Longform Podcast #126: Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Taffy Brodesser-Akner is a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine and GQ.

“My writing career was something that was always about to happen, just as soon as the baby falls asleep, just as soon as I finish watching this five-hour bout of As the World Turns, just as soon as... What do you do when you realize that you have not been doing the thing you were going to do? You're in your 30s. You get to work.”

Thanks to TinyLetter and Lynda for sponsoring this week's episode. If you would like to support the show, please leave a review on iTunes.


Show Notes:

  1. @taffyakner
  2. taffyakner.com
  3. Brodesser-Akner on Longform
  4. [20:00] "The Trials of a Chubby Yogi" (Self • Oct 2011)
  5. [26:00] "Who Controls Childbirth" (Self • Jul 2010)
  6. [31:00] "Who's Killing the Soaps?" (The Daily Beast • Dec 2009)
  7. [33:00] "Nicky Minaj: Cheeky Genius" (GQ • Nov 2014)
  8. [34:00] "2 Generations of Comedy Musicians Meet!: Weird Al Yankovic and The Lonely Island" (GQ • May 2013)
  9. [44:00] "Girls Fight Out" (Matter • Dec 2014)
  10. [46:00] "The Leftovers" (Matter • Sep 2014)
  11. [46:00] "Miss American Dream" (Matter • Jun 2014)
  12. [47:00] "The Chelsea Hotel Had Its Own Eloise" (New York Times Magazine • Jul 2013)
  13. [47:00] "Zosia Mamet Is Still Getting Used to Being Your New Best Friend" (New York Times Magazine • Jan 2013)
  14. [51:00] "The Tragedy of Britney Spears" (Vanessa Grigoriadis • Rolling Stone • Feb 2008)
  15. [51:00] "Don't Go Away Mad" (Grantland • Jun 2013)

Wednesday, January 21

Longform Podcast #125: Anand Gopal

Anand Gopal has written for The Wall Street Journal, Harper’s and Foreign Policy. He’s the author of No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War Through Afghan Eyes.

“When I got to the Taliban, I got out my notebook and tried to ask the hard-hitting questions. ‘What are you fighting for? Why are you doing this? What’s happening with the civilians you’re killing?’ And of course you do that and you get boilerplate answers and icy stares. So I just started asking them questions about their childhood. ... People love to talk about themselves and he began to open up and very subtly something shifted and it no longer became about the war and America versus the Taliban, it became about him being an Afghan and his experience.”

Thanks to TinyLetter and Lynda for sponsoring this week's episode. If you would like to support the show, please leave a review on iTunes.


Show Notes:

  1. @Anand_Gopal_
  2. anandgopal.com
  3. [9:00] Longform Podcast #1: Matthieu Aikins
  4. [12:00] "Ousted By Iran, Afghan Refugees Languish At Home" (Inter Press Service • Feb 2008)
  5. [18:00] "Kandahar’s Mystery Executions" (Harper’s • Sep 2014)
  6. [19:00] No Good Men Among the Living (Metropolitan Books • 2014)
  7. [28:00] "Welcome to Free Syria" (Harper’s • Aug 2012)
  8. [28:00] "Decoding the Syrian Propaganda War" (Harper’s • Aug 2012)

Wednesday, January 14

Longform Podcast #124: Alex Blumberg

Alex Blumberg is a former producer for This American Life and Planet Money. Last year he founded Gimlet Media, a podcast network, and hosts its first show, StartUp.

“When someone starts talking about something difficult, when they get unexpectedly emotional, your normal human reaction is to sort of comfort and steer away. To say, ‘Oh I’m sorry, let’s move on.’ What you need to do, if you want good tape, is to say, ‘Talk more about how you’re feeling right now.’ It feels like a horrible question to ask. It feels like you're going against your every instinct as a decent human being to go toward the pain that this person is experiencing.”

Thanks to TinyLetter, Lynda and Alarm Grid for sponsoring this week's episode.


