Journal First 100 Editions — 10 of the best

The best thing about producing Journal has been the opportunity to discover so much great writing.

Over 500 pieces have been shared in Journal and next week we’ll share some data about where they’ve come from and what they cover, the people that appear in them and other data tidbits — but first, in the noble tradition of the listicle, here’s ten of my all time favourites.

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The Useful Village // The Virginia Quarterly Review // Society

A story set in a rural village in Germany over the course of a year as a camp for refugees is built on the outskirts of the village, local concern and optimism ebbs and flows, refugees arrive and then subsequently leave. A piece that is measured in pace and tone, observing all the complexities that arose from a complex situation.

‘Lawdy, Lawdy He’s Great’ // Sports Illustrated // Life

One of the most famous articles of Muhammad Ali’s storied life, written after his defeat of Joe Frazier in Manila in 1975.

Promethea Unbound // The Atavist // Life

A fine piece looking at the difficulties experienced by a child genius, including a financial benefactor trying to kill her mother.

Saddam’s cake // // Life

A crackling piece from 2000, recounting the author’s experience attending the birthday party of a “global pariah”. Sample guest — a Bulgarian MP who has brought him a sniper rifle as a present. The 17 subsequent years of Iraq’s history make for a dark prism through which to read the story.

Welcome to Pleistocene Park // The Atlantic // Science

An extraordinary piece profiling the scientists in Siberia that are seeking to restore the Ice Age by bioengineering woolly mammoths and other creatures. Their ambition is on an epic scale — to reforge a lost world in order to preserve our present one.

The Baby in the Plastic Bag // Dagbladet // Life

A man is walking by a graveyard in Oslo and hears a wail. It is a newborn baby, abandoned with only a plastic bag for protection, and close to death. This is the remarkable story of what happened next.

We’re The Only Plane In The Sky // Politico // History

The story of the eight hours President George W Bush and his team spent in the air in the immediate aftermath of the September 11th attacks, told through the testimony of those present on board.

Hiroshima // The New Yorker // History

The New Yorker devoted its August 31st 1946 issue in its entirety to this article on the nuclear bomb attack on Hiroshima a year earlier. The article would later be described, in the same magazine’s August 31st 2016 issue, as “a landmark in journalism, in publishing, and in humanity’s awareness of itself and its own awful potential.” (2016 article —

The Turkish Coup Through The Eyes of Its Plotters // Bellingcat // Politics

A gripping real-time view of the Turkish coup attempt gathered from transcripts of a WhatsApp group created by conspirators to coordinate their efforts.

What is Code? // Bloomberg // Technology

This article is 38,000 words long and is all about code. It’s a year old. It’s also a masterpiece.


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