#NPRreads: Drink In These 3 Stories This Weekend

June 25, 2016

#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers from our newsroom share the pieces that have kept them reading, using the #NPRreads hashtag. Each weekend, we highlight some of the best stories.

From NPR Investigations Editor Alicia Cypress:

For a website best known for analyzing sports and political data, I was excited to see FiveThirtyEight take on fine wine. Using auction sales data from a “dense spreadsheet containing 140,000 wines from 10,000 producers in 33 countries, and their prices,” Oliver Roeder reports in “The Weird World Of Expensive Wine,” what oenophiles are willing to pay for some of the most sought after bottles.

While charting out prices of Bordeaux, California and other viticulture regions, he discusses history and culture, and questions whether the actual value matches the prices (spoiler: several say it does, while others call B.S.).

His overall findings shouldn’t be a surprise to any wine lover (older vintages fetch higher prices than recent ones). But what I thought was most fascinating was his comparison of Bordeaux’s rankings today versus the French region’s famous classification system, established in 1855:

“It’s remarkable how accurate — or how persistently self-fulfilling, or both — those classifications continue to be … If the classification were redone with price as the guiding light, the five first growths … would remain exactly the same.”

From National Desk reporter Kirk Siegler:

In Orlando, as part of NPR’s team of reporters covering the attack at the Pulse night club, I found it hard not to notice how the events in the aftermath of a mass shooting often follow a similar pattern: there is grieving, there is a struggle to process and understand the unthinkable, and then there are demands from both sides of the political aisle that Congress do something.

This was unfortunately not the first mass shooting many of us had covered. And in searching for context myself, I found this article abundantly useful. It remind us of the backstory behind the current polarization in Congress – and more broadly in this country – over guns. And the reporter and her sources do a good job explaining why gun policy is hardly a black and white issue, and so solutions about how to prevent a future mass shooting seem hardly easy to come to consensus on.

From Camila Domonoske, reporter for The Two-Way:

This is the tale of an underground network of covert trauma hospitals. It’s a high-stakes drama about smuggling medical knowledge into a war zone. It’s an elegy for the medical workers in Syria who have given their lives trying to save others, and a testimony to the astonishing bravery of those risking death for the same mission. It’s an investigation into weaponized hospitals and a portrait of the gray-area moralities of humanitarian medical care in a city-turned-battlefield.

And it’s also the story of one man, who has traveled into hell and back, over and over again. And now he lives an unbearably divided life: Around him, the safety and luxury of life as a top-tier surgeon in London. And on his phone – day after day – a tiny window into the unbearable agony in Aleppo.

Because Dr. David Nott, a major trauma expert, gets text messages from doctors in Syria. They send photos of the most horrific injuries, on makeshift operating tables. They ask for his help, and he answers.

This New Yorker piece from Ben Taub is painful and exquisitely constructed. You should read it. And after that, you should hear Taub’s emotional interview on All Things Considered.

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