Top ten stories of the decade

New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute has released a list of the decade’s top ten works of American journalism. Good for Friday-afternoon procrastination, er, research.

1. “A Nation Challenged” Fall 2001

By the staff of The New York Times

A special section published regularly after the September 11 attacks provided extraordinarily detailed and searching local, national and international reporting on the attacks and their consequences, along with moving profiles of a large number of the victims.

2. “Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx

By Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
A model of immersion reporting and narrative storytelling, this deeply empathic, deeply disturbing portrait of life among the underclass challenges the received notions of poverty theorists and ordinary readers on the left and the right alike.

3. “The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11” 2006
By Lawrence Wright
This book, which won a Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction, is a beautifully written and rigorously reported account of the events and ideas that led to the attacks of September 11.

4. “The Giant Pool of Money” May 2008
By Alex Blumberg and Adam Davidson, This American Life & NPR
This collaborative hour-long radio documentary finally made the “subprime” mortgage crisis clear and cogent, and the result was the most downloaded episode in the history of the show.

5. The New York Times: photography and reportage 2003-2009
C.J. Chivers (reporter), Dexter Filkins (reporter) and Tyler Hicks
Ongoing reporting from the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan. These journalists provide honest, detailed and evocative accounts of soldiers and marines on the battlefields of the war, often while putting themselves in harm’s way.

6. “The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals” 2008
By Jane Mayer
A thorough and damning investigation, based on her New Yorker articles, of the Bush administration’s more questionable tactics in the war on terror.

7. “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America” 2001.
By Barbara Ehrenreich
Widely discussed undercover reporting on the difficulty of making ends meet with minimum-wage jobs in America.

8. Coverage of Hurricane Katrina August-December 2005
The Times-Picayune staff, New Orleans, La.
This extensive series of articles and editorials, produced under the most difficult of circumstances, won the newspaper a share, along with the Sun Herald, Biloxi-Gulfport, Miss., of the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

9. “Soldiers Face Neglect, Frustration at Army’s Top Medical Facility,” February 2007, The Washington Post
By Anne Hull, Dana Priest (reporters) and Michel du Cille (photographer)
This two-part, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation of abuses at Walter Reed Army Medical Center exposed the substandard treatment soldiers received at this Washington, D.C., hospital and led to firings, resignations, government investigations and efforts to better care for those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

10. “Abuse in the Catholic ChurchThe Boston Globe, 2002
By Walter Robinson, Michael Rezendes, Sacha Pfeiffer, Matt Carroll, Stephen Kurkjian, Tom Farragher, Michael Paulson, Kevin Cullen, Ben Bradlee Jr., Mark Morrow
This Pulitzer Prize-winning series of articles about decades of sexual abuse and cover-ups in the Boston Catholic archdiocese reverberated to Rome and beyond.