Why you should care

This year, reading OZY meant you got the best stories first. Why not take a trip down memory lane?

This is an OZY Special Briefing, an extension of the Presidential Daily Brief. The Special Briefing tells you what you need to know about an important issue, individual or story that is making news. Each one serves up an interesting selection of facts, opinions, images and videos in order to catch you up and vault you ahead.

WHAT HAPPENED

Since its inception five years ago, OZY has been ahead of the curve more than 700 times, publishing major story angles later picked up – often much later – by other big news organizations. Often much later. In 2018, we didn’t let up: OZY was first on stories about politics, culture, tech and sports around the world. If you’re an OZY reader already, you’re used to knowing about things before they’re discussed at the watercooler. We wanted to take you back to look at a few of the people and trends in 2018 that we (and you) discovered first.

HOW TO THINK ABOUT IT

And justice for all. One of the biggest stories of 2018 was the sudden retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. OZY’s series on potential replacements named Brett Kavanaugh as the probable replacement two weeks before the White House announced what would turn out to be a tumultuous nomination.

Young hotshot. A month before Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shocked political commentators by beating a 10-term incumbent in the Democratic primary for a House seat — which led her straight to the 116th Congress — OZY profiled her grass-roots campaign. And we did so a month before The New York Times. Can’t get enough ahead-of-the-curve politics? Check out OZY’s groundbreaking analysis of the personal debt of candidates in the midterm elections.

Robocops. OZY’s sweeping Around the World series saw stories published about every country — and not-quite country — in the world in 2018. As the first in-depth report on the trend, one important story examined China’s new robot policing initiative, a futuristic big data program that includes not just artificial intelligence detective work but also gun-wielding bots in Tiananmen Square.

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Source JESSE KORMAN

Brisk business. Although Mexican drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán is on trial in New York, his Sinaloa cartel is apparently doing well, OZY reported in November (a story the New York Post reported later). In August, Mexican authorities discovered $5 billion worth of methamphetamine in a Sinaloa lab; prosecutors claim the cartel is also slinging fentanyl. With the days of strongman-led drug cartels over, networks are decentralizing to survive.

Inequality. Home to a wealthy elite, San Francisco is the most expensive city in the U.S. to live in. But California as a whole has the highest poverty rate in the nation: One in 5 Californians live below the poverty line, which is causing a great migration from the state’s expensive cities as people struggle to make ends meet. Weeks later, The Economist ran its own piece on the state’s burgeoning poverty crisis.

WHAT TO READ

28 States Said ‘No’ to Bare-knuckle Boxing. But 1 Said ‘Yes,’ by Matt Foley

While this event will be the first legally sanctioned American bare-knuckle card in 129 years, it’s technically the first legalized event of its kind — ever.

How to Lose a Prime Minister in 11 Days, by Ian McNaught Davis

Do you hear all of this?’ Hrach Sargsyan, a student and protester … exclaimed in a frenetic whirl of citizens on a sidewalk in Yerevan, Armenia. “This is the sound of revolution.”

WHAT TO WATCH

Awkwafina Talks Representation in Hollywood and ‘Crazy Rich Asians’

“I grew up with Long Duk Dong and all these problematic Asian characters … when we were on Crazy Rich Asians, we were … able to resonate with people in different ways.”

Watch on OZY on YouTube:

The Iron Fist, Fatuma Zarika

“In the ring, she’s like this fierce woman who you look up to, you want to be like her. To have her strength and everything. And then at home she’s just this nice and super mom.”

Watch on OZY on YouTube:

WHAT TO SAY AT THE WATERCOOLER

Bang for your buck. In Uganda, where women have historically had little power, wife beating is widespread and they often struggle to get their husbands to contribute money or time to help run the household. But a growing trend — one that’s still waiting to be covered by other media — is seeing women charge their husbands for sex in staggering numbers: At least 31,000 women have done so, compared to just 5,000 in 2016. The country is divided on whether a sex tax is unethical or just practical.

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Quick briefings and smart previews you can't live without, making sure you not only survive but can thrive at the water cooler.