Search Results for: New York Times

The Surprisingly Messy Culture Wars Within The New York Times Crossword Puzzle

Longreads Pick
Source: Kotaku
Published: Jan 28, 2022
Length: 7 minutes (1,847 words)

One Twitter Account’s Quest to Proofread The New York Times

Longreads Pick

“In 2017, the Times dissolved its copy desk, possibly permitting more typos to slip through. Meet the anonymous lawyer who’s correcting the paper of record one untactful tweet at a time.”

Source: The Ringer
Published: Aug 18, 2020
Length: 21 minutes (5,283 words)

OK Listener, We’ll Talk About OK Boomer

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On our November 15, 2019 roundtable episode of the Longreads Podcast, Head of Audience Catherine Cusick, Contributing Editor Aaron Gilbreath, and visiting Nieman Foundation fellow and New York Times Styles Internet culture reporter Taylor Lorenz share what they’ve been reading and working on.

This week, the editors discuss the merits of TikTok, generational warfare, expanding the definition of patriotism, and the intersection of jazz and 60s rock and roll.


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1:00 Some musings on TikTok, Vine & Instagram

3:50 ‘OK Boomer’ Marks the End of Friendly Generational Relations (Taylor Lorenz, October 29, 2019, The New York Times)

9:30  What Makes a Person Patriotic? (Jacqui Shine, October 28, 2019, The New York Times Magazine)

19:06 Aaron Gilbreath: Music Nerdology

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Produced by Longreads and Charts & Leisure.

The Abortion I Didn’t Have

Longreads Pick
Published: Dec 2, 2021
Length: 28 minutes (7,200 words)

Don’t Let Old Wounds Die Out

Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the N.R.A., alone. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the N.R.A., alone. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

In this week’s episode of the Longreads Podcast, the last editors’ roundtable of 2019, Head of Audience Catherine Cusick, Head of Fact-Checking Matt Giles, and writer Nick Chrastil share what they’ve been reading and working on. 


Subscribe and listen now everywhere you get your podcasts.


1:01 Your Honor, Can I Tell The Whole Story?” (Nick Chrastil, December 2019, The Atavist and The Lens)

8:15 Your Judge Is Your Destiny” (Gabriel Thompson, July 2019, Topic)

19:36Inside Wayne LaPierre’s Battle for the N.R.A.” (Danny Hakim, December 18, 2019, The New York Times Magazine)

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Produced by Longreads and Charts & Leisure.

Best of 2021: Profiles

Text "Longreads Best of 2021: Profiles" in the foreground and a background image of a silhouette of a person's head
All "Best of 2021" images by Kjell Reigstad.

Since we started the #longreads hashtag in 2009 to share great reads on Twitter, curation has been the beating heart of Longreads. All year long, we highlight our favorite stories in the weekly Longreads Top 5. At the end of the year, we love to reflect on and share the pieces that stayed with us, a tradition we’ve kept for 10 years! Now it is the turn of the profile — as we highlight the craft of writing about someone else. These five writers are masterful at providing insights into another’s world. 

The Girl in the Kent State Photo, Patricia McCormick, The Washington Post Magazine, April 19, 2021

On May 4, 1970, Kent State University students gathered on campus to peacefully rally against President Richard Nixon’s decision to invade Cambodia, which would expand U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. Fourteen-year-old Mary Ann Vecchio, a free-spirited teen who hitchhiked around the country to escape a volatile family life in Florida, found herself on the school’s Ohio grounds, drawn to the protests. National Guard troops shot four students dead that day, including a man, Jeffrey Miller, whom Vecchio had been talking to. She dropped to the ground and knelt beside his body — her arms raised, her face full of anguish and horror. McCormick documents her pleas: “‘Doesn’t anyone see what just happened here?’ she remembers crying. ‘Why is no one helping him?’”

