Retrospective View — Journal 13

“Xi Jinping, painted portrait _DDC2126” by thierry ehrmann is licensed underCC BY 2.0

Retrospective View is a series where we post Journal editions onto Medium a year after publication. Whilst not all pieces selected for Journal are written at the time of inclusion, looking at the articles a year on nevertheless provides some insights into the key themes occupying the media at the time, benefiting from a year’s (or more) worth of hindsight and context to re-examine them.

Journal 13 was published on 3rd July 2016.

This week — a profile of the head of the UK civil service, a forensic anthropologist’s mission in Guatemala, a look at China’s leader Xi Jinping, and an exploration of virtual reality. If you read one thing — Mother Jones’ shocking expose of life in an American prison is essential reading.


Four Months Undercover As a Private Prison Guard // Mother Jones // Society

A journalist spent four months undercover as a guard at a prison in Louisiana. He recorded the experience in this shocking article, accompanied by secretly recorded video footage of prison life.

The Most Potent, Permanent and Elusive Figure in British Politics // The Guardian // Politics

A fascinating January 2016 profile of Jeremy Heywood, the man heading the UK civil service. He has been an instrumental part of government during the reign of the last three Prime Ministers, and reportedly has a seat at every table that matters.

The Secrets in Guatemala’s Bones // New York Times Magazine // Society

The story of a forensic anthropologist who returned to Guatemala to investigate atrocities perpetrated during the civil war there. His objective is to discover the cause of death in each case and identity the bodies. As his colleague notes, “bones make excellent witnesses…Although they speak softly…they never lie, and they never forget.”

Chairman of Everything // The Economist // Politics

A profile of China’s leader that makes makes an unusual comparison — to Phillip II of Spain, “on whose desk in a palace near Madrid all the problems of his 16th-century empire landed”. An insight into the very highest echelons of Chinese political life.

Dream Park // The Verge // Technology

This longform piece explores the limitless horizons of virtual reality technology.