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Best portable generators to keep the lights on

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Power outages are frustrating, and they’re becoming all too common for many of us. Going hours without power not only can lead to spoiled food and other headaches, but it can also result in uncomfortable, even unsafe temperatures.

Hurricane season is far from over, and fire season is still underway in some areas, which makes it a good time to consider purchasing a generator (and start thinking about other emergency protocols). Thankfully, there are plenty of portable generator options on the market that can step in and keep things running.


Sportsman

Things to consider

Fuel type

Some portable power generator models run on gasoline, while others run on liquid propane tanks. Deciding which fuel type to use for your portable generator likely depends on your available resources.

If you’re in a rural area with no nearby gas station, keeping a propane tank handy might be your best bet for emergency preparedness. If you do have quick access to gasoline, consider the smallest model for your home, so that you don’t burn more fuel than necessary. If you want both options, there are dual fuel portable generator models that run on either fuel type.

Power

You’ll want to make sure you choose a model that has enough power output to run everything you need in an emergency. Two terms are important here: starting watts and running watts

Also known as “peak watts,” starting watts are the highest possible wattage that a generator will produce in order to get an appliance motor running. Generators won’t sustain this wattage long-term. Think of it like the amount of power needed to jump start your fridge.

Running watts are the watts a generator can produce for hours on end while powering appliances. You’ll want a portable generator with at least as many running watts as watts used by your home appliances. 

To calculate just how much wattage you need, a general rule of thumb is to add up the wattage of all the appliances you want to power and multiply by 1.5. You can also look for the starting watts needed for your most power-hungry appliance and add those to the total to find your wattage.

This information will be on a sticker inside your appliance or in the manufacturer’s manual. If you appliance doesn’t list watts, but lists amps and volts, multiple the two to find the wattage. Whatever the sum of your needed watts is, that will be the minimum running wattage you need your generator to produce. 

For instance, in my home, I would need to power a 864-watt dishwasher, 1,440-watt refrigerator and 3,600-watt oven. That means my generator must produce at least 5,904 running watts.

Price

Of course price is a factor, and in general, you’re going to pay more for more power. You can find good generators from $300, or your can spend big for max power and end up with a $2,000 model.

To stay as frugal as possible, limit the number of large appliances you power with a generator. Consider a mini fridge and microwave instead of full size refrigerators and ovens. If the weather isn’t dangerously hot or cold, skip on powering your heating or cooling system. If all that sounds a bit overwhelming, there are several handy online calculators to help you tally things up. 

The generators below aren’t CNET reviewed, but they are the internet’s most popular and highest rated models. We’ve divided them into low, middle and high price ranges. You’ll also find specs for each generator’s starting power, run time on half power and the fuel type and capacity. 

Generators $550 or less

These generators all received high marks from consumers, and none of them will break the bank. If you have a small home or just a few appliances to power, you don’t have to spend big to get a good generator.

Read more: Best flashlights for 2020: Rayovac, ThruNite, Olight and more

Sportsman

The most affordable model on our list, the Sportsman GEN400DF has been on sale for just $300. This is a well-priced dual-fuel model that can operate with either a 3.6-gallon fuel tank or a standard propane tank.

With up to 10 hours of gasoline run time on a 50% load and 12 hours using propane, the Sportsman can keep things going while you get a full night’s sleep before needing more fuel. This emergency generator comes with four 120-volt outlets, one 120-volt RV outlet and one 12-volt DC outlet.

With 4,000 starting watts and 3,500 running watts, it isn’t the most powerful generator on our list. Still, if you’re running small household appliances or just one or two large ones, this model should get the job done.

Note: We’ve seen recent price spikes that put this generator above the $500 mark. We’ll keep an eye on these prices and update accordingly. 

Durostar

If you don’t need the propane tank option, this DuroStar $429 portable generator runs on a 3.9-gallon gasoline tank. It also offers a bit more power supply than the Sportsman with 4,400 starting watts and 3,500 running watts.

Run time on a 50% load is 8 hours, and it is equipped with two 120-volt household outlets and one 120/240-volt outlet. The DuroStar includes its wheels, something often sold separately in kits for generators.

DuroMax

Another solid dual fuel model, the $500 DuroMax XP4850EH has 4,850 starting watts and 3,850 running watts.

It can run off either the 3.96-gallon fuel tank or a 20-gallon liquid propane tank fuel source. Gasoline run time is about 11.5 hours at 50%, while propane will run 9.8 hours on 50%. There are two 120-volt outlets and one 120/240-volt outlet. 

Note: We’ve seen recent price spikes that put this generator above the $500 mark. We’ll keep an eye on these prices and update accordingly. 

Generators $500-$1,000

Up your budget, and you can double your wattage with these generators.  

Briggs & Stratton

This Briggs & Stratton model costs $799, and runs on an 8-gallon fuel tank. Of our midprice range tier, this portable generator model offers the most wattage for the least money with 8,500 starting watts and 6,250 running watts. 

You’ll get 11 hours of run time at 50% with the StormResponder from its 420cc engine. A digital screen Briggs & Stratton calls the “StatStation” displays the power load and provides maintenance reminders. A guide printed on the unit depicts which appliances can plug into which of the four onboard outlets. 

CAT

Of all the models listed here, this portable generator offers the highest run time for the least money. You’ll get 12 hours at 50% load for this $850 CAT model. That’s thanks to a hefty 7.9-gallon gasoline tank. The CAT RP6500 delivers 8,125 starting watts and 6,500 running watts from its 420cc engine.

A CO Defense carbon monoxide automatic shutoff system keeps toxic fumes from building up near your home. There are six rubber-covered outlets, including four GFCI household outlets and two 120/240-volt twist lock outlets. 

Generators $1,000 and up

These high-end units might be overkill for smaller homes, but if you’re looking for high starting watts, this group is your best bet.

Generac

This $1,129 Generac model delivers 10,000 starting watts for easy power-ups.

You’ll get 8,000 running watts for up to 11 hours at 50% load. A 7.9-gallon fuel tank feeds the 420 cc engine. The Generac GP8000E backup power generator includes flat-free tires, a carbon monoxide auto shutoff and six GFCI outlets. 

Champion

Similar in price to the Generac model, this Champion generator offers a bit more power output.

You’ll have 11,500 starting watts and 9,200 running watts at your disposal, as well as a 7.7-gallon fuel tank and 459cc engine that can power your generator at 50% load for 10 hours. 

One 120/240-volt 30-amp locking outlet, one 120/240-volt 50-amp outlet and four 120-volt 20-amp GFCI protected household outlets are included. A digital display reads output and maintenance messages.

DuroMax

This heavy-duty portable generator delivers 10,500 running watts and 13,000 starting watts. A dual-fuel option provides 8.5 hours run time on gasoline and 6.5 hours run time on propane, based on a 50% load. 

Like other dual-fuel models, you can switch fuel types with an onboard button. Several power outlets are provided: two 120-volt GFCI household outlets, one 120-volt 30-amp twist-lock outlet, one 240-volt 30-amp outlet and one 240-volt 50-amp outlet.

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54 best TV shows to stream on Netflix

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Phoebe Dynevor in Bridgerton.


Netflix

If you’re searching for good TV to spend a lot of time with on Netflix, welcome to another list of best shows you might have missed. Netflix periodically changes up its line-up of programs, but its excellent originals stick around. Hopefully you’ll find a hidden gem or two here to keep you entertained at home.

Read more: The Queen’s Gambit: That ending explained and all your questions answered

Bridgerton

Phoebe Dynevor in Bridgerton.

Netflix

Bridgerton is practically a show designed to be addictive. Known as Jane Austen but with sex, the period piece has a tad more going for it: With lavish production design and colorful costumes, this is Regency London like you’ve rarely seen it. In the early 19th century dating scene, the Bridgerton siblings’ adventures in love are captured by a scandalous newsletter, written by Regency London’s version of Gossip Girl, voiced by none other than Julie Andrews. Settle in for this gorge-worthy viewing.

Cobra Kai

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Guy D’Alema/Netflix

Initially Cobra Kai, a series based on the Karate Kid films, might sound like a cynical money-making spinoff of the martial arts franchise. But it’s become one of Netflix’s most popular shows, thanks to well-written characters and a good measure of nostalgia. The series follows Johnny Lawrence, 34 years after he was jump-kicked in the face by Daniel LaRusso. Taking this subversive viewpoint, Cobra Kai is three seasons of self-aware, light-hearted and full of heart fun.

The Queen’s Gambit

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Netflix

How do you make chess the thrilling centerpiece of a coming-of-age tale? You shake it into a cocktail of stylish visuals, a rocking ’60s soundtrack and the magnetic Anya Taylor-Joy as Beth Harmon, one of the youngest (and few female) chess players in the world. The fictional story in The Queen’s Gambit, named after a chess opening, follows her rise from an orphanage to toppling the best players in the world — as long as her drug addiction and bags of wine bottles don’t get in the way.

Kingdom

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Netflix

Netflix’s first original Korean series doesn’t pull any punches. A zombie horror with a Joseon period political backdrop to sprawl over, Kingdom is for those partial to a blood-pumping genre-meld with a gory imagination. Season 1 sees Crown Prince Lee Chang wrapped up in a political conspiracy, when he’s not investigating a mysterious plague. He’s swept up in a life or death thriller, with a dash of royal dynasty at stake.

The End of The F***ing World

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Netflix

If you like your dark British humor, look no further than The End of The F***ing World. Psychopath James (Alex Lawther) comes up with a plan to kill Alyssa (Jessica Barden) while on the run from their lousy parents. But as they soar across the open road and commit a couple of violent crimes, their callous hearts soften and they develop feelings for one another. Surprising, fast-paced and surreal, both seasons of this deadpan teenager of a show, with its headphones pumping the best sad ’50s, ’60s and ’70s doo-wop, will blow you away.

Crashing

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Netflix

Before she electrified everyone with the word-for-word perfect Fleabag, Phoebe Waller-Bridge wrote a six-part comedy that showcased the early stages of her astonishing talent. Crashing follows six twenty-somethings living in a disused hospital, casually observing the strict rules in exchange for cheap rent. The oddball characters subvert expectations wherever hilariously possible, with Waller-Bridge dropping in as the ukulele-playing Lulu. Not only disrupting the Friends setup, she gets herself into occasionally jaw-droppingly dark situations (see the all-too-touchy Aunt Gladys).

Criminal

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Netflix

Criminal gives you four series of Line of Duty-channeling police procedural, with each episode centered on a suspect picked apart in an interrogation room. The twist: Each series takes place in a different country and language — Spanish, French, German and English — but they use the exact same concept and set. As well as the tightly-scripted, cat-and-mouse interrogations, featuring masterclass performances from the likes of David Tennant, Hayley Atwell — and in season 2, Kit Harington — it’s fascinating to see how the limited sets are used differently by different police teams.

Mindhunter

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Netflix

David Fincher directs a stash of episodes in this psychological crime thriller’s two-season run (the third is on indefinite hold), so meticulous visuals and captivating storylines are a given. Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) is a special agent in the FBI, sent to interview serial killers in prison to build a profile of what makes them tick. Cameron Britton as real-life serial killer Ed Kemper is absolutely chilling. Mindhunter is smarter and richer than your average crime show, somehow growing with its complex characters. It would be a shame if the third season didn’t happen (although that seems to be the case).

The OA

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Netflix

From the minds of Britt Marling and Zal Batmanglij, The OA has it all: mystery, sci-fi, the supernatural and even a dash of fantasy for good measure. We follow Prairie, a young woman who reappears after being missing for seven years. She used to be blind, but not anymore! Now she calls herself the OA and she sweeps a host of Midwestern locals of all ages and backgrounds into her dimension-hopping mission to save lives. Sadly, Netflix cancelled The OA after season 2, but this big, inventive and human sci-fi is still well worth taking a look at.

