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Year in review: The top social media stories of 2020 – Global News



The year 2020 brought what seemed like a year’s worth of news headlines each week. From wildfires sweeping Australia to protests marching through cities across the globe, and then a global pandemic brought life as we knew it to a halt.

While it’s one thing for news editors to decide which stories make it onto a year-end list based on news value and impact, it’s a complete different list when readers decide which ones were worth the click.

This is that list: the standout stories as decided by YOU — determined by most comments, interactions and shares on Global News’ social media accounts

January — World Juniors: Canada wins gold against Russia

Click to play video 'Team Canada arrives home to heroes welcome after gold medal win at world juniors'

Team Canada arrives home to heroes welcome after gold medal win at world juniors

Team Canada arrives home to heroes welcome after gold medal win at world juniors – Jan 6, 2020

In January, Team Canada won their first medal for hockey in Europe since winning gold at the Czech Republic World Juniors in 2008.

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The championship saw Akil Thomas score with 3:58 left in the third period, leading the team to a victory in a moment that will be remembered in Canadian hockey history.

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February — Koala enjoys belly scratch

February saw devastating wildfires sweeping across much of Australia. The video below shows a koala living his best recovery life at a wildlife park on Kangaroo Island while getting a belly rub from an Australian Defence Force officer.

The Global News audience seemed to be happy to know that the injured koalas were being well cared for, with the video racking up a whopping 1.3 million views. 

One Twitter user went so far as to tweet that they wished that they had this job.

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Due to the blazes, tens of thousands of koalas were taken to wildlife centres with severe burns, some having lost their entire families.

It is estimated that nearly half of Australia’s koala population perished in the wildfires.

Watch the video of these injured marsupials being shown love by army officials.

March — Spring breakers defy coronavirus fears to party 

Click to play video 'Miami spring breakers vow to keep partying amid pandemic'

Miami spring breakers vow to keep partying amid pandemic

Miami spring breakers vow to keep partying amid pandemic – Mar 19, 2020

Spring break festivities had officially been cancelled in Miami, Fla., but that didn’t stop hordes of 20-somethings from flocking to the city’s beaches anyway, defying all lockdown measures that had been put in place to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

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“If I get corona, I get corona,” said one spring breaker. “I’m not going to let it stop me from partying.”

It is also believed that this is where the term ‘covidiot’ was born.

One Facebook user was so distraught that he left the comment pictured below on a Global News post regarding the incident.

Read more:
‘Like, we’re here’: Spring breakers defy coronavirus fears to party

April — Trump asks medical supply firm 3M to stop selling N95 respirators to Canada

On April 3, U.S. based company 3M said it had been asked by the Trump administration not to supply N95 respirators to Canada amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

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At the time, demand for personal protective equipment — gloves, gowns, face shields and the all-important N95 masks — had been soaring around the world as overtaxed doctors, nurses and hospitals struggled to manage the spikes they were seeing in coronavirus cases while also protecting themselves from infection.

The company said the move raised “humanitarian” concerns.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus around the world: April 3, 2020'

Coronavirus around the world: April 3, 2020

Coronavirus around the world: April 3, 2020

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May — Huge owl hatches chicks outside man’s window, now the brood watches TV with him

A Eurasian eagle owl, Europe’s biggest owl, made a nest outside Belgian Jos Baart’s home. After her three chicks hatched, they started watching TV with him.

A Eurasian eagle owl, Europe’s biggest owl, made a nest outside Belgian Jos Baart’s home. After her three chicks hatched, they started watching TV with him.


At first, a Belgian man thought the noise coming from his outdoor planter was pesky pigeons. Turns out, it was Europe’s largest owl — four of them.

The Eurasian eagle owl, one of the world’s largest owls, set up camp in the man’s third story planter and since the mother owl’s three gigantic chicks hatched, they had taken to watching TV through the window with their new landlord.

The above post was interacted with 43, 000 times on Facebook alone and the story garnered over 95,000 interactions across all social media platforms.

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Guinness World Records recognizes the species (also known as Bubo bubo) as the largest owl in the world, with a wingspan of more than 1.5 metres.

They have no natural predators and a long lifespan of 20 years in the wild, but can live up to 60 years in captivity.

