Man using tablet

Whoo-ee! We made it! Christ, things got pretty hairy there; I didn’t think we’d all actually … wait — where’s Prince?

Whoa, hey mate, you don’t look so good. Take a seat, go on. Look, we know 2016 was a big year. It was a big year for Crikey, too. We witnessed Brexit, spotted the opening-up of a perhaps great schism in the Coalition, and countenanced Pauline Hanson’s return. We saw off Obama and “welcomed” a Cheezel-coloured, Peruvian guinea pig of a man to the White House. But we didn’t, indeed couldn’t, do it all. Sometimes we had to leave it to our competitors to pick up the slack. And they did a great job of it. All of us this year read pieces that gave us that much joy, that much insight, that, perversely, they also made us a little bit jealous — jealous that we hadn’t thought to write or record these small masterpieces ourselves.

We present them, humbly, herewith:

Cass Knowlton, editor

My four months as a private prison guard” by Shane Bauer in Mother Jones

Sometimes guts and gumption aren’t enough. Sometimes you just need a huge budget in order to invest in world-leading journalism. This piece by Mother Jones shows what happens when the good guys are able to spend enough money and time to hold the bad guys to account. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s spectacular. This story rocked the world and changed the US justice system, probably forever. Because of this story, some of the most marginalised people in the world will get a fairer shake. That is what we’re supposed to be doing here. Mother Jones is on the side of the angels — and I am very jealous of both their budget (the story cost an estimated $350,000 and true grit). — Cass Knowlton

Bernard Keane, politics editor

Neil Finn, Steve Waugh prove it’s not only natural” by Joe Aston The Australian Financial Review

I almost never read something that makes me say “I wish I’d written that.” Maybe once a year, or twice perhaps. But this Joe Aston ode to summer, cricket and two unnaturally gifted sets of brothers made me seriously jealous. — Bernard Keane

Myriam Robin, media reporter

The enemy within: Glenn Loury — economist” [podcast] on Love + Radio

Lowry is a fascinating man: intelligent, charming, highly rational, selfish and otherwise flawed as you could hope for, given this podcast is an hour-long introspective on his life, philosophy, and how it changed course (though perhaps not as completely as it might at first seem). The podcast is masterfully put together by an interview team who both let Lowry speak, and ask him probing questions when necessary. A truly fantastic piece of interviewing, about a most unusual man. — Myriam Robin

Sophie Benjamin, engagement editor

Stigma and Silence: Welcome to Abortion in Rural Australia” by Katherine Gillespie in Broadly

Growing up in regional Queensland I’d had it drilled into me that I would have to be extra careful about the risk of pregnancy, as abortions are still technically illegal in Queensland and are expensive and hard to procure even for women who live in Brisbane. I had normalised it so much that I didn’t even think its unfairness would make waves. Vice’s Broadly vertical is doing great work. — Sophie Benjamin

Sally Whyte, journalist

See how they run” by Gideon Haigh in Griffith Review

This piece by Gideon Haigh combines two of my loves — sport and good governance (yes I am a terrible nerd) — and is a really interesting exploration of how sport is run in Australia and the barriers that come with it. There’s so many stories I wish I could have written this year, but the idea of spending a lot of time thinking and writing about sport is appealing. — Sally Whyte

Josh Taylor, journalist

Bowraville” [podcast] by Dan Box in The Australian

“We sledge them a lot, but the Australian‘s Bowraville Podcast is by far the best thing they produced this year.” — Josh Taylor

Helen Razer, contributor

The era is a complex and terrible one and refuses a single and marvellous account. For both this reason and for my tendency to bang on like Miss Teen USA and generously thank everyone when given opportunity who has placed a single sequin on my gown, I offer all of these. — Helen Razer

Dan Wood, subeditor

Get mad, get even” by Eleanor Robertson in Meanjin

Robertson deftly skips across the minefield of progressive intellectual taboos, charting routes from bunker to bunker, cogently explaining to the occupants why their plans won’t work. A thoughtful yet unsentimental contribution to an ongoing public debate that can rarely be described thus. — Dan Wood


Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey