Luis Octavio López Vega, who worked for both the Mexican military and as an informant to the DEA, is now in hiding:
"The reserved, unpretentious husband and father of three has been a fugitive ever since, on the run from his native country and abandoned by his adopted home. For more than a decade, he has carried information about the inner workings of the drug war that both governments carefully kept secret.
"The United States continues to feign ignorance about his whereabouts when pressed by Mexican officials, who still ask for assistance to find him, a federal law enforcement official said.
"The cover-up was initially led by the D.E.A., whose agents did not believe the Mexican authorities had a legitimate case against their informant. Other law enforcement agencies later went along, out of fear that the D.E.A.’s relationship with Mr. López might disrupt cooperation between the two countries on more pressing matters."
PUBLISHED: April 29, 2013
LENGTH: 25 minutes (6304 words)
Longreads presents: A collection of stories awarded the Pulitzer, including The New York Times, Minneapolis Star Tribune and more.
PUBLISHED: April 15, 2013
Director Paul Schrader and writer Bret Easton Ellis attempt to make a film with Lindsay Lohan and porn star James Deen—with a budget of $250,000:
"Lohan sits down, smiles and skips the small talk.
"'Hi, how are you? I won’t play Cynthia. I want to play Tara, the lead.' Braxton Pope and Paul Schrader nod happily. They’d been tipped off by her agent that this was how it was going to go. They tell her that sounds like a great idea.
"Schrader thinks she’s perfect for the role. Not everyone agrees. Schrader wrote 'Raging Bull' and 'Taxi Driver' and has directed 17 films. Still, some fear Lohan will end him. There have been house arrests, car crashes and ingested white powders. His own daughter begs him not to use her. A casting-director friend stops their conversation whenever he mentions her name. And then there’s the film’s explicit subject matter. Full nudity and lots of sex. Definitely NC-17. His wife, the actress Mary Beth Hurt, didn’t even finish the script, dismissing it as pornography after 50 pages. She couldn’t understand why he wanted it so badly.
"But Schrader was running out of chances."
PUBLISHED: Jan. 10, 2013
LENGTH: 31 minutes (7752 words)
The story of 16 world-class skiers and snowboarders who decided to go skiing together in Washington's Cascades in February 2012, and what happened to them when an avalanche hit. This six-part series uses interviews, photos, videos and simulations to reconstruct the day:
"'Just as I had the thought about what I’m going to do, wondering if it was going to bury me, that’s right when I could feel it,' Castillo said. 'It was like a wave. Like when you’re in the ocean and the tide moves away from you. You’re getting thrashed and you feel it pull out and you’re like, O.K., I can stand up now.'
"Castillo saw daylight again. His camera captured snow sliding past his legs for another 13 seconds. The forest sounded as if it were full of sickly frogs. It was the trees, scrubbed of their fresh snow, still swaying and creaking around him.
"Castillo turned to look back up the hill.
"'Where there were three people, there was nobody,' Castillo said."
PUBLISHED: Dec. 20, 2012
LENGTH: 70 minutes (17639 words)
On the 1962-1963 printers strike in New York City that effectively shut down the seven biggest newspapers in the city, killed four of them, and made names for writers like Gay Talese, Tom Wolfe and Nora Ephron:
"A city without The New York Times inspired rage and scorn, ambivalence and relief. A 'Talk of the Town' item in The New Yorker lamented a weekend without the 'fragrant, steamy deep-dish apple pie of the Sunday Times.' James Reston—pillar of the Establishment, Washington bureau chief and columnist for the Times, and intimate of the Sulzberger family, to whom he directed a controversial entreaty to use non-union shops—was allowed to read his column on New York’s Channel 4 in early January 1963: 'Striking the Times is like striking an old lady and deprives the community of all kinds of essential information. If some beautiful girl gets married this week, the television may let us see her gliding radiantly from the church. But what about all those ugly girls who get married every Sunday in the Times?'
"A city without newspapers was a city in which civic activity was impeded, as two out-of-work Times reporters hired by the Columbia Journalism Review soon documented. Without the daily papers, the Health Department’s campaign against venereal disease was 'seriously impaired.' So was the fight against slumlords: 'There’s a distinct difference,' the city’s building commissioner said, 'between a $500 fine and a $500 fine plus a story in the Times.' The New York chapter of the Congress on Racial Equality discovered that, without newspaper attention, its boycott of the Sealtest Milk Company was considerably undermined. The newspaper strike, the C.J.R. study concluded, had 'deprived the public of its watchdog."
PUBLISHED: Nov. 30, 2012
LENGTH: 22 minutes (5728 words)
The writer's nephew, a star linebacker in college, struggles for a shot at the pros:
"Mike Nolan, a former defensive coordinator for the New York Giants, Jets and five other N.F.L. teams before being hired by Atlanta last winter, had just signaled for the 'Threes,' with Pat at middle linebacker or 'Mike,' to execute a 'Dallas freeze,' a package featuring two blitzing linebackers. As one of the scheme’s designated blitzers, Pat shot toward the quarterback then deftly swerved inside a blocking fullback to get at his target. Another head-turning display, although in this instance for entirely the wrong reasons. Coaches love speed. They love schemes even more, and in that one Pat was designated to be the 'contain man.' His responsibility was to go outside the blocking back to prevent the play from developing wide.
"'Give me two good reasons,' Nolan’s voice boomed, 'why you went inside.'
"Pat went slack beneath a bowed helmet, then shrugged.
"'That’s right!' Nolan replied. 'Because there aren’t any!'
PUBLISHED: Nov. 21, 2012
LENGTH: 38 minutes (9521 words)
A unique community experiment: What happens when a group of anonymous donors offers to pay for the college education for every child in Kalamazoo, Michigan?
"From the very beginning, Brown, the only person in town who communicates directly with the Promise donors, has suggested that the program is supposed to do more than just pay college bills. It’s primarily meant to boost Kalamazoo’s economy. The few restrictions — among them, children must reside in the Kalamazoo public-school district and graduate from one of its high schools — seem designed to encourage families to stay and work in the region for a long time. The program tests how place-based development might work when education is the first investment.
"'Other communities invest in things like arenas or offer tax incentives for businesses or revitalize their waterfronts,' says Michelle Miller-Adams, a political scientist at the W. E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, which is located in the city. 'The Kalamazoo Promise tries to develop the local economy with a long-term investment in human capital that is intended to change the town from the bottom up.'"
PUBLISHED: Sept. 13, 2012
LENGTH: 17 minutes (4374 words)