The Fall of Niagara Falls

Decades of decay, corruption, and failed get-rich-quick schemes have made the city one of the most intractable disasters in the U.S. “Among the many proposals for a replacement revenue generator, put forward by various fly-by-night impresarios or Niagara Falls Redevelopment itself, are a dinosaur park, a boxing Hall of Fame, a Chinese-themed attraction called Dragon City, and an underground aquarium featuring 5,000 creatures of the deep. ‘I have a file full of the craziest ideas,’ Bergamo said, ‘but no one comes here with any money.'”

Source: Businessweek
Published: Dec 3, 2010
Length: 16 minutes (4,181 words)

The Elusive Small-House Utopia

Will Americans re-evaluate cultural assumptions that equate ever-larger houses with success and stability?

Source: New York Times
Published: Oct 15, 2010
Length: 11 minutes (2,845 words)

The Peanut Solution

The product may not look like much — a little foil packet filled with a soft, sticky substance — but its advocates are prone to use the language of magic and wonders. What is Plumpy’nut? Sound it out, and you get the idea: it’s an edible paste made of peanuts, packed with calories and vitamins, that is specially formulated to renourish starving children. Since its widespread introduction five years ago, it has been credited with significantly lowering mortality rates during famines in Africa.

Source: New York Times
Published: Sep 2, 2010
Length: 21 minutes (5,258 words)

The Billionaire and the Book Lover

Are Barnes & Noble founder Len Riggio and his nemesis Ron Burkle the only people in America who still want to own a mega-bookstore?

Published: Aug 22, 2010
Length: 18 minutes (4,691 words)

Putting a Price on Words

This isn’t a lament about declining standards of quality or the rude incursions of amateur bloggers. In fact, thanks to the Internet, people probably read more good journalism than ever. That’s precisely the problem: the sheer volume of words has overwhelmed a business model that was once based on scarcity and limited choice.

Source: New York Times
Published: May 12, 2010
Length: 19 minutes (4,903 words)

Nuclear Standoff

What happens when you discover uranium in your backyard.

Published: Mar 12, 2010
Length: 16 minutes (4,215 words)

Is There Such a Thing as Agro-Imperialism?

The American scientist was catching a glimpse of an emerging test of the world’s food resources, one that has begun to take shape over the last year, largely outside the bounds of international scrutiny. A variety of factors — some transitory, like the spike in food prices, and others intractable, like global population growth and water scarcity — have created a market for farmland, as rich but resource-deprived nations in the Middle East, Asia and elsewhere seek to outsource their food production to places where fields are cheap and abundant.

Source: New York Times
Published: Nov 16, 2009
Length: 17 minutes (4,485 words)

On the Waterfront

The Gowanus Canal runs one and a half miles through brownstone Brooklyn, cutting a disreputable gash between two of the most desirable residential neighborhoods in New York City. Sunken below street level, no more than 100 feet across at most points, the canal does not really flow — it skulks.

Source: New York Times
Published: Oct 21, 2009
Length: 29 minutes (7,354 words)

Doubt

A professor, a genocide, and NBC’s quest for a prime-time hit.

Published: Aug 12, 2009
Length: 28 minutes (7,036 words)