Sex Education

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Sam Taylor/Netflix

Binging Sex Education is a no-brainer: The self-aware, John Hughes-possessed mishmash of American and British high school culture is a joyful breeze to watch. We follow Otis (Asa Butterfield), the son of a sex therapist (Gillian Anderson), as he embarks on his sexual awakening. The explicit sex talk and scenes are addressed in refreshingly healthy and honest ways. Built around a diverse cast with pure charisma, Netflix understandably commissioned a third season.

The Haunting of Hill House

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Steve Dietl/Netflix

Mike Flanagan’s The Haunting of Hill House, loosely based on Shirley Jackson’s novel of the same name, weaves its horror into a deeply affecting story about a broken family. Fractured after growing up in a haunted house, the Crains can’t ignore their past and must do what you never want to do: Go back down those dark corridors. The impressive set-pieces will please horror fans, but it’s the sad story of the Crains that will, yes, haunt you for days. Good news: The second chapter of the anthology, The Haunting of Bly Manor, is out for Halloween.

Dark

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Netflix

Germany’s answer to Stranger Things deliberately takes its time before stepping into completely compelling and original places. A sci-fi noir, Dark folds time travel, conspiracies and estranged families into a generation-spanning story kicked off by a child’s disappearance. If those kinds of meticulously-crafted layers are what you’re after in your storytelling, settle in. All three seasons of Dark’s meditative look at time travel and its effect on human nature are waiting to hit you at full force.

Black Mirror

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Laurie Sparham/Netflix

While Charlie Brooker’s bleak tech anthology series can be hit and miss, at its best, Black Mirror packs its mini-movies with an exploration of futuristic technological ideas through painfully human stories. One of those is San Junipero, following two women in the ’80s (cue banging soundtrack) as they fall for each other in ways they couldn’t do in their “real” lives outside the beach city. The tech aspect is revealed with genius timing and, in general, the show explores the consequences of our plugged-in lives in disturbing and occasionally uplifting ways.

GLOW

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Netflix

A show inspired by the true story of the first pro female wrestling syndicate in the ’80s? Starring Alison Brie? Produced by Jenji Kohan? Dreams do come true. GLOW’s purely fun comedy, packed with eccentric female characters, teams campiness with underdog triumph and soars. Season 3 progresses deeper into the lives of its diverse ensemble, with a fourth and final season on its way to cap off this delightful body slam into the ring.

The Crown

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Netflix

Sumptuous is one word to describe the production values of The Crown’s drama about the British monarchy. Following Queen Elizabeth II’s life, starting in her 20s with a powerhouse performance from Claire Foy, The Crown captures the grand workings of historical events from deep within Buckingham Palace. Figures like Winston Churchill, Princess Margaret, Margaret Thatcher and more are treated with the highest cinematic sophistication. A fifth and sixth season are on their way to round out your knowledge of the Queen’s reign into the early 21st century.

Russian Doll

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Netflix

Russian Doll takes its Groundhog Day premise and wrenches it apart in the most unpredictable ways. Natasha Lyonne is the crackling spark at the center of its time-looping mystery, playing Nadia, a game developer who repeatedly dies on the night of her 36th birthday party. The Amy Poehler co-created show uses time travel to explore self-reflection on a whole new level, making this a definite one-sitting appointment.

Unbelievable

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Netflix

This miniseries, based on a true story of rape, deftly navigates its disturbing and tricky subject matter with the help of a remarkable performance from Kaitlyn Dever. She plays Marie, a teenager who’s charged with lying about being raped, but of course it’s more complicated than that. Toni Collette and Merritt Wever team up as whip-smart detectives who see what others fail to, adding another layer to Unbelievable’s delicate, powerfully moving triumph.

Master of None

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Netflix

On the surface a comedy about a 30-year-old New Yorker who loves his pasta, Master of None casually throws in nuanced and moving episodes about immigrant families and their second-generation children. Then it drops an entire episode about Tinder. Dev’s relatable experiences bubble with creator and star Aziz Ansari’s wit and charm and, personal controversy aside, the romantic and cultural themes he explores are remarkably mature.

Unorthodox

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Netflix

This miniseries is based on a memoir and told primarily in Yiddish with painstaking detail. Almost a thriller, Unorthodox follows 19-year-old Esty Shapiro, who escapes her arranged marriage in an ultra-Orthodox community in Brooklyn. She ends up in Berlin, exploring a new life outside the strict beliefs she grew up in, but her community doesn’t let go that easily. Featuring a stunning performance from Shira Haas, Unorthodox lets you take a step into a relentlessly compelling world.

Never Have I Ever

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Netflix

Devi is your average high schooler who wants nothing more than to be cool and get a boyfriend. But it’s hard to stay chipper after your dad dies. Mindy Kaling’s coming-of-age story covers familiar territory and yet it stands out from the pack in multiple ways. Get this: Its narrator is John McEnroe. The sporting connection is just one layer of this surprising, charm-your-socks-off show, depicting an Indian family living in California. You’ve seen these stories before, but not with these unique characters.

Money Heist

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Netflix

This series is loved by many (and Netflix loves you for it), but in case you haven’t heard what all the fuss is about, Money Heist is, yep, about a heist. The mastermind doing Ocean’s Eleven-level prep work with equally satisfying reveals is The Professor. He’s got banks in his sights and we see how his intricate plans come together with slick flashbacks, time-jumps and even an unreliable narrator. This is captivating TV with a distinct Spanish identity — don’t let the subtitles put you off.

Dead To Me

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Netflix

If you’re looking for a female-led show with a dark sense of humor and a mystery, Dead To Me delivers all that in spades. This underrated series is all about the friendship between Linda Cardellini’s Judy and Christina Applegate’s Jen, total opposites who bond over wine, family and murder. The twists and reveals keep momentum going, while you enjoy spending time with these flawed but brilliant women.

Peaky Blinders

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Netflix

Netflix wisely snapped up the rights to Peaky Blinders and there are five seasons, with two more coming, to traverse the stunning rise of 1900s Birmingham ganger leader Thomas Shelby. Prepare yourself for a mesmerizing performance from Cillian Murphy in this family saga that has a fantastic amount of fun and flair showing Shelby’s dealings with other gangs, the police and the occasional lover.

After Life

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Netflix

After Life might not be a classic like Ricky Gervais’ The Office and Extras, but it’s a show you’ll want to settle in with. Set in the fictional sleepy town of Tambury, it follows newspaper journalist Tony, played by show creator Gervais in impressively dramatic territory. Tony’s grieving after the love of his life’s death from cancer. While the show’s steeped in melancholy, there are magic moments when Tony unleashes priceless brutal takedowns of the eccentric and annoying (to him) townsfolk. But you always know he’s on track to come to terms with his grief and form lovely relationships with the people around him.

Derry Girls

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Netflix

Another unmissable show, Derry Girls follows the mishaps of Erin and her friends in 1990s Derry, Ireland. Their teenage woes are paired with antics from their equally hilarious parents, set on a backdrop of the Northern Ireland conflict. While you can make comparisons with The Inbetweeners, Derry Girls draws from its own well of sweet charm and the historical context paves ground for surprisingly dark humor.

The Sinner

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Netflix

Three fascinating seasons of The Sinner await to be cracked open, each one focused on a murder committed by an unlikely offender in even stranger circumstances. Season 1 follows Jessica Biel’s Cora, who stabs a man to death on a beach in a sudden frenzy, but has no idea why. It’s up to Bill Pullman’s Detective Ambrose to unravel the shockingly disturbing events embedded in her psyche that lead to her being triggered.

Alias Grace

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Netflix

This miniseries is from a couple of years ago, but in case you missed it, it’s definitely worth checking out. In the vein of The Sinner, Alias Grace steps back into its young female protagonist’s past to figure out why she commits murder, of which she has no memory. An adaptation of a Margaret Atwood novel, the show stars a hypnotic Sarah Gadon as Irish immigrant Grace, navigating a turbulent life as a servant for a family in colonial Toronto. Partly based on a true story, this isn’t a straightforward mystery with straightforward answers and that’s what makes it all the more captivating.

Lovesick

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Netflix

Lovesick is easy, enjoyable viewing with a premise ripe for embarrassment humor we can all relate to. Helpless-in-love Dylan discovers he has chlamydia and must track down past flings and inform them that they might have it too. A flashback narrative keeps things interesting, especially when the focus turns to Dylan and best friend Evie’s feelings for each other. It never goes into soapy territory, with an eccentric but loveable supporting cast playing English flatmates in a Glasgow setting.

Bodyguard

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Netflix

Bodyguard broke records when it first aired in Britain, climbing from cliffhanger to cliffhanger at a relentless pace. This might be the definition of the unstoppable binge, not surprising given it comes from the mind of Line of Duty’s Jed Mercurio. Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden plays the titular bodyguard, who suffers from PTSD after serving in the Afghanistan war. On top of that, he’s assigned to protect the Home Secretary (Keeley Hawes), whose politics he despises. Taking provocative turns, and crafting one of the best-ever 20-minute opening scenes, Bodyguard is an expert tension-building balancing act.

Stranger Things

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Netflix

It wouldn’t be a best list without Stranger Things. If somehow you’ve missed the Duffer Brothers’ ode to ’80s horror and Steven Spielberg, things are about to get tubular. We follow El, a near-mute girl who was the subject of scientific experiments. She develops telekinetic powers, which she uses to fend off monsters who invade from a frightening alternative dimension. The world of Indiana, Hawkins, is lovingly detailed for anyone in need of an ’80s nostalgia hit and the misfit characters, played by a stellar young cast, are part of everything that makes this show a tour de force.

House of Cards

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Netflix

While Kevin Spacey’s sexual harassment allegations ended up marring this slick, fourth-wall breaking slice of politics’ dark side, it’s still worth watching if you dig power games and the occasional backstabbing. Initially following Spacey’s Frank Underwood, House of Cards’ sixth and final season pivots to follow his wife Claire (Robin Wright) as she takes on more and more power in the Oval Office.

Ozark

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Touted as the next Breaking Bad, Ozark only gets better and better as you watch the Byrde family’s life spiral out of control. Beginning with a bang, Ozark sees financial advisor Marty’s (Jason Bateman) money laundering scheme for a Mexican drug cartel go wrong. His solution? Move his family to the Lake of the Ozarks, where he’ll set up a bigger laundering operation. Building on all that potential, Ozark crafts a smart, but most importantly, entertaining story, with a superb stand-out turn from Laura Linney as Wendy Byrde. Great news: Ozark was just renewed for a fourth and final season.

Travelers

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Netflix

Full disclosure: Netflix sadly canceled Travelers after its third season, but this tightly-plotted sci-fi out of Canada does manage to end with an ambitious bang. We start with Marcy, a disabled woman who’s beaten up after helping a friend escape thugs. She dies — then comes back to life. This strong character-driven sci-fi reveals its secrets in clever ways, following operatives from the future tasked with preventing the collapse of society, but also navigating the tricky territory of living a double life.

Love

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Netflix

Love is a Judd Apatow creation that draws the best out of the talented Gillian Jacobs (Britta in Community) and Paul Rust. They play Mickey and Gus respectively, an opposites-attract couple, who go to messy, frustrating and endearingly down-to-earth places that make this an honest look at a relationship being built over time. Iris Apatow is a standout as the unhappy child actress Gus tutors who gets away with just about anything.

Orange Is the New Black

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Netflix

One of the first ever Netflix originals broke ground in more ways than one. The seven seasons, initially drawn from a memoir about a real-life women’s prison, span the lives of women from multiple backgrounds and nationalities, who all end up in orange jumpsuits. Drug money smuggler Piper kicks off the first season as our Alice going down the rabbit hole in this wild, raw, hilarious and powerful show, taking on tough issues not often explored on screen.

