Top Ten Works of Journalism of the Decade

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.’ The honorees were selected from a list of 122 nominations. All forms of journalism in all media were eligible for consideration. We had previously selected the ‘The Top Ten Works of Journalism’ of the first decade of the century and ‘The Top Hundred Works of Journalism of the 20th Century.’ The ‘Top Ten’ for the past decade were announced in an event on October 14, 2020.”

– Mitchell Stephens, Professor of Journalism

Top Ten Works of Journalism of the Decade, 2000-2009 | Top 100 Works of Journalism of the Century

The Event

October 14th, 7:00pm

The winners were announced in a virtual ceremony on October 14 at 7:00pm. Watch the live replay below:

The Judges

Winners were selected by a group of distinguished outside judges — Madeleine Blais, Leon Dash, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, Wesley Lowery, Greil Marcus, Nilay Patel, Dorothy Rabinowitz, Dan Rather, Frank Rich, David Remnick, Walter Shapiro, Sree Sreenivasan, Sarah Stillman and Ben Yagoda — along with the Faculty of the Carter Institute: Mohamad Bazzi, Robert S. Boynton, Meredith Broussard, Ted Conover, David Dent, Frankie Edozien, Dan Fagin, Meryl Gordon, Perri Klass, Brooke Kroeger, Yvonne Latty, Susie Linfield, Jason Maloney, Suketu Mehta, Ivan Oransky, Adam L. Penenberg, Mary W. Quigley, Marcia Rock, Katie Roiphe, Jay Rosen, Jason Samuels, Stephen D. Solomon, Mitchell Stephens, and Rachel L. Swarns.

The Honorees


Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Case for Reparations, The Atlantic.

“Beautifully written, meticulously reported, highly persuasive …” “The most powerful essay of its time.” “Ground breaking.” “It influenced the public conversation so much that it became a necessary topic in the presidential debate.”

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Isabel Wilkerson, The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration.

“It’s a masterwork by one of our greatest writers and most diligent reporters. Exquisitely written as it is researched, embracing breadth and detail alike, essential reading to understand America.” “A masterpiece of narrative nonfiction.”

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Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement. Based on their reporting for the New York Times.

“A chronicle of the #MeToo era.” “A pitch-perfect primer on how to take a hot-button-chasing by-the-minutes breaking story and investigate it with the best and most honorable journalistic practices.” “This is one of the defining issues of our times, one whose impact will be felt for a long time.”

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Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers.

“Unbelievably well written and well reported portrait of a slum in Mumbai.” “Vividly reports on the life of this slum’s inhabitants.”

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Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.

“The book demonstrates the ways in which the War on Drugs, and its resulting incarceration policies and processes, operate against people of color in the same way as Jim Crow. Powerful on its own terms and crucial as an engine toward transforming the criminality of our ‘justice’ system.”

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Julie K. Brown, “How a Future Trump Cabinet Member Gave a Serial Sex Abuser the Deal of a Lifetime,” Miami Herald.

“Investigative journalist for The Miami Herald, examines a secret plea deal that helped Jeffrey Epstein evade federal charges related to sexual abuse.” “Brown essentially picked up a cold case; without her reporting, Epstein’s crimes and prosecutors’ dereliction would not be known.” “Great investigative reporting.” “Documenting the abuses of Jeffrey Epstein when virtually everyone else had dropped the story. “What makes this particularly compelling for me is that Brown did the reporting amid the economic collapse of a great regional paper.” “A remarkable effort to empower victims.”

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Sheri Fink, Five Days At Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital.

“In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. This is narrative medical journalism at its finest: compelling, compassionate, and unsettling.”

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Nikole Hannah-Jones, Matthew Desmond, Jeneen Interlandi, Kevin M. Kruse, Jamelle Bouie, Linda Villarosa, Wesley Morris, Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Bryan Stevenson, Trymaine Lee, Djeneba Aduayom, Nikita Stewart, Mary Elliott, Jazmine Hughes, Anne C. Bailey, The 1619 Project, New York Times Magazine.

“Explores the beginning of American slavery and reframes the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.” “A definitive work of opinion journalism examining the lingering role of slavery in American society.”

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David A. Fahrenthold, Series of articles demonstrating that most of candidate Donald Trump’s claimed charitable giving was bogus, Washington Post.

“By contacting hundreds of charities — interactions recorded on what became a well-known legal pad — Fahrenthold proved that Trump had never given what he claimed to have given or much at all, despite, in one instance, having sat on the stage as if he had.”

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Staff of the Washington Post, Police shootings database 2015 to present.

“The definitive journalistic exploration and documentation of fatal police shootings in America. In a decade defined, in part, by the emergence of Black Lives Matter, this Washington Post project set a new standard for real-time, data journalism and was a vital resource during a still-raging national debate.” “In the wake of Ferguson, newsrooms across the country took up admirable data reporting efforts to fill the longstanding gaps in existing federal data on police use of force. This project stands out both in its comprehensiveness and sustained dedication.”

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Our judges and NYU’s Journalism faculty, along with some students and alumni, nominated 122 works of journalism for this honor.

View all Nominations