The Elusive Future of San Francisco’s Fog

Coastal fog has defined life in the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s cold and can sometimes ruin your sunny day plans, sure, but it’s also beloved, and most residents can agree that the region wouldn’t be the same without it. But with the earth heating up, will it disappear? A New York Times team spent a few months chasing the fog in and around San Francisco, and the result is this visual, immersive, and beautifully presented (and written) feature.

Fog is a companion, part of the rhythm of summertime, flitting in and out of lives like a family member. But it does more than astonish ill-prepared tourists and dazzle photographers and poets. It nourishes the natural world. It enriches the area’s cultural identity. It might even be an untapped resource in California’s growing anxiety over water.

Published: Sep 14, 2022
Length: 20 minutes (5,218 words)

The Haunting of Lindsey Jacobellis

There has never been a competitor in the history of snowboard cross like Lindsey Jacobellis, which is why it was all the more shocking that Jacobellis floundered in three consecutive Winter Olympics. To the public, those slip-ups came to define her, and John Branch examines how Jacobellis has succeeded to quiet both the external and internal noise: by working with a mental strength coach whose previous experience came helping financial traders in the high pressure environment of Wall Street.

Published: Feb 14, 2018
Length: 10 minutes (2,568 words)

Deliverance From 27,000 Feet

In May 2016, four Bengali mountaineers attempted to achieve a lifelong dream: to summit Mount Everest. After an egregiously late start to their summit attempt, they were abandoned by their guides and left to die on the mountain. Only one survived. John Branch reports on the ill-fated expedition and how a team of sherpas recovered the frozen bodies of Goutam Ghosh and Paresh Nath from 27,000 ft above sea level.

Published: Dec 18, 2017
Length: 55 minutes (13,823 words)

Tragedy Made Steve Kerr See the World Beyond the Court

How the Golden State Warriors coach’s worldview was shaped by his family’s time in Beirut and the assassination of his father, Malcolm Kerr, while serving as the president of American University of Beirut in 1984.

Published: Dec 23, 2016
Length: 23 minutes (5,872 words)

The Lady Jaguars

A look at a basketball program for teenage girls that offers guidance and refuge from their rocky family lives in a town plagued by unemployment, substance abuse, and teenage pregnancy. The program is part of the Carroll Academy, a school run by the Carroll County Juvenile Court in West Tennessee. John Branch reports the story in two parts:

“Hannah arrived when she was 12, after she admitted stealing prescription pills from her mother and bringing them to school under orders from girls who had threatened to beat her up. It was Monica, wanting to teach Hannah a lesson, who called the school.

“It was only this spring that Hannah acknowledged that it was a lie — a lie conceived by her father, Hannah said, so that he could take the pills and avoid the wrath of his wife. Hannah wants to graduate from Carroll Academy. She likes the attention and a predictable schedule. She likes playing on the basketball team. She has flitting dreams of becoming a doctor or a veterinarian.

“Hannah’s parents do not like that she goes to Carroll Academy. Getting her to the van stop in the nearest town is inconvenient, and picking her up after basketball games (when school vans do not run) can cost an hour of time and $20 in gas money, if the car is running at all. But if Hannah does not attend, her parents could end up in jail. The juvenile court views truancy as a parent problem, not a child one.”

Don’t miss the 17-minute documentary that goes along with this story about 14-year-old Hannah’s experience at Carroll Academy.

Published: Jul 25, 2013
Length: 46 minutes (11,726 words)

Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek

The story of 16 world-class skiers and snowboarders who decided to go skiing together in Washington’s Cascades in February 2012, and what happened to them when an avalanche hit. This six-part series uses interviews, photos, videos and simulations to reconstruct the day:

“‘Just as I had the thought about what I’m going to do, wondering if it was going to bury me, that’s right when I could feel it,’ Castillo said. ‘It was like a wave. Like when you’re in the ocean and the tide moves away from you. You’re getting thrashed and you feel it pull out and you’re like, O.K., I can stand up now.’

“Castillo saw daylight again. His camera captured snow sliding past his legs for another 13 seconds. The forest sounded as if it were full of sickly frogs. It was the trees, scrubbed of their fresh snow, still swaying and creaking around him.

“Castillo turned to look back up the hill.

“‘Where there were three people, there was nobody,’ Castillo said.”

Published: Dec 20, 2012
Length: 70 minutes (17,639 words)

Derek Boogaard: A Brain ‘Going Bad’

[Part Three of “Punched Out: The Life and Death of a Hockey Enforcer.”] It did not take long for Dr. Ann McKee to see the telltale brown spots near the outer surface of Boogaard’s brain — the road signs of C.T.E. She did not know much about Boogaard other than that he was a 28-year-old hockey player. And the damage was obvious.

Published: Dec 5, 2011
Length: 20 minutes (5,233 words)

Derek Boogaard: Blood on the Ice

[Part Two of “Punched Out: The Life and Death of a Hockey Enforcer.”] When his cheek was crushed by Boogaard in 2006, Fedoruk’s first thought was to “save face” and skate off the ice. He did.

“Their bench was cheering like you do when your teammate gets a guy,” Fedoruk said. “I remember skating by their bench.

“Their faces kind of lost expression because I think they seen — you could see it. You could see the damage that was done because the cheekbone, it wasn’t there anymore.”

Published: Dec 4, 2011
Length: 21 minutes (5,369 words)

A Boy Learns to Brawl

[Part One of “Punched Out: The Life and Death of a Hockey Enforcer.”] But big-time hockey has a unique side entrance. Boogaard could fight his way there with his bare knuckles, his stick dropped, the game paused and the crowd on its feet. And he did, all the way until he became the Boogeyman, the N.H.L.’s most fearsome fighter, a caricature of a hockey goon rising nearly 7 feet in his skates.

Over six seasons in the N.H.L., Boogaard accrued three goals and 589 minutes in penalties and a contract paying him $1.6 million a year.

On May 13, his brothers found him dead of an accidental overdose in his Minneapolis apartment. Boogaard was 28. His ashes, taking up two boxes instead of the usual one, rest in a cabinet at his mother’s house in Regina. His brain, however, was removed before the cremation so that it could be examined by scientists.

Published: Dec 3, 2011
Length: 21 minutes (5,305 words)