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The Best Online Essays & Articles of 2022
Longform journalism is still alive and healthy—if you know where to look
Below is a list of my favorite online articles and essays from 2022.
Most of these are longform essays on music, arts, and culture—because those are matters I think about (and worry about) every day. But I don’t impose any arbitrary limits here. If the article is good enough, I include it, no matter what the subject.
By the way, this reminds me to encourage you to support the media outlets and journalists who do this high quality work. I’m obviously happy when you pay for a subscription here at The Honest Broker, but that’s not my key point. This is a much bigger issue than me.
The traditional economic model for journalism, based on advertising and print media, doesn’t work anymore. Newspapers and periodicals are dying right now—thousands have disappeared in recent years. More will shut down in the next 12 months.
And a whole bunch of other problems are hurting our media outlets. Even if a newspaper survives, that doesn’t mean that it can serve as a trustworthy source or will deal adequately with the issues at hand. Some are barely on life support, and can only do a fraction of the things we once expected from our newspapers and periodicals.
But even in difficult times, you can still find first-rate journalism—if you know where to look. Much of it is migrating to alternative channels and relying on new business models. And, of course, some old school journalists at legacy institutions continue to operate with dedication and integrity in their day-to-day work, although it often feels as if they are fighting against the odds.
In other words, the good stuff is still out there, at least for the time being, even as everything in media is in flux.
But its future remains fragile and uncertain.
So I urge you to support media outlets and journalists that maintain high standards in the face of all these obstacles. We need them more than ever, and they need us.
Below are some outstanding examples of journalism and contemporary writing at its best.
The Honest Broker is a reader-supported guide to music, books, media & culture. Both free and paid subscriptions are available. If you want to support my work, the best way is by taking out a paid subscription.
The Best Online Articles of 2022
“A Few Things to Know Before Stealing My 914” by Norman Garrett, Hagerty, March 31, 2022
“Life Advice from NYC Chess Hustlers” by Anne Kadet, Café Anne, April 2, 2022
“The Projectionist: On the Best Job That No Longer Exists” by Corey Atad, Pipe Wrench, January 18, 2022
“Paul McCartney’s Freakish Memory” by Ian Leslie, The Ruffian, September 24, 2022
“The Death Cheaters” by Courtney Shea, Toronto Life, August 29, 2022
“Enjoy My Flames: On Heavy Metal’s Fascination with Roman Emperors” by Jeremy Swist, Lapham’s Quarterly, March 23, 2022
“‘The Minions Do the Actual Writing’: The Ugly Truth of How Movie Scores Are Made” by Mark Rozzo, Vanity Fair, February 21, 2022
“Top Performers Have a Superpower: Happiness” by Paul B. Lester, Ed Diener, and Martin Seligman, MIT Sloan Management Review, February 16, 2022
“The Sky Don’t Have No Roof: The Last Ornette Coleman Interview” by John Kruth, Please Kill Me, February 10, 2022
“Stephen Sondheim’s Lasting Wisdom” by D.T. Max, The New Yorker, February 14, 2022
“Plotting the Future of the Most Storied Studio in Jazz” by Ben Sisario, New York Times, July 19, 2022
“Requiem for Sean in D Minor” by Charlie Becker, Thought Bananas, November 21, 2022
“The Cult in Google” by Kevin Lloyd, Medium, June 16, 2022
“Mozart. Coltrane. Ellington. And J Dilla? Why the Underrecognized Beatmaker Belongs Among the Legends” by Dan Charnas, Los Angeles Times, February 18, 2022
“The Amazing True(ish) Story of the ‘Honduran Maradona’” by Kieran Morris, The Guardian, October 13, 2022
“Hidden in a Fire Island House, the Soundtrack of Love and Loss” by T.M. Brown, New York Times, April 29, 2022
“China Looks to the Western Classics” by Change Che, The China Project, January 13, 2022
“She Used to Sing Opera” by Imogen Crump, Granta, February 3, 2022
“AI-Generated Art Sparks Furious Backlash from Japan’s Anime Community” by Andrew Deck, Rest of World, October 27, 2022
“How a Magician-Mathematician Revealed a Casino Loophole” by Shane Keating BBC, October 19, 2022
“Textual Healing: The Novel World of Bibliotherapy” by Katrya Bolger, The Walrus, January 7, 2022
“The Biography Conundrum—Was Boswell Smarter Than Johnson?” by Henry Oliver, The Common Reader, May 15, 2022
“The Monks Who Took the Kora to Church” by Julian Lucas, The New Yorker, August 29, 2022
“The Disappearing Modernists” by Mark N. Grant, The American Scholar, August 4, 2022
“When Music is Torture” by Anne Helen Petersen, Anne Helen’s Substack, October 2, 2022
“Is Wine Fake?” by Scott Alexander, Asterisk, November 2022
“The Impotence of Being Clever” by Alexander Stern, The Hedgehog Review, November 28 2022
“Divine Comedy: The Standup Double Act Who Turned to the Priesthood” by Lamorna Ash, The Guardian, September 22, 2022
“Agatha Christie Suspected Everybody” by Scott Bradfield, The New Republic, November 1, 2022