Long-form journalism really levelled up this year, for reasons I haven't yet explored. You would think with so many newspapers and magazines shuttering that investigate and deep journalism would give way to clickbait and easy gets; thankfully, 2018 gave us top-notch longreads from some unlikely sources, such as The Daily Beast, New York Magazine's Intelligencer and even CBC's interactive team.
In no particular order, here are my top long-form articles of the year...
How an Ex-Cop Rigged McDonald’s Monopoly Game and Stole Millions
One of the most engaging reads I've come across in a long time, I'm not surprised Hollywood embroiled itself in a bidding war for the film rights to this story. In a nutshell, it's about an ex-cop in charge of the Monopoly game McDonald's launched in the 80s and ends up becoming a fascinating probe into the seedier side of these innocuous games parents inevitably played to keep up with their kids' nagging. Jeff Maysh has a nose for what makes a kickass longread and his blood, sweat and fearlessness comes through Crystal Pepsi-clear in this nostalgic return to innocent days made all the more sinister by a rogue selfish Ohio dude.
Worst Roommate Ever
I've been lucky to have had decent roommates back in the day, so I couldn't relate to several what New Yorkers had to deal with when Jamison Bachman took a room in their apartment. But I can imagine that seething frustration at dealing with a guy who skipped rent, blamed others for things they didn't do, The details the reporter unearthed are the kinds of things a j-school prof teaches about adding the perfect amount of colour to a profile. We can practically be in the slippers of those roommates who had to watch Bachman take advantage of their kindness, to the point where you practically want to scream at the screen, "Just call the police on him!" So yeah, maybe not a beach read.
The Untold Story of Robert Mueller's Time in Combat
Robert Mueller isn't taking reporter questions or inviting any podcasters to interview him. The lead investigator into the Russia-U.S. investigation seems to be shrouded in mystery...until you take the time to read Wired's exhausive profile of Mueller, focusing on his time in the military during Vietnam. You can get a more rounded view of what drives Mueller and why President Trump should be shaking in his PJs. Mueller doesn't fuck around, to put it bluntly.
This is your brain on pot
I'm used to getting my longform interactive reads from the likes of NY Times and Buzzfeed but hat-tip to CBC for shedding its rep as stodgy and staid (at least for a moment) to deliver a concise and comprehensive feature on how cannabis's THC affects your brain. It can be confusing to newbies and stoners exactly how cannabinoids affect our own endocannabinoid system so give this a scroll if you want to understand how you're affected by cannabis use. With Canada legalizing cannabis in 2018, we should see more of these interactive sub-sites that help explain headier concepts to Canadians just dipping their toes into the greenery.
This is a late entry to my best-of list, but a Toronto Life expose on the topsy-turvy career in Toronto's startup community deserves a mention. And luckily it's written with flair and style and energy. Mark Pupo recounts his days working for several Toronto startups and identifying how the positions he took on fit as well as a shrunken Christmas sweater. He knew this wasn't the right path for him but along the way he collected so many anecdotes and oh-so-true characteristics of this city's bustling tech space, I can't help but recommend this longread to anyone who's even leaned into the startup community in Canada. You'll feel less alone, trust me.
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