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‘My Family’s Slave’ Named Most Engaging Story of 2017

Atlantic story was praised for its agonizing honesty

Content intelligence company Chartbeat has released its analysis of the stories that provoked the most engagement in 2017, with the clear winner The Atlantic’s widely-shared, and widely-debated article “My Family’s Slave.”

The article, by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Alex Tizon, recounts his darkest secret: that the kind caretaker who helped raise him was actually a slave who spent nearly her entire life in bondage to his family.

Upon publication, “My Family’s Slave” was already noteworthy because it was the last thing Tizon wrote, published just 4 months after his unexpected death at age 57, but it quickly became the center of intense debate. The article was condemned by some for what was seen as Tizon’s detachment from complicity in the enslavement of his caretaker. But it was also praised for its unflinching and honest look an aspect of Filipino culture that is rarely discussed, its portrayal of the difficulties of life for immigrants, and for Tizon’s harsh look at his own role in the events.

Chartbeat analysis showed that “My Family’s Slave” generated almost 58 million minutes of engaged time, sparking “weeks of international debate, analysis, and outrage.” That’s more than three times the engagement any of the other articles on Chartbeat’s list generated.

The second most engaged story of 2017 was ESPN’s harrowing “I Just Wanted To Survive,” by Tisha Thompson and Andy Lockett. The third was the New York Times’ coverage of the large weapons cache belonging to the Las Vegas shooter. See the rest of the top ten here.