To round out the year, we turned the mic over to you, our listeners. You told us about your favorite Reveal episodes, and we used your responses to decide which stories to play in our final show of the year.
By far, the story mentioned more than any other was the interview host Al Letson did with white nationalist Richard Spencer. And “Russia’s new scapegoats” turned out to be both a fan and staff favorite. You can hear both on this week’s podcast.
In an effort to showcase even more of your favorites, here’s a list of Reveal’s most memorable episodes – ranked and buoyed by your comments.
1. The man inside: Four months as a prison guard
“The story itself kept the pace of a classic spy story, with real physical implications for the folks trudging down the path for uncovering the truth. The effects mentally of those involved, and conversations heard from both the prison occupants and well workers, will continue to stick with me in the future.” – Adam
“I was mesmerized by the reporter’s undercover work with his identity and recording devices. I felt sad about his struggle to stay sane inside the private prison.” – Kate
“This episode made it personal, and makes the call for reform more urgent.” – Farzad
“I teach a college-level political science class to high school seniors. That podcast generated incredible discussion about federalism and the belief system behind concurrent powers.” – Kris
“It’s an extremely important story as it counters the standard belief that energizes so many voters (that there are lots of poor moochers getting welfare.)” – Susan
“I appreciated the insight into reporting and prosecuting the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I truly hope something substantial can be done. As was said in the piece, ‘This is a public health issue.’ ” – Joe
“I had always thought the religion was one of those benign ones that have benign beliefs … until I heard they don’t vote! I never knew! I have very fine relatives who are great but the cult-like beliefs are so diametrically opposite to how I see my relatives that it blew my mind!” – Bernard
4. The Pentagon Papers: Secrets, lies and leaks
“I was a former history major and from beginning to end I was enthralled. It is an art to get people to be interested in something that happened 50 years ago and show the threads of continuity to the present.” – Donna-Lee Marie
“I learned more about the Vietnam War in that one episode than I had in every history class I ever took. And it was also a look at journalism in a way that doesn’t exist in today’s ever-shrinking newspaper industry.” – Roger
5. Do not drink: The water crisis in Flint, Michigan
“The episode on the Flint water crisis was one of the most moving podcasts I have ever listened to. Incredible work and production.” – Mark
“As a former Catholic, it upset me to my core. The most powerful moment was Jennifer Haselberger, the devout Catholic that was a working for the church as a canon lawyer. It was disgusting how she tried to bring light to this dark topic, to no avail. I have kids that attend Catholic schools & are around priests regularly. That episode hit home for me.” – Jenny
7. The religious freedom loophole
“The show-don’t-tell illustration of reporting legwork in the ‘Religious freedom loophole’ episode made me want to grab everyone I know and say, ‘Here’s what it’s like to be a reporter.’ When she (reporter Amy Julia Harris) knocks on the day care owner’s door … my favorite moment.” – Yvonne
8. Dropped and dismissed: Child sex abuse lost in the system
“I was blown away by Tennessee Watson’s story in which she investigated her own sexual abuser.” – Cary
9. Who’s getting rich off your student debt?
“I was outraged listening to how much debt students are getting into and the ridiculous interest rates that they have to pay! I also love the song about paying Sallie Mae back :)” – Valerie
10. No Choice: Failing America’s veterans
“As an Army veteran who has been a part of Alaska’s VA health care system, I found your reporting very pertinent to me. Your highlighting of the unintended consequences that came about from the Choice Program are especially important to veterans as President-elect (Donald) Trump is planning to reform the VA health care system.” – Randy
Thanks for listening and sticking with us through 2016. We have more to reveal next year, so stay tuned.
Julia B. Chan can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter: @juliachanb.