Sean Flynn is a GQ correspondent and National Magazine Award winner.

"I find it satisfying to be able to give a voice to people that sort of get lost…You know, when these big horrible things happen, and the spotlight is very briefly on them, and then it moves away, and it's not that I'm dragging them out and forcing them to 'Relive your horrible moments!' It's more a thing of, 'If you'd like to relive your horrible moment, if you want people to know what actually happened, talk to me. I will tell your story.'"

Thanks to TinyLetter and the The Literary Reportage concentration at NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute for sponsoring this week's episode.


Show notes:

Direct download: Ep._54_-_Sean_Flynn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:24am EST

For the first time, Janet Reitman discusses her Rolling Stone cover story on accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

"My editors, myself, a lot of people who work for the magazine — we lived through an act of terrorism. We know what it feels like. There have been accusations to me personally of being insensitive, and I can tell you that I'm far from insensitive, not only to the political realities of terrorism but to the personal realities of terrorism. I breathed it in, literally. … The cover is great on a certain level, because terrorism is emotional, it's real, it affects us. It is not something that happens just overseas or just to people who are somehow "Other." If you talk to terrorism experts around the world, what they will all say is that the vast majority of people who are involved in these violent, extremist acts are what we would consider otherwise to be very normal people. One of us. Part of our community. That's a reality, and it's a very emotional thing and it makes people very uncomfortable. I totally understand that. But that was the point of my story."

Show notes:

Direct download: Ep._53_-_Janet_Reitman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:23am EST

Kelley Benham is a writer and editor at the Tampa Bay Times.

"People connect with this story in a really visceral kind of way, usually because of some experience they've had or someone close to them has had. I've had 90-year-old women crying into my phone about babies they lost 70 years ago. I've had people kind of sneak up to me and tell me about babies that have died that they don't talk about, but that they carry with them all the time. I've had premies who are grown up—those are my favorite–you know, "I'm 20 now and I have a scar just like Juniper's scar, and thank you for helping me understand who I am."

Thanks to TinyLetter for sponsoring this week's episode.


Show notes:

Direct download: Ep._52_-_Kelley_Benham.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:32pm EST

Robert Kolker is the author of Lost Girls and a contributing editor at New York.

"For better or for worse, my heart's not in the mystery. I want [the killer] to be caught—he's obviously a predator and he's unstable. But they all are. They're all messed up people who victimize other people and they all look normal. The art and science of catching serial killers has become more than slightly overblown in our society. And you know, I love Silence of the Lambs … but I'm not entirely sure that our obsession with who the serial killer is and why a serial killer does it is in proportion with how interesting they end up being."

Thanks to TinyLetter for sponsoring this week's episode.


Show notes:

Direct download: Ep._51_-_Robert_Kolker.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:09am EST

Edith Zimmerman is the founding editor of The Hairpin and a contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine.

"I never wrote anything myself or ran anything from other people that was needlessly negative. It wasn't some false grin plastered all over it — we addressed dark things too, and poked fun at things. But I didn't want there to ever be a tone of yeah, let's really just deflate this. Because ultimately you're just stabbing at a ghost among friends. And then at the end you've all just fallen on the floor and the ghost is gone. You're not really doing anything constructive."

Show notes:

Direct download: Ep._50_-_Edith_Zimmerman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:50am EST

Brendan I. Koerner is a contributing editor at Wired and the author of The Skies Belong to Us.

"It was this big review in The New York Times and I was terrified that it was going to say something awful about the book or about me as a writer. And my son said to me — he's 5, I should say — "If it's bad, you won't die." That's a good point, you know? So I always think of that when I pick up a new review and take that risk of someone slamming something that I've genuinely poured my heart and soul into."

Thanks to TinyLetter and the Literary Reportage Department at NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute for sponsoring this week's episode.


Show notes:

Direct download: Ep._49_-_Brendan_I._Koerner.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:51pm EST

Evan Ratliff, a co-host of the Longform Podcast, discusses "The Oilman's Daughter," his new story in The Atavist.

"This woman was given the opportunity to take on a new identity. And it was a mistake. She never should've done it. If there was a way for her to go back and say, 'No, I don't want to know this. I want to be who I am,' then I think she should've taken that. … I'm fascinated with people who want to radically shift their identity. It almost never works out well."


Show notes:

Direct download: Ep._48_-_Evan_Ratliff.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Steve Kandell is the longfom editor at BuzzFeed.

"What would be the sort of longer, narrative nonfiction, journalistic equivalent of something that would have the same effect on you as a bunch of cat GIFs? And not because it's cute, but it's the kind of thing that makes you go, 'OK, I need a lot of other people to see this.'"

Thanks to TinyLetter for sponsoring this week's episode.


Show notes:

Direct download: Ep._47_-_Steve_Kandell.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:43pm EST

Nicholas Schmidle is a staff writer at The New Yorker.

"I was in a taxi, leaving Karachi to go attend this festival, and we started getting these very disturbing phone calls from newspaper reporters that didn't exist, all of them asking me to meet them at various places in Karachi. I had read enough about the Daniel Pearl case to know what happened in the days leading up, and this was very similar. ... We kept driving towards the festival, and shortly after that, friends started calling. They were watching local television, and it was being reported that 'Nicholas Shamble,' editor of Smithsonian Magazine, had been kidnapped. And I was like, 'All right, I get the hint.'"

Thanks to TinyLetter for sponsoring this week's episode.


Show notes:

Direct download: Ep._46_-_Nicholas_Schmidle.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:27pm EST

Chris Heath, winner of the 2013 National Magazine Award for Reporting, is a staff writer at GQ.

"I present myself as someone who is going to be rigorous and honest. And if you can engage in the way I'm asking you to engage, then I hope you will recognize yourself in a more truthful way in this story than you usually do. And maybe even, with a bit of luck, more than you ever have before. That's what I bring. That's my offer."

Thanks to TinyLetter and the Literary Reportage Department at NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute for sponsoring this week's episode.


Show notes:

Direct download: Ep._45_-_Chris_Heath.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:54pm EST