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?