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Damn, We Wish We’d Done These 6 Stories This Month

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

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


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“‘Exodus’ from Puerto Rico: A visual guide”

By John D. Sutter and Sergio Hernandez, CNN

This story from CNN delves into the question of how many Puerto Ricans have moved to the mainland U.S. since Hurricane Maria ravaged the island in September. It tries to quantify what some have described as an exodus. The story is notable for its use of data, finding a creative way to answer an important question and then vigorously reporting both the methodology and the implications of the findings. But it also lays bare the difficulties that millions of Puerto Ricans — who are U.S. citizens — still face, months after the hurricane passed over the island.

— Anna Maria Barry-Jester, lead health writer


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“A Wrenching Dilemma”

By Jessica Contrera, The Washington Post

The “rape kit backlog” is a story that’s been widely documented in the past 20 years, and the country is slowly finding ways to correct the problem after years of pressure. This story asks what happens when the rape kits that have sat for years in an evidence storage building are tested. The answer is, as you can imagine, complicated. I highly recommend reading this one for its reporting and its distressing details.

— Meena Ganesan, social editor


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“The Marlins’ Latest Fire Sale Is Already Record-Setting”

By Ben Lindbergh, The Ringer

I was discussing a terrific idea with my FiveThirtyEight colleagues over drinks one night: What if the Miami Marlins’ current fire sale were even worse than the team’s infamous sell-offs of the past? (Including, most notably, the one it executed after winning the World Series in 1997.) I was excited to get started on the story … until I saw that Ben Lindbergh of The Ringer had beaten me to the punch. Not only are the Marlins beating their former selves, but you have to go back to the 19th century to find a team that traded away more WAR in an offseason than Miami did this winter.

— Neil Paine, senior sportswriter


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“Sliced & Diced: The Inside Story Of How An Ivy League Food Scientist Turned Shoddy Data Into Viral Studies”

By Stephanie M. Lee, Buzzfeed

With FOIA-ed emails, Stephanie M. Lee at BuzzFeed documents how Cornell University food researcher Brian Wansink used p-hacking, data dredging and other shoddy research techniques to “squeeze some blood out of this rock” and turn marginal findings into clickworthy studies and news headlines. As Brian Nosek, executive director of the Center for Open Science, notes in the story, “This is not science, it is storytelling.” It would be easy to dismiss Wansink as a single sloppy researcher, but he and his methods are a product of an incentive system that rewards results over rigor — and they serve as a stern cautionary tale.

— Christie Aschwanden, lead science writer


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“Greetings from Mars”

By Amber Thomas, The Pudding

You can typically count on The Pudding for experimental visuals that will make you smile. “Greetings from Mars” does not disappoint. The story about the weather on Mars is told through a series of animated postcards from the Curiosity rover — the perfect encapsulation of space-race nostalgia and modern-day tech. Once again, The Pudding got me wishing I had thought of it first.

— Julia Wolfe, visual journalist


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“3 Far-Flung Cities Offer Clues to Unsnarling Manhattan’s Streets”

By Christina Anderson, Winnie Hu, Weiyi Lim and Anna Schaverien, The New York Times

This article looks at how three cities — Singapore, London and Stockholm — have installed congestion pricing in their city centers, and how those systems might work or not work in New York. New Yorkers can think of the city as an exceptional place (I’m guilty of this, too) and forget that lots of other cities are trying to solve the same problem that we are. This piece continues a really important conversation and does so thoughtfully, so bravo for that.

— Andrea Jones-Rooy, quantitative researcher

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