Show Notes:

  1. @abexlumberg
  2. gimletmedia.com
  3. Blumberg’s archive on This American Life
  4. [2:00] Longform on Reply All #7: This Website Is For Sale
  5. [2:00] Longform Podcast #23: Starlee Kine
  6. [4:00] "Company Eight" (Matthew Pearl • The Atavist • Jan 2015)
  7. [20:00] "91: 33 Million Dollar Box" (This American Life • Jan 1998)
  8. [20:00] "115: First DayFirst Day" (This American Life • Nov 1998)
  9. [27:00] "236: Stock Making Sense" (This American Life • Apr 2003)
  10. [30:00] "355: The Giant Pool of Money" (This American Life • May 2008)
  11. [34:00] "365: The Day The Market Died" (This American Life • Oct 2008)
  12. [36:00] StartUp

Wednesday, January 7

Longform Podcast #123: Nicholas Carlson

Nicholas Carlson writes for Business Insider. His book Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo! came out this week.

“To me people are what’s really interesting. Marissa Mayer is a once in a lifetime subject. She’s full of contradictions. … There are a million business stories, but if you don’t have that character at the center then you’re lost.”

Thanks to TinyLetter, Lynda and Squarespace for sponsoring this week's episode.


Show Notes:

  1. @nichcarlson
  2. Carlson on Longform
  3. [6:00] Longform Podcast #81: Kevin Roose
  4. [13:00] "What Happened When Marissa Mayer Tried to Be Steve Jobs" (New York Times Magazine • Dec 2014)
  5. [16:00] "Viacom Takes Google, YouTube Fight to Court" (InternetNews.com • Mar 2007)
  6. [18:00] Disney War (James B. Stewart • Simon & Schuster • 2005)
  7. [19:00] Longform Podcast #19: Choire Sicha
  8. [23:00] Longform Podcast #88: Sam Biddle
  9. [23:00] Carlson’s archive on Valleywag
  10. [33:00] "Google Gave Employees This Smartwatch As A Holiday Gift, And Some Of Them Are Whining About It" (Business Insider • Dec 2014)
  11. [34:00] Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo! (Twelve • 2015)
  12. [38:00] Googled: The End of the World As We Know It (Ken Auletta • Penguin Press • 2008)
  13. [48:00] "The Story Behind Why AOL CEO Tim Armstrong Fired An Employee In Front Of 1,000 Coworkers" (Business Insider • Nov 2013)
  14. [48:00] "This Man Was Supposed To Become Steve Jobs 2.0 — Here’s What Happened Instead" (Business Insider • Nov 2014)
  15. [54:00] "The Untold Story Of Larry Page's Incredible Comeback" (Business Insider • Apr 2014)
  16. [1:01:00] "Hacks Into Hackers" (The New York Times • Sep 2010)

Wednesday, December 17

Longform Podcast #122: Hanna Rosin

Hanna Rosin is a senior editor at The Atlantic and a founder and editor at DoubleX.

“I often think of reporting as dating, or even speed dating. You’re looking for someone where there’s a spark there between you and them. Sometimes that happens right away and sometimes it takes forever. ... You have to determine if they're reflective, friendly, open. It could be love at first sight and they're still all wrong, which is really heartbreaking.”

Thanks to TinyLetter, Bonobos and The Los Angeles Times' Bookshelf Newsletter for sponsoring this week's episode.


Show Notes:

