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.”

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!).