David Finkel’s ‘Genius Award’: Read his stories

It was easy for the Washington Post to cover the 2012 MacArthur Fellow “genius awards:” one of them was in our newsroom. On Monday, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David Finkel, 56, became one of 23 winners of a $500,000 grant, awarded each year to an eclectic class of people who demonstrate “creativity, originality, and potential to make important contributions in the future.”


View Photo Gallery: Washington Post journalist David Finkel is among the 23 “genius awards” recipients, bestowed by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for “creativity, originality, and potential to make important contributions in the future.”

So, why is Finkel a “genius”? Just take a look at his work. As fellow Pulitzer-winning reporter Anne Hull said to Paul Farhi, “Year after year, he has buried himself in the reporting and writing, with a fury that goes beyond dedication.”

When news broke about the award, Post journalists started an email thread sharing their favorite Finkel pieces. Read below to see their recommendations:

Josh duLac: The story of a gun.

Marc Fisher: My favorite is the piece from Kosovo about the girl in the refugee camp. It comes with Lucian Perkins’ photographs, making it a classic combining two great geniuses.

Joel Achenbach: Well, the two greatest pieces, in short category and long category, were from Kosovo.

A story he wrote the day he got there -- the ultimate day hit.

And then the masterpiece, as Fisher mentioned: Love in Tent 37A.

Anne Hull: The deadline piece he wrote when Bush was elected for the second time on the evangelical family in Ohio.

Paul Schwartzman: Also love his Larry King profile for WP magazine.

Anne Hull: And the WP magazine piece on the family who watches TV.

Lynda Robinson: Yes, and the one on the kid who plays violent video games and listens to rap.

Paul Schwartzman: The one on Hooters is pretty great too.

Michelle Boorstein: And also “Battle for Heartland starts at gas pump.”

Josh duLac: There was the great Finkel piece on Rush Limbaugh fans. Okay, I’ll stop. Sorry. Too many greatest hits. (Wait, maybe I won’t! Dan Zak put a few on the Style Tumblr!).

Maura Judkis covers culture, food, and the arts for the Weekend section and Going Out Guide.

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