The Top 14 MoJo Longreads of 2014

A selection of 14 fascinating features from the past 12 months.

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

While conventional wisdom suggests that people won’t read lengthy magazine stories online, MoJo readers have regularly proven otherwise. Many of our top traffic-generating stories are heavily researched investigations and deeply reported narratives—stories which our readers stick to till the bitter end. So here, for your holiday enjoyment, is a selection of 14 of our best-loved longreads from 2014.  (Click here for last year’s list, here for our 2012 list, and finally here for our 2011 list). 

Are you racist?

The Science of Why Cops Shoot Young Black Men
And how to reform our bigoted brains.
By Chris Mooney



Seal Team Six

The Making of the Warrior Cop: Inside the Billion-Dollar Industry that Turned Local Cops into SEAL Team Six
Do police really need grenade launchers?
By Shane Bauer

The great frack forward

The Great Frack Forward: A Journey to the Heart of China’s Gas Boom

US Companies are salivating over the biggest shale gas resources in the world. What could go wrong?
By Jaeah Lee and James West


The NRA’s Murder Mystery
Was the NRA’s top lawyer railroaded—or a “bad guy with a gun”?
By Dave Gilson


bail industry

Inside the Wild, Shadowy, and Highly Lucrative Bail Industry
How $550 and a five-day class gets you the right to stalk, arrest, and shoot people.
By Shane Bauer



We Can Code it: Why Computer Literacy is Key to Winning the 21st Century
Why American schools need to train a generation of hackers.
By Tasneem Raja


Children on the boarder

70,000 Kids Will Show Up Alone at Our Border This Year. What Happens to Them?
Officials have been stunned by a “surge” of unaccompanied children crossing into the US.
By Ian Gordon



Koch vs. Koch: The Brutal Battle That Tore Apart America’s Most Powerful Family
Before the brothers went to war against Obama, they almost destroyed each other.
By Daniel Schulman


Is New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez the Next Sarah Palin?
Petty. Vindictive. Weak on policy. And yet she is being hailed as the Republican Party’s great new hope.
By Andy Kroll



Who’s Behind Newsweek?
The magazine’s owners are anxious to hide their ties to an enigmatic religious figure. Why?
By Ben Dooley



Kidnapped By Iran: 780 Days of Isolation, Two Dozen Interrogations, One Marriage Proposal
How we survived two years of hell as hostages in Tehran.
By Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal, and Sarah Shourd



The Scary New Evidence on BPA-Free Plastics
And the Big Tobacco-style campaign to bury it.
By Mariah Blake



Common Core

Inside the Mammoth Backlash to Common Core
How a bipartisan education reform effort became the biggest conservative bogeyman since Obamacare.
By Tim Murphy



This American Refused to Become an FBI Informant. Then the Government Made His Family’s Life Hell.
Plus, secret recordings reveal FBI threats.
By Nick Baumann


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend