A to Z of the best journalism longreads of 2019

Throughout 2019, articles I found interesting were filed away on my Pocket app, where they’ve been gathering metaphorical internet dust ever since. Long read features are sometimes given undue credit simply because they are long. These, however, are pieces I’ve found that are both long and worth reading. And, for neatness, I’ve put some of my favourites into alphabetical order.

A IS FOR ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

The case for taking AI seriously as a threat to humanity – Kelsey Piper, Vox

Computers could be the end of humanity – I, Robot style – if we don’t stop them. That may be an exaggeration, but we still have cause to be a little worried.

B IS FOR BANKRUPTCY

Americans Are Going Bankrupt From Getting Sick – Olga Khazan, The Atlantic

Liked that viral JOE video that saw Brits cringe at US healthcare prices? Then you’ll love this deep look into how the American healthcare system is bankrupting people for the crime of being sick.

C IS FOR CHILDREN

From ball pits to water slides: the designer who changed children’s playgrounds for ever – Nicholas Hune-Brown, The Guardian

Any ex-child will know that not all playgrounds are created equal. Here’s a look at the man that revolutionised play, and how his legacy is being forgotten.

D IS FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

What If Your Abusive Husband Is A Cop? – Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker

The uncomfortable truth is that sometimes those policing the crime and those committing the crime are the same person.

E IS FOR ELDERLY

The Quest for the Multigenerational City – Megan Kimble, CityLab

A touching view of the benefits of mixing generations can have in cities when those same cities seemingly do everything to keep them apart.

F IS FOR FUNDS

How SoftBank ate the world – João Medeiros, Wired

You probably know SoftBank from the infamous fallout of the WeWork IPO. Here’s the story of how this burgeoning tech giant and it’s so-called Vision Fund came to be.

G IS FOR GUNS

When You Give a Teacher a Gun – Jay Willis, GQ

As mass school shootings become the norm in America, teachers are being trained by a not-for-profit on how to kill.

H IS FOR HEISTS

The French Burglar Who Pulled Off His Generation’s Biggest Art Heist – Jake Halpern, The New Yorker

The story of master climber and thief Vjeran Tomic’s greatest feat reads like fiction. Mystery and mastery set against the backdrop of Paris.

I IS FOR INFANCY

‘For five years we dreaded every meal’: my infant son’s struggle with food – Tahmima Anam, The Guardian

What would you do if your child wouldn’t eat? A truly compelling tale that will see you rooting for every bite this little boy takes.

J IS FOR JANITORS

How America’s Biggest Theater Chains Are Exploiting Their Janitors – Gene Maddaus, Variety

Sweeping up popcorn in auditoriums across the US is an army of immigrant works who are as exploited as they are expendable.

K IS FOR KNIFE

‘Intimate terrorism’: how an abusive relationship led a young woman to kill her partner – Sophie Elmhirst, The Guardian

Fri stabbed her controlling partner after years of violence and abuse. Now, there are calls for her murder conviction to be overturned.

L IS FOR LOSS

The Weight I Carry: What it’s like to be too big in America – Tommy Tomlinson, The Atlantic

An intimate look at the man living behind that number on the scales, how his size affects how the world sees him and how he sees himself.

M IS FOR MODERATORS

The Trauma Floor: The secret lives of Facebook moderators in America – Casey Newton, The Verge

A fascinating look at the lives of those paid to patrol the deepest, darkest and most twisted corners of social media.

N IS FOR NAVY

Fight the ship: Death and valor on a warship doomed by its own Navy – ProPublica

An immersive multimedia experience exploring the fate of the USS Fitzgerald and those who needlessly died on board it.

O IS FOR ONLINE

Click Here to Kill: The dark world of online murder markets – Brian Merchant, Harper’s Magazine

You can do anything online these days: buy a house, find love, order an assassination. In shady chatrooms on the dark web, enemies can be dealt with for a price.

P IS FOR PRIME

The making of Amazon Prime, the internet’s most successful and devastating membership program – Jason Del Rey, Vox

There really was a time when next-day delivery wasn’t the norm. Here’s the fascinating tale of how Jeff Bezos’ Prime empire came to be.

Q IS FOR QUEUES

The Long Lines for Women’s Bathrooms Could Be Eliminated. Why Haven’t They Been? – Joe Pinsker, The Atlantic

Seriously, why is it so hard to achieve “potty parity”? A look at how the overlap of capitalism, architecture and good ol’ sexism test women’s bladders.

R IS FOR REMEMBERING

Grandma’s Dementia Made Her Forget Her Homophobia – Brandon Sargent, Narratively

How dementia and a tumour gave one man hope that his family would come to accept him in time.

S IS FOR SCAM

I Accidentally Uncovered a Nationwide Scam on Airbnb – Allie Conti, Vice

A mass scam featuring hundreds of properties across America, and the world, managed to operate undetected on Airbnb for years. That is, until a journalist stumbled upon it.

T IS FOR THIEF

The Secrets of the World’s Greatest Art Thief – Michael Finkel, GQ

200 museums robbed and $1.4 billion in stolen treasures. But, still the question remains: why did Stéphane Breitwieser do this, and how did he get away with it?

U IS FOR UNSOLVED

Who killed the prime minister? The unsolved murder that still haunts Sweden – Imogen West-Knights, The Guardian

No, really. The leader of an entire country was murdered, and the killer is yet to be tracked down.

V IS FOR VEGAN

Meatless meat is becoming mainstream — and it’s sparking a backlash – Kelsey Piper, Vox

Veganism is trendy now, and capitalism has caught on. But, is the world ready for fake fast food meat?

W IS FOR WAR ON DRUGS

El Chapo: what the rise and fall of the kingpin reveals about the war on drugs – Jessica Loudis, The Guardian

Joaquín Guzmán Loera – better known as El Chapo – was once considered one of the most powerful people in the world at the height of his cartel control. But can his empire survive without him?

X IS FOR XENOPHOBIA

The Unbelievable Story Of The Plot Against George Soros – Hannes Grassegger, BuzzFeed

Behind the PR plot that turned a billionaire investor into the face of an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory and influenced political around the globe.

Y IS FOR YOUTH

How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation – Anne Helen Petersen, BuzzFeed

The science behind why being a millennial is so damn tiring. No, really, there’s science to it.

Z IS FOR ZWEIFEL*

The girl in the box: the mysterious crime that shocked Germany – Xan Rice, The Guardian

The story of Germany’s Madeleine McCann, and how her brother tried to exonerate the man accused of his sister’s murder.

*It’s German for doubt. Z is a hard letter.

Image: flickr.com/pedrosimoes7 / Velez Caroço