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The Lede, Issue #1: Immigration Reform, Starting a New Civilian Conservation Corps, Quincy Jones, and More

An exclusive newsletter that gives premium members greater access to Pacific Standard stories, staff, and contributors in their inbox every Sunday morning.

What is The Lede?

The Lede.

Hello, and welcome to our new premium-exclusive newsletter. The Lede gives premium members greater access to Pacific Standard stories, staff, and contributors in their inbox every week.

Each newsletter will contain coverage of a major issue related to our reporting in the public interest, additional exclusive content from PS, a list of our staff's favorite pieces of writing or culture from the past week, and a direct line of communication with our editorial team.

For the next month, The Lede will be openly available. We want to give people a sense of the first piece of exclusive content you'll be getting as a PS Premium member—in addition to eight print issues, early access to feature stories, data privacy, and ad-free access to our site. All for just $3.99 a month.

Most importantly, premium memberships help support stories that make a difference.

Protect Dreamers

Seeking Immigration Reform

Immigration reform has been a major political talking point in the United States for years. Recently, it's been in the news as DACA continues to be a flashpoint in the debate, and, as expected, President Donald Trump hit on the issue in his State of the Union address. We have covered immigration extensively, and from many perspectives—political, humanitarian, and practical.

Pacific Standard contributing writer Massoud Hayoun has turned his focus primarily to immigration, a subject he'll be covering for us all year at Just over the past few months, Hayoun has written about ICE raiding 7-Elevens, the rescinding of temporary residency protections for Salvadorans and many others, and the impact of the controversial travel ban.

In that same vein, David M. Perry reported on immigration enforcement raids on hospitals—raids that end up harming disabled children. And the Department of Justice struck out against sanctuary cities by threatening them with legal action, while the "Dreamers" continue in their holding pattern and colleges struggle to help them.

From a policy implementation perspective, immigration is a sticky issue. California tried to institute laws to protect undocumented workers, for example, but they could backfire, while the Trump administration promised to end the immigration court backlog but has done the opposite.

Going forward, we can't be certain how, or if, the issue of immigration will be dealt with properly, especially since it seems humans aren't the only ones who have struggled with our borders. It's hard to predict what consensus will be reached, but our reporting will continuing holding institutions like the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to account.

The Edit, With Jimmy Tobias 

A new episode of our podcast goes live this Monday morning. This week we sat down with Pacific Standard conservation writer Jimmy Tobias. The conversation covers special interest groups, starting a new civilian conservation corps, and why there may not be much appetite in Washington, D.C., to preserve public lands. You can subscribe to the podcast here and you can read more of Jimmy's work here.

PS Picks

PS Picks is a selection of the best things that the magazine's staff and contributors are reading, watching, or otherwise paying attention to in the worlds of art, politics, and culture.

Quincy Jones speaks during Spotify's inaugural Secret Genius Awards.

I first read Chris Heath's interview with Quincy Jones in the print edition of the magazine, long before it was published to the site, and it was the rare piece that had me encouraging everyone I could find to go out and pick up a copy of GQ—now. There are plenty of other stories in this magazine worth reading, but Jones—on Taylor Swift, Ray Charles' heroin use, Bill Cosby, Michael "Smelly" Jackson's feud with Prince, and what Hitler's Germany and Chicago in the 1930s have in common—is worth the sticker price alone. It's the kind of interview that one can only give if they've lived a full life, and the kind one only gives when they no longer care what anybody thinks of the way they've lived it.
—Nicholas Jackson, Editor-in-Chief

Erykah Badu.

Yes, Erykah Badu told New York magazine some wild, regrettable stuff about Hitler. She can insist all she wants that she never means to hurt anyone, but Badu—artist, legend, purported witch—at least loves to provoke. And it makes her one hell of an interview. She and reporter David Marchese are personal and generous with each other whether talking sociology or songwriting or doulas. Badu shouldn't be hired to give a history lecture any time soon, and we shouldn't want her to. She's better just as she is—an imperfect firecracker. Give this one a read, preferably over some hot, witchy green tea.
—Elena Gooray, Associate Editor


Gideon Lewis-Kraus' New York Times Magazine profile of a man who sells private jets to the "the 1 percent of the 1 percent of the 1 percent" is a document that should go down in the annals of this gilded age. It includes the writer flying on Tony Robbins' private jet with Robbins, and many a word choice worthy of the jet set, including phocine, umber, coruscating, and empyreal. But what makes the piece so moving is its pairing of the oligarchic class’ obscene tastes—a public tragedy—with the private tragedy of a salesman so convinced owning a jet is a necessity, but who just can’t afford one himself.
—Jack Denton, Editorial Assistant

The Conversation

If you have any thoughts about The Lede—what you liked/didn't like/want to see more of—you can reach us at As we continue to build out the benefits of a premium membership to Pacific Standard, we want to hear what would be most valuable to you.