When They See Us

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Netflix

Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us comes under the tough but essential viewing banner. It depicts the real-life events of the 1989 Central Park jogger case, involving five male suspects of color who were falsely accused of rape and assault. Not only sensitively drawing the humanity of the boys into focus, When They See Us demands outrage at the injustice of systemic racism.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

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Netflix

Tina Fey’s post-30 Rock sitcom is as weird and wonderful as it gets. Kimmy Schmidt is a 29-year-old who finally emerges after 15 years spent in the bunker of a doomsday cult. Naive but relentlessly enthusiastic, she does her best to adjust to life in New York, taking on odd jobs, finding love and making friends with equally odd people. The show is impressively peppered with a joke a second. Its rewatch value is through the roof and Ellie Kemper ensures Kimmy is a heroine to root for.

Daredevil

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Netflix

The show that paved the way for Marvel’s Netflix TV series came to an end after its third season, a casualty in the cut ties between the streamer and the superhero juggernaut. This understandably outraged fans, given its quality wasn’t slowing down. Not just any superhero show, Daredevil goes to dark and surprisingly existential places, dealing with Matt Murdock’s faith as he leads a double life as a blind lawyer and the Daredevil vigilante. Becoming famous for its one-take hand-to-hand combat sequences, with a villain just as good as its hero — Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk, aka Kingpin — Daredevil shone bright while it lasted.

Jessica Jones

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Netflix

While the latter two seasons drop the ball a little in terms of complex themes, season 1 of Jessica Jones is a force to be reckoned with. Somehow managing to be a superhero detective noir, the series entwines subject matter like rape, assault and PTSD into its many facets. Krysten Ritter was the perfect choice to take on the dry, sarcastic, rough-around-the-edges hero who could also be the occasional asshole. With a mind-controling villain like David Tennant’s Kilgrave, who can literally tell people to kill themselves, the wall our hero must scale to save the day is absolutely staggering.

Chef’s Table

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Netflix

Chef’s Table is for foodies who want not only food porn, but the soaring feeling of seeing what great chefs overcame to get that food to the plate. From the documentary maker who served up the acclaimed Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Chef’s Table tells the story of a different professional chef each episode, hailing from restaurants in the far corners of the world (Lima, Peru, anyone?). All to the tune of original symphonic music, this series is a moving, cinematic opera fueled by the power of food, culture and inspiring stories.

Queer Eye

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Netflix

The reboot of the 2003 makeover show is much more than a reality TV series. As the Queer Eye team travel around the US and occasionally other parts of the world, stepping into the homes of those put forward by friends and family, they use their charm and pure willingness to help to nudge their new friends toward a transformative shift in their lives. As you watch, you might pick up cooking, fashion and home decorating skills yourself, all on the path to notching up confidence and happiness.

Collateral

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Netflix

Carey Mulligan playing a detective inspector is a stroke of genius, leading an investigation into the murder of a pizza delivery guy shot in a London suburb. Mulligan’s astute and, er, ex-Olympic pole vaulter Kip Gillespie delves deeper into the mystery that of course isn’t what it seems. Collateral pushes against its police procedural boundaries into murky moral territory, wrapped up in a hot blanket of politics and social commentary.

Narcos

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Netflix

Drug kingpin Pablo Escobar is the subject of this, yes, addictive series that races through his rise to becoming the infamous cocaine distributer and billionaire. A true-to-life account that blends in archival footage, Narcos manages to present a sympathetic side to Escobar without undermining the gravity of its material. Plus, the DEA’s hunt to bring Escobar down ratchets up the suspense. After you finish the three series, head to Narcos: Mexico, a companion series that focuses on the illegal drug trade in Mexico.

The Last Dance

Phoebe Dynevor in Bridgerton.

Netflix

Even if you’re not into sports or documentaries, The Last Dance plays out like the most pulsating drama, detailing the Chicago Bulls rise to greatness, with rare footage of their magnetic and intense leader Michael Jordan. A fascinating look into the basketball world, The Last Dance is as entertaining and thrilling as a match on the court.

13 Reasons Why

Phoebe Dynevor in Bridgerton.

Netflix

The first season of this YA show stuck most closely to its source material, a novel by Jay Asher that revolves around a teenage girl’s suicide. Hannah Baker leaves behind a box of cassettes, which her thoughtful friend Clay Jensen listens to to find out why she chose to take her life. This is deep stuff, dealt with in confronting ways (at one time deemed too confronting), but the social issues like suicide, sexual assault and mental health are handled maturely. A high school drama through fragile, lost young adults draws you in and doesn’t let go.

BoJack Horseman

Phoebe Dynevor in Bridgerton.

Netflix

When it comes to cartoons that lower your guard before gut-punching you with reflections on mental health, BoJack Horseman takes the cake. Set in an LA filled with anthropomorphic animals, it follows a washed-up ex-sitcom star who tries to climb back to his former celebrity by releasing an autobiography. While at first it might take you some time to digest this unconventional cocktail, BoJack Horseman soon astounds you with its truths about struggling with depression and addiction on the path to getting your life back on track.

Dear White People

Phoebe Dynevor in Bridgerton.

Netflix

This provocatively titled show delivers a timely look at modern race relations through the eyes of a different character each episode. Following several black students at Winchester, an Ivy League institution, Dear White People manages to blend its social commentary with a sharp sense of humor. The fourth and final season is set to arrive this year, capping off this powerful eye-opener.

The Kominsky Method

Phoebe Dynevor in Bridgerton.

Netflix

A comedy starring Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin? Yep, it’s as good as it sounds. Douglas plays Sandy Kominsky, an ex-actor in Hollywood who’s now an acting coach, going through all that comes with growing older. Arkin plays his pal and agent Norman Newlander. The two leads, along with side characters played by the likes of Emily Osment, are what elevate this show into poignant, warm-your-heart territory.

Godless

Phoebe Dynevor in Bridgerton.

Netflix

This miniseries carves itself firmly into the Western genre, with a female-led cast boasting Merritt Weaver and Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery. With its 1880s New Mexico vistas swirling around it, Godless draws up the violence in a tale that sees an outlaw on the run from his boss seek refuge with an outcast widower. Oh, Jeff Daniels is in this too, if the show wasn’t enticing enough.

Crazyhead

Phoebe Dynevor in Bridgerton.

Netflix

If you were a fan of Howard Overman’s insanely entertaining Misfits, Crazyhead might be where you want to head next. Overman’s follow-up show, which first aired in the UK in 2016, is a comedy-horror starring Cara Theobold (the voice of Tracer in Overwatch) and Susan Wokoma as unlikely friends who bond over being able to see demons gallivanting about in normal society. Their brilliant double-act is at the heart of this disturbingly entertaining series, featuring exorcisms, accidental roommate killings and demon fathers. Yeah, you need to watch this for yourself.

Easy

Phoebe Dynevor in Bridgerton.

Netflix

Joe Swanberg brings his endlessly watchable, laidback brand of improvisational storytelling to multiple tales exploring the many variations of love. One of them involves a married couple testing the waters of an open relationship. There are a host of different characters and relationships to flip through in Easy’s episodic anthology set in Chicago, with surprisingly realistic and meaningful resolutions.

Tiger King

Phoebe Dynevor in Bridgerton.

Even if you’ve gleaned a lot of the details of Tiger King’s insanity from when it took over the internet, you still stand a good chance of being sucked into the documentary series that goes to seemingly unbelievable places. There really is nothing like watching Joe Exotic’s rise and fall as he builds his private tiger zoo in Oklahoma. Things get even more bizarre when his bitter feud with Carole Baskin, a cat rescuer in Florida, leads to harassment, threats and unsolved murder mysteries. You really do have to watch it to believe it.

Cheer

Phoebe Dynevor in Bridgerton.

Netflix

Another documentary series that captivated more than just sports fans, Cheer delves into the lives of young, highly competitive athletes at Navarro College in Texas. Starting in 2000, coach Monica Aldama builds the cheerleading program from the ground up to become the best in the country. The anxiety they deal with heightens across the six episodes as their big competition nears, but always, at its core, the show is resoundingly uplifting.

Feel Good

Phoebe Dynevor in Bridgerton.

Netflix

Comedian Mae Martin’s Feel Good really does try to do what it says on the tin. It follows the repressed George (Charlotte Ritchie) as she falls for Martin’s Mae after seeing her stand-up show. Their London-based romance sees George grappling with coming out to her middle-class friends and family, while Canadian Mae has a drug problem that makes their love even more difficult. A confidently told story with its sense of humor nailed on from the start, Feel Good exudes sweetness and grace.

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Bridgerton Season 2 News, Release Date, Cast, Spoilers

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I made a delightful discovery this week: There might be no better way to close the door on 2020 than by stuffing your face with Christmas cookies and bingeing eight straight episodes of a period drama by Shonda Rhimes. The steamy, lavish Regency-set Bridgerton—Rhimes’s first new scripted series as part of her massive deal with Netflix—is not my typical Netflix fodder; I usually find period pieces tired and overstretched.

But Bridgerton moves along with the captivating clip of one of those fancy horses the leading ladies ride side-saddle. The story of Daphne Bridgerton’s scheme to avoid a loveless marriage with the doltish Lord Berbrooke—by stirring up a fake romance with the Duke of Hastings—might seem shallow on the surface, but Bridgerton does a delightful job of manifesting real intimacy between the two leads. The result is a fun bit of escapism that still manages to feel significant and special.

So, the question on everyone’s lips is, of course, if there’s more. Unfortunately, we’re still waiting on official news from Lady Whistledown, but there are a few things we know so far.

Season 2 seems quite likely.

Although Netflix has yet to announce an official return for Bridgerton, we have two reasons to suspect it’ll happen anyway: 1) The series has been a huge hit since its debut on December 25, and 2) Reports from production schedules seem to imply season 2 is already slated for 2021. In particular, a recent listing from Production Weekly shows the season is set to start filming in Uxbridge, England, in March 2021. We’ll see if that pans out with the coronavirus pandemic, but it’s a promising sign for future episodes!

LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX

But things might be on hold for a while.

Phoebe Dynevor, who plays Daphne, said in an interview with Deadline that COVID-19 might manage to delay things for a while.

“I can’t imagine how it would be possible to film under these circumstances,” she said in the interview published January 15. “There are so many extras and so many crew members, and it’s a very intimate show. It just baffles me how we would film it under Covid rules unless there was a vaccine beforehand.”

The vaccine rollout in the U.K. is happening steadily, though, so that could mean good news for the Bridgerton cast and crew. The show is filmed in Bath, England.

The cast wants to return.

Although excitement from the cast doesn’t necessarily mean a show will return, it certainly doesn’t hurt. Dynevor told ELLE.com she would love to come back to the show, so long as she gets to have a little fun with Jonathan Bailey’s character, Anthony. “I want to see Daphne get involved in Anthony’s love life a bit, as he sort of meddled with hers quite a lot,” she joked. “I think that will be fun.”

regÉ jean page as simon basset and phoebe dynevor as daphne bridgerton in episode 108 of bridgerton

LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX

On the other hand, Regé-Jean Page, who plays Daphne’s suave beau Simon Basset, would like to see more of their relationship in the next series. “As far as continuing to explore characters, I think that love is an evolving thing,” he told TV Guide. “It’s a living, breathing thing that needs tending, that needs looking after, that needs mending when it gets worn or torn. They get married very young. They still have a lot of growing to do. They have a lot to do, and I think it’ll always be fun to watch them do that together.”

Nicola Coughlan, who plays the darling Penelope Featherington, has her own plans: She told Radio Times she, too, would come back for more—especially if Penelope gets more screen time. “I’d love to go on that journey with [Penelope], to see how she’s changed,” she said. “I’d really love to come back, because I feel like we’ve just scratched the surface. And because there’s such a huge cast in this show, there’s so much more of all the characters.”

The creator is already gunning for, well…seven more seasons.

In an interview with Collider, Bridgerton creator Chris Van Dusen said he has big plans for the future. In keeping with the eight books that make up the Bridgerton series, he’s hoping for eight total seasons of the Netflix show as well.

