My 5 Favorite Pieces of Journalism Ever

When I was young, I used to read a lot of books. Fiction, specifically, of all genres. I’m not sure when the transition happened, but over the years, I started to read more nonfiction and journalism. When I say it like that, it sounds like the soul and spirit of youth were sucked out of me as I became a Serious Adult. But honestly, maybe it’s perfectly fine to like books that discuss the real world, and I’m just overthinking it. I have tried to get back into reading fiction, but the most I can muster is juggling The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan and The Rough Guide to Iceland by David Leffman and James Proctor during my daily commute to work right now.

This article, though, is about journalism. Over the years I’ve read many an online story. Here are five of my all-time favorites. I did not pick them based on historical significance or current relevance, but rather on a basis of storytelling and technical skill. I might also just start a monthly “favorites” thing as another way of trying to keep writing. We’ll see.

Without further ado–

  1. The Really Big One by Kathryn Schultz. This long-form article explores the possibility (or rather, inevitability) of a mega-earthquake in the Pacific Northwest in the next 50 years and how we are so not prepared for it. It won a Pulitzer and is an example of science journalism at its best.
  2. A Generation in Japan Faces A Lonely Death by Norimitsu Onishi. A long-form on the painful societal and national impact of an aging population. A great example of multilingual, multinational journalism, with great photos to accompany. I was inspired by this piece towrite my own on the same topic.
  3.  How Anna Delvey Tricked New York by Jessica Prestler. An insane story about how one girl grifted her way into New York’s elite circle, duped big banks out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and ended up locked up at Rikers, all out of sheer force of personality. This is a prime example of entertainment journalism. Shonda Rhimes acquired rights to the movie and I was inspired to do my own mini-dig into the real estate angle of the story.
  4. 8.4 Million New Yorkers Suddenly Realize New York City A Horrible Place To Live by The Onion. Published nearly a decade ago, but still sidesplittingly relevant today. I actually only discovered this article yesterday but damn, is it some good satire.
  5. How Goop’s Haters Made Gwyneth Paltrow’s Company Worth $250 Million by Taffy Brodesser-Akner. This article delves into the very polarizing celebrity and science behind Goop!, a wellness empire founded by Gwyneth Paltrow. What makes this unique is the infusion of the author’s personal experience and the skillful way in which she navigates difficult themes like holistic health, economic privilege, and female psychology.

Happy reading!

-J

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