces in France and Denmark. In Israel, Bibi is back. Twitter is now owned by Elon Musk. And in sport, February brought a deeply odd Olympics in Beijing, with an equally odd World Cup in Qatar at the end of the year.

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom: On the lighter side, 2022 brought us Wordle, Abba’s digital residency in London, the first Tour de France Femmes, even a new Beyoncé album. Next year already has moments of lightness and ingenuity on the agenda, including possible changes to US Daylight Saving Time and a commemoration of Pablo Picasso on the 50th anniversary of his death.


Each year, our photo editors sift through months of images to select the most surprising, moving, and memorable images of the year.

The war in Ukraine was not the only story of the year, but visually one of the strongest. Photographers for The Times submitted around 16,000 images, often in circumstances that endangered their lives.

Joseph Kahn, editor-in-chief of The Times, describes how these images captured the shifting dynamic on the ground as Ukrainians moved from terror and disbelief to grim resignation and resistance. “Moments of optimism and joy come,” he writes. “We see what they have lost through Vladimir Putin’s aggression against their country – but also what they do not want to lose.”

Unforgettable moments: A bullet-riddled notebook found after a fatal shooting at a school in Uvalde, Texas. The daughter of Ketanji Brown Jackson, who watches in adoration as her mother became the first black woman on the Supreme Court. And the defiance of elegantly dressed Ukrainian teenagers dancing in Odessa.


Concert halls, theatres, galleries: after two years of closure and postponement, this year the public gradually returned to experiencing art in person.

Our film critics, even as they reflected on the state of cinema, found plenty to love on the big screen. AO Scott’s favorite films of the year, he writes, “seem to challenge not only the aspects of human experience they represent, but also their own methods and assumptions.” Manohla Dargis felt encouraged by all the good and great films, which are still being published. There was a lot to see on TV.

In the visual arts world, highlights in New York City included a grown-up Whitney Biennial, contemporary Puerto Rican art and a fabulous Matisse exhibition. Exhibitions in Paris celebrated works by Alice Neel and Ed Ruscha, and in Kassel, Germany, the mega-exhibition Documenta was “remarkable” or “disastrous” depending on who you asked.

Our obituaries section celebrates, honors and reflects on the lives of people who shaped the world. Read about the artists we lost in 2022 in their own words, and check out five obituaries that stood out:

Great reads

Catch up on four of the most read articles in The Times this year:

Your briefing zigzags around the world before it lands in your inbox.

It contains stories from our correspondents around the world; was written by me, Natasha, in Melbourne, Australia; gets a first edit from an editor in New York; and then receives the finishing touches from an editor in our Seoul office.

Finally, just before 1 a.m. Eastern Time or 6 a.m. GMT, it flies to hundreds of thousands of readers from Ireland to Israel, along with more than a few revelers in the US

Since August 2020, when I joined The Times, I have written this newsletter well over 500 times. It has at times felt like recording history as it happens: coronavirus vaccines; the invasion of Ukraine by Russia; a change in the US presidency; three British Prime Ministers (and two monarchs); one-off protests in Iran; the fight for abortion rights in the US; and hundreds of other world-changing stories.

Perhaps my favorite thing about this job is getting notes from readers: what they liked and didn’t like. I often can’t help when it comes to the spelling bee or the crossword (even if I share your pain), but I love hearing about if you’ve picked up one of our Play, Watch, Eat, or when picking up a story that makes special echoed.

All this to say: thank you all for reading and also for writing. Here’s to another year together.

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That’s it for today’s briefing. Thank you for being with us this year and see you tomorrow. – Natasha

PS The Times’ slogan since 1896 has been “All the News That’s Fit to Print”. In a competition to choose a new slogan in 1996, the original won.

On “The Ezra Klein Show,” Ezra answers listeners’ questions about the end of the year.

Reach out to Natasha and the team below briefing@nytimes.com.

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