This is the time of the year when publications start compiling their “Best of” lists. It is also not surprising to see many colleagues and their work featured on them. Below is a running list that will continue be updated until we get to 2018.
Thank you and you’re welcome.
The Protection Racket by Stassa Edwards, Jezebel
When an anonymously sourced “Shitty Media Men” list began circulating in October, it became ― as most things that circulate among journalists do ― a source of contention and think-piece generation. Of all those think pieces, Edwards’ is the best. “If the debate over Shitty Media Men revealed anything,” she wrote, “it’s that there is no way for a woman to level a sexual harassment or abuse allegation without having her methods and motives subjected to a detailed dissection.”
Teen Girl Posed For 8 Years As Married Man To Write About Baseball And Harass Women by Lindsey Adler, Deadspin
This Deadspin tale is nothing short of bonkers. (The site is owning the sports-catfishing beat.) Adler reports that at age 13, Becca Schultz assumed the false online identity of Ryan Schultz, a married father of two — and an aspiring White Sox blogger — who was studying to become a pharmacist. While masquerading as Ryan, Schultz trolled women online, inflicting real pain on some, and was cradled by the “exploitative ecosystem of online sportswriting, which created the conditions for her to get her enviable opportunities without much interrogation from editors…” Adler’s tale illustrates the changing dynamics of sports journalism and online fandom, as well as the increasingly strange and odd ways in which sports communities develop. One of the reasons Schultz held onto her fake online identity so long was simply because “it worked.”
The U.S. Gymnastics System Wanted More Medals, and Created a Culture of Abuse to Get Them by Dvora Meyers, Deadspin
At the beginning of the year, we wouldn’t have guessed that Gizmodo would make our top ten, but writers George Dvorsky, Ryan Mandelbaum, and Kristen Brown have done an incredible job communicating science to their readers with wonder and a healthy dose of skepticism, all while keeping Gizmodo’s usual hype in check.
Earlier this year Comedy Central debuted The Opposition, a show that purportedly lampoons fringe right-wing media but does a truly half-assed job of it. Meanwhile ClickHole, The Onion’s parody of BuzzFeed, launched PatriotHole, which has roughly the same concept but, uh, actually does the thing. Like ClickHole proper, PatriotHole’s mix of videos, image content and traditional news parody goes the distance, never indulging the temptation to wink at its audience. ClickHole’s regular (and often political) programming remains top-of-class, of course, but PatriotHole took it to the next level in 2017.
As I wrote in this space last year, choosing the best writing and reporting in a given year is an impossible task, as well as an entirely subjective enterprise. Below, are 130 or so pieces that impacted me as a reader, but I honestly could have chosen hundreds more…
- Deadspin’s Lindsey Adler, on a teen girl who posed for eight years as a married man to write about baseball and harass women.
- Deadspin’s Dave McKenna, on the kid who didn’t die at Riverfront Stadium.
- Remarkable work via Jennings Brown of Gizmodo: The last of the iron lungs.