“This being a family of eight children and there being eight books, I would love to be able to focus and really tell stories and love stories for all the Bridgerton siblings. For each character, for sure,” he said. When Collider asked to confirm if that meant he wanted eight seasons, he responded, “I would love that. In success, I would love that.”

If all goes well, we can expect more of those delicious “married ladies” parties.

In season 1, Lady Danbury (a delightful Adjoa Andoh) hosts a party for married women to gamble, drink, and generally get into trouble. Even the picture-perfect Daphne gets involved! Andoh says she wants to see much more of this.

“I would love to really develop those female friendships, for Lady Danbury to be a sort of conduit for doing that. For making things happen. For making space for these women to develop,” she told Decider. “I would love to see some development of the friendships between the older women, particularly, and also more of that bohemian, artistic scene.”

Lady Whistledown might reveal herself…at least to one character.

We learn at the end of the series that Lady Whistledown is not, in fact, the modiste (Genevieve Delacroix)—she’s the seemingly innocent Penelope. Says Claudia Jessie, who plays Penelope’s best friend Eloise, that revelation might finally be spilled to the people of the ton…and it could change everything.

“Eloise and Penelope’s relationship is gonna change!” she told Decider. “Obviously they’re best mates, but there’s a lot that Penelope hasn’t shared with Eloise. And I’m sure there are loads of secret love and romantic desires that Eloise has had that she hasn’t been brave enough to share.”

“I’d hate to think of the fallout that’s gonna happen with Eloise,” Coughlan added. “That like, makes me feel like ill inside.”

We have a good idea of what season 2 would focus on.

Speaking of a large cast of characters, the Bridgerton book series on which the show is based has eight different books, which means the wizards over at Netflix have no shortage of material to work with. If the series continues to draw from Julia Quinn’s creations, next season should focus not on Daphne and Simon but on Daphne’s brother Anthony and his own quest for love—or, uh, something like it.

You see, Anthony—scorned by his former lover—is convinced he should marry for duty, not love, and so he refuses to marry someone he actually cares for. In the book, titled The Viscount Who Loved Me, he chooses a Sheffield daughter as his wife, but Kate Sheffield steps in to protect her younger sister from marriage to London’s most famous bachelor. Then Kate realizes her own heart might be at stake. Sounds delectable.

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Can Face Yoga Really Transform Your Skin?

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Photography via instagram.com/@allyoucanface

Between the emergence of “maskne” (a word we’d never heard of a year ago but is now a part of our daily vocabulary) and more time spent in front of screens than ever before, not to mention the sleepless nights spent doom-scrolling, you may have noticed some skin dullness and puffiness that wasn’t there before. And while endless hours staring at our own faces on Zoom has resulted in an uptick in cosmetic procedures to address newfound imperfections, not everyone wants to go that route. Enter: face yoga and facial massage.

Launched in 2016 in the UK, “gym for your face” studio FaceGym made its North American debut in 2018, and currently has studio locations in Manchester, London, New York and Los Angeles. The premise of the facial (that’s way more than a facial) is to provide your face — and the 40+ muscles that exist from the neck up that we rarely think about — with a good ol’ fashioned workout, beginning with a warm up, then moving onto cardio and sculpting, before finishing with a cool down. The result? A non-invasive face lift, a reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and an overall brighter, more plump-looking complexion.

Meghan Markle’s facialist, Nichola Joss, is also a huge proponent of facial massage and even has her own signature face massage method (which includes going inside your mouth (!) — you can watch a demo here). TikTok user @allyoucanface discovered face yoga after struggling with acne and getting drawn into facial anatomy as an alternative to invasive cosmetic procedures and harsh treatments. Today, she has almost half a million followers on TikTok, where she shares facial massage tips and tricks, as well as before and after shots. She also has a virtual face yoga course that involves a daily 10-minute facial exercise routine.

Anastasia Burdog of @anyclass.faceonline, boasts 2 million followers on Instagram and offers similar virtual classes based on her 10 years of “face gymnastics” experience, which she claims can help with facial asymmetry, puffiness, dullness, wrinkles and more.

@allyoucanface##faceexercise ##basics ⭐️ ##allyoucanface ##facesculpting ##faceyoga ##facegym

♬ Original Sound – Unknown

Face yoga techniques vary from rapid, light slaps (to wake up the skin) to holding certain poses (to strengthen muscles) and the benefits, like regular yoga, range from toning muscles to easing tension and activating muscles that are rarely used.

Still not convinced? Before you write off face yoga as too goop-y, a 2018 study in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that “facial exercise resulted in improved […] upper cheek and lower cheek fullness” and the participants’ estimated ages were decreased after completing the exercise program. The women, aged 40 to 65, practiced 30 minutes of face yoga every day for two months, then every other day for three months, and at the end of the study, they looked about three years younger, according to a panel of dermatologists.

Lastly, as far as tools go, your hands are all you really need to practice face yoga. In fact, they’re an excellent way to get well-acquainted with your facial structure, especially if you’re new to facial massage. But if you’re a fan of jade rollers, gua sha stones, or anything else, there’s certainly no reason you can’t incorporate them into your face yoga routine.

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Barack Obama Honors Martin Luther King Jr.

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On Instagram today, Barack Obama honored Martin Luther King Jr. in a heartfelt tribute. In his post, he honored King for “the seeds of his courage, his discipline, his vision, and the resilience of all who joined with him took years to bear fruit. But they gave us the Civil Rights Act. The Voting Rights Act. And an American tradition of nonviolent resistance that has rung through the generations, as we saw this summer when Americans of all races echoed his example in standing up to declare that Black Lives Matter—no more but also no less.”

He also pointed to the challenges that the U.S. is up against right now. It’s been less than two weeks since a mob breached the Capitol, less than a week since Donald Trump’s second impeachment, and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s inauguration is in two days.

“We’re in the middle of a tough chapter for our country, but #MLKDay should serve as a reminder that we have been through tough times before—and emerged from them stronger. But only because we never stopped believing in our democracy,” he said, in part. “Only because we never stopped working to perfect it.”

Read his full tribute below:

If anyone had a right to question whether our democracy was worth redeeming, it was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Because in the face of billy clubs and lynchings, poll taxes and literacy tests, he never gave in to violence, never waved a traitorous flag, never gave up on the country he called home, despite all of the injustices and indignities it brought upon him. Instead, he set out to realize his dream the most effective—and the most radical—way he knew how, by working with others to march, boycott, and sit in, recognizing that, as he said, “Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
The seeds of his courage, his discipline, his vision, and the resilience of all who joined with him took years to bear fruit. But they gave us the Civil Rights Act. The Voting Rights Act. And an American tradition of nonviolent resistance that has rung through the generations, as we saw this summer when Americans of all races echoed his example in standing up to declare that Black Lives Matter—no more but also no less.
On #MLKDay, we celebrate his life but we’re also called to live out his values through service of our own. Here are some ways you can get involved in your community: bideninaugural.org/day-of-service/. We’re in the middle of a tough chapter for our country, but #MLKDay should serve as a reminder that we have been through tough times before—and emerged from them stronger. But only because we never stopped believing in our democracy. Only because we never stopped working to perfect it. And only because, even in the face of intimidation, discrimination, and unimaginable suffering, we never stopped dreaming of a better day—and never stopped doing the long, hard, essential work of ushering it in.

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Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama will join the Bush and Clinton families at the inauguration Wednesday.

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Those WandaVision retro commercials hint at dark things to come

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Don’t skip over the fake ads in WandaVision.


Marvel/Disney Plus

WandaVision, Marvel’s new DisneyPlus show, starts in black and white, with canned laughter as a backdrop and a look like that of a familiar couple comedy along the lines of I Love Lucy. So it’s fitting each episode includes one retro commercial. Those spoof ads aren’t just funny, they play off Marvel’s history.

Possible WandaVision spoilers ahead.

In the first episode, the commercial airs just about 10 minutes in, and begins with burned toast smoking in a retro toaster. It unfolds as an ad for the “new and improved ToastMate 2000,” which supposedly can toast even pie and meatloaf. As the toaster works busily away, it beeps eerily like a bomb, with its red light the only splash of color in the black-and-white ad. It turns out the toaster is a product of Iron Man Tony Stark’s family company, Stark Industries, and it features the ominous slogan “Forget the past, this is your future.”

But a Stark device beeping like a bomb has a frightening connection to Wanda. In 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, Wanda and her twin brother, Pietro, reveal they were just 10 when they lost their parents in a bombing, and sat terrified for two days staring at the word “Stark” on an unexploded shell that landed nearby.

“We wait for two days for Tony Stark to kill us,” Wanda says in the film. It seems clear an ad for a toaster made by Stark that beeps like a bomb is no coincidence. While most of the episode is light and slapstick-ey and reminiscent of a fluffy sitcom, the commercial drops in with a reminder: There’s a darker past here, and the show could explore it.

In the second episode, the commercial comes at about 6:40 in, and appears to feature the same two actors as the first mock ad did. (CNET’s critic has some speculation about who the man and woman may be.)

The second ad shows an elegant couple heading for a night out and hawks the man’s Strücker watch. Not familiar with Strücker? Baron Wolfgang von Strücker is the Marvel villain who controls the evil organization Hydra in Avengers; Age of Ulton, and he’s the one who experimented on Wanda and her twin. So it’s especially chilling that the watch says “Hydra” right on its face, and has a menacing slogan — “Strücker: He’ll make time for you.”

Wanda and Vision may be attempting to live a sitcom-perfect suburban life, but the ads are a reminder that things may get serious before the full nine episodes are up. Marvel Studios’ president Kevin Feige even acknowledges the commercials are important.

“How (are) other truths of the show beginning to leak out?” Feige said, according to SlashFilm. “It’s just a strange version of the ’50s commercial or ’60s commercial … you’ll have to keep watching the series and understand. If you have been watching all the movies, you might be able to start connecting what those things mean to the past.”

The ads aren’t the only Easter eggs that reward close watching by Marvel fans. Check out our roundup of other noteworthy moments, including Vision’s gum, and that unnerving beekeeper.

A new WandaVision episode — and presumably, a new commercial — will premiere on Disney Plus on Jan. 22.

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Controlling VR with my mind: NextMind’s dev kit shows me a strange new world

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The NextMind band, or what it looks like from the side that rests against the back of your head.


Scott Stein/CNET

This story is part of CES, where our editors will bring you the latest news and the hottest gadgets of the entirely virtual CES 2021.

In my Oculus Quest VR headset, I was in a room surrounded by large-brained aliens. Their heads flashed, white and black. I turned to one, staring at it. Soon enough, its head exploded. I looked at the others, making their heads explode. Then I looked at a flashing portal marker across the room and was gone. I did this without eye tracking. A band on the back of my head was sensing my visual cortex with electrodes.

I felt like I was living some sort of real-life virtual version of the David Cronenberg film, Scanners. But in reality, I was trying a neural input device made by NextMind.

The NextMind band, or what it looks like from the side that rests against the back of your head.


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Before holiday break, I received a large black box with a small package inside. A black disc, with a headband. The disc was covered in small rubber-footed pads. NextMind’s $399 developer kit, announced a year ago at CES 2020, aims at something many companies are striving for: neural inputs. NextMind aims to read a brain’s signals to track attention, control objects and maybe even more.

It’s hard to understand the real potential and possibilities of neural input technology. Also, many of the startups in this space are doing different things. CTRL-Labs, a neurotechnology company acquired by Facebook in 2019, developed an armband that could send hand and finger inputs. Another company, Mudra, is making a wristband for Apple Watch later this year that also senses neural inputs on the wrist.

I wore an early version of the Mudra Band a year ago, and experienced how it could interpret my finger’s movements, and even roughly measure how much pressure I was applying when I squeezed my fingers. Even more weirdly, Mudra’s tech can work when you aren’t moving your fingers at all. The applications could include assisting people who don’t even have hands, like a prosthetic wearable.

