BuzzFeed reporter and Rolling Stone contributing editor Michael Hastings died in a car accident early Tuesday morning in Los Angeles. He was 33. Perhaps best known for his 2010 Rolling Stone profile of General McChrystal, which cost McChrystal his job, Hastings was also the author of two books, including last year's The Operators.
Hastings' hallmark as reporter was his refusal to cozy up to power. While other embedded reporters were charmed by McChrystal's bad-boy bravado and might have excused his insubordination as a joke, Hastings was determined to expose the recklessness of a man leading what Hastings believed to be a reckless war.
"Great reporters exude a certain kind of electricity," says Rolling Stone managing editor Will Dana, "the sense that there are stories burning inside them, and that there's no higher calling or greater way to live life than to be always relentlessly trying to find and tell those stories. I'm sad that I'll never get to publish all the great stories that he was going to write, and sad that he won't be stopping by my office for any more short visits which would stretch for two or three completely engrossing hours. He will be missed."
Michael was a great, fearless journalist with an incredible instinct for the story, and a gift for finding ways to make his readers care about anything he covered from wars to politicians. He wrote stories that would otherwise have gone unwritten, and without him there are great stories that will go untold.
Before Rolling Stone and BuzzFeed, Hastings worked for Newsweek from 2002 to 2008, covering the Iraq war for the magazine for two years. In 2007, Hasting's fiancee was killed in a car bombing in Baghdad. Hastings wrote his first book, I Lost My Love in Baghdad: A Modern War Story, about the experience. His profile of McChrystal for Rolling Stone was the basis for his second book, 2012's The Operators.
While working for Newsweek in 2005, Hastings also had a brief stint as a guest editor for Gawker, using the pseudonym K. Eric Walters. You can read all of his Gawker posts here, but some highlights include his coverage of Anderson Cooper's real estate troubles, Donald Trump's advice for lower Manhattan, and his party reporting with Page Six's Chris Wilson.
Hastings is survived by his wife, the writer Elise Jordan.
Below is an interview from 2010 in which Hastings explains and defends his profile of McChrystal.