Note: This post originally appeared on my previous blog on Nov. 27, 2013 before I switched platforms. Though it is well past Thanksgiving, I don’t think the importance and beauty of the themes presented in these stories will ever lose their timeliness.
I love that journalism allows people to question a world they thought they once knew. At its best, journalism knocks both the reader and writer breathless but still somehow makes them reach for more. If that doesn’t happen to you at least every once in a while when you pick up a paper or magazine, you’re not reading the good stuff. And if you don’t like what you’re reading, write it yourself. From the front pages to the letters to the editor, there’s room for everybody.
Journalism calls upon those it covers to be better people, but it should also make its reporters not only be better people but want to be better people. Sure, any reporter can crank out stories quickly, know AP Style says it’s “all right” and not “alright” and interview some really cool sources. But the kind of reporters doing the most good are the ones who question more, read more and accept the radical notion that they, too, are human. Reading the stories I’ve included at the end of this post make me want to be that kind of reporter. I hope these stories make you, journalist or not, feel as alive as I do when I read them. And if they don’t, write your own. Write, write, write.
In the current state of affairs in the world, the nation and even within ourselves, we become listless, discouraged and morose. But there’s this hope. I believe it’s in (good) journalism. “Isn’t being a journalist kinda depressing?” asks the world. X politician is corrupt. Nothing’s being done about Y. I just don’t understand how a tragedy like Z could happen. But the way I see it, being a journalist provides you just as much of an opportunity to restore your faith in humanity as it does to destroy it. Because there’s someone writing about these problems. And there’s someone reading about them. And someone cares. And for that, I am so thankful.
Now, the stories I’m thankful for:
“The trucker bought me lunch and didn’t even try to have sex with me, which made him a prince in my world. Several days later, though, heading south on I-95 through the Carolinas, I got picked up by another trucker who was not fine.” The Truck Stop Killer. This long read about hitchhiking girls’ encounters with sexual violence on the road is enthralling and demonstrates the problematic nature of pointing fingers when rape is a societal problem.
“The date was March 14, 2011. At 10:54 a.m., she Googled: when+someone+gets+knocked+out. She spent another four hours on the computer before she took David to the hospital.” A young mother tries to save two sons and loses everything. The imagery is hard to swallow, but the piece is incredibly humanizing of a woman pegged as “FloriDUH’s Worst Mom.”
Holding everyone accountable: a fantastic look at charities, the for-profit telemarketers they use and the man defending them both.
“‘We think the reason no one acted is because the women in question were poor and of color, because the victims were infants without identities, and because the subject was the political football of abortion.’” Why you didn’t hear about Dr. Kermit Gosnell before.
Challenging the status quo is essential — let’s do more of it. British royal born in fanciest ward: $15,000. Average birth in the United States: billed $30,000.
“If we want the rewards of being loved we have to submit to the mortifying ordeal of being known.” La fin.
And on the subject of our preoccupation with how much room we occupy in the minds of others, a single op-ed made me, a longtime waitress, entirely rethink my position on American service culture after many frustrations with restaurants while studying abroad. “We are subject to enough delusions in this life without adding to them the belief that the girl with the name tag is secretly in love with us.”
Why nostalgia isn’t a disease as its nomenclature suggests. Stories about research can be tiresome to read, but this one captures the attention (and hearts of those who love UNC with its nice, little shout-out). Also, let’s talk more about mental health — just not alongside “black and white photographs of mystical emaciated women who stare off into the distance” plz.
Due to my own persisting nostalgia (seven months post-London) and out of self-indulgence, here’s the closest I’ve felt to the city since I left.
Sorry America, the United Kingdom one-ups you with its cheeky tabloid headlines.
“From another, Miranda Lambert was stomping in, full of vitriol and skepticism, an alpha answering to no beta.” The ladies of country can kick ass, too. But still, Taylor Swift should be a part of your feminist manifesta, and brilliant 17-year-old Rookie editor, Tavi Gevinson, tells you exactly why.
A damning narrative of Matt Lauer’s decline on NBC’s “Today” … so maybe I won’t be a talk show host? Yeah, I really like being a writer. I really, really do.