The Dartmouth Alumni Magazine has toted up its 15 most-read stories of 2018. Coming in at number 1 is Emily Esfahani Smith’s profile of Joe Rago (Dartmouth ’05), Wall Street Journal editorial board member, 2011 Pulitzer Prize winner at age 28 for his brilliant editorials on Obamacare, gone at age 34 of sarcoidosis.
I am in awe of what Emily did in this profile, both bringing Joe back to life and making those of us who never met him deeply regret it. I think Emily herself deserves something like a Pulitzer Prize for feature writing.
The eagle-eyed editors of RealClearPolitics saw fit to include Emily’s profile in one of their morning lineups. The college alumni magazine pieces that have earned a place in the daily RCP honor roll are, to say the least, rare birds, if indeed there even is another one that has made it.
I wrote Emily to congratulate her on the profile within a day or two of its being placed online this past January. She wrote me back: “Joe was a remarkable man. I wish I knew what I know now about him when he was still alive and I wish I’d taken the time to get to know him better then.” Emily’s profile allowed those of us who knew him not at all to get to know him now.