Student photographer John Filo snapped a picture of her at that very moment, capturing what would become an iconic image, one that “fundamentally changed the way we see ourselves and the world around us,” writes Patricia McCormick. Through a dozen phone interviews with Vecchio, who is now 65 and living a quiet retired life, McCormick recounts that fateful day and how the image “hijacked” Vecchio’s life, haunting her even 50 years on. (Her reaction to the video of George Floyd’s last moments shook her to her core.) Affected from “opposite ends of the lens,” Vecchio and Filo are intimately connected to one another through the photo — Vecchio a “human flashpoint” and a symbol of the national conscience, and Filo full of grief and guilt over what the image did to her, despite his winning a Pulitzer for his work. Compassionate and superbly reported, McCormick’s profile hits a nerve, and especially resonates in our time of virality and smartphone-recorded moments of injustice. —Cheri Lucas Rowlands

La Cancion de la Nena, Vanessa Angélica Villarreal, Oxford American, June 1, 2021

In this beautiful piece, Vanessa Angélica Villarreal offers a haunting portrait of her father, Gilberto Villarreal, a virtuoso guitarist and musician, a man who was a “prodigy at the foot of this country, in a place no one ever expects to find someone extraordinary.“ Villarreal recalls the struggles her father endured as a Mexican immigrant trying to be discovered in a music business dominated by white interests and pernicious racism: “What I experienced as poetry came first through the song my father wrote for me when I was two years old, a song whose melody is a turning helix in my blood, another way of speaking my name. It is the rarest gift I have ever received.“ This is a piece steeped in love and admiration for a man and an artist who, despite his many musical skills and achievements, did not consider himself a success. “You might think from my tone that this is a sad story,“ Villarreal writes. “And maybe it is, but it is also a tribute to an unseen life, a long overdue recognition of ordinary genius worn down by circumstance.“ —Krista Stevens

Author Vanessa Angélica Villarreal on the story from 2021 that impacted her most:

Carina del Valle Schorske’s “Dancing Through New York in a Summer of Joy and Grief“ in The New York Times Magazine was an incredibly rich, historical snapshot of embodiment, grief, vitality, and rebellion in the shared ritual of social dance, specific to Black, Latin, queer, and immigrant communities. From Harlem to Brooklyn and everywhere in between, del Valle Schorske writes a history of social dance as a site of healing after mass tragedy that is part personal essay, part performance theory, part history lesson — an erotics of survival and joy at the end of the world.

What Mike Fanone Can’t Forget, Molly Ball, Time, August 5, 2021

Given the state of the celebrity-industrial complex, the vast majority of profiles you read in any given year are about people you already know. The truly special ones, though, tend to buck convention. And that’s exactly the case with Molly Ball’s riveting portrait of Mike Fanone, the Washington D.C. narcotics officer who drove to the Capitol on January 6 to help defend it against insurrectionists. Sure, you may have seen Fanone on cable news in the aftermath of the riots, may have thought he was a hero or a martyr or a turncoat or anything else — but you didn’t know what he’d gone through that day, let alone who he was. Ball’s scene work and deft reconstruction help bring together the splintered shards of a complicated, imperfect man, one who somehow both validates and punctures whatever assumptions you had. “He’s not asking to be called a hero — he just wants us to remember what his sacrifice was for,” she writes. “Fanone believes we can’t keep trying to outrun this thing; we’ve got to turn around and face it, defeat it once and for all. That if all we do is turn away and hope it fades, it will just keep getting stronger until it comes back to kill us all.” Once upon a time, that may have sounded overwrought. Today, it’s all too real. —Peter Rubin 

Stop Hustling Black Death, Imani Perry, New York, May 24, 2021

What happens when the worst day of your life animates a social movement over which you have no control? This question is the engine of Imani Perry’s profile of Samaria Rice, mother of Tamir Rice, killed by police in 2014. Samaria was anguished, and she wanted justice. But she didn’t want to be told how to act, or to see “leaders” she didn’t know speaking for her — much less making money off her son’s death. In Perry’s hands, Samaria’s story is a window into the growing pains of Black Lives Matter. If readers are uncomfortable with what they see, that’s the point: We can’t look away from the truth, Perry says, just because it’s messy. “We have lost a great deal of history by relying upon a neat consensus narrative,” she writes. “If we’re not careful, we run the risk of letting that become the story of today as well.” —Seyward Darby

The opening lines of another profile by Imani Perry, which author Becca Andrews chose as her favorite lede of the year:

“I knew from the beginning that I would not meet Gayl Jones.

