TIME Names Whistleblower, Impeachment Witnesses 'Guardians of the Year'

December 10, 2019

Editor’s Note: This piece incorrectly stated that the whistleblower and civil servants who testified during impeachment were to be named TIME’s Person of the Year. They were instead named TIME’s "Guardians of the Year," a new designation in an expanded set of awards granted in 2019.


TIME magazine named the anonymous federal employee whose whistleblower report set off President Donald Trump’s impending impeachment as well as the public servants who testified during the hearings its "2019 Guardians of the Year," the magazine announced Wednesday morning.

The magazine's Person of the Year award, which began in 1927, goes to the person or group that the publication’s editors feel to have had the greatest influence on the year’s events. This year's honoree was teen climate activist Greta Thurnberg, who was hailed as a "global icon."

The magazine's editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal says the awards were expanded in 2019 "to reflect the full range of subjects that TIME covers."

"For the first time, we’re choosing the most influential person in a range of fields," Felsenthal wrote in a letter on the magazine's decision.

"Last year for Person of the Year, we chose 'The Guardians,' four journalists and one news organization who took great risks in pursuit of greater truths, standing up for free expression and democratic values," Felsenthal wrote. "This year, we are recognizing a different group of Guardians, who took to the stand and risked their careers in the defense of the rule of law."

The whistleblower's complaint was filed in early August, but details of its contents did not begin to emerge in the press until September. Pelosi, once hesitant to launch impeachment proceedings against Trump, used the complaint as the basis for her decision to launch an impeachment inquiry on Sept. 24.

TIME's announcement comes after weeks of impeachment hearings featuring the witnesses the magazine will honor, and just a day after Democratic leadership in the House formally unveiled articles of impeachment. A vote is expected to come as soon as next week.

Others honored in this year's expanded awards included Disney CEO Bob Iger as "Businessperson of the Year," the U.S. women's soccer team as "Athlete of the Year," and singer Lizzo as "Artist of the Year."

Published under: Media