June — ‘Never seen anything like it’: Bear cub spotted in Alberta with unique white head

News of a Calgary family spotting an extremely rare grizzly bear cub on a road trip brought people scrambling to Global News’ social pages.

The story caused a strong online reaction, with the initial Facebook post reaching nearly 4 million people, and racking up 101,000 interactions.

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A majority of the comments on the post were people desperately hoping that this majestic woodland creature would be kept safe from hunters.

Catch a glimpse of the white-headed grizzly in the video below.

Click to play video 'Calgary family snaps picture of white-headed bear cub'

Calgary family snaps picture of white-headed bear cub

Calgary family snaps picture of white-headed bear cub – Jun 15, 2020

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July — Rare white grizzly bear captured on camera in B.C. park 

Just like in June, July belonged to the bears.

A rare white grizzly bear sighting in British Columbia captured the attention of people across Canada.

The video below has been viewed over 650,000 times across Global News’ associated Facebook pages alone.

Turns out, the bear, named Nakoda by locals, has been seen before in Yoho and Banff national parks, but not very often.

Parks Canada has previously said the bear is not albino, but actually a natural colour phase variation that makes it white.

Read more:
Rare white grizzly bear captured on camera in B.C. park

August — Onion recall expands across Canada; 17 hospitalizations linked to salmonella

One of the stories in August that had the Global News audience talking the most was about onions. Yes, onions.

In August, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency expanded a recall put in place on July 30 of onions from the United States that that were linked to 17 salmonella hospitalizations in Canada.

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While the initial recall was only for red onions, the company soon added yellow, white and sweet yellow onions distributed by the company, Thomson International.

The Global News Facebook page erupted shortly after the story being posted, with 315,000 people clicking to read the story, and nearly 50,000 likes and comments left on the post.

At the time there were a total of 120 cases of salmonella in Canada linked to the onions, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. The impacted provinces were British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and Prince Edward Island.

In the U.S., federal health officials said nearly 400 people in more than 30 states had reported cases of salmonella linked to onions.

Read more:
Avoid all onions with unclear origins amid growing salmonella outbreak: warning

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Click to play video 'Onion salmonella outbreak expands'

Onion salmonella outbreak expands

Onion salmonella outbreak expands – Aug 22, 2020

September — Three-month-old snow leopard cub makes her public debut at the Brookfield Zoo

We seem to get the hint that the Global News audience loves animal content.

The social post earning the highest engagement for the month of September was that of baby snow leopard bonding with her mother at the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois.

Views came in by the hundreds of thousands, and 70,000 Facebook users dropped a heart or a thumbs-up on the video. After watching the video, users rushed to the comment section to share just how cute they thought the baby snow leopard was.

Watch the heartwarming video below.

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October — Man mauled by black leopard after paying for ‘full contact experience’

Dwight Turner, a 50-year-old man from Florida just wanted to get-up-close and personal with some big wildcats.

Turner forked over $150 to “play with it, rub its belly and take pictures,” according to reports by local station WPLG. The cat enthusiast got a lot closer with the big cat when it charged Turner, and took “took his head in its mouth,” said his attorney.

Michael Poggi, owner of Poggi’s Animal House in Davie, Fla., is shown with a black leopard at his zoo in Davie, Fla.

Michael Poggi, owner of Poggi’s Animal House in Davie, Fla., is shown with a black leopard at his zoo in Davie, Fla.

Michael Poggi/YouTube

Over 750,000 people clicked the link to the story when Global News shared the story to Facebook to see what the outcome of this story was.

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The result was the leopard ripping off part of the victim’s scalp and tearing his ear in half, requiring multiple surgeries, officials said.

Turner did make a full recovery, and the owner was due to appear in court Dec. 2, as he was unauthorized to allow full-contact experiences.

November — Uncommon bills will lose legal tender status in 2021. Is your collection worthless?

If you are a collector of old Canadian currency, this one is for you.

Click to play video 'Uncommon Canadian bank notes to lose legal tender status in 2021'

Uncommon Canadian bank notes to lose legal tender status in 2021

Uncommon Canadian bank notes to lose legal tender status in 2021 – Nov 22, 2020

Are you in possession of an extremely rare $500 or $1,000 bill? The Bank of Canada sent out a reminder in November that these bills, along with the $1, $2, and $25 would no longer hold legal tender status.

