Six Great Phoenix New Times Longreads From 2015

During 2015, New Times published 50 long-form articles. Some delved into complicated political battles, others into sex scandals or shortcomings in the Arizona legal system, others were elegant features. Each one took weeks — sometimes months — to report and write. 

Here are six of our favorites:

6. The Trouble at Barrett by Ashley Cusick: Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University, is a close-knit community; some say too close. In the past few years before this story was written, Barrett had terminated the contracts of at least three professors for engaging in sexual relationships with students, though some said the number of Barrett faculty members skirting the rules actually was far higher.

"To many, Barrett's very structure, intended to create a close learning community for students and professors alike, has instead become something sinister: a way for predatory teachers to grow close to — sometimes, even sexually — the young and ambitious students in their tutelage."

5. Forever Mine by Ray Stern: Oak Flat, a sacred spot for local tribes and a popular outdoor recreation area, is destined to be destroyed because of a land-swap that gave the area to a big mining company, Resolution Copper Mining LLC. The company promises that Arizona will receive massive economic benefit from the project, but as local residents know all too well, booms typically are followed by busts.

What history shows, says Roy Chavez, a former Superior mayor and anti-mine activist, is that mining can't help the town become economically sustainable.

4. Fall Guy by Elizabeth Stuart: Three people were sentenced to death for the 1989 murder of 4-year-old Christopher Milke, but because one of them, brain-damaged Roger Scott, had inept public defenders and couldn’t afford a private attorney, he may end up the only one executed.

"At every stage of these proceedings, Mr. Scott was the least culpable person involved in this crime," said Jennifer Garcia, the U.S. public defender handling Scott's federal appeal. "Now it's looking increasingly likely that he may end up being the only person to pay for it with his life."

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Miriam is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Miriam Wasser