In the Shadow of a Fairy Tale

Leslie Jamison is stepmother to Lily, age 6. Lily’s mother died of cancer just before Lily turned three. Jamison explores fairy tale stepmothers both as the rare “port in the storm” and the much more common “stock villain” — stereotyped by cruelty, abuse, and withholding affection — as she reflects on her relationship with Lily and on navigating the fraught role of stand-in parent.

Published: Apr 6, 2017
Length: 26 minutes (6,523 words)

The High Price of Leaving the Ultra-Orthodox Life

Footsteps is an organization the formerly ultra-Orthodox Jews, or those thinking about leaving their strict religious communities. Each week the members struggle with issues of sex, modesty, whether they should stay with their religious spouses, kiss on a first date, or even eat the non-kosher pizza provided at meetings.

Published: Mar 30, 2017
Length: 20 minutes (5,000 words)

The Future of Not Working

As automation reduces the need for human labor, some Silicon Valley executives think a universal income will be the answer — and the beta test is happening in Kenya.

Published: Feb 3, 2017
Length: 16 minutes (4,150 words)

The Age of Rudeness

When society is as polarized and stratified as it is today, what does it take to imagine a definition of politeness and civility that transcends our differences?

Published: Feb 15, 2017
Length: 25 minutes (6,388 words)

The Compost King of New York

What happens to food scraps? Charles Vigliotti, chief executive of American Organic Energy, has a vision to turn food waste, a largely untapped resource, into clean energy.

Published: Feb 15, 2017
Length: 13 minutes (3,373 words)

The Misunderstood Genius of Russell Westbrook

Sam Anderson of the New York Times Magazine reports on Russell Westbrook, the Oklahoma City Thunder guard and the best player in the NBA. What’s extraordinary about this piece isn’t just Anderson’s insight (he wrote about the Thunder for the NYTM in 2012), or how his vivid descriptions of the utter ferocity and skill with which Westbrook plays—it’s that Anderson was likely allowed 10 or so minutes to spend actually interviewing Westbrook, a famously taciturn subject. The piece is a marvel of observational reporting.

Published: Feb 1, 2017
Length: 30 minutes (7,664 words)

To Obama With Love, and Hate, and Desperation

Jeanne Marie Laskas goes behind the scenes in the Whitehouse mailroom where it took “50 staff members, 36 interns, and a rotating roster of 300 volunteers” to read and process the 10,000 messages and letters President Barack Obama received each day during his eight-year presidency. Of the 10,000 pieces of correspondence, staffers were charged with choosing the ten letters that Obama read each day.

Published: Jan 17, 2017
Length: 36 minutes (9,178 words)