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Sharing this story to Global News Facebook resulted in nearly 700,000 people clicking on the post to read the story, and a futher 43,000 interacting with the post.

The top commenter on the post was quick to point out that yes, while these bills do lose legal tender status, you can still bring the bill to your bank and have it exchanged for legal currency, according to the Bank of Canada.

Rare currency collectors were quick to jump in however, saying that some of these bills are highly-sought after, with some cases of the $500 being sold for more than $50,000 at auctions.

Read more:
Government to phase out $1,000 bill and several older banknotes as legal tender

December- An emotional Manitoba premier got emotional when discussing a question he was asked about why he “likes to be hated so much.” 

The premier of Manitoba made an emotional appearance on camera, pleading with residents to heed provincial health orders over the Christmas holidays.

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“I will do what I believe is right, and right now we need to save lives,” Pallister said as he imposed an almost full-lockdown of his province early December.

Maybe because of how rare it is to see leaders convey emotion on camera, people flooded the Global News social media pages, earning the video the highest-engaging post for the month of December.

Nearly one million people viewed the video posted to the main Global News Facebook page, with almost 70,000 people interacting with the post.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Pallister delivers emotional plea to Manitobans not to gather during Christmas'

Coronavirus: Pallister delivers emotional plea to Manitobans not to gather during Christmas

Coronavirus: Pallister delivers emotional plea to Manitobans not to gather during Christmas – Dec 3, 2020

The premier’s words resounded with one Nova Scotian, whose comment became the most-liked on the post.

And that is a wrap of our social coverage for the 2020 year. We wish all of you the best for 2021 on behalf of Global News. We look forward to your interactions on our social posts in the new year!

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Honey Jam Celebrates Past and Future At Media Event – FYI Music News



Honey Jam, Canada’s female vocalist discovery showcase, held its media launch July 22 in Toronto at host venue El Mocambo, for the second straight year.

“We’re back!” exclaimed Honey Jam founder Ebonnie Rowe from the stage. “You didn’t think a little pandemic and a zombie apocalypse would stop us, did ya? Hell no.”

The event not only introduced the 17 artists who will be showcasing at the 26th annual event, live-streamed Aug. 12, with CBC Radio’s The Block host Angeline Tetteh-Wayoe as emcee, but announced a number of forthcoming pieces, as well as a recap of some accomplishments in spite of covid.

Rowe, the recent recipient of CIMA’s Trailblazer Award, told everyone how alum Jordan Alexander has a lead in Gossip Girl and landed the cover of Cosmo; Anjulie racked up a 100 million streams; and Savannah Ré won a 2021 Juno Award and got props from Timbaland who listened to her music on Instagram.

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This year’s showcase is funded by Slaight Music, TD Ready Commitment, Ontario Creates, and FACTOR, and will feature artists from Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Alberta and, for the first time, the Yukon. The online auditions, both live and submitted, were open to female-identifying talent, ages 14 to 25, in all genres.

CBC will air a Honey Jam radio special on Aug. 9 and a “Honey Jams” playlist, with songs past and current, will air live on CBC Music, starting Aug. 12, coincidentally Rowe’s birthday.

Honey Jam might’ve started 26 years ago as a showcase — Nelly Furtado was famously discovered at it — but it now presents many opportunities throughout the year to help the young women get their foot in the door.

Rowe rattled off many of them, including an upcoming trip to Nashville; a pre-recorded Flow 93.5 concert series from the Phoenix called Flow After Hours to be streamed at a later date; a workshop at Art House; a tour of Doc McKinney’s studio where The Weeknd’s House of Balloons was recorded; and attendance at SOCAN’s inaugural Creative Entrepreneur Summit.

Some of the alum, she said, also got brand deals with Adidas, Holt Renfrew and Ralph Lauren. And through their participating in Indie Week, export-ready Lu Kala and Nefe were invited to perform virtually for Brazil’s Music Pro Awards. The Artists for Social Change competition was also won by Megan De Lima.

“So we kept everybody pretty busy during the time leading up to it,” says Rowe, adding that one of her personal highlights this year was during a Q&A she did with Lennon Stella and JP Saxe for a VIP pre-Juno Awards experience for Honey Jammers.  “He said, ‘I didn’t know you were the lady who does Honey Jam? I love Honey Jam. Honey Jam’s a legend,’” she recounted. “I could barely speak.”

