The Ten Most-Read Miami Longform Stories of 2015

Some say the longform story is a thing of the past, but in every weekly issue of the New Times, you'll find one front and center. And if longform writing in dead, it seems nobody has told our readers because some of our most popular and most-read stories of 2015 happen to be these behemoth endeavors.

From men trying to regrow their foreskins to the Miami connection to the FIFA corruption scandal, you have read it all this year. So thank you for taking the time to read the stories we put a lot of work into week after week.

10. Meet the Circumcised Men in Miami Trying to Regrow Their Foreskins
Murphy is one of thousands of men who resent being circumcised, which they liken to genital mutilation. They call themselves "restorers," and they try to stretch their skin to take the place of what was snipped away at birth.

9. Zoo Miami's Ron Magill Has Earned His Place in the Spotlight
Ron Magill has worked at Zoo Miami since it opened in 1980. He became a world-renowned wildlife ambassador long before reality TV, Jeff Corwin, or Steve Irwin. He got his first taste of fame in the '80s while working as an alligator handler on the set of Miami Vice, then became a hero after Hurricane Andrew destroyed cages at the zoo and his animal rescues made national news.

8. Jason Genova: The Saga of a Publix Bag Boy Turned YouTube Bodybuilding Celebrity
On paper, Jason Genova is a broke Boynton Beach nobody. But thanks to a combination of single-minded drive and the internet's weird magic, he's become a looming figure in the corners of the web devoted to fitness, weightlifting, and bodybuilding.

7. Aaron Davidson's Stunning Soccer Bribery Case Could Clean Up FIFA's Corruption
The story of Aaron Davidson — the only American-born defendant charged in the vast case — has mostly been lost amid tabloid-worthy tales of blatant graft funding luxury penthouses in New York City, palatial estates in Trinidad, and gala lakefront parties in Switzerland. But Davidson's downfall is operatic in its own way. It's the stunning undoing of a brilliant, exasperating would-be visionary, an Alex P. Keaton-like prodigy with world-conquering dreams who lived in a million-dollar Brickell Key condo and jetted around the globe with soccer stars.

6. American John Pate Murdered in Venezuela as Violence Spikes 
For many attorneys — especially hundreds of Venezuelan barristers who have moved to Miami in recent years — John Pate embodied an enduring belief in law and order in a country where many fear it no longer exists. His death comes at a time when foreign professionals in that country are largely seen by the government as enemies of the state and when the international businesses he worked for are blamed for widespread inequality.

5. Meet the Miamians Heading to Syria and Iraq to Fight ISIS on the Ground
Western governments remain reluctant to send troops to fight the Islamic State, leaving the ground fight to Iraqi and Syrian government forces and smaller Kurdish and Christian militias. But in the past year, a trickle of rogue actors from the United States, independent of the military, have traveled to join anti-ISIS combatants. These individuals include military veterans, private security operators, and some with no related experience at all — even housewives and surf instructors.

4. Is It OK for a UM Professor to Burden a Student With Sexual Advances?
The word "erotic" glared at her from the laptop screen. The twinge of unease would deepen during the next nine months. In hundreds of messages reviewed by New Times, the illustrious, 63-year-old, married professor repeatedly used terms like "slight erection," "handjob," and "Lolita," which he said was his favorite book. He even asked Claire to have sex with him — "three times over the summer when no one is around."

3. Is Miami's Native American History Buried Under Brickell?
Fifty years ago, Ishmael began painstakingly removing all traces of soil, sand, and sediment from the ground — first with a shovel, then a spoon, then a brush. His efforts fully exposed all 5,000 square feet of the property's bedrock. And in those ancient pits, embedded in the rock itself, Ishmael claims to have found wonders: arrowheads, animal teeth, small artistic curios, empty clamshell piles, a long-fanged feline skull, a gold nugget.

2. Eight Months After Mass Shooting at the Spot Nightclub, Liberty City Grapples With Fallout
The September 27, 2014 violence was the largest mass shooting in Miami in decades. But cops had few answers for the global media covering the story. "We are still baffled as to why so many young people were shot," Sgt. Freddy Cruz, a Miami Police Department spokesman, told reporters the next morning, "and what they were doing there."

1. Decades After Andy Sweet's Murder, His Iconic South Beach Photos Are Resurrected
A discovery marked the start of nearly a decade of work to preserve the work of one of Miami Beach's most important photographers. Earlier this year, after creating a website and Facebook page to showcase the restored work, Andy Sweet's photographs went viral online, sparking new interest in a seminal moment in Miami's history and a talented young artist's incredible story.

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