NextMind’s ambitions look to follow a similar assistive-tech path, while also aiming for a world where neural devices could possibly help improve accuracy with physical inputs — or combine with a world of other peripherals. Facebook’s AR/VR head, Andrew Bosworth, sees neural input tech emerging at Facebook within three to five years, where it could end up being combined with wearable devices like smart glasses.

nextmind-vr

Attaching the NextMind device onto an Oculus Quest 2 headband.


Scott Stein/CNET

My NextMind experience has been rough, but also mesmerizing. The dev kit has its own tutorial and included demos that can run on Windows or Mac, plus a Steam VR demo that I played back on the Oculus Quest with a USB-C cable. The compact Bluetooth plastic puck has a headband but can also unclip from that and attach directly onto the back of a VR headset strap with a little effort.

All of NextMind’s experiences involve looking at large, subtly flashing areas of your screen, which can be “clicked” by focusing. Or staring. It was hard to tell how to make something activate, and I found myself trying to open my eyes more, or breathe, or concentrate. Eventually, sooner or later, the thing I was looking at would click. Out of a field of five or so on-screen flashing “buttons,” this really did know what I was looking at. And again, there was no eye tracking involved at all, this just rested on the back of my head.

Did it make me feel uncomfortable? Uncertain? Oh, yes. And as my kid came in and saw me doing this, and I showed him what I was doing, he was as astonished as if I had performed a magic trick.

NextMind’s dev kit isn’t meant for consumer devices yet. The Mudra Band, while launching as an Apple Watch accessory via crowdfunding site Indiegogo, is also experimental. I have no doubt we’ll see more technology like this. At this year’s virtual CES, there was even a “neural mouse” glove that aimed to improve reaction times by sensing click inputs a hair faster than even the physical mouse could receive. I didn’t try that glove, but the idea doesn’t sound far off from what companies like NextMind are imagining, either.

Right now, neural inputs feel like an imperfect attempt at creating an input, like algorithms searching for a way to do something I’d probably just do with a keyboard, a mouse or touchscreen instead. But, that was how voice recognition felt, once. And hand tracking. Right now, NextMind’s demos really do work. I’m just trying to imagine what happens next. Whatever it is, I hope more exploding heads won’t be a part of it.

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The best indoor home security cameras to buy for 2021

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Today’s security cameras come in a number of styles, including video doorbells and outdoor cameras. Many of them have specialty options like facial recognition, free cloud storage and person alerts. When you’re looking to keep an eye on everything when you’re not at home, consider an indoor security camera. These range in price from $20 to several hundreds of dollars. I’ve highlighted a few of my contenders for the best indoor home security camera below to help guide your decision. 

Wyze

In a sea of costly security cameras, the $20 Wyze Cam v3 offers killer value. Couple that with its straightforward app, easy installation and solid performance, and this excellent home security camera is our favorite indoor cam (and it’s weatherproof so you can use it outside too). 

What sets this security camera apart even more are its free two-week cloud storage and built-in microSD card slot for local storage. You have to buy a microSD card separately, but that’s standard for most cams with local storage. This smart camera supports Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands and has a motion detection zone feature.

Read our Wyze Cam review.

Read more: Top cheap home security devices

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The $200 Netatmo Smart Indoor Camera, previously called the Netatmo Welcome, is one of the few indoor security cameras that works with HomeKit Secure Video. HomeKit Secure Video is a service that works with the iOS-only Home app. It offers 10 days of free event-based video history, stored in iCloud.

Few security camera companies offer free cloud storage anymore (ahem, Arlo) — and even fewer offer 10 full days of free cloud storage. Wyze is an exception with this indoor security camera’s two weeks of free storage, which is one reason why it’s my current favorite indoor cam.

The Smart Indoor Camera from Netatmo has 1080p HD livestreaming, a 130-degree field of view, night vision and local storage with an included microSD card. This security camera also has facial recognition capabilities when you create a database of friends and family members. In addition to working with HomeKit, the Smart Indoor Camera also supports Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands.

Read more from CNET.

Chris Monroe/CNET

At $299, the Nest Cam IQ Indoor is definitely pricey for a security camera. But it also happens to have a ton of high-end features with a lot of appeal. First, it has 1080p HD livestreaming, free person alerts and a 4K image sensor. That 4K image sensor permits a feature called Supersight that zooms in on a person and tracks them within the camera’s field of view. 

If you pay for a Nest Aware subscription, which starts at $5 per month, you get access to the facial recognition feature. With facial recognition, you can create a database of friends and family in the app and then receive custom alerts when the camera recognizes “Dave” or “Molly.” 

The Nest Cam IQ Indoor also has a built-in Google Assistant speaker for general or smart-home-specific voice commands.

Read more from CNET.

More smart home and security

Today's security cameras come in a number of styles, including video doorbells and outdoor cameras. Many of them have specialty options like facial recognition, free cloud storage and person alerts. When you're looking to keep an eye on everything when you're not at home, consider an indoor security camera. These range in price from $20 to several hundreds of dollars. I've highlighted a few of my contenders for the best indoor home security camera below to help guide your decision. 


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Best savings account for January 2021

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A savings account provides a secure place to stash your money, maintains easy access to it and earns you a bit of interest in the process. It’s a keystone of personal finance and if you don’t have one — or you are ready to switch banks and find the best savings account for your needs — our picks can steer you in the right direction.

But first, let’s talk interest. There are plenty of ways to use money to make money. Compared with a regular savings account, investing in equities or a mutual fund has the potential to deliver a much higher rate of return — but there’s also a much higher risk that you could actually lose money, too. A certificate of deposit, or CD, may provide a decent interest rate and the risk is minuscule, given that it’s federally insured, but it usually locks up your money for a set period of time. That may be good for reaching a savings goal, but problematic if you want your savings to double as an emergency fund when you need it.

In contrast, even a high interest savings account will reliably deliver an extremely modest return. And we want to be entirely clear about this: High-yield savings account interest rates, which are influenced, but not directly set, by the Federal Reserve, currently top out at around 1%. So, if your savings account had an account balance of $100,000 for a year, you’d earn approximately $1,000 in interest on it. That’s not much.

And yet, with all the protections of federal deposit insurance (securing balances up to $250,000) and relatively unfettered access to your money, a savings account serves a purpose. Plus, they’re easy to apply for and the eligibility requirements are minimal; even a child can open an account with a parent or guardian co-signer and the minimum initial deposit.

Most savings accounts generally fall into two categories. There’s the online-only kind, which is typically offered by newer banks that don’t have a retail presence. With no branches to maintain or tellers to pay, online banking tends to offer a higher annual percentage yield, or APY, which pays you more in interest over time; these accounts are often referred to as “high yield.” In contrast, most bigger institutions, regional banks and local credit unions, which do have physical branches, provide a way to make deposits or withdraw funds in person and have a face-to-face conversation. Again, there’s none of that with an online bank: all your transactions are done online or using some other bank’s ATM and your customer service options are typically limited to an online chat, email or phone call. For people looking for a high APY who are already familiar with mobile banking and are comfortable with direct deposit, this is fine. However, if you want to interact with a person, online banking might not be for you.

There’s also a third scenario: Some banks have branches in only certain states and may offer a high-yield online-only deposit account exclusively to people who don’t live in one of those states. According to Ken Tumin, founder and editor of DepositAccounts.com, these older financial institutions see these specialized accounts as a way to receive more deposits without having to build a physical branch.  

Best savings accounts, compared

Best online savings account Highest interest rate Best for in-person banking Another good choice Another good choice
Bank/institution High Yield Chime Savings Account Sallie Mae SmartyPig Citi Accelerate PNC High Yield Savings Account Vio Bank Online High Yield Savings Account
APY 0.5% Up to 0.8% 0.5% 0.5% 0.57%
Minimum deposit $0 $0 $0 $0 $100
Estimated annual earnings on $1,000 deposit $5 Up to $8 $5 $5.00 $5.70
Branch access No No Yes No No
Monthly fee $0 $0 $4.50 when your balance falls under $500 $0 $5 when you choose to receive paper statements

In choosing the best savings accounts, we evaluated more than a dozen offered by a wide variety of national and regional banks. Though we steered clear of local banks and financial institutions that don’t serve a broad swath of customers in the US, it may be worthwhile to take a close look at your local bank and credit union options. You want to find an account that offers a consistently high interest rate — at the moment, savings account APYs may fluctuate on a weekly basis — as well as low or no fees, low or no minimum balance and convenient options for making withdrawals and deposits (direct deposit is key) online or in person. We also looked into factors like mobile banking, how easy it is to check your account balance, whether the financial institution requires a monthly maintenance fee, whether there’s a minimum balance requirement and so much more. 

All that said, if you’re looking for the best savings account for your needs, our favorites are below. We update this list every month.

Chime

  • Interest rate: 0.5% APY
  • Availability: All 50 states
  • Minimum deposit: $0
  • Monthly fees: $0

If you’re comfortable working with a bank that’s exclusively online, Chime’s high-yield account offers the best combination of features for a personal savings account: no fees, convenient ways to move money in and out, a slick app — and one of the higher interest rates available. You also get a free Chime checking account — the two are a package deal, like conjoined twins — which serves as the primary mechanism for depositing and withdrawing funds. 

You can deposit checks remotely via Chime’s modern, capable app, and the included Visa debit card can be used at more than 38,000 MoneyPass and Visa Plus Alliance ATMs. (You can also deposit cash at any store in the Green Dot network, which includes Walgreens, CVS and Family Dollar, though the onerous $4.95 per deposit fee should make that an option of last resort.) There’s no minimum balance required, and Chime lets you round up purchases to the nearest dollar and deposit the difference in your savings account (similar to Acorns, the micro-investing service). 

Sallie Mae

  • Interest rate: Up to 0.8% APY
  • Availability: All 50 states
  • Minimum deposit: $0
  • Monthly fees: $0

Sallie Mae, perhaps best known as a student loan provider, also offers a goal-based savings account with no minimum deposit and the highest APY currently available. The company frames its SmartyPig account as “a free online piggy bank for people saving for financial goals like holiday gifts, vacations, and even retirement.” That noted, using this bank account to save for retirement isn’t recommended — especially because of Sallie Mae’s odd, regressive approach to interest rates, which start at 0.8% on balances below $2,500 and gradually decrease to 0.55% on balances above $50,000. 

As such, this account is best-suited to people who are new to saving, who plan to build or maintain balances under $10,000 and who might ultimately benefit from less convenient access to their money. That’s because the SmartyPig account comes with no ATM card, Sallie Mae doesn’t have branches where you can make deposits or withdrawals, and there’s no app to enable easy transfers. (Though you can transfer or withdraw funds at any time through the bank’s web-based interface, customers are encouraged to set up a recurring automatic deposit from a paycheck or other account.) Still, if you’re looking to save a modest amount of money for a specific purpose — and maximize your interest rate while you’re doing it — SmartyPig is worth a look.

Citi

  • Interest rate: 0.5% APY
  • Availability: Throughout the US except California; Connecticut; Illinois; Maryland; Nevada; New Jersey; New York; Virginia; parts of Florida; Washington, DC; and Puerto Rico
  • Minimum deposit: $0
  • Monthly fees: $4.50 when your balance falls under $500

If you prefer dealing with a large bank, Citi’s Accelerate account offers a competitive APY and all the benefits of a national chain with branches across 42 US states. You get free access to more than 60,000 Citi and other surcharge-free ATMs, 24/7 customer service and other perks if you link a Citi checking account to your savings account. Though there’s no minimum deposit, Citi will charge you $4.50 per month if your checking account balance falls below $500. 

Note that although Citibank is one of the largest banks in the world, it doesn’t have a foothold in every state. If branch access is your priority, you’re better off with a different personal savings account if you live in California; Connecticut; Illinois; Maryland; Nevada; New Jersey; New York; Virginia; Washington, DC; Puerto Rico; or one of several parts of Florida.