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Former Olympic swimmer brands Japanese media branded as sexist – NBC News



TOKYO — The Japan Olympics’ new gender equality monitor said Monday she’s been watching her country’s coverage of the Games and doesn’t like what she’s been hearing.

“When it comes to sports, it is really biased when it comes to gender,” said Naoko Imoto, who is also a former Olympic swimmer.

The Japanese media isn’t discriminating against female athletes, it’s just not taking them as seriously as the men.

“Many of the channels look at female athletes as ‘female’ or ‘girls’ or ‘wives’ or ‘mothers’ and not really as pure athletes,” Imoto said at the daily briefing run by the International Olympic Committee and Tokyo Games organizers.

Five of the eight medals Team Japan has won thus far were won by women, including three of the gold medals, according to the latest Olympics medal count.

“You should see female athletes as athletes,” said Imoto Naoko, seen here holding the Olympic torch during the flame handover ceremony on March 19, 2020. Aris Messinis / Pool via Reuters

Imoto, who competed for Japan at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, did not specify which of Japan’s TV stations was using the sexist language. But in earlier interviews, Imoto noted that Japanese media covers golfers Hinako Shibune, who is a woman, and Hideki Matsuyama, who is a man, differently.

“Nobody talks about Mr. Matsuyama’s personal life and appearance,” Imoto said. “But for Ms. Shibuno, there are reports about her eating sweets and snacks and about her smile.”

Imoto also argued that it’s all too common in Japanese news headlines for female athletes to be described as “too beautiful.”

“You should see female athletes as athletes,” Imoto said. “In recent years, the number of gold medals in the Olympics has been higher for women. I want them to be treated equally. I would like to argue that it is strange to focus on things that are not related to competition, such as appearances and personal life.”

Imoto dove back into the sexism issue Monday as Japanese women have already scored significant successes at the Games.

Download the NBC News app for breaking news and politics

A quick survey of social media reactions to Imoto’s remarks suggested that support for more equal treatment of women and male athletes by the media was far from universal in Japan.

“I was surprised to hear that women are making noises saying that there was a gender inequality in the coverage of professional sports games,” one Twitter poster wrote. “Where do you think the money is coming from?”

Imoto was tapped to be the gender equality watchdog by the Tokyo 2020 Olympics organizers after the committee’s president, Yoshiro Mori, was forced out in February after he said female sports officials talk too much during meetings.

A month later, the Games’ original creative director, Hiroshi Sasaki, was ousted for comparing Japanese celebrity Naomi Watanabe to a pig.

In an interview with Asahi Shimbun, one of the Japan’s biggest national newspapers, Imoto said she was shocked by Mori’s comments.

“Little has changed since my competition days,” Imoto said. “Things are too backward.”

Imoto, who works for UNICEF as an education specialist, said she hoped to “become a bridge” to the largely male-dominated sports industry.

Mori’s ouster also prompted some soul-searching by Japanese media and renewed calls for gender equality in the news business.

Kasumi Ishikawa of Team Japan during her Women’s Singles Round 3 match. As of Monday, five of the eight medals Team Japan has won were won by women, including three of the gold medals.Steph Chambers / Getty Images

It was Topic A during a symposium in March organized largely by the Japan Mass Media Culture Information Workers’ Union Conference, Kyodo News reported.

“It’s embarrassing to find (mass media) organizations in a situation like this, even though they have been rapping Mr. Yoshiro Mori’s misogynist remarks,” said Mami Yoshinaga, who heads the Japan Federation of Newspaper Workers’ Union.

NBC News has reached out to the union for additional comment.

Kaori Hayashi, a journalism professor at the University of Tokyo’s graduate school, said at the conference the reason why Japanese media persists in promoting sexist stereotypes is because it’s “a man’s world.”

There were no women in the top news production positions at the six Tokyo-based commercial TV broadcasters as of last December, Kyodo News reported, citing a labor union survey.

And just three of the 159 people who sit on the boards of the four industry associations representing newspapers, commercial broadcasters or publishers were women.

“If decision-making positions are occupied by men, news articles, broadcast content and even the way news items are lined up will reflect a male perspective,” Hayashi said.

Japan is one of the world’s most advanced countries, but it consistently ranks low in the World Economic Forum’s gender gap rankings. It ranks 120 out of 156 countries in the 2021 survey, well behind the United States which came in 30th. Iceland was ranked number one.

