Falling just short of the Top 10 was the resignation of David Petraeus as CIA director because of an affair he conducted with his biographer, Paula Broadwell.
The choices of the news professionals voting in the AP poll mirrored the news stories most closely followed by the public during the year, according to the Pew Research Center's News Interest Index. The index ranked Obama's re-election as the most intently followed story, with the Newtown shooting second and Superstorm Sandy third.
Several voters in the AP poll added a comment with their ballot, including Carol Hanner, managing editor of the Winston-Salem Journal in North Carolina.
"I believe climate change is being chronically underestimated by the media and by citizens," she wrote.
The AP, like many other news organizations, traditionally releases its year-end polls and rankings before the actual end of the year. In the case of 2004's top story poll, that meant the final list did not include the cataclysmic Indian Ocean tsunami that occurred on Dec. 26.
In 2009, AP's sports department amended its top-stories ballot part way through the voting to account for revelations about golfer Tiger Woods' marital infidelities. That ended out finishing fifth, far behind the top-ranked entry about Major League Baseball's steroid scandal. (AP Photo)