It’s hard to be cutthroat in an industry where it feels like everyone’s job is on the chopping block. So instead of mocking our competitors, we’ll take the high road and highlight some of the most impressive reporting and writing on New York politics and policy this year. As publishers of First Read, New York’s must-read daily news roundup, we’ve seen a lot of great work, including Greg B. Smith’s relentless reporting for the Daily News on the New York City Housing Authority and Talia Levin’s side-splitting take in McSweeney’s on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s speechifying – but here are five stories that stood out for not just their great reporting and writing, but the impact that they had on public policy.
“Four Women Accuse New York’s Attorney General of Physical Abuse,” by Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow in The New Yorker, May 7, 2018
From going live online to resignation in three hours flat. Of the many #MeToo stories revealing the abusive behavior of powerful man, this exposé on then-state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was one of the most profoundly important.
“Sign Here to Lose Everything,” by Zachary R. Mider and Zeke Faux with David Ingold and Demetrios Pogkas in Bloomberg Businessweek, Nov. 20, 2018
Some sketchy actors are gaming New York’s court system to make predatory loans all across the country, squeezing the life out of small businesses and making some public employees embarrassingly rich. And you’d probably have no idea it was happening if you hadn’t read this five-part series that led the state attorney general, New York City Hall and U.S. senators to jump to action.
“The Most Expensive Mile of Subway Track on Earth,” by Brian Rosenthal in The New York Times, Dec. 28, 2017
Published in the waning days of 2017, this article was felt every single day of 2018 by subway riders suffering transit delays and track closings – with the incredible cost of improvements being one of the causes. And this was just one of the many great works resulting from the Times directing its resources underground, like graphic explanations of delays that made anyone feel like an expert and an ode to the subway as New York’s equalizer.
“Trashed: Inside the Deadly World of Private Garbage Collection,” by Kiera Feldman in ProPublica, Jan. 4, 2018
Nobody owned a beat this year like Feldman owned garbage hauling. Over the course of the year and more than a dozen articles, she brought the dangerous, shadowy industry into the light and was praised by city policymakers who cited her reporting as they shaped their bills.
“Cuomo, Again?” by Chris Smith in New York magazine, Aug. 19, 2018
Smith doesn’t write much, but when he does, it’s as good as political magazine writing on Cuomo’s Empire State. Smith perfectly captures the governor’s voice, his odd style of self-reflection, and his endless pride.