The Best Journalism of 2008.

Conor Friedersdorf lists the best news features of 2008, and says that Nick Paumgarten’s “Up and Down” from the New Yorker is the “best article on a topic you don’t need to know anything about.” I couldn’t agree more. The story, about the physics and culture of the elevator, should be dry as hell, but anchored around the story of the poor dude in the above video — who was trapped in a work elevator over a weekend with the alarm ringing the whole time —  is deeply unnerving.

You could probably shout out any number of New Yorker pieces. Ryan Lizza’s piece on how Obama rose through the ranks of Chicago politics deserves a mention; or maybe  “The Hardest Vote,” George Packer’s excellent feature on Obama’s uphill battle with ambivalent working class whites in Ohio, or Ian Parker’s portrait of Alec Baldwin, which is easily the best celebrity profile I’ve ever read.

Conor also shouted out “Giant Pool of Money,” TAL’s beginner’s guide to the mortgage crisis, which we’ve linked to fifty-leven times this year.  There’s a reason everyone keeps referencing it.

What were your favorite pieces of reporting this year?



Gene "G.D." Demby is the founder and editor of PostBourgie. In his day job, he blogs and reports on race and ethnicity for NPR's Code Switch team.
  • ari

    Paumgarten’s piece was outrageously good. And it made me fitter.

  • One of the most absorbing stories I read this year was a piece in New York on a house in which 7 convicted sex offenders live (in a small town with a large number of registered sex offenders).

  • ladyfresshh

    funny enough i was waiting for the The Intuitionist to be mentioned in it

  • ladyfresshh

    The Giant Pool of Money will have to get my vote simply because i understood it, which is a major feat for me. I tend to get a mental dial tone whenever figures and math get mentioned.

  • geo

    I second (err…third?) The Giant Pool of Money.
    Also, Newsweek’s behind the scenes story on McCain’s and Obama’s campaign was a vivid and insightful read.