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Looking Back at the First SLR

When The Sunday Long Read first launched, Don explained its simple mission.

Today, we published our 300th edition of The Sunday Long Read. Over six years ago, Don wrote this atop our beta issues:

Welcome.

The goal of The Sunday Long Read newsletter is simple: To put the past week’s best journalism in your hands every Sunday morning—or, as a friend said, “to screw up my Sundays with far too much great stuff to read.” Obviously, compiling these lists is a wildly subjective exercise. How do I choose what’s “best?” If I finish a long-read article and immediately want to recommend it to a friend, you’ll find it linked here. These stories brought me pleasure, made me laugh and think and, most of all, told me something I didn’t know. No “hot takes” here.

After 24 years at The Miami Herald and The New York Times, I now write long-form sports stories for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com. Naturally, these lists will tilt a bit toward sports (one week I chose 7 out of 10 pieces about sports). But you’ll find every kind of story here. And each week, I’ll choose my favorite read. The standard for that choice will be based as much on raw emotion as anything: If I desperately wished I had written it, you’ll find it at the top the list.

Why another curated long read list? Well, I started this on a whim in early 2014, tweeting out my favorite stories each Sunday. I was motivated by finding a more orderly way to meet my compulsion to share. One of my favorite things about my Twitter is it’s a generous platform that helps you discover great writing and great writers. If you follow the right crowd, Twitter becomes a kind of Pandora or Spotify for great journalism, and The Sunday long read began as a way to try to give back as much as I take. I was surprised and touched at how many people responded favorably. Before long, many of those same people urged me to start a newsletter like this one, to make it easier on them (hopefully) and (perhaps) on me.

You can check out one of those proto-emails, our Best of 2014 Edition, here. Meanwhile, here’s our first official issue, from January 2015, featuring plenty of writers and publications we’re still lucky to read today (plus a few that sadly aren’t writing as much as they used too).

Don’t judge the design too much. We were young!

You can check out recent editions here, and subscribe, if you haven’t already. Six years later, we’re just getting started!

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