Here are some in-depth pieces – from investigative projects through explanatory journalism and on to various types of feature stories — that I edited and that, I thought and still think, came out well.
Disposable Workers of the Oil and Gas Fields
As energy drilling boomed in the West, there was a corresponding “death boom” among the roughnecks who worked the energy fields. A 2007 investigative/narrative project that won the Sidney Hillman Award for magazine reporting, which recognizes journalism that furthers social and economic justice. The project was also named a finalist for the Scripps Howard National Journalism Award and received an honorable mention in the Heywood Broun Award. Ray Ring, winner of the 2006 George Polk Award and one of the best journalists you probably don’t know, wrote the story. I edited. The full package.
A 13-month, multipart investigation of how nuclear researchers handled — and grossly mishandled — the Cold War’s most dangerous radioactive substances at the Hunter’s Point naval shipyard in San Francisco. By Lisa Davis, with commentary and editing by me. Winner of the George Polk Award, an Investigative Reporters and Editors certificate and Northwestern/Medill’s John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Magazine Journalism. Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.
Environment Becomes Heredity
Advances in the field of epigenetics show that environmental contaminants can turn genes “on” and “off” triggering serious diseases that are handed down through generations. But there’s also a more heartening prospect: The same diseases may be treated by relatively simple changes in nourishment and lifestyle. A winner of the 2008-2009 Society of Environmental Journalists award for outstanding explanatory reporting in a print publication. (Other winners that year included stories published and aired by the Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, The Center for Public Integrity and USA Today.) The full story.
Innocent Until Reported Guilty
An elegant, exhaustively researched story that provides a simple prescription for reducing wrongful convictions: better journalism about crime and punishment. By Steve Weinberg, a former executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors, a lecturer at the University of Missouri and a wide-ranging author of books. The full story.
The Panhandle Paradox
Are The St. Joe Company’s development plans for huge swaths of timberland in northwest Florida an environmentally sensitive ‘New Ruralism’ or a serious threat to irreplaceable ecosystems? Perhaps both. A Miller-McCune investigation by Hal Herring, who has been a National Magazine Award finalist for his outdoors writing. The full story.
The Third Way to Media Success
Northwestern University researchers look to link editorial talent with audience experiences to get an elusive Web-era result — loyal readers and viewers. By Abe Peck, longtime Medill School of Journalism magazine guru. The full essay.
Lessons From the Reverse Engineering of Nature
Why man’s domestication of the Earth threatens the future of life, and how a new environmentalism, grounded in biodiversity, can save it. A multidisciplinary essay drawing on 15 years of research by Shahid Naeem, head of Columbia University’s ecology, evolution and environmental biology department.The full essay.
The Court(s) and the Election
Why Obama’s most important effect on the legal system may involve not the Supreme Court, but the ideology, race and gender of his relatively anonymous appointees to the federal appellate courts. By Lee Epstein, the Henry Wade Rogers Professor at Northwestern University; Andrew D. Martin, a professor of law and political science at Washington University in St. Louis; and Christina L. Boyd, a Ph.D. student at Washington University in St. Louis. The full essay.
The Silence of the Bees
The best-written and most thoroughly researched story on the great and mysterious honeybee die-off of 2007; winner of a special citation in the 2008 James V. Risser Prize for Western Environmental Journalism. By the wide-ranging Hannah Nordhaus. The full story.
The Doubt Makers
How industry uses its own research to delay response to public dangers (think asbestos, tobacco, climate change) for decades. Written by Michelle Nijhuis, a High Country News contributing editor whose work has appeared in National Geographic and Smithsonian magazines. The full story.
Predator Hunters for the Environment
A look into the odd and at times anti-logical world of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, a Utah-based group that conserves a lot of wilderness — and guns down coyotes, cougars and every other kind of predator it can put the crosshairs on. Written by Hal Herring, a National Magazine Award finalist. The full story.
Bow to the King
The first honest look into the unpleasant psychic mess that is Barry Bonds. Brain surgery performed by Benoit Denizet-Lewis, who went on to a staff job at the New York Times Magazine.The full story
A Very Special Concert
Why Huey Lewis appeals to the retarded. Beyond the obvious. The full story