This past year will go down as another successful one here at Pacific Standard. We won our second National Magazine Award, increased our print frequency from six issues per year to eight, and engaged in a number of editorial partnerships with similarly public interest-oriented outlets. (And yes, for those keeping track, we also redesigned our website again.)
We also published some 2,500 stories between the magazine and website, on subjects as disparate as a proposed socially engineered utopia in Florida, the shady business of for-profit prison health care, and the very real black market for human body parts.
Below, our editors' picks for the year's best Pacific Standard stories. But this is just the tip of the (soon-to-be-gone) iceberg; explore the site for more of our award-winning coverage in environment, economics, education, and social justice.
- "The Life and Times of a Teenage Oxycodone Dealer," by Joe Eaton
The high comes on fast, a euphoric feeling of life itself slowing down, a calm feeling of absolute contentment. But the feeling is fleeting. Thirty minutes later, an addict will be itching for more.
- "The Making of a Mexican American Dream," by Sarah Menkedick
Despite the rhetoric and hate crimes, Mexican immigrants are poised to reframe American culture, if white people would only let them.
- "The Business of Shooting Pigs From the Sky," by Ariel Ramchandani
A Texas-style response to the country's feral pig epidemic involves tourists with assault weapons and helicopters.
- "The Tragedy of Debbie Daley," by John H. Tucker
Inside the twisted world of for-profit prison health care.
- "Arms Dealers," by Peter Andrey Smith
When eight heads arrived at a shipping warehouse in Detroit, the feds uncovered some unsavory details about the little-known trade in human remains.
- "On the Milo Bus With the Lost Boys of America’s New Right," by Laurie Penny
What happens when a movement of gamers recognizes they're not players, but pawns?
- "The Omnipresence of Dust in Kathmandu," by Abby Seiff
Each time the electricity powers off in Kathmandu, thousands of diesel generators rumble to life, spewing noxious particulate matter, or PM2.5.
- "The Touch of Madness," by David Dobbs
Culture profoundly shapes our ideas about mental illness, which is something psychologist Nev Jones knows all too well.
- "Engineering a More Perfect World," by Barrett Swanson
Jacque Fresco spent decades building a life-sized model of his ideal city. The central idea? If we want the Western world to overcome war, avarice, and poverty, all we need to do is redesign the culture.
- "The New War on Birth Control," by Kathryn Joyce
How the Christian Right is co-opting the women's rights movement to fight contraceptives in Africa.
- "Where Public Defenders Go to Church," by Tony Rehagen
While Gideon's Promise offers training in courtroom tactics and storytelling for public defenders, its goal is much larger: to create a nationwide community.
- "The Fallacy of Endless Economic Growth," by Christopher Ketcham
What economists around the world get wrong about the future.
- "The Native Tribe Reintroducing a Lost Species on Its Own Land," by Jimmy Tobias
The way we see it is, any native species that belongs here, that should have been here ... why not bring it [back]?"
- "The Silencing of Hillary Clinton," by Seth Masket
Addressing the primary criticisms of Clinton's historic run for the presidency.
- "Inside the Mind of America's Favorite Gun Researcher," by Peter Moskowitz
John Lott is a one-man pro-gun research machine whose work has been cited nearly 200 times by the National Rifle Association. The problem? Many of his peers have major misgivings about his methods.
- "A Monster in Navajo Country," by Craig Childs
A story of mythological birds and a murder near the sacred Shiprock volcano in northwest New Mexico.