Aileen Gallagher is Assistant Professor of Multiplatform Journalism at Syracuse University.
Don Peck’s How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America (The Atlantic, March 2010)
Bleak, but I’ve never read a better numbers story.
Nick Blakeslee’s Alex Jones is About to Explode (Texas Monthly, March 2010)
Jones is sort of Glenn Beck meets Art Bell and Blakeslee nails the complex conflict of the man and the showman.
Tad Friend’s Sleeping With Weapons (New Yorker, August 16, 2010)
Profile of Lounge Lizard John Lurie starts off so well I use it in class: “From 1984 to 1989, everyone in downtown New York wanted to be John Lurie. Or sleep with him. Or punch him in the face.”
Luke Dittrich’s The Man Who Would Fall to Earth (Esquire, August 2010)
I did not expect to get through this story, let alone love it. (The story in the same issue about the perfect Price is Right bid is more my bag.) This is how you take a pontentially complicated story about an event (the freefall jump from space) and make it about people.
Dana Priest’s Top Secret America (Washington Post, July 2010)
Priest is such a meticulous, awesome reporter. She’s sourced like Sy Hersch. This is not as readable as her Walter Reed series, but equally depressing and even more important to our country.
Jared Keller, in addition to being in charge of the whole internet, is also social media editor for The Atlantic.
Trust in what Jared says. He’s in charge of, like, the whole internet. Or at least the portion of it housed in the Watergate building.
Dan Baum, “Happiness Is A Worn Gun” (Harpers, August 2010)
Many knee-jerk opponents of gun rights have never handled a gun before, so what happens when one liberal wears a concealed weapon? The Harpers articles is subscription only, but it’s worth subscribing just to read about Baum’s psychological transformation as a concealed gun owner.
Rebecca Mead, “Rage Machine” (The New Yorker, May 24, 2010)
I despise most everything about Andrew Breitbart - his personality, his politics, his smear tactics - but I loved this profile. Mead made him almost loveable.
Graeme Wood, “Prison Without Walls” (The Atlantic, September 2010)
This story has been done before, but I have an odd fascination with surveillance and surveillance states.
Robin Marantz Henig, “What Is It About 20-Somethings?” (New York Times Magazine, August 18th, 2010)
Caught between economic recession and a poisonous political environment, why do young people take so long to grow up? For maximum impact, read “The Recessions Long Shadow” which appeared in the March 2010 issue of The Atlantic, immediately beforehand.
Wayne Curtis, “Gunpowder On The Rocks” (The Atlantic, November 2010)
A New Zealand bartender learns what pirates and sailors knew long ago: explosives and liquor mix just fine.
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Did you know that 2010 is the year grandmaster Garry Kasparov declared man’s battle for chess supremacy over machines at an end? Instead, the machine must take on a new game, and the subtle questions of Jeopardy are the next ambitious goal for IBM programmers.
2. Veronica Mittnacht, “An Advice Columnist Asks for Advice” (The Rumpus)
Of the many, many essays about navigating life after college, this one really takes to heart the essential contradiction of youth: “How did we become so ambitious and afraid?”
3. Ed Dante, “The Shadow Scholar” (Chronicle of Higher Education)
Speaking of fear, be afraid. Not of the skills of this professional paper writer—who can charm a twenty-five page essay about any topic you like from mid-air. Be afraid of everyone out there who has ever used him. Doctors, nurses, businessmen, teachers, seminary students, everyone.
It’s really worth getting to the dark heart of the Zuckerberg in this NYer profile before reading Smith’s screed about Facebook and the Social Network, if just to get some perspective.
5. And the best Longread of 2010 is, without a doubt, the very insightful, funny, and of course frustrating look into the Senate by George Packer, “The Empty Chamber” (The New Yorker) Please, just give him all the National Magazine Awards right now.
By Ashley Halsey III and Lonnae O’Neal Parker, Washington Post