Faces of the Year
It's become a tradition on the BBC News website that at the end of each year we look back at some of the faces that have been in the news, and in choosing a face for each month of the year we try to reflect a range of the different kinds of subjects that have been covered. We generally produce a list of women and a list of men, and since we regard it as part of our job to make the list interesting and engaging, we try to include some choices which are not obvious or predictable.
This, after all, is not a definitive list of the most important or influential people. It's not based on people's achievements, their popularity or their contribution to society. And it's not a celebration of either gender's role in humanity - it's just a selection of some of the faces from the headlines from the past year.
No one was more surprised than us, then, to see the phrase "pandagate" trending on Twitter on Wednesday, or the coverage in several newspapers on Thursday.
The inclusion on the list of Tian Tian, one of the pandas who arrived with such fanfare at Edinburgh Zoo, led some people to claim that we were not recognising the accomplishments of women. Tian Tian, being female, had been included in our list of women. However, as we pointed out yesterday, she was not the first non-human to be included on these lists - last year there was Peppa Pig who had got mixed up in a political wrangle. The year before there was Benson, a poisoned prize carp. Peppa was on the women's list, and Benson on the men's, though of course like Tian Tian they are not technically men or women.
One thing is at least clearer today. If Tian Tian hadn't justified her place on the list of newsmakers based on her arrival in Edinburgh, she would have done after this.
Giles Wilson is features editor of the BBC News website.