PNC

  • Interest rate: 0.5% APY
  • Availability: Accessible in the 19 states that don’t have a PNC branch
  • Minimum deposit: $0
  • Monthly fees: $0

Available only to residents of the 19 states where PNC doesn’t have a retail location, which are New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Missouri, Wisconsin and Washington D.C.

PNC’s online-only high-yield savings account offers a decent interest rate, no minimum deposit, no minimum balance, no monthly fee or other fees. 

Vio Bank

  • Interest rate: 0.57% APY
  • Availability: All 50 states
  • Minimum deposit: $100
  • Monthly fees: $5 when you choose to receive paper statements

A subsidiary of MidFirst Bank, the largest privately owned bank in the US, Vio Bank itself is a purely online institution. So, you’ll need to manage all your bank account transactions online — either on the bank’s website or in its app. Though Vio’s APY isn’t as high as that offered by other banks, its annual percentage yield is consistently competitive. That noted, you’ll need to make an initial deposit of at least $100 to open an account, and the bank will charge you a $5 fee per month if you choose to have paper statements delivered. Otherwise, the fee schedule is more or less similar to what you’ll find at other banks.

What are the major differences between checking accounts and savings accounts? 

Most checking accounts are designed to facilitate transactions and payments, whether via a debit card, mobile app such as Apple Pay or a paper check. Most checking accounts don’t offer interest; those that do usually provide a very low rate of 0.1% or less. 

Savings accounts offer significantly higher interest rates and online-only banks typically offer the highest yields. These accounts provide a safe place to store money while keeping it accessible. Until recently, savings account holders were generally limited to making six transactions per month. 

How many withdrawals can I make from a savings account? 

In normal times, the Federal Reserve limits account holders to six withdrawals a month (to preserve liquidity for financial institutions). In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Federal Reserve made a rule change to Regulation D allowing unlimited withdrawals without any penalty. 

What is a high-yield savings account? 

A high-yield savings account offers a higher interest rate than a traditional savings account. These accounts may have certain deposit requirements, monthly fees or be available only to customers in certain states. 

Traditional savings accounts at a bank will have interest rates ranging from 0.05% to 0.1% while high-yield savings can go as high as 1%. 

Who sets interest rates? How often do they change? And why are rates so low right now?

The Federal Reserve sets a target rate range, which influences the specific interest rates set by individual banks. These rates may change over time; and adjustments often follow a meeting of the Board of Governors, which takes place every five to eight weeks. Since the Great Recession period, from 2007 to 2009, the Fed has consistently kept rates low, which has led to low interest rates for savings accounts. At the moment, the average interest rate for savings accounts is 0.05%. 

That noted, many banks will offer higher rates to attract new customers. The market for high-yield savings accounts is competitive, with some banks offering particularly high rates for an introductory period of time. Because of this, interest rates offered by a financial institution can change quite regularly.

Do you have to pay taxes on the interest earned from a savings account? 

Yes. Your bank will send you a 1099-INT form each year when your savings account earns more than $10 in interest. 

Savings accounts researched

  • Ally Online Savings Account
  • PNC High Yield Savings
  • Vio Bank High Yield Online Savings Account
  • Marcus High Yield Savings
  • Discover Online Savings Account
  • American Express High Yield Savings Account
  • Citi Accelerate
  • Nationwide My Savings
  • Citizens Online Savings Account
  • Sallie Mae SmartyPig
  • Affirm Savings
  • Chime Savings Account
  • Synchrony High Yield Savings
  • Popular Direct Select Savings

Read more: Best checking accounts

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‘A River of Lies:’ 23 Women on Four Years of Covering Trump

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Savannah Guthrie was in downward dog when it hit her: QAnon. The Today anchor was 48 hours away from her famous election townhall-turned-grilling of President Donald Trump and trying—but failing miserably—to zen out. Questions she wanted to ask on behalf of the American public kept popping into her head. Yoga would have to wait.

“You always need to have your finger on the pulse,” says Guthrie, who earned the title “surprise badass” for giving Trump one of his toughest interviews to date. But Guthrie’s performance was just one highly-publicized instance of what she and other female journalists had been doing since 2016: Bringing truth out from under the shadow of “fake news” and into the light.

As we close the Trump chapter and open a new one—this time, with a woman in the White House—ELLE caught up with 23 female journalists who had a front row seat to the country’s biggest moments, and often, unwillingly, became the story themselves.

Navigate through the years:

Every presidential election feels unprecedented, but with a matchup between two of the most polarizing candidates in U.S. history, this one really was.

The New York Times

Maggie Haberman, New York Times White House correspondent: I’m different than most White House reporters in the sense that I’d known Trump for a while. I’d dealt with his world for a long time. I grew up in New York. I worked at the tabloids. I had a different understanding of him. And he targeted me very early on in 2015. Is it difficult? Sure. But it was a difficulty I’d already been dealing with.

jane mayer

Stephen Voss

Jane Mayer, The New Yorker staff writer: My interview with Tony Schwartz, Trump’s ghostwriter, has echoed in my head for four years. He sent me an email that said, “If Donald Trump is elected president, I fear for the future of civilization.” He also warned me people voting for Trump may think he cares about them, but they would find out he only cares about himself. In earlier years, a story like that would have ricocheted across the country from one end to the other. It had a big impact among readers of The New Yorker, yes, but I had a sense we were no longer talking to the whole country. By the time my interview with Tony ran in 2016, the country was divided in where it was getting its information. I’ve been at this long enough that I could feel the difference.

olivia nuzzi

Sofia Colvin

Olivia Nuzzi, New York Magazine Washington correspondent: I thought Trump was an interesting character, and nobody else wanted to cover him on our politics team. I met him for the first time face-to-face a couple months into the campaign. When Hope Hicks introduced me to him, she nervously blurted out, “Sir, this is Olivia. She’s very young.” He looked at me and said, “Very young, very beautiful.” I extended my hand to shake his, like a normal person, and he looked like he didn’t know what to do. I felt like: Was he programmed wrong?

Very few thought he would actually run. Even fewer thought he could climb in the polls. Trump’s victory was “earth-shattering” for Clinton supporters, recalls Andrea Mitchell. “The end of an era.”

andrea mitchell

Courtesy NBC News

Andrea Mitchell, NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs correspondent & Chief Washington correspondent: I was at the Javits Center, Hillary Clinton headquarters, when sources of mine said they were concerned. It was an earth-shattering, crushing development for Clinton supporters. Even campaign chair John Podesta was crestfallen. It was clearly the end of an era, the end of their aspirations. It was a physically and emotionally draining moment for the people whom I was covering, which is always difficult as a correspondent.

maggie haberman

The New York Times

Maggie Haberman, New York Times: At 11 P.M. one of my colleagues called Trump looking for his reaction to potentially winning. He said something to the effect of: “Thank you. A great honor. Tell Maggie and her little friend that no one took my Twitter away.” At the time he was angry about a story my then-colleague Ashley Parker and I did about his final days on the trail, in which we referenced aides deleting Twitter off his phone. That’s where his head was that night.

laura bassett

Damon Dahlen

Laura Bassett, freelance journalist: There was champagne, alcohol, and snacks at EMILY’s List headquarters in D.C. Everyone was ready for the pinnacle of this organization: the election of the female president. Slowly throughout the night, the mood just dropped. People put down their glasses and started pacing. Around 1 A.M., it became clear Trump would win, and everyone became despondent. It was silent. It felt like a morgue in D.C. over the next few days.

In January 2017, Trump announced a blanket ban on visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries. The executive order was widely regarded as unconstitutional and its rollout unorganized, confusing even those closest to the president.

margaret brennan

Courtesy of CBS News

Margaret Brennan, Face the Nation moderator & CBS News Senior Foreign Affairs correspondent: I confronted Sean outside the White House briefing room and said, “Sean, we need the actual facts, here. What’s going on?” But he didn’t have an answer. Different groups within the Trump White House were clearly at odds with each other. It encapsulated the chaos within the administration. This wasn’t a case of journalists not understanding or not talking to the right people. That was how the administration was functioning with different competing power structures.

Less than one month after inauguration, April Ryan asked Trump about his promise to revitalize “inner cities.” Instead of outlining a plan, Trump asked Ryan, one of the few Black reporters covering the White House, to “set up” a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus.

april ryan

@jasonmccoyphotography

April Ryan, TheGrio White House correspondent & D.C. Bureau Chief: There was a hypersensitivity about issues of race, and I wanted to hear what his message was to Black America. Trump started by complimenting me, telling me he watched and liked me. But it quickly turned. Blood rushed to my ears and head when he asked me to set up a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus. I thought, ‘Why is he making me the story? This is not about me.’ It was embarrassing. That was pretty much the nail in the coffin for any relationship that Donald Trump and I would have. It went downhill from there, especially for minority women.

From the gilded lobby of Trump Tower, Trump delivered one of the most memorable—and infamous—comments from his time in office, telling reporters there were “very fine people on both sides” at the August 2017 white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA.

margaret brennan

Courtesy of CBS News

Margaret Brennan, CBS News: I lived in Charlottesville. My husband proposed to me on the University of Virginia lawn. The weight of this moment landed, as it did with so many others Americans, as deeply disturbing in a personal way. If there was any chance to speak with the president, I needed to be there. At a press conference, I shouted questions at Trump, and he said, “All right, let’s go,” like it was a rumble. That’s when he said there were “very fine people on both sides.” In that moment, the president revealed what he actually thought, not what the White House told us he believed.

Trump has a rollercoaster relationship with The New York Times, and an even bumpier one with the paper’s presidential reporter, Maggie Haberman. She will never forget the day he called her “Crooked H flunkie” on Twitter. It was April 21, 2018—her daughter’s ninth birthday.

maggie haberman

The New York Times

Maggie Haberman, New York Times: I woke up on a Saturday morning to a text from my colleague Mike Schmidt that said, “Don’t worry about the tweets.” Trump had responded on Twitter to a story I did about Michael Cohen, calling me crooked. It was my daughter’s ninth birthday and we were having a party for her later that day. We also had a family member who was sick at the same time. But I have walked away from Thanksgiving dinners; another time I wrote a story on a Blackberry during a kindergarten graduation. It’s been all-consuming, important, historic, and humbling—but it’s also been fatiguing, and a lot for my kids.

When Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in July 2018, the head-scratching began. Trump’s admiration for Putin predates his presidency, but his controversial ties to Russia became the focus of multiple investigations and controversies.

andrea mitchell

Courtesy NBC News

Andrea Mitchell, NBC News: I was interviewing the head of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, when a producer passed me a note that said the president was inviting Putin to a return summit. Here Trump was, in the middle of international outrage over the way he handled Putin, inviting him to the White House. I informed Coats live. He laughed and said, “That’s gonna be special.” It turned out, my interview poisoned their relationship. Coats was forced out and replaced by sycophants who had no experience in intelligence. I’ve been a tough reporter covering the State Department and foreign policy, but I have tremendous respect for the sacrifice and experience that many of these agency veterans have. To see so many of them humiliated and forced to retire early has been sad. It will take our country a long time to rebuild the brain trust.

On July 25, 2018, the White House took retaliatory action against Kaitlan Collins, barring her from a Rose Garden press event for asking what Trump officials reportedly deemed an “inappropriate” question about Trump’s relationship with Vladimir Putin and Michael Cohen.

kaitlan collins

Courtesy CNN

Kaitlan Collins, CNN Chief White House correspondent: They called me in and said, “You’re not allowed to go to this event,” even though it was open press. We got support from every outlet—Fox News, MSNBC—because everyone realized how messed up this was. It set a dangerous precedent to ban reporters whose business you don’t like. Of course, it turned out to be a big story that other White House officials thought was ridiculous. It was instructive—watch every interaction you have with an official because you don’t know how they could try to use it against you.

