2013 was a great year for Slate stories—we had several months of record-breaking traffic, and you, dear readers, showed us you are true omnivores in your subject interests. Our top stories this year included everything from thoughtful analysis of the Cleveland kidnappings, to a beautiful photo essay on expectant parents, to valuable advice on why drowning doesn’t actually look like drowning. Enjoy catching up on any of these great stories you missed, and we look forward to bringing you new favorites next year.
10. “White Women, Black Hairstyles”
By David Rosenberg, Oct. 15
This quirky, never-before-published photo series on white women posing for corporate headshots with traditionally African-American hairstyles ignited big discussions on beauty and race.
9. “Werner Herzog Made a Documentary About Texting While Driving. And It’s Haunting”
By David Haglund, Aug. 9
This collaboration between the famed filmmaker and AT&T was hard to watch, but readers were moved by its stark message.
8. “Don’t Say Goodbye When You Leave a Party. Just Ghost.”
By Seth Stevenson, July 3
This funny essay about why you should never bother saying goodbye to everyone when you leave a party was a hit when it came out this summer, but it got a second viral wind on Facebook late this year, propelling it into our top-10 list.
7. “Touching, Unguarded Portraits of Sleeping Parents-to-Be”
By Jordan G. Teicher, Sept. 16
Many readers were charmed by this photo essay that featured pregnant couples photographed from above.
6. “How Would We Report on the Government Shutdown if It Were in Another Country?”
By Joshua Keating, Sept.30
This tongue-in-cheek essay was a pitch-perfect take on our government shutdown this year.
5. “Take the Impossible ‘Literacy’ Test Louisiana Gave Black Voters in the 1960s”
By Rebecca Onion, June 28
This test, which was used as a tool of racial discrimination, will outrage you.
4. “Why We Post Nothing—Nothing—About Our Kid Online. You Should Do the Same For Your Kids.”
By Amy Webb, Sept. 4
A data privacy expert takes aim at a nearly universal practice of parents—and sparks a huge debate.
3. “In Praise of the Emergency Dispatchers Who Handled the Amanda Berry 911 Calls”
By Justin Peters, May 8
This thoughtful essay went against kneejerk reactions related to one of the biggest news stories of the year.
2. “This Awesome Ad, Set to the Beastie Boys, Is How to Get Girls to Become Engineers”
By Katy Waldman, Nov. 19
This clever and inspiring toy ad took the Internet by storm last month.
1. “Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning”
By Mario Vittone, June 4
Our most popular story this year was an important piece of service journalism that highlights the risks and warning signs of someone who is drowning, which are shockingly different from what you’d expect.