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The Eight of 2008

The best of Miller-McCune magazine's first year of publication, as chosen by Editor-in-Chief John Mecklin.
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Initially, I thought the idea of a one-year-old magazine naming a "top 10" list of stories from its single year of existence to be, let's say, overambitious. Yes, I know the nation has suffered through a period of self-involved twenty- and thirtysomething memoirs; does that mean it should encourage a publishing bubble in infant autobiography? But then rationalization and pride took over: After all, many readers have come to Miller-McCune only lately, and without a year-end list, they might never encounter the surprising amount of inventive, in-depth journalism one new magazine published in the year of its birth.

Finally, I compromised, balancing humility and ego and coming up with the following list of eight articles from Miller-McCune's first year that, I hope, can take a victory lap of sorts before being consigned to the archives forever. I won't say they're our best from 2008. They are just eight original, thoroughly researched, extremely well-crafted tales that give you a flavor of our range during the year past — and a notion of the journalistic quality Miller-McCune will try to exceed, throughout 2009.

Innocent Until Reported Guilty
Nationally renowned investigative reporter Steve Weinberg provides a simple prescription for reducing wrongful convictions: better journalism about crime and punishment. Read the story


Caution: NAFTA at Work
Douglas Massey, president of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, explains how Europe's trade model could solve America's immigration problem. Read the story


Miller-McCune staff writer Matt Palmquist interviews Bethany Klein of the University of Leeds, who's researching the increasingly close relationship between pop music and Madison Avenue. Read the story


Derailing the Boondoggle
with Bill of Goods: The World's Biggest Boondoggles

Miller-McCune contributing editor Ryan Blitstein reports on a Danish professor who has a cure for billion-dollar cost overruns in government megaprojects: He uses past boondoggles as a baseline. Read the story. Read the sidebar.


Burning Down the House to Keep Warm
Veteran energy development writer Hal Herring explains how dysfunctional the Bush administration's oil and gas exploration policies are, how those policies need to change.
Read the story


The Doubt Makers
Award-winning science writer Michelle Nijhuis shows how industry has raised unwarranted doubts about a range of scientific issues — from the risks of tobacco to the reality of climate change — delaying response to public dangers for decades. Read the story


Does Education Really Make You Smarter?
Public debate has been dominated by the belief that education builds human capital, causing increased income, health and political participation, among many positive outcomes. But new research suggests that costly expansions of education may not always bring the promised social results. In some cases, those expansions may do little but sort people according to their native ability. By Norman H. Nie, director of the Stanford Institute for the Quantitative Study of Society, and SIQSS research fellow Saar D. Golde. Read the story


Gambling on Gary
If we're going to rescue Wall Street, let's bail out the industrial Midwest, too. By John Mecklin, the editor-in-chief egotistical enough to put his column on the list, and humble enough put it at the bottom. Read the story


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