Each week, members of the WFPL News team spotlight interesting stories we’ve read and enjoyed, for your weekend reading pleasure:
Gabe Bullard: If you’re an avid WFPL listener, you probably know Jonathan Goldstein from his work on This American Life. But for years, Goldstein has hosted a terrific CBC show called Wiretap. I’ve been a fan of his since I first heard that show. Listen to Wiretap.
Joe Frank, however, was a more acquired taste. It took me a while to appreciate his radio monologues, but once I did, I was hooked. The Believer has brought these two together for an excellent interview piece. I assume they did it just to make me happy. Read Interview with Joe Frank.
Laura Ellis: I didn’t intend to read this, but I’m glad I clicked when it popped up on my sidebar. It’s a look at Bob Woodward’s reporting methods, and how they stand up when the reporting is reproducible and the interviewees are still alive (and not unnamed sources). It’s also a good demonstration for journalists and would-be media folks that you can get your facts right but your inferences wrong. We’d all do well to be mindful of whether we’re coming to accurate conclusions or just the conclusions we expected to reach. Read The Troubling Thing I Learned When I Re-Reported Bob Woodward’s Book on John Belushi.
Devin Katayama: “All the prices are too damn high.” That’s the last time in a 36-page report from Time magazine titled Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us. It’s one of the more frustrating stories I’ve read since the first 300 pages of Infinite Jest. The report provides a strong argument for why our nation’s healthcare system is broken, ways to improve it, and why that will likely not happen anytime soon, despite Obamacare’s best efforts. Read Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us.
Joseph Lord: Boston’s alternative-weekly the Boston Phoenix is folding. The publication that helped launch many careers, and some of those writers took to the Web to commemorate their fallen ex-employer. I thought New York Magazine film critic David Edelstein had some of the most interesting thoughts on what’s changed: “Most journalism—almost everything on the Internet—is ‘alternative,” he writes. Read David Edelstein on the Spirit of the Boston Phoenix.
Bonus: The New York Times explains, How Beer Gave Us Civilization. It’s more complicated than the obvious answer. Also, much has been made about Pope Francis being the first Jesuit pontiff. Which begs the questions for many people, What’s a Jesuit, Anyway? Salon provides an answer.