Like a lot of people, last week I reread the story that made Jimmy Breslin famous. It has his greatest hallmark: writing about the little guy, in this case Clifton Pollard, who was paid $3.01 an hour to dig the grave of his assassinated president. But it is this line, about the patrician first lady, that stays with me. Maybe it’s because Breslin, with his working-man’s soul, was feeling the same thing as everyone lining the cortege route: that their sad, lonely queen would show them the way out of the darkness. … Read More

Why's This So Good?

In a divided land, Bruce Springsteen and the runaway American dream

March 28, 2017

The songwriter has an uncanny ability to give voice to working Americans -- more than a few of them Trump supporters. A look at his decades of storytelling about heartland hopes dashed.

Why's This So Good?

Guy Larson and “Merv Curls Lead” — it’s kind of like “The Office” on ice

February 23, 2017

In his 1999 piece on a would-be impresario of the quirky sport of curling, the Canadian writer creates a David Brent-like character: at times an insufferable blusterer, at others an insecure guy who just wants your approval

Why's This So Good?

Why’s This So Good? Ta-Nehisi Coates and “My President Was Black”

January 16, 2017

The stirring Atlantic piece made former L.A. Times columnist Sandy Banks feel proud, wistful, angry, empty and sad, but it also made her grateful for Barack Obama in ways that can’t be captured in slogans and statistics

5 Questions

5(ish) Questions: Photographer Stuart Palley and “Terra Flamma: Wildfires at Night”

January 10, 2017

The journalist talks about his remarkable (and otherworldly) chronicle of California’s never-ending season of drought-induced wildfires

Why's This So Good?

Why’s This So Good? Thomas Curwen and “The Loneliest War”

January 5, 2017

In this story on the "quiet" effects of PTSD, the Los Angeles Times writer realized that the heart of the narrative lay in the tension at home, not in the crash that brought the soldier home

Why's This So Good?

Why’s This So Good? Mark Seal and “The Man in the Rockefeller Suit”

December 8, 2016

In his Vanity Fair piece, the writer takes us on a suspenseful journey through the many identities of the man who conned his way to the top of American society

Why's This So Good?

BuzzFeed News’ Albert Samaha and a modern-day lynching in Mississippi

December 1, 2016

In "This Is What They Did for Fun," the writer explores the killing of a gay black man -- and the husband and son left trying to pick up the pieces

Why's This So Good?

Why’s This So Good: Fidel Castro and the art of the obit

November 28, 2016

A roundup of some of the top obituaries reveals the craft involved (and, in the case of the long-lived Cuban leader, the endless updating and rewriting)

Why's This So Good?

Why’s This So Good? Randy Potts and “The Bible Went Down With The Birdie Jean”

November 17, 2016

The serialized Instagram memoir about the writer's life as televangelist Oral Roberts' gay grandson harnesses the episodic experience of the site with purposeful freedom

Why's This So Good?

Why’s This So (Damn) Good (and Topical)? David Foster Wallace and “McCain’s Promise”

November 8, 2016

The late writer, who went on the 2000 campaign bus "with a whole bunch of actual reporters," makes the case for voting in a cynical time -- and seems to prophesy Trump

“Elroy lives here. Tiny, half-blind, mentally retarded, 39-year-old Elroy. To find him, go past the counselor flirting on the phone.” If you had been in the Georgetown University cafeteria back in 1999, you might … Read more

Why's This So Good?

The Pulitzer at 100: Barbara Laker and Wendy Ruderman on “Tainted Justice”

August 16, 2016

The Philadelphia Daily News reporters won the 2010 Investigative Reporting prize for their series on renegade narcotics cops and the snitch who snitched on them.