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Best of 2016

Our favorite pieces from the past year

We look back at the standout pieces published here on Flatland in 2016 — some were personal, some were pivotal, some were… well, some were fake news. Whatever form they’ve come in, it has been a pleasure bringing them to you. Here’s to another year of the news, arts, food and people that make up our Kansas City.

Digital Series

Only one episode in and I’m hungry for more! "Authorized Personnel Only" started off with the people behind the tour of the No. 1 independent rapper in the world! Looking forward to how Brad Austin tops that.

— Cole Blaise, Multimedia Producer

2016 was a rough year. We had to grieve the losses of icons like David Bowie, Prince, Arnold Palmer, Gwen Ifill, Muhammad and Florence Henderson (the greatest TV mom ever). We also had to endure hours of political pandering in the form of endless campaign ads.
Thankfully, dealing with a less-than-pleasant year has never been easier in KC. Simply kick back, relax and prop up your well-being with food from your favorite BBQ joint while watching the digital series “Burnt Legend” — you’ll discover the history of KC’s greatest comfort food, burnt ends.

— Brad Austin, Independent Producer

Eats & Drinks

The beer fridge and convenience store meet in this unforgettable web series. We invited in Boulevard Brewing Company’s Kyle Hopkins and Jeremy Danner to learn what happens when you take craft beer and try and pair it with taquitos. The answer will surprise you (and make you want an egg roll real bad).

— Jonathan Bender, Flatland contributor

I’m a caffeine junky, along with the majority of Americans. However, I’m not always in the mood for my go-to cup of coffee or diet coke, which is why I love the list of "5 Surprising Ways You Can Get a Coffee Fix." Whether you’re in the mood for sprinkles, liquor, steak, or just good coffee, there’s an option for you.

— Tiffiney Baumgarden, Social Media

Farm and Field

My favorite Farm & Field story this year was the video, “Five Ways Drones Bring Food to Your Table.” When I think of drones, I tend to think of them for military use or for photographers to get aerial footage. I never thought of them for agricultural use or questioned the airspace legalities until I watched this video. It does a great job of breaking down the plethora of ways drone use could improve agricultural practices and in turn, help make us healthier. Check out Flatland's video and story to see where drones may be used next.

— Kelly Cordingley, Flatland contributor

We captured Lidia Bastianich, matriarch of the Kansas City Italian dining scene and internationally known chef, as she spent an afternoon on the Boys Grow farm. At a time when the urban/rural divide feels larger than ever, both Lidia and Boys Grow seem to transcend that distance, reminding us that restaurants need farms and farms need people.

— Kirstin McCudden, Managing Editor

People + Places

This profile of 17-year-old lady boxer Missy Fitzwater is a knock out. From pounding out her anxiety on her father’s punching bag in secret three years ago to preparing for the 2020 Olympics, Fitzwater’s journey is an inspiration.

— Lindsey Foat, Community Engagement Producer

I really enjoyed Jesse’s multimedia tour of seldom seen urban spaces; Once thought of as service areas or places to avoid, alleyways are becoming valued as spaces in their own right. “In Between” highlighted some of the people reclaiming local alleyways and touched on how other cities are reinventing these tiny areas as demand for space increases.

— Karen Mell, Online Content Director

News . Issues

Getting to the truth of something is what good journalism is all about. No more so than when getting to work with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Mike McGraw. This is an investigative piece where Flatland speaks with family members of four of the six victims of the 2011 Bartlett Grain elevator explosion in Atchison, Kansas. It shows how we can tell a great print story to lay down the facts, with a video piece to tell the human side of this preventable tragedy.

— John G. McGrath, Producer

This is an example of Flatland at its finest, when it can marry up some of the best investigative reporting in town with a polished video that augments the digital piece. The article about Navy veteran Seth Cavin, who took on the Veterans Administration, and won, also illustrates Flatland’s commitment to telling stories that might otherwise go untold. And finally, the story package highlights KCPT’s integration of its multimedia capabilities around a common topic, with veterans issues being a station-wide focus.

— Mike Sherry, Online News Editor

Arts & Culture

My favorite story of the year was "fake news." Or, more accurately, a prank for April Fool's Day. The story claimed that the Royals were trading two of their most popular players for Toronto's José Bautista, described in the piece as a "humble, team-first player." He is, in fact, neither of those things.

— Hampton Stevens, Contributor

We took a long, hard look at the decade-long rise in vinyl sales — a movement that is still gaining momentum. This piece examined the trend, crunched some numbers, provided some theories, and sought answers from local record shop owners.

— Dan Calderon, Contributor