When Innocence Isn’t Enough

Christopher Dunn has been in prison for over 30 years for a murder in St. Louis that he and others say he didn’t commit. Even though new evidence has emerged in favor of Dunn, the state of Missouri says he must stay in prison — because he wasn’t sentenced to death.

He continued, “This Court does not believe that any jury would now convict Christopher Dunn.” And yet, Missouri law prevented him from granting Dunn’s petition. Innocence alone, Hickle wrote, is grounds for relief only for a prisoner “sentenced to death, and is unavailable for cases in which the death penalty has not been imposed.” In other words: Dunn might have gone free, if only he’d been condemned to die.

Published: Jun 23, 2022
Length: 31 minutes (7,783 words)

Inside LA’s Homeless Industrial Complex

Just 7 percent of the people in Los Angeles’s Echo Park encampment found permanent housing after it was cleared. Almost half are missing. Seven are dead. That’s not a failure of homelessness policy; it’s an example of the system working exactly as intended:

Officers wielded batons, launched foam bullets at point-blank range, tackled members of the crowd, and injured at least a dozen people. Two were hospitalized. “They were protesting so peacefully,” Otzoy recalled in a UCLA report on the event. “And what did the police do? Sent their hundreds and hundreds in, arresting them, putting them in jail, shooting at them.” In the morning, the last of the residents — including Otzoy and Ahmed — awoke to find themselves completely fenced inside the park with a chain-link enclosure. In an Instagram livestream, they compared their surroundings to an open-air prison. After one last night, those who remained were threatened with arrest. Otzoy walked out, carrying what possessions he could. Ahmed was removed in handcuffs. In all, 182 people were arrested and 16 journalists detained. The entire operation cost $2 million.

Published: May 19, 2022
Length: 23 minutes (5,900 words)

Ikea’s Race for the Last of Europe’s Old-Growth Forest

More than half of Romania’s timber is illegally harvested. Since 2015, IKEA has been the company’s largest private landowner.

Published: Feb 16, 2022
Length: 28 minutes (7,137 words)

Red America’s Compassion Fatigue: A Report From Mobile, Alabama

“But what, I wondered, about people living in red America who have embraced immunity? In the national battle over vaccination, their voices have largely been drowned out.”

Published: Oct 21, 2021

The Professor Who Became a Cop

“Is this a book that will give readers a new perspective on the violence of policing—or is this just the story of how cops, and by extension her readers, can make peace with it?

Published: May 25, 2021
Length: 19 minutes (4,800 words)

How an Upper West Side Hotel Came to Embody the City’s Failure on Homelessness

During the pandemic, men housed at the Lucerne hotel have seen the worst side of New York’s self-described liberals. They’ve also exposed a decades-long policy of neglect.

Published: Mar 31, 2021
Length: 23 minutes (5,900 words)

We’re Hurtling Toward Global Suicide

“Why we must do everything differently to ensure the planet’s survival.”

Published: Mar 18, 2021
Length: 16 minutes (4,209 words)

QAnon and the Cultification of the American Right

“The conspiracy theory has become a theology of right-wing rebellion.”

Published: Feb 1, 2021
Length: 24 minutes (6,170 words)

The Rise and Fall of a Fracking Boom Town: An Oral History

“Rock Springs, Wyoming, sits on vast underground stores of natural gas and shale oil. But what was meant to be a blessing turned into a curse.”

Published: Dec 21, 2020
Length: 18 minutes (4,667 words)

‘No Choice but to Do It’: Why Women Go to Prison

“Many of the 230,000 women and girls in U.S. jails and prisons were abuse survivors before they entered the system. And at least 30 percent of those serving time on murder or manslaughter charges were protecting themselves or a loved one from physical or sexual violence.”

Published: Dec 17, 2020
Length: 32 minutes (8,100 words)