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The best longreads of 2017 from Recode and beyond

Sit back, relax and enjoy these stories you didn’t have time for.

A baseball player sits in the dugout wearing his uniform, batting helmet and batting gloves while checking his mobile phone. Jayne Kamin-Oncea / Getty

It has been a dramatic and exhausting year.

Simply keeping up with the White House and our Tweeter-in-Chief Donald Trump feels like a full-time job these days. Add in wildfires and hurricanes, a rare solar eclipse and an unthinkable tragedy in Las Vegas, and you’d be forgiven if all you had time to read this year was breaking news.

Thankfully, breaking news journalism is as good as it’s ever been. But it’s not the only good journalism that came out of 2017.

As you prepare for holiday travel — or in case you just need a break from your in-laws — we’ve pulled together the best longform journalism that Recode produced this year, plus a number of other stories from our industry colleagues that we think you’ll love.

From Recode

Reid Hoffman has billions of dollars and one of the best networks in Silicon Valley. Here’s how he’s using them to take on Trump.

A profile of successful Silicon Valley venture capitalist, Reid Hoffman, and his efforts to fight Donald Trump from within the tech industry.

Tony Romm, Recode

Priscilla Chan is running one of the most ambitious philanthropies in the world

Meet Priscilla Chan, a doctor, an educator, a philanthropist and the lesser-known half of a Silicon Valley power couple tasked with giving away $70 billion. Chan and her husband, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, are operating one of the most ambitious philanthropies in human history.

Kurt Wagner, Recode

Inside Uber’s self-driving car mess

Uber’s self-driving car efforts are important — it’s why the company made a lofty acquisition of self-driving truck startup Otto. While that deal was meant to bolster Uber’s efforts, the addition of the Otto team and its co-founder Anthony Levandowski instead caused complications. Here’s a look at the internal civil war and why the technology is lagging behind.

Johana Bhuiyan, Recode

Amazon and Walmart are in an all-out price war that is terrifying America’s biggest brands

Two of the world’s largest retailers are fighting to bring you the lowest prices, but their race to the bottom has consequences.

Jason Del Rey, Recode

Inside Instagram’s reinvention

Instagram has become Facebook’s most valuable asset — it’s become the social giant’s greatest weapon in its fight to win over the world’s youngest internet users. But to get there, Instagram had to change its philosophy on sharing — and borrow a few ideas from Snapchat.

Kurt Wagner, Recode

How to quit Facebook

If you’ve ever considered cutting the cord, here’s a step-by-step guide on leaving everybody’s favorite social network behind. Plus, directions for how to drastically reduce notifications and Facebook’s access to your data, in case you’re not ready to quit altogether.

Eric Johnson, Recode

How Uber got into this human resources mess

Susan Fowler’s damning essay about working at Uber shed light on a system that rewarded high performers sometimes in spite of allegations of misconduct. That’s because the company, and its then-CEO Travis Kalanick, felt the role of Human Resources was simply to recruit rather than mitigate personnel issues. Here’s how Uber found itself at the center of the year’s biggest HR disaster.

Johana Bhuiyan, Recode

How being ‘coin-operated’ at Uber led to a top exec obtaining the medical records of a rape victim in India

Uber executive Eric Alexander obtained the medical files of a woman who was raped in New Delhi, India, by her Uber driver. Alexander, who has since been fired, carted those files around expressing suspicions about the circumstances around the assault.

Kara Swisher and Johana Bhuiyan, Recode

How the NFL juggles the future of streaming, the decline of TV, and billions of dollars

The NFL is the most valuable content on television. Everybody wants in on the action, and the NFL knows that. Here’s a look at how the league is balancing its massive TV business with the need to move into an increasingly digital world.

Kurt Wagner, Recode

From around the web

The Reckoning: Women and power in the workplace

“Women of all stripes explore sexual harassment in the workplace in a series of essays and artworks. Their views are thoughtful, diverse and illuminating. Required reading for all men.” — Rani Molla

Collective essays, The New York Times Magazine

The New Yorker’s investigation into Harvey Weinstein

With three pieces, Ronan Farrow managed to make the horror of Harvey Weinstein into an empathetic tale of women whose lives were forever changed by a monster and how they fought back without looking away from the incalculable damage he wrought.” — Kara Swisher

Ronan Farrow, The New Yorker

The last person you’d expect to die in childbirth

“This collaborative investigation by ProPublica and NPR rocked me the first time I read it. Not only is it gripping and well-written, but it also blows up the idea that childbirth in America is safe. So much attention is placed on the child — and rightly so — but it’s the women who have to go through the physical trauma of giving birth who can, ironically enough, be forgotten about in hospitals. Read and listen to the whole thing.” — Meghann Farnsworth

Nina Martin, ProPublica & Renee Montagne, NPR

Seven Days of Heroin: This is what addiction looks like

“Sixty reporters and photographers and others at the Cincinnati Enquirer set out to document opioid addiction in their city, and the resulting package moved me more than anything else I read in 2017. Be warned.” — Tony Romm

USA Today

Mexican Drug Smugglers to Trump: Thanks!

“This journalist explores the way in which Trump’s proposal for a wall on the border of Mexico inadvertently makes drug and people smuggling a more lucrative business for the criminal networks operating them.” — Johana Bhuiyan

Ioan Grillo, The New York Times

NBA Jam - Oral History

“This was a fun one. Any 90’s kid who cared about sports knows NBA Jam — I used to play against my brothers with my beloved Seattle Supersonics (R.I.P.). Sports Illustrated pulled together a cool oral history showing the birth of a legendary video game.” — Kurt Wagner

Alex Abnos and Dan Greene, Sports Illustrated

I tried to work all day in a VR headset and it was horrible

“As a recovering VR geek and easy mark for stunt journalism, this piece was a delight. The pictures alone are fantastic, but don’t stop there. This essay deftly blends (accurate!) critiques of virtual reality’s current limitations with hilarious prose.” — Eric Johnson

Alex Hern, The Guardian

A journey through a land of extreme poverty: Welcome to America

“We’re used to seeing pictures and stories of extreme poverty outside of the U.S., but this Guardian article rips back the curtain here at home. We’re used to reading about the billions that companies make or the hot new startup that just got millions in seed money. But just underneath the gleaming towers of wealth are those who have gotten lost along the way, living in plain sight, but out of mind.” — Meghann Farnsworth

Ed Pilkington, The Guardian

One person’s history of Twitter, from beginning to end

“At a time when Twitter is most commonly spotted in headlines about harassment, election meddling or business struggles, it’s refreshing to be reminded what the platform used to be — namely fun. This essay looks back on why we all joined Twitter in the first place and how it all went wrong.” — Eric Johnson

Mike Monteiro, Medium

Americas Future is Texas

“Stop thinking about President Donald Trump for just a moment and ponder where the country — with or without him — is heading politically. The New Yorker offered a richly reported glimpse of the future in this lengthy read about the Texas legislature.” — Tony Romm

Lawrence Wright, The New Yorker

Miles of ice collapsing into the sea

“This is just great digital journalism from the New York Times — they took a serious, important subject like climate change and they showed people, with powerful images and graphics, why they should care.” — Kurt Wagner

The New York Times

In Conversation: David Letterman

“It is a profoundly weird time to be alive. Especially without some of the comic relief we’re used to. Now seemingly comfortable in his retirement, David Letterman has been doing a little press here and there, and whenever he does, it’s such a fantastic escape.” — Dan Frommer

David Marchese, Vulture

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