Big Stories

9 Longform Stories We’re Reading This Week: North Korea Kidnappings And GTA V

North Korea has a long history of kidnapping foreigners. Was a 24-year-old American among them? Read BuzzRead’s investigation, by Leslie Anne Jones, and these other great stories from around BuzzFeed and the web.

1. Was an American College Student Kidnapped by North Korea? — BuzzReads

Courtesy of the Sneddon Family

In 2004, David Sneddon disappeared while hiking in China. But what seemed at first like a tragic accident may be something far more sinister: His family believes he is among the thousands of civilians who have been mysteriously abducted and imprisoned by North Korean agents. Read it at BuzzReads.

2. I Finished “Grand Theft Auto V” In One 38-Hour Sitting — BuzzFeed

Joseph Bernstein goes to hell and back in this uproarious essay about Rockstar’s newest release, which, on a lark, he decided to play until he beat it. Read it at BuzzFeed.

3. “A Town Destroyed By What Two People Did”: A Dispatch from SteubenvilleJezebel

Photograph by Katie http://J.M. Baker via Jezebel

A year after the rape scandal that rocked the small Ohio town, its beloved Big Red football team, and the nation, Katie J.M. Baker questions whether media attention has helped, or harmed. Read it at Jezebel.

4. Tomato Can BluesThe New York Times

Attila Futaki for the New York Times

Mary Pilon delivers the noir story of mixed martial arts cage match fighter Charlie Rowan who faked his own death. The piece is beautifully presented with illustrations by Attila Futaki and an audio version read by Boardwalk Empire’s Bobby Cannavale. Read or listen to it at The New York Times.

5. That Time R. Kelly Asked Me On a Date — BuzzFeed

John Gara for BuzzFeed

Nicole James tells the true story of a time a guy at work said there was a homeless guy in a bathrobe and socks in the bathroom, who turned out to be R. Kelly. How do you react when the guy who wrote your ringtone gives you his number? Read it at BuzzFeed.

6. The Flight from DallasEsquire

Cecil Stoughton/LBJ Library / Via

A riveting account by Chris Jones of the hours — lost to history for 50 years — of what happened aboard Air Force One right after President Kennedy died. Read it at Esquire.

7. Idris ElbaGQ

Photograph by Sebastian Kim for GQ

Zach Baron profiles the actor for this month’s cover story. Twenty years after Elba decided he didn’t want to give his life to a factory and bought a one-way ticket to New York, and a decade after playing Stringer Bell, his career is finally coming together. Read it at GQ.

8. Public EnemiesWIRED

Photograph by Paul D’Amato for

There are 500 murders a year in Chicago, many resultant of its numerous, decentralized gangs, whose activities exist largely online. Ben Austen investigates whether this digitized gang warfare offers an opportunity to police to stop the bloodshed. Read it at WIRED.

9. Apple Chiefs Discuss Strategy, Market Share — and the New iPhonesBloomberg Businessweek

Photograph by Adam Amengual for Bloomberg Businessweek

Apple’s doomed. Or so say many. But in this new exclusive, Tim Cook (above), Craig Federighi, and Jonathan Ive, reveal they’re not worried. Read it at Bloomberg Businessweek.

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