  1. @HannaRosin
  2. hannarosin.com
  3. Rosin on Longform
  4. [1:00] "Murder by Craigslist" (The Atlantic • Aug 2013)
  5. [1:00] "Hello, My Name Is Stephen Glass, and I’m Sorry" (The New Republic • Nov 2014)
  6. [7:00] The End of Men: And the Rise of Women (Riverhead Books • 2012)
  7. [18:00] The Executioner's Song (Norman Mailer • Little, Brown • 1979)
  8. [18:00] "The Evil Empire: The Scoop on Ben & Jerry's Crunchy Capitalism" (The New Republic • Sep 1995)
  9. [23:00] "The New Republic: An Appreciation" (Ta-Nehisi Coates • The Atlantic • Dec 2014)
  10. [25:00] "Who Shot Johnny?" (Debra Dickerson • The New Republic • 1996) [pdf]
  11. [31:00] "A Boy's Life" (The Atlantic • Nov 2008)
  12. [38:00] "The Case Against Breast-Feeding" (The Atlantic • Apr 2009)
  13. [41:00] "The Vanishing Male Worker: How America Fell Behind" (Binyamin Appelbaum • The New York Times • Dec 2014)
  14. [42:00] "The End of Men" (The Atlantic • Jul 2010)
  15. [43:00] "By Noon They'd Both Be in Heaven" (New York • Oct 2014)
  16. [46:00] "Why Kids Sext" (The Atlantic • Oct 2014)
  17. [49:00] "The Missing Men" (with Allison Benedikt • Slate • Dec 2014)
  18. [49:00] Sabrina Rubin Erdely on DoubleX Gabfest (with June Thomas and Katy Waldman • Slate • Nov 2014)
  19. [49:00] "Blame Rolling Stone" (Slate • Dec 2014)
  20. [49:00] "DoubleX Gabfest: The Aftermath of Rolling Stone Edition" (with Noreen Malone and June Thomas • Slate • Dec 2014)

Wednesday, December 10

Longform Podcast #121: Meghan Daum

Meghan Daum's latest book of essays is The Unspeakable.

“As writers we think, well there has to be closure, there has to be a beginning middle end, the character has to go through a change. And then in life we're supposed to have some sort of arc or aha moment, as if the experience isn't legitimate unless we get something out of it. That's so culturally constructed, as they say. It's so artificial.”

Thanks to TinyLetter, Scribd, and Oscar for sponsoring this week's episode.


Show Notes:

  1. @meghan_daum
  2. meghandaum.com
  3. Daum on Longform
  4. [1:00] The Unspeakable (Farrar, Straus and Giroux • 2014)
  5. [1:00] "My Misspent Youth" (New Yorker • Oct 1999)
  6. [18:00] "All About My Mother" (The Guardian • Nov 2014)
  7. [35:00] Daum’s archive of Los Angeles Times columns
  8. [38:00] My Misspent Youth (Open City Books • 2001)

Wednesday, December 3

Longform Podcast #120: Katie J.M. Baker

Katie J.M. Baker is a reporter for BuzzFeed News.

“I went to Steubenville a year after the sexual assault to cover their first big football game of the season and I was face-to-face with these people who I had been writing about without knowing much about them. From far away it seems like, do these details matter? Do we care if these people’s lives get messed up when the narrative is so strong, when Steubenville now stands for more awareness around rape culture? But when you’re there, of course it matters. After that piece I realized I didn’t want to blog anymore and I wanted to just focus on reporting.”

Thanks to Casper, Scribd, and TinyLetter for sponsoring this week's episode.


Show Notes:

  1. @katiejmbaker
  2. katiejmbaker.com
  3. Baker on Longform
  4. [4:00] "Forever Young" (BuzzFeed • Sep 2014)
  5. [12:00] "Austin Thinks It Can Save Poor Kids By Separating Boys And Girls" (BuzzFeed • Dec 2014)
  6. [13:00] "In West Virginia, Playing Hooky Can Get You Locked Up" (BuzzFeed • Oct 2014)
  7. [20:00] "Supervisor Wants Motive Spelled Out at S.F.'s Antiabortion Clinics" (San Francisco Chronicle • Jun 2011)
  8. [20:00] "Teacher Leaves Elite LA School After Alleged Student Affair, Inappropriate Relationships" (BuzzFeed • Jul 2014)
  9. [21:00] "Head Of Elite L.A. School Resigns After Sex Misconduct Scandal" (BuzzFeed • Nov 2014)
  10. [22:00] "My Weekend In America's So-Called 'Rape Capital'" (Jezebel • May 2012)
  11. [24:00] "Even The Most Progressive University In North America Doesn’t Know How To Handle Sexual Consent" (BuzzFeed • Jun 2014)
  12. [26:00] "Rape Victims Don’t Trust The Fixers Colleges Hire To Help Them" (BuzzFeed • Apr 2014)
  13. [28:00] "Meet the College Women Who Are Starting a Revolution Against Campus Sexual Assault" (Vanessa Grigoriadis • New York • Sep 2014)
  14. [30:00] "Rape Case Unfolds on Web and Splits City" (Juliet Macur and Nate Schweber • The New York Times • Dec 2012)
  15. [30:00] "Steubenville's Legacy: How a Rape Case in Ohio Could Change History" (Jezebel • Jan 2013)
  16. [31:00] "'A Town Destroyed for What Two People Did': Dispatch from Steubenville" (Jezebel • Sep 2013)
  17. [32:00] "Why Is No One Talking About the Second Steubenville Rape Case?" (Newsweek • Nov 2013)
  18. [33:00] "The Accused" (BuzzFeed • Nov 2014)
  19. [42:00] "The Fort of Young Saplings" (Vanessa Veselka • The Atavist • Nov 2014)

