A Roadmap to the Best Journalism of 2016

15 Lists of the Year’s Best Reporting That Will Keep You Reading Well Into the New Year.

Photo by BrianK, used via Creative Commons

Every year for the past four years I’ve spent the last week of the year reviewing the most amazing online, interactive and immersive journalism projects from the past year. I do it both to catch up on great reporting I might have missed and to shine a spotlight on the kind of journalism that the web makes possible. (Here are my round-ups from 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012)

This year I’m curating other best-of lists that have served as my guide over the last week. If you want to find and support great journalism these lists are a good place to start. Read, share and donate or subscribe to ensure reporting like this can continue in the new year and beyond. (If you like this, you might also like the Local Fix, a weekly newsletter on local news, community engagement, innovation and sustainability.)

The Columbia Journalism Review has a good list of their favorite journalism of 2016.

2016 was a big year for community engagement in journalism and crowd powered reporting. Two of the leaders in that space — Hearken and the Coral Project — offer inspiring lists of stories deeply rooted in the voices of local communities.

The Solutions Journalism Network also collected the best reporting from newsrooms in their network.

Longreads highlighted its most popular stories of 2016 and created a separate list dedicated to investigative journalism.

The New York Times and Time put together stunning collections of the best photojournalism from the past year.

From the campaign trail to local communities journalists of color produced powerful and important reporting and media across platforms in 2016. (See also the award winners from NABJNAHJ)

Poynter collected some of the best political reporting of 2016, the Center for Public Integrity highlighted the best statehouse reporting, and the New York Times gathered up their impressive digital projects from the campaign.

Beyond politics there were stand-outs in other beats and topics as well.

Podcasts continued to grow in popularity in 2016. The Guardian, The Atlantic, Wired, Hyperallergic and the New York Times all offered their take on the best audio storytelling of the year.

Support Good Journalism

The kind of journalism listed in the links above needs your support. Earlier this year I wrote a guide to finding and supporting trustworthy news and information and until January 19, 2017, you can double your donation to 57 incredible journalism organizations through the Knight News Match.

Finally, at the end of 2016 Joseph Cranney, Alexandra Glorioso and Brett Murphy launched a newsletter that offers a weekly round-up of great local journalism. Subscribe to Local Matters to get great reporting in your inbox each week.


Josh Stearns is Associate Director of the Public Square Program at the Democracy Fund. Follow him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/jcstearns.