5280 Is 20: Staffers' Favorite Stories

July 16 2013, 9:09 AM

After 20 years of publication, 5280 has published a lot of articles. I couldn't help but wonder after writing so many words—and reading many, many more—which ones stayed alive in the minds of editors, long after they closed an issue. In honor of the magazine's 20th anniversary, I asked staffers to share those stories with me.

What I realized: Whether it's a piece they read long before ever stepping foot into this office; a video of themselves swimming against Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin (you can guess who won); or that one article that finally broke through their editor's skin as they allowed themselves to cry at their desk, some stories are timeless. 

5280 Magazine Staffers Favorite Stories:

Natasha Gardner, Digital Editor and Senior Editor 

Changing Nature"Photographer John Fielder has become the state's visual ambassador, and Luc Hatlestad could have written a profile article based on that alone. Instead, he introduced us to a man who is complicated and changing. It's a stunning 'portrait' that tells us about ourselves and our state." 

Second Nature"There's so much to love about this story (the writing, the parents, the girl), but I find myself rereading it again and again because it is advocacy journalism at its best. Max Potter dove into a controversial topic and treated it with a gentle storytelling voice. The reader won't feel preached to, but they will come away with a better understanding of the issue—and of people."


Daliah Singer, Associate Editor

"It's hard to choose the most memorable stories because we run so many that make you laugh or cry or fall in love with the city. But, if you're twisting my arm..."

The Forgotten Plains: "One of Jeff Panis' photographs from this piece is framed in my apartment." 

What Happened to Abbey's Mom: "With all the stories we've run in 20 years, I don't know that anyone has touched the hearts of the staff—and our readers—more than Nicole Davis."

Tiny Dancer: "As soon as you see Staci Unrau's face, she stays with you forever."

Rewrite: "I've fact checked dozens of narratives for 5280. Working on this piece is the only time I remember crying. Talking to parents about children whose lives were cut short and hearing the anguish they still felt—as well as (in some cases) the forgiveness they were able to attain—was incredibly emotional. I wanted to hug them and cry with them, but I had to let them speak and, when they were ready, answer the questions I needed to ask to make sure we told an accurate story. The tears came each time I hung up the phone. "