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Damn, We Wish We’d Done These 4 Stories Last Month

At the end of every year, we’re jealous of Bloomberg’s “Jealousy List,” a collection of stories that staffers wish they had published. We’re so jealous that we’re making monthly lists of our own.

So here are four stories published by other journalists last month that made us envious. Hopefully, our jealousy will lead to your discovery.


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“The Musical Diversity of Pop Songs”

By Andrew Thompson and Matt Daniels, The Pudding

As an unabashed fan of pop music, even I sometimes turn on the radio and think, “All these songs sound the same.” Now I know I’m not making things up. This article makes a compelling, data-driven case that today’s hits are more similar than those of previous decades.

— Gus Wezerek, visual journalist


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“Which Poor People Shouldn’t Have to Work for Aid?”

By Emily Badger and Margot Sanger-Katz, The New York Times

Federal and state officials around the country are drafting changes to welfare programs that would require people to work in order to receive certain public benefits. In Michigan, lawmakers set out to exempt people in rural areas, where work can be hard to find. But as Emily Badger and Margot Sanger-Katz wrote, a place-based exemption would largely benefit white, rural counties, and not the state’s black, urban poor. Badger and Sanger-Katz’s work, in concert with an earlier article examining the term “able-bodied,” provides essential insight into how we define “need” in the United States and how we decide who among the poor is deserving of help.

— Anna Maria Barry-Jester, lead health writer


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“Precipitation whiplash and climate change threaten California’s freshwater”

By Lauren Tierney and Monica Ulmanu, The Washington Post

The climate, historical snowpack and freshwater dynamics of northern California are not my areas of expertise. Nor, frankly, are they areas of personal interest. But this piece educated and fascinated me. It’s a short article, but one that flexes its muscle with a harmonized ensemble of text, maps, charts, diagrams and aerial photography. And in the ultimate victory for digital journalism: I still remember it weeks later.

— Oliver Roeder, senior writer


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“America is more diverse than ever — but still segregated”

By Aaron Williams and Armand Emamdjomeh, The Washington Post

Fifty years after the Fair Housing Act, our country is still segregated. This article on diversity in the U.S. explores how and why cities like Chicago have such stark racial dividing lines. It also features some of the most breathtaking maps I’ve ever seen. They’re geography in pointillism, and I wish I had made them.

— Julia Wolfe, visual journalist

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