Corky Siemaszko and Arata Yamamoto reported from Tokyo, and Christina Ching Yin Chan reported from Hong Kong.

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These adventure cats bring joy to their owners — and social media followers –



Canadians have embraced the outdoors in droves over the past year-and-a-half due to pandemic-related lockdowns — and their fluffy, tree-climbing, bird-watching feline companions have been tagging along.

These intrepid animals are known as “adventure cats,” as they are put on leashes to explore the outside world with their owners, whether they are hiking, kayaking or even skiing. Many have gained large social media followings in the process; the hashtag #adventurecats on apps like Instagram and TikTok brings up hundreds of thousands of results.

While a cat on a leash is still an uncommon sight, Julie Posluns, who runs an online cat-training school, says she’s seen increased interest in her courses since the start of the pandemic.

“I think the more people realized they were at home, the more they were like, ‘OK, I guess it’s time to just pick up some new home hobbies,'” said the Toronto resident.

Posluns trained her own cat, Jones, to walk on a leash about six years ago and now provides advice to clients on cat backpacks, harnesses and other so-called “adventure cat” essentials.

The Vancouver Island adventure cat

Chelsea Robinson, a longtime hiker, got her Maine Coon kitten last winter. Within days of bringing her home, she put the cat — named Fig — in a harness and headed to the beach.

“She was enthralled,” she said. “Still to this day, no matter where we go, the beach is her favourite place.” 

Fig especially loves to watch the waves crash onto the beach, Robinson says.

Fig and Robinson take walks every day, whether it’s a short walk to pick up Robinson’s children from school, or a several-hour hike through the forest on the weekend.

Fig has been a “bright light” for Robinson throughout the pandemic, she says. 

It’s also something she hears from people who follow Fig’s adventures online; Robinson shares photos and videos of their activities on Instagram and TikTok, where Fig has collectively amassed nearly 150,000 followers.

“She brings people a lot of joy,” Robinson said.

The Ottawa-based Siberian Forest cat who kayaks

Another cat owner, Aleena Fiorotto, says she was “determined to have an adventure cat” when she got her Siberian Forest kitten, Finnegan, last year.

Luckily, Finn’s easygoing temperament made leash-training relatively painless, she said.

“I can take him anywhere, in any situation, with any type of new animal or anything. And he’s just like, ‘This is fine,'” said Fiorotto.

The duo has even gone kayaking — and while Fiorotto says Finn was a little “leery” of the moving dock at first, he was happy once they pushed off.

“He settled right in and just laid down and took in the sights,” she said.

Fiorotto also shares her cat’s exploits on Instagram, where Finn has more than 21,000 followers.

Having an adventure cat has pushed Fiorotto to get out more than she would solo, she said. She loves to see how Finn engages with the world around him and how he interacts with delighted strangers on the trails.

So you want your own adventure cat?

Some experts say that while cats can benefit from leashed walks, there are several factors that should be taken into consideration before you attempt to do so.

Posluns said a sturdy harness and leash need to be tested on your cat inside the home before you think about going outside, as many cats do not initially like the feeling of a harness. A gradual introduction to it is best.

“I think it’s really important to remember that we’re doing this for our cats’ enrichment first,” she said. “Not to take them on some fun adventure for social media to take pictures — but, like, what is going to enrich your cat’s life?”

Dr. Maggie Brown-Bury, a veterinarian and a representative of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association for Newfoundland and Labrador, says that leash-walking our feline friends can be an “an excellent way to give them more activity and adventure in their life.”

But she said you need to be in tune with your cat’s body language as you acclimate them to the leash and to the outdoors. Signs that your cat is unhappy being outside include flattened ears, unwillingness to move, hunched bodies and open-mouth breathing — a sign of stress.

“But if they are walking around and sniffing and exploring, then they’re feeling really great,” said Brown-Bury.

And to those who say cats should never be let outside, due to the dangers to local wildlife and the cats themselves? If the cat is controlled by a leash, Brown-Bury says the risks are minimal.

“Having a cat outside in a controlled manner is no riskier for the cat than it would be for your dog,” she said.

If you do plan to take your cat outside, Brown-Bury says, microchip identification is a must, as are shots for parasites and regular deworming appointments. 

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