Best Journalist: Alec MacGillis

Obviously, this has been a rotten year for local journalism. Some of the shifts, such as the fact that this is the last Best Of, are unremittingly bad. Others are mixed blessings. Last year’s “Best Journalist” Erica Green got scooped up from The Sun by the New York Times. We’ve had a lot of garbage written about Baltimore in national pubs, especially since the uprising, but this year there has seen some great reporting about Baltimore in national outlets. We’ve got D. Watkins at Salon and Lawrence Burney at Noisey, where he wrote a great story about the harassment of rapper Young Moose by incarcerated cop and alleged rackateerster Daniel T. Hersl. Long-time resident Wil S. Hylton broke his cardinal rule of not writing about home and did a revealing portrait of Marilyn Mosby, while the BBC’s Jessica Lussenhop wrote one of the best pieces about the ceasefire movement. But at the top of the pack, we have ProPublica’s Alec MacGillis, who is not only one of the best writers living in town, he’s one of the best in the country. His book about Mitch McConnell is a must-read and his portrait of Dayton, Ohio during the election season was stunning. But when he turns his investigative and yet empathetic eye to local issues, he does us all a service, both as citizens and as lovers of good prose and solid reporting, most recently in his story on “Kushnerville,”—the apartments that Jared Kushner owns in Maryland—and Ben Carson. The Kushnerville story shows a particular warmth toward the current and former tenants who Kushner’s company is trying to squash under fees and red tape. The story led members of Maryland’s congressional delegation to seek records from Kushner’s company in order to see if its practices follow the rules of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, from which Kushner’s 17 Maryland apartment complexes receive funds.

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