Wednesday, November 26

Longform Podcast #119: Alec Wilkinson

Alec Wilkinson is a staff writer for The New Yorker.

“My hero was Joseph Mitchell, that was how you did reporting. There was nothing conniving about it or cunning — you just simply kept returning and kept returning.”

Thanks to TinyLetter for sponsoring this week's episode.


Show Notes:

  1. Wilkinson on Longform
  2. [2:00] "The Protest Singer" (New Yorker • Apr 2006)
  3. [6:00] Midnights: A Year With the Welfleet Police (Random House • 1982)
  4. [9:00] My Mentor (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt • 2002)
  5. [9:00] Across the River and into the Trees (Ernest Hemingway • 1950)
  6. [24:00] Moonshine: A Life in Pursuit of White Liquor (Knopf • 1985)
  7. [25:00] Big Sugar (Knopf • 1989)
  8. [27:00] The Happiest Man in the World (Random House • 2007)
  9. [34:00] "New York Is Killing Me" (New Yorker • Aug 2010)
  10. [42:00] "Sam and Other Reflections on Being a Father" (Esquire • Jun 2000)
  11. [47:00] The Ice Balloon (Knopf • 2012)

Wednesday, November 19

Longform Podcast #118: Emma Carmichael

Emma Carmichael, a former editor at Deadspin and The Hairpin, is the editor in chief of Jezebel.

"Online feminism has more and more rules lately. There are only so many things you can say. And while our opinions are getting more constrained online, personal feminism and face-to-face conversations are looser and more complicated and don't go by any rules. ... The ideal with Jezebel is getting to a point where you can say, 'This is what I think, so who gives a fuck.'"

Thanks to TinyLetter for sponsoring this week's episode.


Show notes:

  1. @emmacargo
  2. emmacarmichael.com
  3. Carmichael on Longform
  4. Jezebel
  5. Deadspin
  6. The Hairpin
  7. [1:00] Laura Olin’s TinyLetter
  8. [5:00] "Brett Favre Has His Hands Full With Himself" (Deadspin • Oct 2010)
  9. [9:00] "Letter From A Young Female Sportswriter: Ines Sainz, You Make Me Want To Stop Trying" (Deadspin • Sep 2010)
  10. [31:00] "Saartjie Baartman: The Original Booty Queen" (Cleuci de Oliveira • Jezebel • Nov 2014)
  11. [35:00] "The Right to a Sexual Narrative: On the Lena Dunham Abuse Claims" (Jia Tolentino • Jezebel • Nov 2014)
  12. [43:00] "Do-it-All UConn Star Breanna Stewart is Kevin Durant of Women's Game" (Sports Illustrated • Mar 2014)

Wednesday, November 12

Longform Podcast #117: Reihan Salam

Reihan Salam is the executive editor of National Review.

"I’m incredibly curious about other people. I’m curious about what they think of as the constraints operating on their lives. Why do they think what they think? If I weren’t doing this job, I’d want to be a high school guidance counselor."

