The Best of TWI in 2008
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The Washington Independent is about to celebrate its one-year anniversary in January. In just twelve months, TWI has run over 4,400 blog posts, stories and videos, an average of more than 80 a week. The TWI staff made its mark breaking important stories on a range of beats –- including national security, politics, the economy and the environment.
As the year comes to a close, we decided to take a look back at some of the best content of 2008. It was no easy feat to winnow the list down to just a few.
Here’s a list of the most viewed stories of the year and a list of the staff’s favorite stories. Visit our staff blog, The Independent Streak, where we are re-running some of our favorite posts of the year.
Top 5 Most Viewed Stories of 2008:
TWI sent managing editor Laura McGann to Alaska to report on Sarah Palin’s record as mayor of Wasilla and governor of the state. Her first story raised questions early on about Palin’s claims that she is a reformer.
The Reform Candidate? (Laura McGann)
Laura also dug into Palin’s background to discover that her style had changed to the point where she was nearly unrecognizable in her home state, though she hung on to her chief adviser, her husband Todd Palin.
The Remaking of a Candidate, Alaskans Don’t Recognize Their Governor (Laura McGann)
TWI’s Spencer Ackerman noticed that though Sen. John McCain backed Gen. David Petraeus, Petraeus’ words were more in line with the policies of now President-elect Barack Obama.
Petraeus Talk Bolsters Obama (Spencer Ackerman)
Some of TWI’s most hard-hitting campaign coverage came from investigative reporter John Dougherty, a long-time Arizonan. Dougherty drew from his years of experience in the Grand Canyon State to help unpack the McCain candidacy. Dougherty revisited the Keating Five scandal with an eye on Cindy McCain.
Keating Connection: The Sequel (John Dougherty)
TWI also attracted well-known writers to provide commentary this year. Anne Taylor Fleming, a regular contributor, gracefully puts national news stories in context. Her reflections on Elizabeth Edwards resonated with many readers:
Haunted by Elizabeth (Anne Taylor Fleming)
TWI Staff Picks for 2008:
TWI sent Spencer Ackerman to Afghanistan, where he documented the corruption and systemic problems plaguing the war-torn country.
Afghan Police Corruption Stymies U.S. Weapons Hunt (Spencer Ackerman)
TWI’s Mary Kane has been telling the harrowing tale of the foreclosure crisis over the course of the year. In one of her most gripping stories, she embedded herself with a Virginia man as he was evicted from his home. The American News Project produced the accompanying video.
An Eviction in Manassas (Mary Kane)
Mike Lillis has been taking a step back and asking important questions while covering Congress. Dogging the auto bailout saga, Mike asked why a band of Southern Republicans was so opposed to the idea. He discovered that not only do they have foreign auto-plants in their home states, as many knew, but those companies had received** **billions of dollars in the kind of government incentives that they decried for Detroit.
Foreign Automakers Won Billions in Government Subsidies (Mike Lillis)
Legal correspondent Daphne Eviatar has looked closely at the legal implications for those subjected to torture while in U.S. custody. One of her best pieces outlines the possible roadblocks Obama faces in closing the Guantanamo Bay detention center.
Gitmo Detainees Pose Thorny Problem for Obama (Daphne Eviatar)
Suemedha Sood covered the environment for TWI, with an eye for the health of communities. In one of her earliest stories, she visits a community in Pennsylvania suffering from the consequences of so-called “clean” coal. She also teamed up with the American News Project to produce the video.
VIDEO: “How Clean is Clean Coal” (Suemedha Sood)
Matthew Blake covered government oversight this year for TWI. In one of his best stories, he described how scientists had been hopeful when one of their own, Steven Johnson, took over the EPA. But in the end, as Matthew reported, Johnson traded science for politics.
Trading Science for Politics (Matthew Blake)
We have set a high standard against which we will measure our journalism in 2009. Join us!