Happy New Year from Pursuit Magazine!
We, the new editors, have been at this for a year now. We’ve learned a lot about how to make a magazine, what kinds of stories our readers enjoy, and when to politely decline a guest post or infographic that’s doctored with suspicious links and keywords. We’ve gained a community and (hopefully) learned to serve it better.
We’ve come to value quality over quantity. With that in mind, we’re making relationships with some of the best minds in our industry (and with our accomplished journalist-colleagues) and humbly offering you their excellent work.
This year, we’ve published plenty of pieces we’re proud of, on topics from security dogs to social media investigations, profiles of fellow investigators, PI war stories, interviews, and features about lie detection and justice gone tragically awry.
We've come to value quality over quantity.
As for the best stories of the year: Your suggestions have been rolling in, via tweets and Facebook posts. We’ve plugged those into a sophisticated algorithm that combines page views, shares, comments, and general excellence…to come up with our top 13 picks for 2013, listed in chronological order.
We see your fascination with stories about the stereotypes that plague our field and revealing tales from the trenches, practical how-tos and interviews with experts…and we raise you more of the same: a promise to bring you more in 2014 of what you liked best in 2013.
Thanks to our readers for the ride-along this exciting first year, and to our excellent contributors for raising the bar so darned high.
A veteran journalist who’s reported for such tony publications as the Boston Globe and the NYTimes, Theo Emery offers a few tricks of the trade, shares tales of gumshoe-style reporting, and carries an archaeology metaphor through to the end.
Emery is old-school — part storyteller and part investigator, here to remind us that with him and his ilk on the case, narrative journalism isn’t dead.
2. A Reasonable Amount of Trouble 1/13/13
The mysterious femme fatale. The tough private eye who seeks justice at any cost. The rare object worth killing for. Dashiell Hammett coined all of these classic elements of noir fiction with his 1930 breakthrough novel The Maltese Falcon.
Songwriter and journalist Bill DeMain tells us how and why.
3. Savvy Networking for Bail Enforcement Agents 1/21/13
It wasn’t easy to choose a best of Joe Stiles, but we sure love these tidbits of gentlemanly wisdom…from a wise gentleman in our midst.
No one expects the Spanish Inquisition! But we hope our readers have come to expect The Inquisitor: a column featuring interviews with fascinating and curious folks, from investigative journalists and authors to Innocence Project attorneys and criminal defense investigators.
We quite enjoyed this one with Konnikova, on her exploration of the psychology of that iconic master sleuth.
NY CFE Brian Willingham has a gift for wordsmithery…and for sparking fervent discussion threads about myths and stereotypes surrounding the investigations industry.
6. 30 Business Rules I Try to Live By 4/2/13
“You owe no allegiance to a particular client, only to the facts. Let the data be your guide-star,” writes Portland, OR CFE Eli Rosenblatt in this inspired and inspiring piece that outlines his personal philosophy of doing business (and has helped to inform ours as well).
7. From Death Row to New Life 4/10/13 & 6/21/13
Last spring, Claire Gibson and Pursuit broke the story of Ndume Olatushani, a man who served 28 years (many of them on death row) for a robbery-murder he didn’t commit.
In this 2-part series, we meet Olatushani and the woman who helped set him free, and we learn a few unsettling facts about how wrongful convictions come to pass.
8. The Unburnable Female Operative 5/9/13
We cheated a little in May and dredged one up from @FINDPI’s archives. And we’re glad we did, because we just about broke Facebook when we posted this one — it seems Pursuit fans can’t get enough of stories about how stealthy the ladies can be.
The rest of the world may think PI-ing is a man’s game. But the Pursuit community knows better.
9. 5 Things NOT to Do on Surveillance 7/8/13
Two things we learned this year? 1. Everybody loves lists, and 2. People enjoy “stupid people tricks” stories.
Executive editor Hal Humphreys supplies both of these vital elements in this rollicking tale of surveillance error, frozen in grainy photographic infamy.
This great overview of how to use pretexting effectively and legally masquerades as advice for crime novelists, but it’s also a great reminder for us nonfictional PIs.
11. Who We Are: Ana Carolina Lanuza, Miami PI 9/8/13
Look for a lot more profiles like these in 2014. It’s a way for our international community of investigators to get a little smaller and know each other better. Send us your nominees!
12. I Don’t Always Wear a Trench Coat 10/31/13
By turns funny and candid, Burch captures the challenges and rewards of this work and tells a tale that’s both familiar to us all and wholly her own.
13. Deception Detection for Interviewers 12/2/13
This piece on the latest in lie detection science, by researcher Kevin Goodman, has it all: strong writing, original reporting, scholarship, and useful information.
Look for more excellence from Goodman in 2014. We’re thrilled to have him on the masthead.