Mitchell Prothero covers intelligence and crime for Vice News. His new podcast with Project Brazen is Gateway: Cocaine, Murder, and Dirty Money in Europe.

“I’m really interested in transnational networks—crime, intelligence. I’m fascinated by the gray. Like, when is something legal and when is something illegal? One thing with this Gateway project [was that] nobody could ever tell me that moment where money goes from absolutely being illegal to being legal.”

Brittany Luse is the host of NPR’s It’s Been a Minute.

“One of the things I love about this job is everything is practice. I love it. It's like if a show is great and everyone loves it, you gotta put on another one. You just gotta do it again. And if the show didn't quite do what you'd hoped or set out to do in your mind and in your heart, you gotta do another one. I just love it. You can never feel too good and you can never feel too bad.”

Brady Dale covers cryptocurrency for Axios. His new book is SBF: How The FTX Bankruptcy Unwound Crypto's Very Bad Good Guy.

“I am a fast writer. I’ve always been fast. I just sat down and did the math on it and I was like, If I can write 1,500 words a day, I can write this book. And I can do that.”

Lisa Belkin is a journalist and the author of four books. Her latest is Genealogy of a Murder: Four Generations, Three Families, One Fateful Night.

“I didn’t experience it as luck. It—and this is going to be a little woo woo—but it really felt like these people had been sitting there for 100 years saying, Well, it took you long enough, because everything just fit together. I didn’t have to manipulate anything.”

Amy Chozick is an author, journalist, executive producer, and showrunner. Her latest feature for The New York Times is ”Liz Holmes Wants You to Forget About Elizabeth.”

“The subject thought it was a hit job. Twitter thought it was a puff piece. I don’t know, guys. … I want to explain to people what it feels like to be around someone who you know you shouldn’t believe, but you can’t help believing them because this is what their personality is like when you’re with them.”

Hua Hsu is a staff writer for The New Yorker. His book Stay True won the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for memoir.

“I've worked as a journalist … for quite a while. … But this [book] was the thing that was always in the back of my mind. Like, this was the thing that a lot of that was in service of. Just becoming better at describing a song or describing the look of someone's face—these were all things that I implicitly understood as skills I needed to acquire. ... It is sort of an origin story for why I got so obsessive about writing.”

Kevin Kelly is one of the founding editors of Wired, where his current title is Senior Maverick. His new book is Excellent Advice for Living: Wisdom I'd Known Earlier.

“I never wrote a book because I wanted to do a good deed. I just wanted to tell a good story.”

Terrence McCoy is The Washington Post's Rio de Janeiro Bureau Chief. He won the George Polk award for his series "The Amazon, Undone" on the illegal and often violent exploitation of the rainforest.

“When I first got to Brazil, the Amazon was an arena of mystique. But after you spend a fair amount of time in the Amazon, it becomes quite clear what the struggle is—and how human that struggle is.”

This is the last of a week-long series of conversations with winners of this year's George Polk Awards in Journalism.

Lynsey Addario is a photojournalist for The New York Times and National Geographic. She won the George Polk award for her photograph of the bodies of a woman and her two children alongside a friend who lay dying moments after a mortar struck them as they sought to flee Ukraine.

“If I have time to compose a photo—even if it's of a horrific topic—I will always try to make the most beautiful photograph because I want people to look. I want people to ask questions, to be engaged, to pay attention. And often, that does mean the intersection of beauty and horror.”

This is the fourth in a week-long series of conversations with winners of this year's George Polk Awards in Journalism.

Tracy Wang and Nick Baker of CoinDesk, along with their colleague Ian Allison, won the George Polk award for reporting that led to the fall of Sam Bankman-Fried and his cryptocurrency exchange FTX.

“Crypto had been kind of a backwater of reporting. It was kind of like nobody took it seriously. People didn’t know if it was a joke and they thought it was all drug dealers and fraudsters. And I was kind of thinking, well, that seems like a great place to be reporting.”

This is the third in a week-long series of conversations with winners of this year's George Polk Awards in Journalism.

Lori Hinnant is a reporter for the Associated Press. Along with videojournalist Mstyslav Chernov, photographer Evgeniy Maloletka, and video producer Vasilisa Stepanenko, she won the George Polk Award for war reporting for covering the siege of Mariupol.

“It’s really easy when you see raw footage flash by on the television to just see it as war as hell and this is very abstract. These are people with lives that were utterly ruined and they want to tell their stories. I mean, we’re not talking to people who don’t want to talk to us. And when you find out what happened the day their lives were changed, it really changes it.”

This is the second in a week-long series of conversations with winners of this year's George Polk Awards in Journalism.

Theo Baker is the investigations editor at The Stanford Daily. The first college student ever to win a George Polk Award, Baker received a special recognition for uncovering allegations that pioneering research co-authored by Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne, a renowned neuroscientist, was supported in part by manipulated imagery.

“It’s useful to intellectualize it because when you actually get going, this is something that keeps me up at night. … It’s the last thing I think about when I go to sleep, and the first thing on my mind when I wake up.”

This is the first in a week-long series of conversations with winners of this year's George Polk Awards in Journalism.

David Grann is a staff writer for The New Yorker. His new book is The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder.

“I became very haunted by the stories that [nations] don't tell. Nations and empires preserve their powers not only by the stories they tell, but also by the stories they leave out. … Early in my career, if I came across the silences in a story, I might not have highlighted them, because I thought, Well, there's nothing to tell there. And now I try to let the silences speak.”

Vann Newkirk II is a senior editor at The Atlantic and the host of Floodlines: The Story of an Unnatural Disaster. His new podcast is Holy Week: The Story of a Revolution Undone.