When Dr. Christine Blasey Ford alleged in 2018 that then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her as a teenager, she called it her “civic duty” to speak out. Dr. Ford’s story, first reported by The Washington Post’s Emma Brown, ultimately inspired other survivors to come forward, too.

emma brown

Kate Warren

Emma Brown, The Washington Post investigative reporter & To Raise a Boy author: When we spoke, Dr. Ford did not want to go on the record. She thought she would get destroyed for coming forward and that it wouldn’t make a difference. But we stayed in touch and when reporters started showing up at her home, she decided to go on the record with me. After the story published, my email was flooded with notes from other women who had never talked about, or wrestled with, their own experiences with sexual assault. Many of them said listening to Dr. Ford unearthed powerful emotions, some they had never healed from.

One older woman told me she was assaulted as a teenager and never told anybody about it. She still carried that with her.

When I was a new reporter at the Post, I sat near a fantastic male reporter who, on the phone, was aggressive and loud. I remember thinking, “Uh oh, I’m not like that. Does that mean that I can’t do this job?” But one of my strengths is that I’m not intimidating. Whenever you talk to somebody with a sensitive story, they need to feel like they can trust you. The only reason I was able to break this story is because I gained Dr. Ford’s trust.

Jane Mayer, The New Yorker: Ronan Farrow and I were accused of not having enough corroboration when we wrote about Debbie Ramirez, Kavanaugh’s second accuser. But what we knew, and couldn’t say, was there was a third case that was off the record because the witness didn’t want to come forward. It was painful; journalistic ethics required that we stay mum on the subject, even while we were being attacked. I had this déjà vu feeling, because I’d covered Anita Hill’s accusations of Clarence Thomas during his confirmation hearings. In both cases, we were getting the facts to the public, but the truth didn’t matter. Those Senate hearings really weren’t about the truth.

weijia jiang

Courtesy of CBS News

Weijia Jiang, CBS News Senior White House correspondent: I asked the president how being accused of sexual assault shaped his view of what was happening to Brett Kavanaugh. He told me to sit down several times, skating around the question. But I didn’t sit down. “Sir,” I said, “you haven’t answered my question. How has this shaped your view?” It was revealing when he finally said he knew what it was like to be accused wrongly by women seeking fame and fortune. My phone was blowing up the entire time, because I was also five months pregnant and hadn’t told people yet. Because of the camera angle, you could see my bump. When Trump told me to sit down, I wondered for a split second whether it was because he saw I was on my feet and pregnant.

While sniffing out a rumor that then-chief of staff John Kelly was about to be fired, Olivia Nuzzi received an unexpected invitation to the Oval Office. “What ensued amounted to a private press conference,” she wrote in October 2018, to try to get me to change my mind.”

olivia nuzzi

Sofia Colvin

Olivia Nuzzi, New York Magazine: I was on no sleep and very late on my deadline. When you work on a palace intrigue story about the Trump White House, it activates nefarious actors and crazy people. You might have six sources that “independently” tell you something, but that doesn’t mean anything because they’re all actually insane and evil. The interview happened, and I went to smoke in Lafayette Park to unwind. I called my editor and asked, “Did I hallucinate this? Can you listen to my recording?”

I regretted in some ways how I told that story. It didn’t do a great job of conveying how powerful people in the country spend their time, in the middle of crises, talking about and trying to prevent the spread of gossip about their workplace. It’s been four years of psychotic drama, at the most personal, petty level you could imagine. That is the story of why Trump failed to do anything, for the most part, that he set out to do.

In November 2018, over the span of three days, Trump attacked three Black reporters in three separate exchanges. He called Abby Phillip’s question about the Mueller investigation “stupid;” ordered April Ryan to “sit down” after asking about voter suppression; and deemed Yamiche Alcindor’s inquiry about white nationalism “racist.”

abby phillip

Courtesy CNN

Abby Phillip, CNN Senior Political correspondent and Inside Politics Sunday anchor: These last four years have been like wading through a river of lies and misinformation. I didn’t think my question was a particularly tough one, but Trump’s response highlighted just how temperamental he can be. Yamiche Alcindor, April Ryan, and I started a group text to commiserate. We’re like, “Girl, I can’t believe this happened to you,” and “I hope you’re doing okay.” We’re part of a supportive group, and we have each other’s backs when it matters.

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april ryan

@jasonmccoyphotography

April Ryan, TheGrio: One of the things that separates the U.S. from other countries is our free and independent press—a press that is allowed to ask the president anything. So when the president tells me to be quiet and “sit down,” it’s painful. These have been some of the most demoralizing and depressing moments of my life, so emotionally difficult that at one point I needed a mental health break. Therapy has helped, and I’m able to laugh about it now. But when you’re in the middle of it, where do you find solid footing? Donald Trump waged war on us journalists, when we were just trying to do our jobs.

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yamiche alcindor

Courtesy of Yamiche Alcindor

Yamiche Alcindor, PBS NewsHour White House correspondent: Asking the president, “Do you mean to embolden white nationalists, white supremacists?” is why I became a journalist. African-Americans have had to fight and die to be in the spaces that I now get to be in. Yes, there are online trolls that make things difficult. People get mad and write angry emails, but I’m not being lynched in the Jim Crow South. I keep that perspective, because I know I’m coming from a long legacy of people who were pushing America to live up to the ideals of treating everyone equally. I don’t have time to spend hours thinking about why the president said what he said. At the end of the day, there are so many stories to be told, and I can’t dwell on what he’s doing.

This content is imported from YouTube. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

Maggie Haberman worked on the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into Trump’s advisers and their connections to Russia. The president’s claims that the media peddles “fake news” didn’t deter her—in fact, it only added to the narrative.

maggie haberman

The New York Times

Maggie Haberman, New York Times: He got angrier and angrier as the investigation continued, and part of what we ended up covering was his response to the investigation. After the Mueller report came out in 2019, it was good to see all these people testifying to the accuracy of our reporting under oath—especially as the president kept calling it all fake news.

It started with a handshake. Trump’s historic first meetings with Kim Jong-un were momentous for reporters, especially those who braved physical injuries to capture their time together.

kristin fisher

Courtesy FOX News

Kristin Fisher, Fox News White House correspondent: We didn’t know we were at the same hotel as Kim Jong-un in Vietnam. The entire elevator system got shut off anytime he moved. It was a wild trip, but ended in disappointment. So much time and energy was put in by the Trump administration before the meeting, that for both sides to walk away in a worse place than before showed that despite all of the hope Trump had, despite all his love letters to Kim Jong-un, as they are often referred to, nothing changed. And nothing has changed since.

kristin fisher tweet

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seung min kim

Courtesy The Washington Post

Seung Min Kim, The Washington Post White House reporter: Then-White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham got a bruise on her arm pushing aside North Korean officials so we could rush in and capture at least part of the meeting between Kim Jong-un and President Trump at the DMZ. I got knocked on the head by a camera and accidentally stepped on an administrative official’s foot, but I frantically typed out quotes from the president and through Kim Jong-un’s interpreter. Every day on the Trump beat is a big moment; I jot everything down in my journal so I can tell stories to my grandkids one day. You’re literally at the frontlines of history.

In November 2019, Olivia Nuzzi published her now-viral reporter’s guide to texting with Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. One month later, they met up IRL.

olivia nuzzi

Sofia Colvin

Olivia Nuzzi, New York Magazine: My meeting with Rudy came after he sent me an email in the middle of the night to yell at me for being biased. I told him: “I try to hate everybody equally. And I never write anything about anyone that I wouldn’t say to their face. Why can’t we disagree about something but still talk? Isn’t that the New York way? Have a nice night.” After that we had brunch. He got drunk on Bloody Marys; I ordered coffee.

olivia nuzzi tweet

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This has been an accessible group of people, not because they understand the value in being accessible or think they’re doing the right thing, but in their incompetence, they accidentally do things that are in the public interest. Even if they lie, they’re still revealing interesting or important information with the way they lie and the way they communicate.

For the first time in the 2020 election cycle—and just the third time in history—an all-female panel moderated a presidential primary debate. The women were Andrea Mitchell, Kristen Welker, Rachel Maddow, and Ashley Parker.

andrea mitchell

Courtesy NBC News

Andrea Mitchell, NBC News: I began to realize what a powerful symbol this was during our preparation: We were in New York for a few weeks working together. I’d been in similar settings before, but there was something unique about the collegiality and the supportiveness of this group. We all went with the mission of not making ourselves the story.

Trump was impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress on December 18, 2019, becoming the third U.S. president to be impeached and ultimately acquitted by the Senate. (One year later, he became the first president to be impeached twice.)

courtney subramanian

Hannah Long-Higgins

Courtney Subramanian, USA TODAY White House correspondent: I think we lose sight of just how historic and important it is as a moment in American history. We have such few cases of impeachment. As someone new to the beat, that weighed on my reporting. Obviously, we had no idea that everything would be completely overshadowed by a pandemic.

laura bassett

Damon Dahlen

Laura Bassett, freelance journalist: For a profile,I asked Nancy Pelosi questions about her relationship with Trump, and she got annoyed. She hates him. She doesn’t want her legacy tied up with him. I wanted to know whether her relationship with Trump was always contentious from when he won, or if it deteriorated. She dryly said, “It definitely deteriorated.” I said, “Can you pinpoint a moment when things started to deteriorate?” She looked at me for a second and said, “Probably when I impeached him.”

Throughout 2020, journalists risked their health and safety to cover the pandemic in its entirety. At several points, Trump decried reporters for their work: He called Kristin Fisher “horrid” and all of CNN “dumb bastards.” When Kaitlan Collins asked about Trump’s support of the demon sex doctor, he abruptly ended the press conference.

kaitlan collins

Courtesy CNN

Kaitlan Collins, CNN: It’s funny and absurd, but it’s also incredibly serious. The president was amplifying this crazy person’s claims that were unfounded and sheer lunacy. He praised this woman and referred to her as qualified when, of course, she was not. One of the biggest takeaways from this last year is that oftentimes Trump has such a resistance to experts who contradict him that he will elevate anyone who praises him or echoes his beliefs, even if they’re unscientific.

brianna keilar

Courtesy CNN

Brianna Keilar, CNN Right Now anchor: We’re used to hearing him call reporters names or insulting their intelligence. That wasn’t the part that ticked me off. What was egregious to me was him asking why we would cover the pandemic. We did a segment where we told people’s stories—I have a hard time talking about it without getting choked up—people who have lost their grandmothers, parents who lost their five-year-old daughter, a woman who lost her brother in his twenties. These are the things we’re dealing with every day and then to hear a president questioning why we cover COVID? Well, that’s why we cover it.

weijia jiang

Courtesy of CBS News

Weijia Jiang, CBS News: Not going to the White House and not covering the story was not an option. I obsessively washed my hands and wore double masks. As soon as I got home, I changed clothes and showered before I saw my baby. Certainly, in the beginning, there was concern about the risk that we might be exposed just by leaving the house. We had to weigh the risk against the benefit, but I felt the responsibility of getting answers for people. It was a matter of life and death.

yamiche alcindor

Courtesy of Yamiche Alcindor

Yamiche Alcindor, PBS NewsHour: Here I was, showing the president’s own words to him, trying to get critical information about whether states were going to get the resources they needed. But he was more interested in shifting attention away from himself and going after a member of the media. It encapsulated the fact that this was a president who told brazen lies. He told Americans they shouldn’t believe their own eyes and ears, but to believe what he was telling them. He also tried to make the media the opposition so that he could chip away at our credibility. We had to be ready with facts, to push back, to make sure we were not being used. I remember thinking, I’m just going to keep asking my question. I’m not going to move on. I’m going to continue to say things that I know to be true.

kristin fisher

Courtesy FOX News

Kristin Fisher, Fox News: It’s no secret that the president has his favorites on Fox News in terms of who he goes to for interviews. Yes, Fox has gotten great access to the president—but only if you’re one of a certain number of people. If you’re in the news division, he isn’t as forthcoming. When he called me “horrid,” I thought about the poem: There was a little girl, Who had a little curl, Right in the middle of her forehead. When she was good, She was very good indeed, But when she was bad she was horrid. He stepped to the side of the podium, pointed at me, shook his head, and told the vice president, “Can you believe her?”

