Longform You Have to Read: Tales of Stormy Weather


In a world where you have more options for satisfying longform reading than ever, your friends here at Flavorwire are taking the time once a week to highlight some of the best that journalism and longform has to offer. Whether they’re unified by topic, publication, writer, being classic pieces of work, or just by a general feeling, these articles all have one thing in common: they’re essential reading. This week, we’re looking at some stormy weather.

To paraphrase New York governor Andrew Cuomo, we’re having hundred-year storms every two years, and as a result, journalism is paying attention. But whether it’s a story of history or current malfeasance, weather is the root of all these pieces.

Weather Reporting as Beat Journalism,” by Scott Libin, Poynter, May 2005

An effective argument for why the forever-mocked weatherman or woman is just as integral to daily journalism as your beat reporter. Libin wants the weather to be fact checked, backed up, and held to the same standards as your average crime report.

Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek,” by John Branch, The New York Times, December 2012

Is this feature the future of media? Judging by the Times‘ reaction to it, at the least, the immersive, you-are-there delights of this feature is the future of the very best in print media — but it’s also a cracking good story about expert snowmen, skiers and snowboarders, faced against the onslaught of nature.

The Story That Tore Through the Trees,” by Kathryn Schulz, New York Magazine, September 2014

Norman Maclean has written the definitive book about the Mann Gulch fire that tore through Montana, Young Men and Fire; and in this piece, Schulz goes to the scene of the fire to find Maclean’s story. She discovers that Maclean hasn’t covered half of the problems with wildfires.

The Most Ambitious Environmental Lawsuit Ever,” by Nathaniel Rich, The New York Times Magazine, October 2014

There’s a story behind the Louisiana swamp images that made up the bulk of, say, HBO’s superlative True Detective season one or the Oscar-friendly film Beasts of the Southern Wild. They’re disappearing at a rapid rate, though, and in this piece, Rich introduces us to historian John Barry, who’s suing the oil companies that are allegedly behind Louisiana’s disappearing land.

How a Massachusetts Man Invented the Global Ice Market,” by Leon Neyfakh, The Boston Globe, December 2014

If you are like me, one of your favorite parts of Henry David Thoreau’s wilderness core classic Walden is when your perennially cranky narrator watches as Walden Pond gets cut up for winter, with guys trying to make ice out of the frozen pond. Well, it’s all true, and as this article details, it’s how we get some of the very best ice in a perfect winter cocktail to this day.