Or see a recent photograph of her. Or ask her any questions. What does it feel like, 46 years after the first, to have a new novel coming out? Why did you step out of view? Did it make you a more honest writer? Did it serve your soul? I would not get answers. I would not be able to charm her into laughter. I know she is brilliant, obscure, irascible. I imagine her smile is still wry. But does she still wear her head wrapped in 2021? Is she still adept at putting a nosy questioner in her place?“

“She Changed Black Literature Forever. Then She Disappeared,“ The New York Times Magazine

Benji Is One Down Dog, Madeleine Aggeler, Texas Monthly, June 2, 2021

This piece brought a smile to my face and delight to my heart. For even in the age of the Instagram-famous pet, it’s not often we get a proper pooch profile. Benji the dog is a George Clooney lookalike who “prefers to greet the world au naturel whenever possible,” writes Madeleine Aggeler. He is “confident that wherever he goes, everyone will be thrilled to meet him,” and he is right — they are: Benji is “one of the most famous dogs in America right now.” A worthy profile subject, indeed. His is an interesting story: His owner, the YouTube yoga instructor Adriene Mishler, was the champion of COVID lockdowns, with her online exercise classes becoming incredibly popular. Benji was a part of this, making cameos on camera that brought joy to Adriene’s viewers. Written with great creativity and humor, Aggeler’s article shows us why Benji is such a scene-stealer. — Carolyn Wells

Explore our Best of 2021 collection

The Man Who Controls Computers With His Mind

Longreads Pick

After an accident in 2006, Dennis DeGray became paralyzed from the collarbones down. Eager to participate in experimental research in the area of brain-computer interfaces, DeGray has electrode arrays embedded in his cortex, and is one of a few dozen people in the world who can control various forms of technology with his thoughts.

If the neurons in DeGray’s skull were like notes on a piano, then his distinct intentions were analogous to unique musical compositions. An attempt to lift his hand would coincide with one neural melody, for example, while trying to move his hand to the right would correspond to another. As the decoder learned to identify the movements DeGray intended, it sent commands to move the cursor in the corresponding direction.

If brain-computer interfaces fulfill their promise, perhaps the most profound consequence will be this: Our species could transcend those constraints, bypassing the body through a new melding of mind and machine.

Published: May 12, 2022
Length: 15 minutes (3,958 words)

How Ben Got His Penis

Longreads Pick

Phalloplasty, or the surgery to construct a penis, has grown increasingly popular among transgender men — but it’s medically complicated. Jamie Lauren Keiles takes a closer look at the procedure while following the transition of Benjamin Simpson.

As Ben prepared for Stage 1 surgery, he told only his family and close friends. He knew that acceptance from some people in his life would hinge on every step going smoothly, and found himself acutely aware of a mandate to justify his desires. Though surgery today can construct a penis, it cannot reconcile millenniums of phallic anxiety: the tangled bond between penises and manhood; the supposedly inherent violence of the penis; the sense of the vagina as its wanting opposite; the feminist call to destroy gender essentialism. Even among trans men themselves, phalloplasty remains a highly scrutinized desire. It is easy to stand up for some vague and glittery right to gender self-determination; fighting for the penis is like rooting for the Yankees.

Published: May 10, 2022
Length: 28 minutes (7,184 words)

The Unseen Scars of Those Who Kill Via Remote Control

Longreads Pick

A devastating, well-reported story on the drone program of the U.S. Air Force and the lack of mental-health support for drone operators.

Because they were not deployed, they seldom got the same recovery periods or mental-health screenings as other fighters. Instead they were treated as office workers, expected to show up for endless shifts in a forever war.

We had to watch a target for days, weeks and even months. We saw him play with his kids. We saw him interact with his family. We watched his whole life unfold. You are remote but also very much connected. Then one day, when all parameters are met, you kill him.

People often think that this job is going to be like a video game, and I have to warn them, there is no reset button.

Published: Apr 15, 2022
Length: 16 minutes (4,099 words)