Top Ten Works of Journalism of the Decade, 2000-2009

The faculty of New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, together with a group of distinguished outside judges, has selected “The Top Ten Works of Journalism of the Decade in the United States.” We began with a list of eighty nominees. Our purpose was to call attention to and honor work of exceptional importance and quality – journalism that brilliantly met the challenges of this difficult decade.

Ten years ago New York University, using some of the same judges, selected “The Top 100 Works of Journalism of the Twentieth Century in the United States.” It is our belief that the best journalism of the first decade of the twenty-first century belongs in that company.

– Mitchell Stephens, Professor of Journalism, NYU

Please view the official press release here.

1. The staff of The New York Times
“A Nation Challenged,” Fall 2001

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.

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Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx, 20032. Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx, 2003

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.

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The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, 20063. Lawrence Wright
The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, 2006

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.

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This American Life & NPR: 4. Alex Blumberg and Adam Davidson
This American Life & NPR: “The Giant Pool of Money,” May 2008

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.

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Ongoing reporting from the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan.5. C.J. Chivers (reporter), Dexter Filkins (reporter) and Tyler Hicks (photographer)
The New York Times, 2003-2009

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.

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The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals6. Jane Mayer
The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals, 2008

A thorough and damning investigation, based on her New Yorker articles, of the Bush administration’s more questionable tactics in the war on terror.

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Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, 2001.7. Barbara Ehrenreich
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, 2001.

Widely discussed undercover reporting on the difficulty of making ends meet with minimum-wage jobs in America.

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Coverage of Hurricane Katrina, August-December 20058. The Times-Picayune staff, New Orleans, La.
Coverage of Hurricane Katrina, August-December 2005

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.

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9. Anne Hull, Dana Priest (reporters) and Michel du Cille (photographer)
“Soldiers Face Neglect, Frustration at Army’s Top Medical Facility,” February 2007, The Washington Post

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.

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10. Walter Robinson, Michael Rezendes, Sacha Pfeiffer, Matt Carroll, Stephen Kurkjian, Tom Farragher, Michael Paulson, Kevin Cullen, Ben Bradlee Jr., Mark Morrow

Abuse in the Catholic Church,” The Boston Globe, 2002

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.

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Outside of NYU: Madeleine Blais (University of Massachusetts), Gene Roberts (former editor Philadelphia Inquirer and New York Times), Dorothy Rabinowitz (Wall Street Journal), Morley Safer (60 Minutes), Ben Yagoda (University of Delaware), Eric Newton (Knight Foundation), Leon Dash (University of Illinois), Juan Williams (NPR), Sylvia Nasar (Columbia) and Greil Marcus (cultural critic).

The NYU Journalism Faculty: Ted Conover, Pete Hamill, James McBride, Mohamad Bazzi, Robert Boynton, Mary D’Ambrosio, David Dent, Frankie Edozien, Dan Fagin, Meryl Gordon, Perri Klass, Brooke Kroeger, Yvonne Latty, Susie Linfield, Michael Ludlum, Suketu Mehta, Pamela Newkirk, Michael Norman, Adam Penenberg, Mary Quigley, Marcia Rock, Katie Roiphe, Jay Rosen, Jason Samuels, Charles Seife, William Serrin, Stephen D. Solomon, Mitchell Stephens, Carol Sternhell, Jane Stone.