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That old adage of not seeing the forest for the trees seems to have some relevance this year. The headlines of 2012 tell the story of divisiveness and anger. But guest host Sara Terry takes a step back to uncover some of the different stories 2012 has to tell. Outside the breaking news cycle of disaster and animosity, Americans found new ways to embrace community and to draw wider circles of inclusion, from the passage of gay marriage laws to community building on the streets of Detroit. Also, Russian President Vladimir Putin signs a ban on American adoptions, and all those Kodak moments are adding up. By one estimate, 10 percent of all photos ever taken were made in a recent twelve-month period.

Banner image: Pat Dalton

Making News Putin Signs Ban on American Adoptions 7 MIN, 35 SEC

In Moscow today, President Vladimir Putin signed a bill that bans the adoption of Russian children by American citizens. The bill has opened a rare split at the highest levels of Russian government and has further exacerbated strained relations between the US and Russia. Carol J. Williams is senior international affairs writer for the Los Angeles Times, and former chief of their Moscow bureau.

Carol Williams, Los Angeles Times (@cjwilliamslat)

Main Topic A Look Back at 2012 and Community-Building in America 35 MIN, 54 SEC

Divisive elections and political debates, horrific shootings, angrily defended positions on issues like gun control are all part of the history of 2012. But beyond those headlines, there's another way of looking at the year, and that's through the lens of community-building. Americans found new ways to re-define and rebuild community this past year, from their responses to disasters to virtual social media networks to grass-roots efforts in places like Detroit. How does our sense of community shape our sense of ourselves? What does the year tell us about who we are and who we're becoming?

Radhika Jones, Time Magazine (@radhikajones)
John Yemma, Christian Science Monitor (@johnyemma)
Maggie Koerth-Baker, Boing Boing (@maggiekb1)
Eli Pariser, Upworthy (@elipariser)
Elizabeth Garlow, Michigan Corps (@eligarlow)

Before the Lights Go Out

Maggie Koerth-Baker

Reporter's Notebook Digital Image Overload? 7 MIN, 11 SEC

Snap, snap, snap. Every two minutes we take as many photos as were taken in the entire 19th century. Ten percent of all photographs ever taken were shot in a recent twelve-month period. That's the result of some careful calculations by the 1000 memories blog. Even if the startling statistic is off by a few million photos, it's still clear that the digital age – and the omnipresence of digital cameras and cell phones – has unleashed an unprecedented surge in picture taking and posting. Facebook, Instagram, Flickr….  Are we in the midst of a visual feast or a visual glut? Vicki Goldberg writes about art and photography for the New York Times and other publications. Her latest book is The White House: The President's Home in Photography and History.

Vicki Goldberg, New York Times

The White House

Vicki Goldberg

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