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Longform Podcast #16: Pamela Colloff

Pamela Colloff is an executive editor and staff writer at Texas Monthly.

"There are many, many people who write and they have tragic stories, but they're not necessarily compelling magazine articles. Figuring out what is a compelling magazine article and what isn't is one of the more painful things about this. You can't look into every case. But your job is to be a storyteller."

Thanks to TinyLetter for sponsoring this week's episode!


Show notes:

  1. @pamelacolloff
  2. Colloff on Longform
  3. "The Innocent Man" (Texas Monthly • Nov-Dec 2012)
  4. "Innocence Lost" (Texas Monthly • Oct 2010)
  5. "Innocence Found" (Texas Monthly • Jan 2011)
  6. "Lip Shtick" (Texas Monthly • Sep 2003)
  7. "Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch" (Texas Monthly • Nov 2002)

Longform Podcast #13: Adrian Chen

Adrian Chen is a staff writer at Gawker and editor at The New Inquiry.

"I've never written a magazine feature. [My writing is] similar, in that I try to bring in the bigger issues, and not just, you know, be funny or tell a sensational story. But I think it's also kind of rough and sketchy in the way that blog posts are. Longform blog writing is like, I don't spend a long time editing or looking it over. It's like, just type as fast as you can and try to cram all of your research in, and then it goes up."

Thanks to TinyLetter for sponsoring this week's episode!


Show notes:

  1. @adrianchen
  2. "Unmasking Reddit’s Violentacrez, the Biggest Troll on the Web" (Gawker • Oct 2012)
  3. "The Long, Fake Life of J.S. Dirr" (Gawker • Jun 2012)
  4. "Finding Goatse: The Mystery Man Behind the Most Disturbing Internet Meme in History" (Gawker • Apr 2012)
  5. "The Mercenary Techie Who Troubleshoots for Drug Dealers and Jealous Lovers" (Gawker • Jan 2012)
  6. The New Inquiry

Longform Podcast #10: Chris Jones (Live)

Chris Jones (Live in Romania)

Evan Ratliff interviews Chris Jones before a live audience in Bucharest, hosted by the Romanian magazine Decât o Revistă.

"It just feels good to fucking win ... If you want to say 'Let's get rid of [journalism awards],' no problem. But if they exist, I want to win them. Just because I won two—I know Gary Smith has won four. I want five. Unless Gary Smith wins five, and then I want six. That's just how I work. And maybe that's a terrible, competitive, creepy thing. But journalism is competitive."

Thanks to TinyLetter for sponsoring this week's episode!


Show notes:

  1. @mysecondempire
  2. Jones on Longform
  3. "The Honor System" (Esquire • Sep 2012)
  4. "Animals" (Esquire • Mar 2012)
  5. "The Things That Carried Him" (Esquire • Mar 2008)
  6. "TV's Crowning Moment of Awesome" (Esquire • Jul 2010)
  7. "Roger Ebert: The Essential Man" (Esquire • Mar 2010)
  8. Decât o Revistă magazine

Longform Podcast #9: Jeanne Marie Laskas

Jeanne Marie Laskas is the author of the new book Hidden America and a correspondent for GQ.

"I'm just a writer going into [people's lives], you know? What do you do with that kind of intensity of a relationship when you're job is to invoke it on the page? It's a huge ... not just privilege but responsibility. Because, you know, it's just for a story. And I tell them that: 'I'm asking you trust me, but at the same time don't trust me. I'm kind of like a vulture in this relationship—we're not friends.'"

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Show notes:

  1. @jmlaskas
  2. jeannemarielaskas.com
  3. Laskas on Longform
  4. Hidden America: From Coal Miners to Cowboys, an Extraordinary Exploration of the Unseen People Who Make This Country Work
  5. "Guns 'R Us" (GQ • Sep 2012)
  6. "Underworld" (GQ • Apr 2007)
  7. "Traffic" (GQ • Apr 2009)
  8. "Empire of Ice" (GQ • Sep 2008)

Longform Podcast #8: Gideon Lewis-Kraus

Gideon Lewis-Kraus is the author of A Sense of Direction.

