Journalists who are experts in their subject matter
June 30, 2015 4:40 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for the journalists that are experts in what they write about.

I am looking for journalists who have some expertise on the subject matter they most often cover. Examples would be Atul Gawande on medicine, Sarah Kliff on Obamacare and Ta-Nehisi Coates on race. They don't have to be credentialed like Gawande, they just have to provide consistently excellent coverage of their subject. The kind of coverage that other experts like to read.

The reason is because if I develop an interest in something, I want to read all I can about it to learn more. As I'm not an expert myself, it's sometimes hard for me to tell if what I'm reading is fully accurate and tells the whole story. I'd like to have go-to journalists that I can look to on different subjects and have some confidence that what they say can generally be trusted. Ideally they would strive to present all sides and/or make their own bias clear (if applicable). The larger their body of work, the better. Must be journalism stuff (i.e. writing from newspapers, websites or magazines - I'm not looking for books).

The actual subject doesn't matter. My main interests are politics, foreign policy, economics, culture, etc; but I develop interests in other things all the time, so literally any experts are great. Thanks!
posted by triggerfinger to Media & Arts (32 answers total) 52 users marked this as a favorite
William Arkin is awesome
posted by johngoren at 4:46 PM on June 30, 2015

William Langewiesche on aviation
posted by Quilford at 4:53 PM on June 30, 2015 [7 favorites]

Jeffrey Toobin on law.
posted by EtTuHealy at 5:13 PM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Paul Krugman on economics
posted by jabes at 5:13 PM on June 30, 2015 [3 favorites]

Jeremy Scahill
posted by rhizome at 5:24 PM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Seymour Hersh, on political investigative journalism. He broke My Lai in 1969 and Abu Ghraib in 2004. He's a big reason I read the New Yorker.
posted by janey47 at 5:25 PM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Jason Burke on Eurasia . Robert Fisk on the Levant. Both brits so not so well known in America.
posted by adamvasco at 5:26 PM on June 30, 2015

Carl Zimmer on biology
posted by z11s at 5:35 PM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Robert Reich on public policy and labor. Although he's more of a commentator like Krugman.
posted by fiercekitten at 5:35 PM on June 30, 2015

Glenn Greenwald: "The NSA reporting he led for The Guardian was awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for public service."
posted by Little Dawn at 5:59 PM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Sebastian Junger and Jon Krakauer
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:28 PM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

David Quammen
posted by box at 6:51 PM on June 30, 2015

Mefi's own Maia Szalavitz for anything related to drug addiction, recovery, and policy. Ditto former mefi's own Jeff Deeney, though he doesn't write as many pieces.
posted by ActionPopulated at 6:52 PM on June 30, 2015 [3 favorites]

He's now semi-retired, but the expert on media and journalism is Jim Romenesko.
posted by littlewater at 7:16 PM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Washington Post Steven Pearlstein economics columnist (and Pulitzer winner) is consistently excellent. Unfortunately, he's also semi-retired (to teaching).

(Paul Krugman, mentioned above, is generally an excellent columnist and certainly a world-class economist, and I agree with most of what he writes, but I wouldn't describe him as a journalist, and he definitely does not "present all sides.")
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 8:19 PM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

This might be somewhat of a stretch, but Samantha Power wrote A Problem from Hell, about America's responses to genocide in the 20th century, after covering the Yugoslav War as a journalist in the '90s. She then went on to law school, then wrote the book, and is now the American ambassador to the UN.
posted by lilac girl at 8:30 PM on June 30, 2015

Lyle Denniston on the U.S. Supreme Court.
posted by cdefgfeadgagfe at 8:35 PM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Mary Roach is beloved by many for not being an expert in a specific field, but going in and studying the heck out of a topic and then writing really remarkable and accurate pieces.
posted by Toddles at 8:52 PM on June 30, 2015

John Allen on the Vatican and the papacy.
posted by novelgazer at 9:08 PM on June 30, 2015

Steve Kornacki, U.S. electoral politics.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 9:34 PM on June 30, 2015

Dan Rafael, ESPN, boxing.
posted by ambient2 at 9:49 PM on June 30, 2015

Michael J. Totten is a former Green Beret who has spent the last 15 years spending a lot of time in various countries in the Middle East and writing about them. (His blog) I believe I read that he speaks Arabic.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:06 PM on June 30, 2015

Scott Long: LGBT issues.
Blog, twitter, wikipedia.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 12:06 AM on July 1, 2015

Melissa Gira Grant on sex work.
posted by Mistress at 1:26 AM on July 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Mary Beard for Rome and Classics.
posted by pracowity at 3:01 AM on July 1, 2015

Bethany McLean on Wall Street shenanigans. She writes mainly for Vanity Fair.
posted by PenDevil at 3:09 AM on July 1, 2015

Paul Krugman on economics
Krugman is certainly an expert on economics, but it's because he's an actual (PhD) economist. Writing for the Times is a pretty small piece of his overall portfolio. I certainly wouldn't call him a journalist.

David Wessel of the WSJ, on the other hand, is an economics expert who made a serious career out of journalism.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 4:33 AM on July 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

TV journalists:

Sanjay Gupta
Neil deGrasse Tyson
posted by SemiSalt at 11:31 AM on July 1, 2015

Michael Erard and Robert Lane Greene on linguistics.
posted by languagehat at 2:03 PM on July 1, 2015

I didn't realize how amazing Nina Totenberg is until went to law school.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 4:18 AM on July 2, 2015

Matt Taibbi on banks and wealth inequality.
posted by hopeless romantique at 12:41 PM on July 4, 2015

Rukmini Callimachi on ISIS, Al-Qaida, and other terror groups and politics in contested areas.
posted by heatherann at 6:53 AM on July 12, 2015

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