Four years ago, Erika Hayasaki learned about the death of two young men in a corn grain bin accident in the Midwest. Over the next two years, while pregnant and later with her then-six-month-year-old daughter and husband in tow, she left her life in Los Angeles to visit Mount Carroll, Illinois, population 1,700, to capture the story. The following is an excerpt from Hayasaki’s story, Drowned By Corn, which describes the lives of the young workers before the accident.
This week we’re thrilled to feature Mike Albo’s “The Junket” as our Longreads Member pick. Albo is the author of The Underminer and Hornito, and “The Junket” was recommended by Longreads managing editor Mike Dang, who writes:
“I’ve never read a piece by Mike Albo that I didn’t like. He’s written for lots of glossies and websites like The Awl and Narratively, and his pieces are always honest, relevant and brutally funny. This week’s exclusive is no different. ‘The Junket’ is Albo’s novella about the story behind how he lost his part-time column at a prominent newspaper in New York that he calls ‘The Paper’ due to a media firestorm that unfairly accused him of violating the publications’s ethics policy when he went on an all-expenses-paid media junket to Jamaica. It’s also a story about the difficulties of earning a living as a full-time freelancer in an expensive city, and how independent contractors, who don’t earn a steady salary or receive benefits of any kind from the places they consistently work for, are so easily disposable. ‘The Junket’ is a thinly veiled, fictionalized account of what happened to Albo, but it’s wickedly funny, and will ring true for anyone who’s ever had to file an invoice and cross their fingers for a paycheck.”
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