“Learning to Talk”

The Washington University philosophy professor devotes 4,697 words to the importance of using one’s education to better communicate with loved ones:

I want to talk to you about talking, that commonest of all our intended activities, for talking is our public link with one another; it is a need; it is an art; it is the chief instrument of all instruction; it is the most personal aspect of our private life. To those who have sponsored our appearance in the world, the first memorable moment to follow our inaugural bawl is the birth of our first word. It is that noise, a sound that is no longer a simple signal, like the greedy squalling of a gull, but a declaration of the incipient presence of mind, that delivers us into the human realm.

“Fall Down. Make a Mess. Break Something Occasionally.”

The comedian speaks to his alma mater about the importance of taking risks, and his own rocky path from college to the late-night stage:

What else can you expect in the real world? Let me tell you. As you leave these gates and re-enter society, one thing is certain. Everyone out there is going to hate you. Never tell anyone in a roadside diner that you went to Harvard. In those situations, the correct response to, “Where did you go to school?” is “School? I never had much in the way of book learnin’ and such.” And then get in your BMW and get the hell out of there. Go.

2011 Pulitzer Prize: Investigative Reporting: Weak Insurers Put Millions of Floridians at Risk

Despite no hurricanes in five years, Florida insurers are demanding yet more money from homeowners. At the same time, the capital that insurers have on hand to pay claims has shrunk. One reporter spent a year trying to figure out why.

  1. Weak Insurers Put Floridians at Risk

  2. How Insurers Make Millions on the Side

  3. Regulators Take a Gamble on Discount Insurance

  4. Property Insurers Sending Billions Overseas

  5. Florida Insurers Rely on Dubious Storm Model

  6. How State Farm Cashed in on a Crisis

  7. No Hurricanes, but Bigger Insurance Bills

2011 Pulitzer Prize: National Reporting: The Wall Street Money Machine

A series on how some Wall Street bankers, seeking to enrich themselves at the expense of their clients and sometimes even their own firms, at first delayed but then worsened the financial crisis.

  1. The Magnetar Trade: How One Hedge Fund Helped Keep the Bubble Going

  2. The ‘Subsidy’: How a Handful of Merrill Lynch Bankers Helped Blow Up Their Own Firm

  3. Banks’ Self-Dealing Super-Charged Financial Crisis

2011 Pulitzer Prize: Explanatory Reporting: One in a Billion: A Boy's Life, a Medical Mystery

Nicholas Volker is a little boy with a rare, devastating disease. In a desperate bid to save his life, Wisconsin doctors must decide: Is it time to push medicine’s frontier?

  1. Part 1: A Baffling Illness

  2. Part 2: Sifting Through the DNA Haystack

  3. Part 3: Gene Insights Lead to a Risky Treatment

2011 Pulitzer Prize: International Reporting: Above the Law

On Russia’s faltering justice system.

  1. Part 1: Intimidating the MessengersJournalists, Fighting Graft, Pay in Blood

  2. Part II: The Czar’s EyeRussia Turns a Deaf Ear as Killing Cries for Justice

  3. Part III: Resort of the EliteRussian Mayor Irks Security Agency, and Suffers

  4. Part IV: On the TakeVideos Rouse Russian Anger Toward Police

  5. Part V: Unlikely PartnersRussia Uses Microsoft to Suppress Dissent

  6. Part VI: Prosecutors’ Upper HandIn Russia, Jury Is Something to Work Around

  7. Part VII: Hampered ElectionsIn Siberia Race, Ruling Party Uses Clenched Fist

  8. Part VIII: A Search for AnswersAfter Russian Death, Inquiry Doors Open and Shut

  9. Part IX: An Official’s Long ReachIn Russia, an Advocate Is Killed, and an Accuser Tried

A Requiem for Glenn Beck

  1. Is Glenn Beck the Most Annoying Man on TV?Benjamin Wallace | GQ | Sep 2007

  2. Mad Man: Is Glenn Beck Bad for America?David Von Drehle | Time | Sep 2009

  3. The Making of Glenn BeckAlexander Zaitchik | Salon | Sep 2009

  4. Unheavenly Host: Fox’s Latest BlowhardNancy Franklin | New Yorker | Nov 2009

  5. Glenn Beck, Inc.Lacey Rose | Forbes | Apr 2010

  6. Being Glenn BeckMark Leibovich | NYT Magazine | Nov 2009

  7. The Beck of RevelationMark Lilla | NY Review of Books | Dec 2010

2011 National Magazine Awards Finalists: Feature Writing

As announced today.

  1. The Wrong Man (David Freed, The Atlantic)On the man wrongfully accused of the 2001 anthrax attacks.

  2. The Suicide Catcher (Michael Paterniti, GQ)On the angel who saves jumpers on an infamous bridge in China.

  3. The End (Ben Ehrenreich, Los Angeles)Death in L.A. can be an odd undertaking.

  4. The Mark of a Masterpiece (David Grann, New Yorker)The man who keeps finding famous fingerprints on uncelebrated works of art.

  5. For Us Surrender Is Out of the Question(Mac McClelland, Mother Jones)The young men who risk life and limb to document Burma’s genocide.

2011 National Magazine Awards Finalists: Reporting

As announced today.

  1. The Guantánamo “Suicides” (Scott Horton, Harper’s)A Camp Delta sergeant blows the whistle.

  2. Is Yemen the Next Afghanistan?(Robert F. Worth, NYT Magazine)

  3. Covert Operations (Jane Mayer, New Yorker)The billionaire Koch brothers’ war against Obama

  4. The Runaway General (Michael Hastings, Rolling Stone)The profile that got Stanley McChrystal fired

  5. Digging Out (Elliot D. Woods, VQR)Afghans’ best hope for their future might be right under their feet.

2011 National Magazine Awards Finalists: Public Interest

As announced today.

  1. “God Help You, You’re on Dialysis”(Robin Fields, ProPublica)Why do one in four people on dialysis die?

  2. Letting Go (Atul Gawande, New Yorker)What should medicine do when it can’t save your life?

  3. What’s the Catch? (Bruce Barcott, On Earth)Sustainable fishing in the Bering Sea.

  4. Innocence Lost (Pamela Colloff, Texas Monthly)The story of Anthony Graves, an innocent man behind bars for nearly 20 years.

  5. Innocence Found (Pamela Colloff, Texas Monthly)How Anthony Graves found freedom.