For our annual review of stories, our writers and editors have put together lists of the stories they were proud of this year, or just had fun writing or reading. Here are Senior Editor Tyler Hayden’s picks.
If you’re in the mood for some light reading, you’re in the wrong place. This is a collection of my post-1/9 Debris Flow reporting, which attempts to understand how and why 23 people were violently killed in the middle of the night in Santa Barbara County’s deadliest natural disaster. Immediately after the catastrophe, a number of questions arose: How were people alerted to the danger? How were the evacuations zones drawn? Why did so few heed the warnings? Were any mistakes made? If they were, what were they? Who, if anyone, should be held accountable for such devastation? Individuals? Government? Climate change? God? And, most importantly, how can we learn from what happened to keep us safer in the future? These 14 stories, listed in the order they were published, answer many of those questions and, despite my best efforts, leave many others unanswered:
I wrote about other things this year, too:
The reasons behind the record number of retail vacancies along our downtown corridor, and ideas on how to fix the problem. As a journalist, you always hope one of your stories helps “move the needle.” I heard this one did. The Fight for State Street
The incredible journey of the InSight Mars lander from Vandenberg Air Force Base to the Red Planet. We got up close and personal with the machine itself and the big-brained NASA scientists that built it. Mission to Mars Launching from Santa Barbara
The trip of a lifetime to the Bonneville Salt Flats, where a Santa Barbara racing team chased land speed records across a sun-baked moonscape. Not everything went as planned. But hey, as they say, that’s racing. Santa Barbara Racers Chase Land Speed Records
The allegations of grift and Santa Barbara-style corruption that continue to swirl around the Bellosguardo Foundation. Bellosguardo: A Legacy in Limbo