Thanks to TinyLetter, Bonobos, and Cards Against Humanity’s Ten Days or Whatever of Kwanzaa for sponsoring this week's episode.

Show Notes:

  1. @reihan
  2. reihansalam.com
  3. [11:00] "The White Ghetto" (Kevin D. Williamson • National Review • Jan 2014)
  4. [18:00] "Is Free Content Ruining Journalism?" (The VICE Podcast • Sep 2013)
  5. [30:00] "Don't Send Your Kid to the Ivy League" (William Deresiewicz • New Republic • Jul 2014)
  6. [33:00] Longform Podcast #35: Jay Caspian Kang
  7. [34:00] "How the Suburbs Got Poor" (Slate • Sep 2014)
  8. [38:00] Longform Podcast #12: Mina Kimes
  9. [42:00] "Jason Schwartzman and Alex Ross Perry Discuss Their New Film, 'Listen Up Philip'" (The VICE Podcast Show • Oct 2014)
  10. [57:00] "In Praise of Amazon" (Slate • Oct 2014)
  11. [57:00] Grand New Party (with Ross Douthat • Doubleday • 2008)
  12. [101:00] "Is It Racist to Date Only People of Your Own Race?" (Slate • Apr 2014)
  13. [103:00] "Errol Morris on His New Movie, 'The Unknown Known'" (The VICE Podcast Show • Apr 2014)

Wednesday, November 5

Longform Podcast #116: Jake Halpern

Jake Halpern has written for The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine and is a contributor to This American Life. His latest book is Bad Paper: Chasing Debt from Wall Street to the Underworld.

"I test out my stories on my kids. You should be able to tell any story, now matter how complicated, to a seven-year-old in a way that they understand. If you can't, that probably means that either a) you're telling the story wrong or b) it's not really a story."

Thanks to TinyLetter and Bonobos for sponsoring this week's episode.


Show Notes:

  1. jakehalpern.com
  2. Halpern on Longform
  3. [2:00] "The Devil Underground" (Nadja Drost • The Atavist • Oct 2014)
  4. [2:00] Longform App Exclusive: "The Trials of White Boy Rick" (Evan Hughes • The Atavist • Sep 2014)
  5. [3:00] Braving Home (Houghton Mifflin • 2003)
  6. [4:00] "Jungle Boy" (The New Republic • 2006)
  7. [14:00] Fame Junkies (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt • 2006)
  8. [14:00] Bad Paper (Farrar, Straus and Giroux • 2014)
  9. [17:00] "Selling the Beat" (New Yorker • Apr 2004)
  10. [21:00] "Pay Up" (New Yorker • Oct 2004)
  11. [43:00] "Paper Boys" (New York Times Magazine • Aug 2014)
  12. [43:00] "Magic Words" (This American Life • Aug 2014)
  13. [43:00] "Bad Paper, The Debtor Game" (Fusion • Aug 2014)
  14. [45:00] The Dormia Trilogy
  15. [46:00] "The Secret of the Temple" (The New Yorker • Apr 2012)
  16. [51:00] "Switched at Birth" (This American Life • Jul 2008)

Wednesday, October 29

Longform Podcast #115: Jen Percy

Jen Percy is the author of Demon Camp: A Soldier's Exorcism.

"As is the nature of obsession, you just start gathering materials, hoarding documents and taking notes in a way that’s totally chaotic and overwhelming. You don’t even care yet because you’re so excited by what you’re gathering. If you start trying to make a narrative out of it too soon it will be false or fall apart."

Thanks to TinyLetter and Dear Thief, the new novel by Samantha Harvey, for sponsoring this week's episode.


Show Notes:

  1. @JenPercy
  2. [1:00] "My Terrifying Night With Afghanistan's Only Female Warlord" (The New Republic • Oct 2014)
  3. [1:00] Demon Camp: A Soldier's Exorcism (Scribner • 2014)
  4. [19:00] "Voice in the Night" An excerpt from Demon Camp (Harper’s • Nov 2013)