I wish I wrote that: the best stories of 2013

Good stories from other places

CB Staff 0
(Photo: Ghislain & Marie David De Lossy/Getty)

(Photo: Ghislain & Marie David De Lossy/Getty)

The staff of Bloomberg Businessweek last week published a “Jealousy List,” a compilation of superior journalism from other publications that left their staff feeling “sick with resentment.” This list inspired envy around the Canadian Business newsroom—we were jealous of their Jealousy List. So we decided to write our own. After all, it is the giving season and we’re not above giving the (occasional) compliment to our esteemed colleagues and competitors. Herewith, some of the best Canadian business journalism of 2013 that we wish we’d written:

“The Narwhal Heist of the Century”
I shouldn’t have to justify choosing this article. It’s about smuggling narwhal tusks. What more do you need to know? If you haven’t already clicked the link, the story recounts a cross-border scheme to hustle narwhal tusksfrom the snowy Canadian north to customers in the U.S., apparently masterminded by a retired RCMP officer and his wife. We’re introduced to an obscure and sometimes shadowy trade conducted by interesting characters, and learn quite a bit about narwhal anatomy, too. –Joe Castaldo

“Dear John Chen”
If the business journalism thing doesn’t work out, Derek DeCloet has a future in comedy. Come for the one liners, stay for the insight.–James Cowan

“Entrepreneurs Living on the Edge”
“The Real Price of Success”
These two explore the mental toll on entrepreneurs — an aspect of business that’s rarely acknowledged. –Carol Toller

“Toronto lawyer Javad Heydary spearheading Trump lawsuit disappears”
I have deep reporter envy for Rachel Mendleson and Susan Pigg’s work on the bizarre case of disappearing and now possibly dead lawyer Javad Heydary in the Toronto Star. Their work has everything I like in a business story: money, malfeasance and general weirdness. Heydary was in the midst of a massive and public suit against the developers of Toronto Trump hotel when he suddenly vanished, allegedly with millions of dollars of his clients’ cash. His family now claims he died in his native Iran in November, but many questions remain. I look forward to following the story—jealously wishing it was mine—in 2014. –Richard Warnica

“The Oracle of Bay Street”
It’s not often you meet a Bay Streeter this fascinating and colourful (and even more rare to get the sort of photos that Toronto Life did – that could be Mick Jagger in those pictures). –Carol Toller

“Web of Power”
I can’t imagine the hours of research that went into this elegant graphic. Tamsin McMahon and the team at Maclean’s did a wonderful job illustrating the connections between Canada’s most powerful corporate directors –James Cowan

“The Inside Story of Why BlackBerry is Failing”
By now, every publication has had a turn at crafting a sad tale about how BlackBerry lost its way. But this Globe & Mail piece stands out for the
depth of its reporting and its impeccable sourcing. We have Mike Lazaridis breaking ranks with board members and executives, illustrating how deeply divided BlackBerry became. We also find out the truth behind Jim Balsillie’s decision to abruptly sever all ties with the company. –Joe Castaldo

“The New Underclass”
Chris Sorensen and Charlie Gillis combine top-notch reporting and analysis to address one of the most important issues facing the Canadian economy right now. This piece does a great job of drawing the lines between broad societal trends and the personal stories of young people struggling to launch their professional lives. —James Cowan

“Love and War in the House of McCain”
This Toronto Life piece reveals much about what it’s really like to be a member of an ultra-rich family: the good, the bad and the hideously ugly.–Matthew McClearn

“Middle class wages and how to give them a boost”
This one is a bit of a cheat, since all of its contributors also write for Canadian Business. But if you’re looking for an indepth, wonky discussion to dispel many of the political discussions about the middle class, this is for you. –James Cowan

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