Here at Pacific Standard, we live to create narratives. Character development, rhetorical devices, and artful storytelling—that's the stuff journalists thrive on, the techniques by which we take the raw material of our reporting and craft it into the stories you love. But sometimes, the best way to educate a reader on a subject is simply by going to the source and having a frank discussion—and then sharing that conversation in a clear, distilled form.
The best interviews manage to range widely while also taking us to the heart of an issue, showing the reader who someone is, what they value, and why. And whether you're talking to a public defense lawyer or a victim of sexual assault, a prison strike organizer or a former vice president, there's nothing like reading a person's story in their own words.
Here are some of our favorite Pacific Standard interviews from 2018.
- "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.
- "Inside the Mind of Dana Rohrabacher, California's Most Divisive Congressman," by Ross Ufberg
In a wide-ranging interview, the Orange County representative speaks with Pacific Standard about climate change, DACA, and where he thinks Arnold Schwarzenegger went wrong.
- "The Sexual Abuse Survivor Suing All of California's Catholic Bishops," by Emily Moon
Tom Emens couldn't hold his abuser accountable, so he's taking his fight to the entire state.
- "'It's a Fight for Human Rights': An Interview With a Prison Strike Organizer," by Arvind Dilawar
A former inmate discusses the organization and demands behind the recent nationwide prison strike.
- "Get to Know Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Who Could Become the Youngest Woman in Congress," by Megan Kimble
Pacific Standard spoke to Ocasio-Cortez about how she got to where she is and why it matters that young women and women of color are running for office.
- "'We Have to Bring Our Democracy Back to Life': A Conversation With Al Gore," by Kate Wheeling
Pacific Standard sat down with the former vice president at the Climate Reality Project leadership training summit in Los Angeles.
- "A Conversation With Porochista Khakpour," by Leah Angstman
The novelist discusses her new memoir about living with Lyme, being a refugee, and the search for home.
- "'Prisons Need Newspapers for the Same Reasons That the Public Needs Newspapers,'" by Alissa Greenberg
An interview with the managing editor at one of the country's most widely read prison newspapers.
- "'The Future Is Happening Right Now': An Interview With Jeff VanderMeer," by John Maher
The fiction writer and environmental advocate on why his work involves so much natural science—and what we can do to protect a world we seem bent on destroying.
- "Two Competing Accounts of How to Save the World," by Kate Wheeling
An interview with Charles C. Mann about the roots of modern environmentalism and the fate of the human species.
- "Is the Trolley Problem Derailing the Ethics of Self-Driving Cars?" by Jack Denton
Pacific Standard spoke with a philosopher who's trying to code ethical algorithms into autonomous vehicles.