Long Reads in Review: 2013


A "long read" in internet jargon is a news article that digs in, at length, on a particular topic. Usually they focus on social issues that need to be examined in detail or a news story that has been underreported or misreported.

Assignment: Read one of the following stories completely. Write a one page (black page) reflective essay on the topic that relates the read to at least one (but preferably more) of our themes in this course.

Resources:
What is a reflective essay paper?
How to write a reflective essay.

1. Invisible Child: Dasani’s Homeless Life
Andrea Elliott | The New York Times | Dec. 9, 2013 | 112 minutes (28,000 words)
A story about the system failing our children—through the eyes of one of New York’s 22,000 homeless children.

2. Harper High School
Ben Calhoun, Alex Kotlowitz, Linda Lutton | This American Life | February 2013
In 2012, 29 recent and current students at Harper High school in Chicago were shot. Three reporters spent five months interviewing students, parents, teachers, and administrators to get a sense of why the violence occurs and how a community comes to grips with it. A transcript of the story is available, but since the story was produced to be heard, we recommend listening to the audio.

3. Taken: The Use and Abuse of Civil Forfeiture
Sarah Stillman | The New Yorker | Aug 5, 2013 | 45 minutes (11405 words)
Now happening in America: Police are using civil forfeiture laws to take money and property from people who haven’t been charged with a crime—and police even allegedly threatened to take their children away if they didn’t comply. In the Texas town of Tenaha, police pulled over drivers and used the roadside seizures to fund an assortment of unrelated items.

4. Spy Kids: We're Snooping on Students to Stop Them From Snooping on Each Other
Rachel Swan | SF Weekly | Jan 1, 2014
Lawmakers have created, in schools, a security state writ small.

5. The A-Team Killings
Matthieu Aikins | Rolling Stone | Nov. 6, 2013 | 33 minutes (8,309 words)
Did U.S. Special Forces commit war crimes in Afghanistan? Matthieu Aikins investigates the discovery of 10 missing Afghan villagers who had been buried outside a U.S. base. Officials say a translator was solely responsible, but he and other witnesses say there’s more to the story.

6. The Hell of American Day Care
Jonathan Cohn | The New Republic | April 15, 2013 | 23 minutes (5,884 words)
An investigation into the abysmal state of child care in the United States.

7. The Informant
Kevin Charles Redmon | Washingtonian | March 8, 2013 | 28 minutes (7,039 words)
A man helps his friends during a killing spree in Southeast Washington D.C., leaving five young people dead. He then decides to testify against them in court.

8. The Idealist or Losing Aaron
Justin Peters | Slate | February 8, 2013 | 58 minutes (14,749 words)
Janelle Nanos | Boston Magazine | January 2014
Recounting the life and work of Aaron Swartz.

9. Inside America’s Dirty Wars
Jeremy Scahill | The Nation | April 23, 2013 | 20 minutes (5,050 words)
An investigation of the drone strikes that killed Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old American-born son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki.

10. After Newtown shooting, mourning parents enter into the lonely quiet
Eli Saslow | Washington Post | June 9, 2013 | 25 minutes (6,433 words)
Nearly six months after the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting, the family of one of the victims, 7-year-old Daniel Barden, grapples with what’s next.