The best of the best in journalism
May 12, 2009 9:28 AM   Subscribe

Please link me to famous and/or great journalism pieces.

I read this article from a post on the front page, and it contained this following line:

I grew up reading a New York Times that no longer exists: Tom Wicker reporting from the Attica prison truthfully and in solidarity with the rebelling inmates, Max Frankel ordering expensive investigations into government wrongdoing, the publication of The Pentagon Papers leaked by Daniel Ellsberg, and I’ll never regret following music critic John Rockwell down Bleeker Street to The Bowery and through those graffiti-covered doors into the future that we inhabit today.

I realized that I have never experienced real journalism, am entirely unfamiliar with the above events, and would like to see how journalism is at its best.

Print or video, it makes no difference to me.
posted by Nonce to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
Well, first of all, you can search in the NYT archives (premium) for the specific articles you mention, for example:

Tom Wicker reporting from the Attica prison

The Mammoth book of journalism contains 101 "real journalism" pieces, from Ernest Hemingway to Max Hastings. And Tell Me No Lies: Investigative Journalism That Changed the World by John Pilger is a great collection of, well, Investigative Journalism.

For the record, I don't buy this "no longer exists" whine, the NYT is an outstanding newspaper even today, and if you read today's issue, then you read "real journalism".
posted by dov at 9:39 AM on May 12, 2009

All the President's Men?
posted by Pollomacho at 9:49 AM on May 12, 2009

Frank Sinatra Has a Cold
posted by chiefthe at 10:18 AM on May 12, 2009

Maybe not as exalted as the others on this list but good enough to win a Pulitzer and good enough that the Pulitzer prize folks created a new category for the piece.

Making It Fly

(Funnily enough, I posted a link to this story on MeFi just last week even though I first read this article a long time ago. I just think it is a great piece of writing.)
posted by bz at 11:04 AM on May 12, 2009

Murrow is the prototypical example, though he was more known for radio and television work than print. Everybody knows his takedown of Joe McCarthy, but I always found his earlier work to be more compelling, particularly his account of the concentration camp at Buchenwald:

We proceeded to the small courtyard. The wall was about eight feet high; it adjoined what had been a stable or garage. We entered. It was floored with concrete. There were two rows of bodies stacked up like cordwood. They were thin and very white. Some of the bodies were terribly bruised, though there seemed to be little flesh to bruise. Some had been shot through the head, but they bled but little. All except two were naked. I tried to count them as best I could and arrived at the conclusion that all that was mortal of more than five hundred men and boys lay there in two near piles.

Now that is journalism. Lucid, clear-eyed, matter-of-fact and bereft of personal opinion and emotion, and yet it imparts the grief and horror of that place with withering effect by sheer force of the truth.

You can read this and other accounts in full here.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:09 AM on May 12, 2009

J'accuse! (English translation)
posted by fire&wings at 11:35 AM on May 12, 2009

New Kings of Non-Fiction, compiled by Ira Glass, is fucking mindblowing, thank me later for the heads up. Also check out the Best American Magazine Writing series.
posted by zoomorphic at 12:59 PM on May 12, 2009

I found memorable articles on Dubai and the Tsukiji Fish Market by Nick Tosches in this post.
posted by minkll at 1:13 PM on May 12, 2009

I recently posted this as an FPP: A Pulitzer and Polk winning series of reports "that revealed how some retired generals, working as radio and television analysts, had been co-opted by the Pentagon to make its case for the war in Iraq, and how many of them also had undisclosed ties to companies that benefited from policies they defended."

Also, take a look at other recent Polk Award winners.
posted by AceRock at 1:33 PM on May 12, 2009

The Banality of Evil was first written as a series of pieces for the New Yorker.
posted by xammerboy at 6:46 PM on May 12, 2009

Hunter S. Thompson's obituary for Richard Nixon:
If the right people had been in charge of Nixon's funeral, his casket would have been launched into one of those open-sewage canals that empty into the ocean just south of Los Angeles. He was a swine of a man and a jabbering dupe of a president. Nixon was so crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants on every morning. Even his funeral was illegal.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 1:25 AM on May 13, 2009

« Older Help me help my friend love herself again!   |   How can a writing workshop share their work online... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.