Orphan Bachelors

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 declared the Chinese ineligible for citizenship, this after Americans had been exploiting their labor for over forty years. Some Chinese nationals bypassed the Act with false paperwork, and decades later, the government pressured many “paper citizens” into confessing, leaving a lasting mark on many families, including the author’s.

Published: Feb 1, 2019
Length: 11 minutes (2,870 words)

Without a Trace: Missing, In an Age of Mass Displacement

Masood Hotak left Afghanistan in December 2015, hoping to make it to Europe. On January 3, 2016, he posted on Facebook that he’d reached the Greek island of Samos. And then… nothing. His big brother Javed has traveled thousands of miles trying to find him.

Published: Jan 14, 2019
Length: 35 minutes (8,959 words)

Going To Extremes

After a bout with cancer and several strokes that eliminated her quality of life, Becky Benight had had enough. She wanted to die on her own terms. Confessing her wishes to her husband Philip, he sprung her from nursing home hell in a bid for freedom; they made a pact to end their own lives to stop their chronic suffering. Everything went along according to plan until Philip woke up from his coma to discover that not only had Becky died, he’d been charged with her murder.

Published: Jan 14, 2019
Length: 21 minutes (5,341 words)

The Gatekeepers

“I feel as though I’ve built a career by capitalizing on black pain—exploiting that of others and monetizing my own. The dilemma is both personal and political. The guilt of my ambition is intertwined with the sense of a fruitless project.”

Published: Nov 20, 2018
Length: 16 minutes (4,048 words)

The Death of a Once Great City

Kevin Baker connects the dots between empty penthouses and empty storefronts in New York City, tracing how the rich have transformed what once was a significant cultural entity into “the world’s largest gated community.”

Published: Jun 19, 2018
Length: 53 minutes (13,442 words)

As Goes the South, so Goes the Nation

Princeton professor Imani Perry considers how Alabama, her home state, has remained stuck in the past as well as how it continues to transform.

Published: Jun 16, 2018
Length: 24 minutes (6,026 words)

A Port In a Storm

When the village of Portpatrick, Scotland formed a trust to protect its harbor from further decay and outside ownership, a financial scandal forced the village to try a very different type of ownership model, a truly equitable one, called community shares. This model would be difficult in capitalist America.

Published: Apr 1, 2018
Length: 24 minutes (6,210 words)

The Newlyweds

If you’re a young couple looking for a love marriage in India, you could turn to the Love Commandos to perform your marriage ceremony and register your union with the government to make it legal. Beware that in addition to paying an expensive fee, you’ll be expected to clean, cook, run errands, and walk the bomb-sniffing dog at the Love Commando safe house.

Published: Jan 1, 2018
Length: 26 minutes (6,739 words)

Bumpy Ride: Why America’s Roads Are in Tatters

“Roads symbolize one of the fundamental contracts between a government and its citizens,” Dale Maharidge reports in Harper’s Magazine, with support from the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. “If the roads are failing, it means government is failing.”

Published: Nov 1, 2017
Length: 12 minutes (3,000 words)

Pushing the Limit

How the U.S. Olympic Committee inadequately addresses sexual abuse in youth athletics, and what that tells us about how institutions enable predators.

Published: Oct 20, 2017
Length: 26 minutes (6,591 words)