“I’m often toggling between environmental justice, between the history of race and racial organization in America. And to me, they’re all one story, and I’m trying to tell the story about how the conditions of marginalization in America have made and shaped the present. That’s it. That’s one story.”

Roxanna Asgarian is the law and courts reporter for the Texas Tribune. Her new book is We Were Once a Family: A Story of Love, Death, and Child Removal in America.

“Every once in a while, I'll have someone just freak out at me. And it keeps you honest, in a way, because they don't owe you anything. People don't owe you anything as a journalist. ... But everyone reacts to trauma differently and some people really do want to talk about it. And I think the families in this book really wanted to talk about it and it felt like no one was even paying attention to them.”

Mary Childs is a co-host of the podcast Planet Money and the author of The Bond King: How One Man Made a Market, Built an Empire, and Lost It All.

“I love aberrations. I love when things go wrong. You get a high stress situation, you get all of the manifestations of personality. We're our most selves, if not our best selves, at those times. I like the [stories] that have embedded in them all of those conduits of power and that reveal the greater system.”

Laurel Braitman is a science writer, the author of Animal Madness: Inside Their Minds, and the founder of Writing Medicine. Her new book is What Looks Like Bravery: An Epic Journey Through Loss to Love.

“My life was becoming unmanageable, in a way. I was using success in many ways like a drug, and I’d say like an analgesic on the sorts of difficult feelings I hadn’t wanted to face truly since childhood. And we are rewarded in this culture for these kinds of outward forms of success that often have nothing to do with what’s going on inside of you.”

Sam Fragoso is a writer, filmmaker, and the host of the podcast Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso.

“We have an hour together. We may not have another. We're here for a brief moment and then, you know, we die. And I want this thing to be as good as it can be. If if it's anything less than that, I'm just not interested. … And that, to me, is why you keep doing it: because that feeling when you really feel like you've put someone's life on the record in a way that is beautiful and painful and idiosyncratic and triumphant… when it goes well, it's like I lost 20 pounds. I am never a nicer or happier person than immediately after a taping. I'm kind of goofy and silly and delirious and grateful to be doing this. Like, so fucking grateful.”

Eric Lach is a staff writer at The New Yorker, where he covers New York. His latest article is “The Mayor and the Con Man.”

“I think about my own trajectory, my little generation of journalists—it was easier to get jobs reporting on national politics than to get a job reporting on something that you could see and go to and that is a really strange thing, the relief and the joy that I feel like when I can just take the subway twenty minutes to go see something interesting for a story or talk to somebody interesting or explore physically and not just feel like I’m making phone calls and Googling. It’s a very different kind of work, but it’s just not something that was super available.”

Willa Paskin, a former TV critic, is the host of the podcast Decoder Ring.

“I want it to feel like a trap door. When you push on a trap door, there’s like a little spring. If it’s the right idea, you start to look into it, and you’re like, Oh, it’s giving a little.

Abraham Josephine Riesman is a journalist who writes often for New York and is the author of True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee. Her second book, Ringmaster: Vince McMahon and the Unmaking of America, will be published in March.

“You’re sure that there’s a level of unreality, but you’re not sure that it’s all fake. There’s stuff there that seems either plausible or sometimes you go ‘there’s no way you could fake that.’ And sometimes you’re right, and a lot of times you’re somewhere in the middle. It’s not as easily distinguished as saying this is fact and this is fiction, this was scripted and this was improvised, whatever. You can’t make those distinctions easily, and one of the things I sort of hope comes out of the book—if it has any impact at all—is to try to get us past this false binary of true and false.”

Jonah Weiner is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine and co-author of the newsletter Blackbird Spyplane.

“It's a version of myself. It's a hyperbolic version of myself. And I think it keeps it fun for me. It doesn't feel like a job. Ideally, it keeps it fun for readers. And I think that there actually is this function where X out of 10 people coming to it, their eyes are going to cross and they're going say, I'm out. No thanks. And that's fine, because the Y out of 10 who stick around feel that much more in on something and it just makes it feel like a funky, special place.”

Delia Cai is the senior vanities correspondent for Vanity Fair and publishes the media newsletter Deez Links. Her debut novel Central Places is out this week.

“This was in like, 2011, where I think actual journalists were still trying to figure out ‘Is it gross to be a brand?’ And at least in school, they were all about it. They’re like, ‘You need a brand, you need to think about what your niche is going to be, you need to think about engaging your audience.’ We had to make websites, we had to blog, and of course, all of us being college students, we started using our blogs to write about each other. We used Twitter to talk shit about each other in a very thinly veiled way. So really, it was the best training for being online.”

Peggy Orenstein is a journalist and author. Her latest book is Unraveling.

“The challenge is… to not want to say, I need to know what the book is about. I need to have my chapters. I need to know what exactly I'm looking for. Because it's really scary to just go out and report and have trust that there's going to be interesting things and that if you just keep going, you're going to find them. So to not foreclose possibility and options and ideas is the biggest reporting challenge for those sorts of books for me.”

Jonathan Goldstein is an audio producer and the host of Heavyweight.

“I wasn’t taking myself very seriously, initially. I liked working with my friends and family because I think I was a little more comfortable with them. Then in the second season people were writing in with real problems, and they were looking at me as a kind of expert. It was terrifying to meet with these people and see the look of hopefulness in their eyes. ... I realized I need to step it up and even if I didn’t feel like an expert—an expert in an invented field that doesn’t really exist—that I’d really have to take that on with seriousness.”