"My best friend, who is a fiction writer, she once said to me that she saw a lot of the things I was doing as 'wring tenderness from absurdity.' That wouldn't have occurred to me to put it that way, but that does seem to me [what] I like to do ... I am someone who can very easily be dismissive, or even contemptuous. And one of the things I like about reporting a story, particularly reporting a story that is ultimately, counterintuitively, positive, is that it gives me a chance to work through that, and be the more tender, sympathetic person that I would like to be in real life."


Show notes:

  1. GideonLK.com
  2. Lewis-Kraus on Longform
  3. A Sense of Direction on Amazon
  4. "In Search of the Living, Purring, Singing Heart of the Online Cat-Industrial Complex" (Wired • Aug 2012)
  5. "Tokeville: On the Frontiers of Federalism and Dope" (Harper's • Dec 2009)
  6. "The Last Book Party" (Harper's • Mar 2009)

Longform Podcast #7: Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a senior editor at The Atlantic and author of The Beautiful Struggle.

"I was 24 when my son was born. People always say that kids get in the way, right? But actually it had the opposite effect on me. I feel like I could have spent my twenties doing all sorts of self-destructive things--that was my natural inclination--but having a kid suddenly makes that not OK ... The stakes of everything just went up. I think I'm the type of person where, for any reason, I only respond to pressure. That kid just so raised the pressure, for everything ... So I started writing for the Washington Monthly, and the Monthly pays shit, everybody knows that, right? They were paying ten cents a word at this point. But because they have these big-shots writing for them, nobody ever calls for the check! But I would say, 'no, I need you to send me that check. Yeah, I know it's only $150, but I actually need that check, you really need to send that check.'"

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Show notes:

  1. Coates on Longform
  2. Coates's blog for The Atlantic
  3. "Fear of a Black President" (The Atlantic • Aug 2012)
  4. "'This Is How We Lost to the White Man'" (The Atlantic • May 2008)
  5. "Confessions of a Black Mr. Mom" (Washington Monthly • March 2002)

Longform Podcast #5: Paul Ford

Paul Ford is a writer and programmer.

"You don't really read a newspaper to preserve journalism, or save great journalism, or to keep the newspaper going. You read it because it gives you a sense of power or control over the environment that you're in, and actually sort of helps you define what your personal territory is, and what the things are that matter for you. As long as products serve that need—as long as books allow you to explore spaces that it's otherwise really hard for you to explore and so on—I think people will continue to read them."


Show notes:

  1. @ftrain
  2. ftrain.com
  3. Ford on Longform
  4. "The Web Is a Customer Service Medium" (Ftrain.com • Jan 2011)
  5. "The Age of Mechanical Reproduction" (The Morning News • July 2011)
  6. "10 Timeframes" (Contents • June 2012)
  7. "Rotary Dial" (Ftrain.com • Aug 2012)

Longform Podcast #3: David Grann

David Grann is a staff writer at The New Yorker.

"You don't always know all the answers. I think that's what kinda makes life interesting. The thing that makes these stories real, while they are in some ways unfathomable, [is that] there's an uneasiness of certitude. Because there are things that are not always known, there are elements of doubt, and that can be very haunting ... In some of the stories, you get as close as you can to all you know—and then there are parts that elude you."


Show notes:

  1. @davidgrann
  2. davidgrann.com
  3. Grann on Longform
  4. "The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon" (Amazon)
  5. "Crimetown, U.S.A." (The New Republic • July 2000)
  6. "The Yankee Comandante" (New Yorker • May 2012)
  7. "The Squid Hunter" (New Yorker • May 2004)
  8. "Trial By Fire" (New Yorker • Sep 2009)
  9. "The Chameleon" (New Yorker • Aug 2008)