Skip to Content

These were CNN’s top 100 digital stories of 2021

By Scottie Andrew, Harmeet Kaur and Radhika Marya, CNN

The past year packed some of the biggest stories of our lifetimes into just 365 days. From the insurrection and a new administration to viral missing persons cases, with the Covid-19 pandemic looming above it all, readers had a lot to catch up on.

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.

1. Live story: Congress finalizes Biden’s win after riot disrupts Capitol

2. Live story: Democrats take control of the Senate

3. US Capitol secured, 4 dead after rioters stormed the halls of Congress to block Biden’s win

4. Interactive: Tracking Covid-19 cases in the US

5. Live story: House impeaches Trump for role in deadly Capitol riot

6. Live story: The inauguration of Joe Biden

7. Live story: Derek Chauvin guilty in death of George Floyd

8. Live story: Calls grow for Trump’s removal after Capitol riot

9. Human remains found in Wyoming are ‘consistent’ with description of Gabby Petito, FBI says

10. New details about Trump-McCarthy shouting match show Trump refused to call off the rioters

11. Trump’s last-minute pardons include Bannon, Lil Wayne and scores of others

12. After a bad day, Facebook suffers major outage

13. Trump publicly acknowledges he won’t serve a second term a day after inciting mob

14. Trump to issue around 100 pardons and commutations Tuesday, sources say

15. Suspected human remains and items belonging to Brian Laundrie found in Florida park, FBI says

16. Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito were involved in an incident in Wyoming restaurant in late August, witnesses say

17. Colin Powell, first Black US secretary of state, dies of Covid-19 complications amid cancer battle

18. Interactive: Steer through the Suez Canal

19. People at the US Capitol riot are being identified and losing their jobs

20. Pence and Trump finally speak after post-riot estrangement

21. Biden says Trump left him a ‘very generous letter’ before departing White House

22. First on CNN: Trump’s impeachment defense team leaves less than two weeks before trial

23. Citibank can’t get back $500 million it wired by mistake, judge rules

24. Extremists intensify calls for violence ahead of Inauguration Day

25. Interactive: You asked, we’re answering: Your top questions about Covid-19 and vaccines

26. Dental records show remains found at Carlton Reserve are those of Brian Laundrie, FBI says

27. Biden targets Trump’s legacy with first-day executive actions

28. At least 8 dead and many injured after crowd surge at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival in Houston, officials say

29. A timeline of 22-year-old Gabby Petito’s case

30. CDC adds 16 destinations to ‘very high’ Covid-19 travel risk list

31. Pence informed Trump that he can’t block Biden’s win

32. Live story: Donald Trump acquitted in second impeachment trial

33. Trump explodes at Nixon comparisons as he prepares to leave office

34. US takes back its assertion that Capitol rioters wanted to ‘capture and assassinate’ officials

35. Live story: Hurricane Ida makes landfall in Louisiana

36. Live story: Fallout intensifies over Trump’s response to Capitol riot

37. After two months in office, Kamala Harris is still living out of suitcases — and she’s getting frustrated with it

38. Dustin Diamond, ‘Saved by the Bell’ star, dead at 44

39. New details emerge about Brian Laundrie’s behavior in the days after Petito went missing

40. Coming this summer: Gas stations running out of gas

41. Members are quitting ‘sad’ Mar-a-Lago after Trump loses

42. Melania Trump and adult Trump children avoid the spotlight after one of nation’s darkest days

43. A California couple vanished after stealing millions in Covid-19 relief funds. They left a goodbye note for their three kids

44. Live story: Multiple dead in shooting at Colorado supermarket

45. Biden signs orders to get checks and food aid to low-income Americans — plus a federal pay raise

46. Already shunned from polite society, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner face new cold post-insurrection reality

