Conor Friedersdorf
Conor Friedersdorf
Conor Friedersdorf is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He lives in Venice, California, and is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.
  • Phil McCarten/ Reuters

    Should Black Lives Matter Focus on 'Black-on-Black' Murders?

    Critics who charge that prioritizing police killings over other, more prevalent forms of violence misunderstand the purpose and methods of the movement.

  • Krista Mahr / Reuters

    The Perils of Granting Anonymity to U.S. Officials

    News organizations spread false information about a U.S. airstrike that hit an Afghan hospital, as a result of untruths that came from unnamed government sources.

  • Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

    Police in California Killed More Than 610 People Over 6 Years

    The data on homicides committed by law enforcement in America’s most populous state

  • Patrick Fallon / Reuters

    How America’s Drone War in Yemen Strengthens al-Qaeda

    The U.S. must “stop pursuing policies bound to enrage and embitter Yemenis who might otherwise be neutral,” an expert on the country argues.

  • A Student Newspaper Fights 'The Coddling of the Middlebury Mind'

    In the midst of the controversy at Wesleyan, the student newspaper at Middlebury College has published a heartening editorial inspired by last month’s cover story on college students seeking protection from words and ideas they don’t like.

  • A Master Storyteller Reveals How He Really Writes

    Earlier today, my colleagues were passing around attempts to describe the writing process. Back in 2009, I asked writer and master storyteller Jack Hitt to tell me his writing process. “Once you’ve got a great story, I asked him, how do you tell it?”

    I’ll never forget his answer:

    Begin by over-reporting and over-researching everything. If the story involves talking to people, talk to them as long as they will stand to have you around and then talk to them some more. Keep reading. Outline a structure to the piece. Set that aside for now. Realize you don’t know enough.

    Go over all your interviews and research notes again, only this time, make a laundry list of all the great details, large and small, along with the best quotes. Look at that list a lot. Begin the process of re-reading all of your research. Bail out of re-reading all of your research by convincing yourself that what you really need is a long walk to think about “structure.” Walk toward your shoes and look at them. Blow off the walk altogether. Descend into a shame spiral.

  • Brian Snyder / Reuters

    Will Black Lives Matter Be a Movement That Persuades?

    Shutting down a college newspaper is no way to persuade critics.

  • Mike Blake / Reuters

    A Faculty Unites to Champion Free Speech on Campus

    American University’s faculty senate unanimously passed a resolution asserting that unfettered expression is a non-negotiable value at colleges.

  • Reuters / Mike Stone

    Police Bullets Hit Bikers During the Waco Shootout

    Cops in the Texas city shot motorcyclists, arrested all the witnesses, and have since prohibited them from speaking out under penalty of contempt.

  • Mike Stone / Reuters

    A Memo to Donald Trump on His Greatest Failure

    The billionaire candidate fails to do the least that a leader should to hedge against ethnic strife.

  • Dinuka Liyanawatte

    Is 'Victimhood Culture' a Fair Description?

    Readers challenge the name two sociologists have applied to a new moral approach that’s becoming more common in the United States.

  • On Being Asked, 'Where Are You From?'

    During a recent discussion of wrongheaded slights that are cumulatively burdensome, I offered an example of one mistake that Americans should stop making:

    Consider an 18-year-old whose great-grandparents immigrated from Japan to the United States. She enrolls at a large state university where she is constantly surrounded by strangers. A few times a week, someone asks her, “What country are you from?” Each interaction on its own is a tiny annoyance that she is inclined to ignore. But the cumulative effect of these interactions add up to a significant burden. No one likes having to answer the same question over and over and over again. And there seems to be something objectionable in the substance of this particular question––an implicit assertion that people with Asian features, or descendants of Asian immigrants, are somehow less American.

    When readers sent responses to my recent articles on “microaggressions” and “victimhood culture,” two shared real stories of being asked, “Where are you from?” And one shared a story about asking the question. All are thoughtful and worth reading.

    Said the first reader:

  • Yves Herman / Reuters

    Readers Lament the Rise of 'Victimhood Culture'

    They worry that the rise of microaggressions undermines efforts to solve problems in productive ways.

  • Erik de Castro / Reuters

    Readers Defend the Rise of the 'Microaggressions' Framework

    Correspondents make the case that applying the label to offenses does more good than harm.

  • Mark J. Terrill / AP

    Who Won the Second Republican Presidential Debate?

    The GOP rivals squared off at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, and a surprising victor emerged.

  • Ivan Alvarado / Reuters

    Why Critics of the 'Microaggressions' Framework Are Skeptical

    Many acknowledge that there are minor slights that do cumulative harm, but believe there are better ways to address them.

  • Marc Serota

    Finding Wonder in The World Book Encyclopedia

    An unexpected entry in the 1964 edition captures the magic of flying.

  • David McNew / Reuters

    The Rise of Victimhood Culture

    A recent scholarly paper on “microaggressions” uses them to chart the ascendance of a new moral code in American life.

  • Gary Cameron / Reuters

    Hillary Clinton's Foreign Policy Isn't 'Muscular'—It's Bellicose

    When the press mistakes being hawkish for being tough, it distorts the political debate.

  • Brendan McDermid / Reuters

    A Stalwart Conservative Belatedly Recognizes the Movement's Problems

    Jonah Goldberg attacks the flawed thinking of Donald Trump supporters, but not its earlier iterations on the populist right.