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Longreads Guest Pick: Baxter Holmes on 'The Prophets of Oak Ridge'

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Baxter covers the Celtics for The Boston Globe, which he joined in 2013 after spending three and a half years as a sports reporter at the Los Angeles Times. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2009. He’s a proud Oklahoman from a no-stoplight town where humans are outnumbered by cow and buffalo:

“A nun. A super-secure nuclear-weapons facility. A break-in. Click-bait, all of that. All ingredients succinct enough for an enticing tweet, which these days count. But Dan Zak, one of the best in this racket, has far more than a wild premise; he also wrote the hell out of his piece, ‘The Prophets of Oak Ridge,’ in the Washington Post. It’s my favorite longread of the week. Exquisite reporting, beautiful pacing (and writing), but no overwriting—a key. The online layout is ‘Snow Fall’ sexy, and the illustrations set it apart. The story itself bounces chronologically off their suspenseful B&E, keeping you in real time while divulging just enough history—but not enough to bore you. Some stories are as fulfilling as a top-dollar steak, medium rare, with nice fixings on the side. This is one of them. (But no spoilers.) Well done, Zak. You took a gripping narrative and turned it topical by showing how much the U.S. doles out per year on nuclear weapons. You also made me care about these servants of God, especially Sister Megan. I now give a damn about their trial. In all, this is newspapers at their finest. Long live print—and print will live on with stories like this.”

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