The Best Business Writing 2013

The Best Business Writing 2013

(from the introduction):

Compiling the “Best Business Writing” series each year reliably brings the pleasures of the eclectic and unexpected. But it also can deliver deeper insights into troubling undercurrents in American business life.

Editors get lucky that way sometime. The great American editor Samuel S. McClure, had one of the great “Who Knew?” moments a century ago, while putting to bed the January 1903 issue of the magazine that bore his name. Until then, McClure’s had been an eclectic general-interest magazine, publishing fiction by the likes of Mark Twain and Arthur Conan Doyle and historical narratives about Lincoln, Napoleon, and other historic figures. This time, reading over the issue, McClure noticed his (soon-to-be-famous) staff had delivered three monumental articles, all on a common theme: lawlessness and corruption permeating bedrock American institutions. Lincoln Steffens had exposed mob-style rule of Minneapolis’s political machine (as he would St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and other American cities); Ida Tarbell had documented the underhanded methods John D. Rockefeller had used to build the Standard Oil monopoly; and Ray Stannard Baker told a chilling tale of union-sponsored thuggery. “We did not plan it so,” McClure said in a last-minute editorial.

With that single issue, a new form of American journalism –known as muckraking -- was born.

We had a mini-McClure’s moment when reading over the candidates for The Best Business Writing 2013.