The National Catholic Reporter (USA) on 30 December 2014 announced that it had joined ( although a little later) Rolling Stone, Time Magazine, The New Yorker, and The Advocate in choosing Pope Franci as its Man of the Year.
In one sense, one is prompted to think that , as a prominent Catholic publication, such a nomonation is only to be expected. Niothing exceptional.
But this is a publication different to the others; its editors and journalists are experts on the Church and tend to be knowledgibly critcal of the Church. They are more expert in Church affairs than is the secular press.
The link; NCR Man of the Year 2014 takes you to their editorial which provides insight into a careful analysis of the decision.