Cass Knowlton, editor

How Albert Woodfox survived solitary” by Rachel Aviv in The New Yorker

“When Woodfox was a child in New Orleans, he made money by stealing flowers from gravestones and selling them to mourners. The oldest of six siblings, he grew up in the Treme, one of the first neighborhoods in the South to house freed slaves. He remembers standing at a bus stop with his mother when he was twelve and trying to figure out why, when a police car passed, she pulled him behind her, as if to hide him. ‘She was so scared of white folks,’ he said. ‘We all knew they had absolute power over us.'”

Daniel Wood, subeditor

Ballarat’s suicide crisis: the way forward” by Olivia Shying in The Courier

“John Shanahan is a grieving man, but he is also a man on a mission. He watched his devoted, beloved son fight demons so strong that he woke up screaming in the night, wrapped in sweat-soaked sheets.

“In the days before Christmas the mental demons became too much for Nathan Shanahan and he took his own life. The hoops those experiencing mental illness have to jump through to get support can be lethal, John says. Every time Nathan, a firefighter and retired soldier, had to fill out forms for mental health support he was re-traumatised and found the process very difficult.”

Sophie Benjamin, engagement editor

Four years at a liberal arts college turned me into a conservative” by Jay Stephens in Vice

“After a childhood and adolescence of being the only black kid in class, I never would have considered myself an enemy of political correctness. I was rather indignant about exposing cultural insensitivities until I was inundated with college classes that seemed dedicated to manifesting real and imagined enemies from every available shadow. So I began to check out and (much to my surprise) quietly echo the conservative sentiments against oversensitivity that I had once dismissed as bigotry.”

Myriam Robin, media reporter

Milo Yiannopoulos’ cynical book deal” by Alexandra Schwartz in The New Yorker

“In 2016, Simon & Schuster announced that it was launching Salaam Reads, an imprint for Muslim-themed children’s books. That the Beck book, with its dire message about the danger that Islam poses to America, and Salaam Reads, with its presumably positive, inclusive one, could both flourish under the same publishing umbrella seems improbable, even hypocritical. But this kind of ideological mixed messaging has become standard at Simon & Schuster and other big publishing houses.”

Josh Taylor, journalist 

He was assaulted and called un-American at a Trump rally. Can he forgive the man who did it?” by Terrence McCoy in The Washington Post

“McGraw sat in the front row, and Jones found an open seat in the back. The last time they saw each other, McGraw was elbowing Jones in the face at a Donald Trump rally, one of the first moments of violence in what would become a historically contentious presidential campaign. After Jones was pulled up from the ground by county sheriffs and escorted out of the coliseum and the rally was over, McGraw went even further. ‘We don’t know if he’s ISIS. We don’t know who he is,’ he said. ‘The next time we see him, we might have to kill him.'”

Sally Whyte, deputy editor

Young and powerful, Destanee Aiava on the brink of a breakthrough at Australian Open” by Nick McCarvel in ESPN

“Next week — no matter if she wins a match or not — she’ll be the first player born in 2000 or after to compete in any of tennis’ biggest four events when she takes to the court at the Australian Open as a wild card. She’s Australia’s reigning junior champion, a title she picked up just a few weeks ago.”


Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey