This year at Pacific Standard we published over 2,900 articles, covering the daily news—the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, the straw bans that swept the nation—and the stories that have gestated for years on issues such as toxic waters and animal extinction.
As our list of the 20 most-read stories we published this year shows, Pacific Standard readers have an appetite both for longform investigations and quick round-ups of cutting-edge studies; historical analysis and personal histories; examinations of familiar political operators and extremist groups.
Whatever your interests and reading habits, there's sure to be something here for you.
- "What Happened at Camp Lejeune," by Lori Lou Freshwater
I grew up drinking and bathing in the toxic waters around a military base in North Carolina. Thirty years later, I went back to investigate.
- "Why Kavanaugh Should Welcome an FBI Investigation," by Tom Jacobs
A legal scholar argues the judge's credibility is lower than Christine Blasey Ford's—and that's exactly why he'd be wise to embrace an independent evaluation of the assault allegation.
- "Bryan Stevenson on What Well-Meaning White People Need to Know about Race," by James McWilliams
An interview with Harvard University-trained public defense lawyer Bryan Stevenson on racial trauma, segregation, and listening to marginalized voices.
- "The Secret Betrayal That Sealed Nike's Influence Over the University of Oregon," by Joshua Hunt
In the mid-1990s, University of Oregon President Dave Frohnmayer needed money to save his school. Alum and Nike chief executive Phil Knight was happy to help—as long as the university could be managed in a way that would maximize the company's brand and profits. But when Frohnmayer made a key misstep, Knight exacted a brutal punishment.
- "How Will Publishing Deal With Lemony Snicket Amid #MeToo," by David M. Perry
Numerous authors and librarians allege a pattern of sexually humiliating comments at public events from one of YA literature's biggest stars.
- "Black Cops Are Just as Likely as White Cops to Kill Black Suspects," by Tom Jacobs
New research suggests a culture of bias is a bigger problem than individual racist officers.
- "Inside the Minds of Hardcore Trump Supporters," by Tom Jacobs
New research finds the president's earliest and strongest followers embody a particularly belligerent strain of authoritarian thinking.
- "Banning Straws Won't Save the Oceans," by David M. Perry
Instead of shaming disabled consumers who rely on straws, let's hold producers of plastic financially responsible for their waste.
- "The Planet Now Has More Trees Than It Did 35 Years Ago," by Rhett A. Butler
Tree cover loss in the tropics was outweighed by tree cover gain in subtropical, temperate, boreal, and polar regions.
- "Is the Christian Right Driving Americans Away From Religion?," by Tom Jacobs
New research finds that, when evangelical organizations raise their profile by sponsoring a high-profile political campaign, a backlash ensues.
- "The Endling: Watching a Species Vanish in Real Time," by Ben Goldfarb
On the frontlines of extinction in the Gulf of California, where the vaquita faces its final days.
- "Meet the Man Who Lives at the Bottom of the Grand Canyon," by Jessi Phillips
Sjors Horstman has spent the last 30 years of his life at the bottom of the Grand Canyon as a volunteer for the National Park Service—one of the longest-serving volunteers in NPS history.
- "Australia's Ambassador Says His Country's Gun Laws Can't Save America," by Molly McCluskey
Gun control advocates point to Australia for inspiration in ending gun violence. Australian Ambassador to the United States Joe Hockey thinks they should stop.
- "Science Says: Believe Women," by Emily Moon
Here's what the politicians and pundits are saying about Christine Blasey Ford's allegations—and what the research can tell us about the truth of their claims.
- "As Climate Change Intensifies, Here Are the Most—and Least—Resilient Counties in America," by Sophie Yeo
A recent EPA survey takes into account extreme weather, but also social factors such as poverty, health, and governance.
- "A Cult Expert Finds Familiar Patterns of Behavior in Trump's GOP," by Tom Jacobs
What do you call an organization where total loyalty to a charismatic but volatile leader is strictly enforced?
- "How White American Terrorists Are Radicalized," by David M. Perry
They're reading the same websites, talking to each other, and killing the same targets. The lone wolves are actually a pack.
- "The Country's First Climate Change Casualties?" by Elaina Plott
Scientists predict Tangier Island could be uninhabitable within 25 years. This is the story of the people willing to go down with it—and why they've risked it all on Donald Trump to keep them afloat.
- "No, the Irish Were Not Slaves Too," by David M. Perry
Historian Liam Hogan has spent the last six years debunking the Irish slave myth.
- "My Brother, the White Nationalist," by Gabriel Thompson
When Josh Damigo finds out his brother is the new face of the white nationalist movement, finding the roots of radicalization becomes personal.