1. It’s really, really, really long.
Like, ridiculously long. There are seven entire paragraphs devoted to explaining the differences between concrete and pavement, and one of the sections focuses solely on where three of the company’s executive vice presidents went to high school. I thought I was never going to be able to stop scrolling down once I started reading it, and not in a fun way, like when you see a bunch of really great Instagram posts in a row. And then, when I finally made it to the bottom of the article, guess what I saw: “Click here for part two.” Worst part of my day. And they messed up my breakfast order at the deli this morning, so that’s really saying something.
2. It is very hard to make the concrete industry interesting.
Look, I’m not saying the Gazette didn’t try to find the juicy stuff here, OK? I’m just saying it would be tough to make a 500-word article about the concrete industry compelling, and these guys went for, like, 15,000 words. And yeah, I guess it’s filled with important information about how top executives in the industry use money to buy influence and steal elections and stuff like that, but it also has the entire rest of the internet to compete with, including my hilarious and insightful Twitter account, where nothing I write can ever be longer than 280 characters or take longer than 32 seconds to read by law. So I guess what I’m really trying to say here is, you should follow me on Twitter.
3. The first sentence of the 30th paragraph is
“This development greatly upset Austin Donner,
American Concrete’s powerful and secretive CEO,
according to internal company emails.”
This is definitely the most important sentence of the entire investigation and not just one that I included here because it seemed far enough into the article to convince my editor that I actually read the whole thing. It really encapsulates every element of the story: a major concrete company, a person in power getting mad and being sneaky, internal documents, and multiple commas. You could argue that it’s really all you need to read to understand the whole piece, but if you did that, your editor would probably just roll his eyes and say he already told you that you couldn’t take a half day today.
4. The writers failed to take advantage
of a golden opportunity to make a hilarious pun.
The whole thing is about corruption in the concrete industry, but at no point did any of the reporters think to write that they had found “concrete evidence” of corruption. This is why people don’t trust the media anymore.
5. You should feel very guilty about
reading this listicle instead of the actual piece.
You know I wrote up this whole thing in, like, 35 minutes, right? And that our website was founded on a whim three weeks ago by some bored trust fund kid whose only background in journalism was writing movie reviews for his high school paper? And that he hated Up? Meanwhile, it took a team of five reporters at the Gazette seven months to painstakingly put together their piece while enduring many sleepless nights and threats of retaliatory lawsuits from the concrete industry, among other hardships. Also, the paper just had to go through its fourth round of layoffs in three years because their readership has been dropping so much. But anyway, good for you for thinking about clicking on our link to the full story!
6. Holy shit, there’s a part three?
OK, this is just not fair.