I went to a convention for politics nerds and it filled me with dread, loathing, and existential terror.

At Politicon, politics is understood not as a means by which to improve lives, but as blood sport.

Author: Eve Peyser
Published: Nov 12, 2019
Length: 12 minutes (3,200 words)

The Murder of Jamal Khashoggi

“One year ago the journalist Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and never walked out….We’re retelling it because Jamal Khashoggi’s story should be heard in full. And because even if you think you know what happened, you may not know how or why.”

Published: Oct 1, 2019
Length: 43 minutes (10,944 words)

Inside the Identity Crisis at the Independent Journal Review, the Outlet That Has Become a Powerhouse in the Trump Era

Founded in 2013 to repackage conservative news stories, IJR grew into a news-gathering organization, but they’ve stumbled as they’ve evolved, from a retracted conspiracy theory to clashes between the content and editorial sides. The biggest criticism is that the company’s partisan position makes their stories part of the Trump propaganda machine.

Published: Mar 21, 2017
Length: 13 minutes (3,492 words)

Dov Charney Vs. American Apparel’s Board of Directors

A look inside the ‘conspiracy’ that forced Dov Charney out of American Apparel.

Published: Aug 21, 2015
Length: 35 minutes (8,860 words)

The Death of Queen Elizabeth Will Be the Most Disruptive Event in Britain in the Last 70 Years

No one lives forever, not even monarchs. Here, Business Insider takes a look at what will happen in Britain when the 88-year-old Queen Elizabeth II’s reign comes to an end.

Author: Rob Price
Published: Mar 6, 2015
Length: 13 minutes (3,440 words)

The Inside Story Of How Greenpeace Built A Corporate Spanking Machine To Turn The Fortune 500 Into Climate Heroes

How a “bunch of commies” are forcing the world’s biggest corporations to stop destroying rain forests, overfishing, and burning fossil fuels.

Though they too wore business suits and what looked like P&G employee badges, they didn’t work for the consumer-goods giant. They were from Greenpeace, and they’d come to save tigers.

Wordlessly, the nine activists made their way past the security desk and headed for two rendezvous points — one, in a 12th-floor office suite in the iconic building’s north tower, the second, in an office just opposite, in the east tower. There, the two groups jimmied open several windows, attached rappelling gear to the window-washing stanchions, and climbed out into the chilly air.

Author: Aaron Gell
Published: Jun 4, 2014
Length: 30 minutes (7,570 words)

Forget CSI

Faith in the forensic system—in large part due to Hollywood’s heroic portrayals of forensic investigators—is at an all time high. But despite its invincible aura, the actual system is deeply flawed and at times flat out fraudulent.

In San Francisco last year, a police technician pleaded guilty to stealing cocaine from a crime lab, leading to the dismissal of hundreds of criminal cases that depended on evidence analyzed at the unit. In 2012, a Minnesota lab was temporarily shut down after a report found deficiencies in virtually every aspect of its operation, including dirty equipment, inadequate documentation, and ignorance of basic scientific procedures. In Houston that same year, a lab technician was found to be fabricating results in drug cases; about one out of every three reports he submitted was found to be flawed. District attorneys in the area were told that up to 5,000 convictions in 36 counties could be in jeopardy. Similar failures were uncovered in Colorado Springs, Colorado; St. Paul, Minnesota; Chicago; and New York. Even the FBI has performed atrociously shoddy work.

Published: Apr 30, 2014
Length: 18 minutes (4,647 words)

The $30 Million Clinkle Mystery

The story of a 21-year-old Stanford grad who wowed investors with a demo and raised $30 million for a mobile payments service. He soon lost scores of employees, and the company still hasn’t released a product:

Says one former growth team member, “I never saw a direct demonstration of the product.”

The growth teams met ambitious goals by targeting the most influential students on campus, such as group presidents and fraternity and sorority leaders. The leaders were shown some images from the website, and the deal was sealed with a compelling prize: If the entire organization signed up for Clinkle’s waitlist, then all of them downloaded the app on the day it became available, the group could win a $500 party, spa visit or stereo-system package. None of the pitches included a demo of the actual app.

After July, Duplan had dictated that no one — including potential hires and even some employees — would be shown the app anymore.

Published: Apr 15, 2014
Length: 19 minutes (4,944 words)

You Can Explain eBay’s $50 Billion Turnaround With Just This One Crazy Story

How an employee secretly recruited a team to fly to Sydney and redesign eBay’s homepage, without the direct signoff of the CEO:

But now, in that cab at the airport, the manic high had for a moment worn off, and Abraham was suddenly facing reality. The reality was his plan had a few problems.

Abraham listed them off in his head. For starters, almost no one at eBay knew what he was up to — including Donahoe himself. It was unclear who was going to pay for the trip. Abraham had gotten the six tickets to Sydney through eBay’s travel service, but technically, he’d never actually gotten approval. As for the rest of the trip’s costs, his plan was to foot the bill and then expense it. Maybe they’d sign off, maybe they wouldn’t.

Then there was the little matter of where he and his team would sleep. There was a possible Airbnb apartment, but no confirmation.

Published: Feb 8, 2014
Length: 24 minutes (6,110 words)

The Story of Tim Armstrong, Patch and AOL

Another exhaustive biography from Nicholas Carlson and Business Insider, this time on Tim Armstrong, his hyperlocal startup Patch and his leadership at AOL:

“He’s a very loyal guy. He made a commitment to different parts of that matrix organization, and damn it, he’s not going to let them down. And even though we brought in McKinsey and they told us to unravel it and Tim bought into it as the right strategy, he couldn’t get himself to do that because it would have been a breach of his personal loyalties.”

This was the first time Armstrong would struggle to make a call that he knew to be the right call because making the decision would force him to hurt lots of people who had believed in something he built from the ground up.

Published: Nov 7, 2013
Length: 52 minutes (13,138 words)