After police killed George Floyd on May 25, 2020, dozens of local reporters like Des Moines Register’s Andrea Sahouri were arrested while covering protests that popped up all over the country. On a national news level, ABC’s Deborah Roberts spoke with Black mothers who lost their children to violence, many at the hands of police.

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andrea sahouri

Tobias Tyler

Andrea Sahouri, Des Moines Register Breaking News and Public Safety reporter: I was reporting and running among a crowd of protestors after police deployed tear gas, when a police officer charged me. I put up my hands and said, “I’m press! I’m press!” But he didn’t seem to care. The officer pepper-sprayed and zip-tied me. As I wailed in pain, he threw me in a paddy wagon. My initial response as a journalist was, “Okay, people need to know what’s going on.” So I went live on social media. This was an act of blatant disrespect for journalism, and I was shocked. I was in jail for a little over an hour and charged with interference with official acts and failure to disperse, meanwhile my editor called the police department and said, “Are you kidding me? She was on the job!” My charges still haven’t been dropped, and my trial starts next month. My fight is a fight for the freedom of the press. No one will ever stop me from doing my job.

deborah roberts

Courtesy ABC News

Deborah Roberts, ABC News correspondent: As a journalist, a Black woman, and a Black mother with a Black teenage son, it was gut-wrenching for me. To see the palpable pain from Tamika Palmer, Breonna Taylor’s mother. To hear Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother, so eloquently and poetically talk about that pain she still feels was heartbreaking. I could barely get up from my chair afterward. I felt guilty asking Tamika Palmer to relive her pain, after having just lost her daughter a few months before. But I was relieved to find out they all felt, in some ways, validated and honored to talk about what they were going through.

For a lot of us, particularly reporters of color, there was an adrenaline-fueled, soul-searching truth-telling in our reporting. Suddenly we were at this moment in this country where people were open to discussing race, the painful legacy of mass incarceration, our justice system, and police brutality. But at the end of the summer, I had to step away from some of my reporting about race in America, because it was taking a toll on me. I had trouble sleeping and focusing. I reached out to my minister, and took time to make sure my mental health was okay.

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Trump’s first mass rally since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic was a far-cry from what he promised. Instead of the one million large he bragged would come on June 20, 2020, the 19,000-seat arena was one-third empty.

abby phillip

Courtesy CNN

Abby Phillip, CNN: It was such a classic Trump-era story, in which everything seemed to go wrong. The mismanagement, the crowd obsession, the disregard for public safety, the creating a wedge over racial issues. I remember thinking to myself, “Someone is going to lose their job.”

abby phillip tweet

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courtney subramanian

Hannah Long-Higgins

Courtney Subramanian, USA TODAY: Once we got near the end of the rally, I looked around. This is a candidate who can turn out tens of thousands of people, and they struggled to fill the arena. I thought, This is a turning point in this campaign. You could say the same thing about when he was hospitalized for COVID. His whole campaign was based around his ability to get in front of a crowd and enthrall them. Where could they go from here?

Without Jennifer Jacobs, the American public might still be in the dark about Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis. The Bloomberg News reporter first revealed that the president’s inner circle had been breached, reporting that then-advisor Hope Hicks, Trump’s personal attendant Nick Luna, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, and campaign advisor David Bossie had all contracted the virus.

jennifer jacobs

Courtesy Bloomberg

Jennifer Jacobs, Bloomberg News Senior White House reporter: It wasn’t easy to find people who were both insider enough to have visibility and also willing to be a source for a story that might get them in trouble. When I found out Hope Hicks had COVID-19, I thought, how will I confirm this? I didn’t want to spread a rumor by telling a bunch of people. I spent the entire day quietly trying to figure out who else knew. I knew she’d been on the plane with the president the day before and in debate prep with several other key officials. It hit me: This could be in the president’s inner circle.

I took on the mantle of the COVID beat reporter, which is not very pleasant; some officials who got the virus didn’t appreciate having their diagnosis made public. The inclination of the president and his top officials was to try to keep all outbreaks concealed from the public. Some White House officials say it’s possible the president could have stayed out of the public eye, could have gotten the same medical treatment at the White House that he got at Walter Reed, could have continued to do Fox & Friends interviews via phone, could have continued to tweet, and the world never would have known how truly sick he was. It makes me wonder: What else don’t we know?

Savannah Guthrie held Trump’s feet to the fire at a revealing town hall in October, demanding the truth about his COVID-19 diagnosis. One week later, Kristen Welker moderated the last presidential debate, asking both candidates about “the talk” Black parents have with their kids on how to behave so cops won’t shoot them.

savannah guthrie

Courtesy NBC News

Savannah Guthrie, NBC’s Today co-anchor: When I left for Miami, my kids were like, “Why is mommy leaving?” My husband said, “She’s going to ask questions so voters in America can decide who should be president.” I wasn’t completely zen about interviewing the president two weeks before an election, especially when there’s controversy swirling around it. I received a letter of encouragement from one of my church pastors, which put everything in a beautiful perspective. It was my North Star; I read it multiple times before taking the stage. I was nervous, but once I sat down, I thought to myself, “Okay, let’s go.” I didn’t have time to worry. I had a job to do. There were questions where I felt like, if I don’t get an answer to this, I have to turn in my journalism card at the end of the night. I especially wanted to know whether or not he had taken a COVID test before the first debate and settle that once and for all.

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kristen welker

Courtesy NBC News

Kristen Welker, NBC News Chief White House correspondent & Weekend Today co-anchor: People always ask, “Were you nervous?” Of course I was, but I approached the debate like an athlete might, including a strict regimen in the six weeks leading up to the debate. I ate well, exercised, and took walks. The team I worked with found ways to make sure I was prepared, despite the fact that we were in a pandemic. We did a fair amount of prep outside, and we did a few mock sessions in darkness. The first question I wrote was “the talk” question. I went through moments of thinking: Is this question good enough? Should it be in the debate? To finally ask the question I had spent weeks working on felt significant. We learned about the candidates in that moment.

Election Day turned into Election Week as ballot counts trickled in. News anchors waited five (very long, very tiring) days to finally call the race on November 7, 2020. When it was over, the celebration started—and the champagne flowed.

abby phillip

Courtesy CNN

Abby Phillip, CNN: I wanted to capture what other people were feeling in this historic moment. CNN president Jeff Zucker, who was in the control room, came into the studio to give me a thumbs up afterward. I was like, “Okay, whew, I didn’t screw that up!” When I got home, my husband, whom I hadn’t seen for longer than 25 minutes in five days, and I enjoyed a glass of champagne to celebrate me being done. Then I went straight to bed.

kristen welker

Courtesy NBC News

Kristen Welker, NBC News: I had just anchored Weekend TODAY in New York, where our election hub was. As soon as we wrapped, it seemed the call could come any minute, so I drove to Wilmington, where Biden would later give his victory speech, and ran through security to get in front of the camera. I was not going to miss this final moment. My crew cheered afterward, because we were all in disbelief. It felt like something we had all accomplished together.

savannah guthrie

Courtesy NBC News

Savannah Guthrie, TODAY: I felt the weight of what was happening—the obligation and the responsibility of it. I was laser-focused on work and hadn’t seen my kids in five days. When I’m in the moment, I can’t sit around and ache for them. But after election week was over, I raced home; I was so relieved to be with them.

As “Make America Great Again” chants got louder and the sound of bullets ricocheted through the Senate chamber on January 6, 2021, members of Congress—fearful for their lives—sought refuge from the violence. The pro-Trump mob’s rampage on the U.S. Capitol building, incited by false claims of a stolen election, also hit on another target: journalists. The mob smashed TV equipment, fashioned a noose out of a camera cord, and scratched “murder the media” on a Capitol building door.

margaret brennan

Courtesy of CBS News

Margaret Brennan, CBS News: When officials tell you they are considering removing the president because he is, in their view, unfit for office—that was breathtaking. The weight of it landed with me, and when I went on air, I prefaced the news by saying, “I do not report this lightly.”

deborah roberts

Courtesy ABC News

Deborah Roberts, ABC News: Seeing a Confederate flag flapping alongside American flags and a sea of Trump flags was jarring to me as a southern Black woman. We’ve all witnessed protests over the last few months, but this was next-level. I can barely watch the video of the law officer being crushed in the doors, moaning in distress, as people violently rushed the Capitol steps. I felt sick and was shaking in front of the TV. I worked on reports that evening and felt unnerved pouring over my scripts and tracking audio from my bedroom. I also worried for my colleagues who were on the ground in the thick of this maddening scene. Their courage wasn’t lost on me.

kasie hunt

Courtesy NBC News

Kasie Hunt, NBC News Capitol Hill correspondent: As a reporter, you practice taking your emotion out of stressful situations so you can help the people watching stay calm. I tried to do that during the siege, but the very worst was happening. I’ve covered the Capitol for over 10 years; it’s like my second home. I tried to find the right balance between the emotion I felt watching this place I love get overrun, with my duty to our viewers to explain the situation. I wanted to be professional, but also human. I’m not sure I achieved that, but I hope I did.

capitol attack

While on assignment, Amanda Andrade-Rhoades (here, in a gas mask) was shot four times with rubber bullets by police.

Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

capitol attack

Andrade-Rhoades, who captured this photo, says she’s had trouble sleeping since the attack. 

Amanda Andrade-Rhoades / Getty

amanda andrade rhoades

Leslie Martin

Amanda Andrade-Rhoades, freelance photojournalist: I had people screaming “fake news” at me, and two people said they would shoot me. Another man leaned over and said, “I’m coming back for you tomorrow with a gun.” Several people took my photo when they found out I was press, while others grabbed my credentials. I was shot four times with rubber bullets by police, but I had so much adrenaline, it didn’t even register that one hit my hip until the next morning. I’m still decompressing, but I’m gearing up for my next assignment: inauguration.

Four years covering a captivating and capricious administration was like a journalistic drug. Here’s what reporters learned in the Trump era—and what comes next.

jane mayer

Stephen Voss

Jane Mayer, The New Yorker: Anyone covering politics over these last four years has to step back and think, while Trump took all the oxygen out of the room and drew most of our attention, he wasn’t so much the cause of what’s going on as a symptom. We have to figure out what made someone like Trump possible to take over the country. The truth is getting quieter and quieter. The press has never performed better, but the problem is it’s only being heard by part of the country.

weijia jiang

Courtesy of CBS News

Weijia Jiang, CBS News: Covering President Trump is like a drug I didn’t know existed. As a reporter, this is what you want. You want news to be breaking all the time around you. When it’s happening every day, you become conditioned to expect it and live your entire life at a frantic pace so you don’t fall behind. I immigrated from China to West Virginia with my family when I was two. It was, at times, challenging trying to figure out my identity, because I never felt Chinese enough. In some ways, I also didn’t feel American enough. To be able to show younger, aspiring journalists and other immigrants what is possible despite those challenges is really important. I understand the weight of asking questions on behalf of people, digging for information, and holding people accountable. To do that, as an immigrant, is the ultimate American dream.

olivia nuzzi

Sofia Colvin

Olivia Nuzzi, New York Magazine: I don’t know how long it will take to get over how disorienting it has been to report on people who have no shared reality with you. It’s been weird to learn the language of liars and figure out how to decode what people say when they never say what they mean. It’s been four years of trying to navigate this universe populated entirely by people who have absolutely no commitment to the truth. I’ll be unpacking it in therapy for years and years to come.

Design: Mia Feitel | Photo editor: Yousra Attia | Animation: Alina Petrichyn and Lindsey Flood | Audio editing: Shu-Ying Chung

These interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.

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