47. Police ID gunman who killed 8 people at an Indianapolis FedEx facility as 19-year-old former employee

48. Warnock wins Georgia runoff, CNN projects, as control of Senate comes down to Perdue-Ossoff race

49. Live story: At least 13 US service members killed in Kabul airport attack

50. The face mask that could end the pandemic

51. Live story: House pushes for Trump’s removal after deadly Capitol riot

52. CNN suspends Chris Cuomo indefinitely

53. With Trump a no-show, Mar-a-Lago guests left to party maskless with Rudy Giuliani and Vanilla Ice

54. Plans for $400-billion new city in the American desert unveiled

55. Live story: Kyle Rittenhouse found not guilty on all charges

56. Derek Chauvin’s body camera video shows his reaction just after George Floyd left in an ambulance

57. Massacre in the mountains: They thought they’d be safe at a church. Then the soldiers arrived

58. Pence has not ruled out 25th Amendment, source says

59. Melania Trump disengaged from her husband’s second impeachment trial and bitter over Jill Biden’s publicity

60. Live story: Partial building collapse near Miami

61. Live story: Harry and Meghan interview fallout

62. Bitter, Trump skips chance to say splashy, high-profile farewell

63. Autopsy confirms remains found in Wyoming are Gabby Petito’s, FBI says

64. A middle schooler was insecure about his haircut. So his principal fixed it himself instead of disciplining the boy for wearing a hat

65. Live story: August 16, 2021, Afghanistan-Taliban news

66. ‘There’s no way I can pay for this:’ One of America’s largest hospital chains has been suing thousands of patients during the pandemic

67. The search for Gabby Petito’s fiancé Brian Laundrie continues. Here’s why it’s been so hard to find him

68. 6 Dr. Seuss books won’t be published anymore because they portray people in ‘hurtful and wrong’ ways

69. Angry Republican leaders float removing Trump from office

70. Suspect in Colorado grocery store shooting faces 10 counts of murder, police say

71. Democrats promise quick move to impeachment if 25th Amendment push fails

72. Denmark debuts new children’s TV show about a man with a huge and uncontrollable penis

73. White House goes into damage control mode after reports of dysfunction in Kamala Harris’ office

74. CNN fires Chris Cuomo

75. The countries welcoming US tourists now — and some resources for your visit

76. How much will your stimulus check be?

77. Supreme Court dismisses emoluments case against Trump

78. Trump talked out of pardoning kids and Republican lawmakers

79. France is sending a second Statue of Liberty to the US

80. Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted on all charges. Here’s what we know about the 3 men he shot

81. Here’s what we know about the Boulder, Colorado, mass shooting suspect

82. Ohio officials release more body cam video of fatal police shooting of Black teen and urge community to await the facts

83. Parents of Michigan school shooting suspect held on $500,000 bond each after manhunt

84. Former Trump communications director says President lied about 2020 election and should consider resigning

85. Now it’s sinking in: Wednesday’s Capitol Hill riot was even more violent than it first appeared

86. Twitter bans President Trump permanently

87. Exasperation and dysfunction: Inside Kamala Harris’ frustrating start as vice president

88. Director of photography killed, movie director injured after Alec Baldwin discharged prop firearm on movie set

89. Senate bill will narrow income eligibility for $1,400 stimulus checks

90. Silent Melania Trump plods toward end of her husband’s tumultuous term

91. Interactive: Tracking Covid-19 vaccines in the US

92. Brian Laundrie left home without phone or wallet and his parents were concerned he might hurt himself, source says

93. As riot raged at Capitol, Trump tried to call senators to overturn election

94. They stormed the Capitol to overturn the results of an election they didn’t vote in

95. The ‘headache’ Trump left behind for Biden on the White House lawn

96. Trump, estranged from Presidents Club, excluded from predecessors’ PSA

97. Trump’s 11th-hour pardons keep with tradition, even if those pardoned do not

98. Chicago police say bodycam footage shows less than a second passes from when 13-year-old is seen holding a handgun and is shot by officer

99. Trump attacks No. 2 Senate Republican as the President turns on allies in his final days in office

100. Costco is offering a new perk to club members

™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - National

Jump to comments ↓

CNN Newsource


KIFI Local News 8 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content