Breaking Down Time’s POTY Shortlist

The 2016 Person Of The Year Shortlist Released

In less than a month 2016 will come to an end and a new year will be in full effort. With that said the countdown of the 2016’s bests have begun. Time Magazine has just announced their 2016 Person of the Year shortlist as well.

One of these 11 finalists will be crowned as the most influential person of 2016:

  • Simone Biles
  • Hillary Clinton
  • CRISPR Scientists
  • Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
  • Nigel Farage
  • The Flint Whistleblowers
  • Beyoncé Knowles
  • Narendra Modi
  • Vladimir Putin
  • Donald Trump
  • Mark Zuckerberg

While some of these names caught our attention, other made us question how some of these finalists made the shortlist. Let’s break it down further.

First let’s look at Beyonce Knowles. Known for her music and snappy dance moves in her Super Bowl halftime performance, most people wonder how she has been influential in 2016. Through her performance, a world tour and very powerful visual album, Lemonade, the 35-year-old singer, actor and mother has continued to speak out to a global audience. She has openly spoke on racial injustice, police violence and feminism.

Beyonce Instagram

America fell in love with Simone Biles during the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. The 19-year-old earned four gold medals and one bronze and being part of the “Final Five” team. In fact Biles was on Time magazines Top 30 Influential Teens of 2016 list due to her positive social media accounts and for the way teens looked up to the World Champion gymnast. Biles received two percent of the readers’ votes for Person of the Year.

It’s 2016 and what would be better than editing DNA? Probably nothing. That’s why CRISPR Scientists are in the running for Person of the Year. These scientists developed groundbreaking technology that can edit DNA. This could transform science and the human experience and could find ways to remove mutations that are incurable diseases.


If you’re like me then you probably not sure how to even pronounce Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. But despite the spelling, this Turkish president tightened control over the country after an attempted military coup failed in July 2016. Control was seized by arresting political opponents, firing thousands of state employees and shutting down news organizations.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Head of the U.K. Independence Party, Nigel Farage earned his finalist vote by running a successful campaign for Britain to leave the European Union. In fact his campaign led to a global wave against the political establishment. In fact, Farage is credited with trying to build a relationship with Donald Trump when everyone else had written him off.

The Flint Whistleblowers are a group of local residents that brought awareness to the lead-poisoned water in Flint, Mich. Led by civil-engineering professor Marc Edwards and local pediatrician Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the group brought national attention to what would have been an environmental crisis. As a side note this case has yet to be fully resolved, but is still receiving a lot of attention. “After the switch to Flint River water, members of my congregation experienced dirty water, hair loss, and rashes,” said Rev. Alfred Harris, pastor of Flint’s Saints of God Church, to yes! magazine. That’s how the group got started.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the shortlist after guiding his country’s economy to one of the most positive stories. He generated 7.4% GDP growth in his first year in office, making him one of Forbes most powerful people back in 2015. It seems the trend has continued into 2016 for the PM.

Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi



Vladimir Putin is a name that has received a lot of attention with the recent presidential election in the U.S. The Russian president is known for his intervention in Syria and the hack of Democratic National Committee servers through Russian operatives. In fact his approval rating in Russia is nothing shy of on the rise and hasn’t been under 60 percent since his rise to national attention in 1999.



Facebook is a social media outlet that almost everyone has. It’s no wonder Mark Zuckerberg is named to the shortlist for Person of the Year. Especially after Facebook surpassed 1 billion mobile daily users this year. But besides its undeniable success, Zuckerberg has been under fire this past year for the social media’s way of spreading fake news. This was heightened during the presidential election.

Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg

The last two finalists were no shock. But to be honest haven’t we had enough of reading about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump? The president elect and former first lady made the shortlist after a very historic presidential campaign on both sides.