Brian Reed and Hamza Syed are co-hosts of the new podcast The Trojan Horse Affair.

“I had lost all faith in the reporting that already happened on the subject matter. And that was my mentality with each source and each interviewer. I wanted the debate ended in the room because I didn't want commentary beyond it. I didn't want any kind of interpretation beyond it. I wanted the situation to be resolved there and then…. And without certain answers, I thought we weren't going to be able to speak about this matter in the way that I wanted to speak about it.” —Syed

“I both desperately wanted to know the answer of who wrote the letter, but kind of understood that we probably weren't going to get it beyond a shadow of a doubt. And I thought that I had transmitted that to Hamza and that he understood that. But as time went on, I realized that he had not accepted that as the likely outcome. And this is what was actually so energizing to work with you, Hamza. You never let your hope and desire and hunger to get that answer ever get dimmed. Like, ever.” —Reed

Chuck Klosterman is a journalist and author of eleven books, including his latest, The Nineties.

”Selling out… was very much injected into the way I understood the world…. And I am now supposed to do all of these interviews and all of these podcasts promoting this book. And because it's a book about the nineties… it feels incredibly uncomfortable to me…. I think young people assume that selling out is only about money: that if you try to do something to make money, that means you're selling out, because the word ‘sell’ is in there. But that's not really how it was. I mean, what you were selling out was this idea of your integrity. And what your integrity was, was somehow not doing anything to make other people like you.”

Khabat Abbas is an independent journalist and video producer from northeastern Syria, and the winner of the 2021 Kurt Schork News Fixer Award.

”I can see from my experience that there is a gap between the editors, who are kind of elites in their luxury offices, and the amazing journalists who are in the field, who all sympathize with what they are seeing on the ground and want to cover [it], but they have to satisfy the editors. And this is how we end up having little gaps in the ways of covering in general. It's not a matter of like, they shaped it in this way. The problem, I think, it’s bigger. How this industry is working, how this industry is deciding what they should cover.”

Michael Schulman is a staff writer for The New Yorker. He recently profiled Jeremy Strong of Succession.

”There's an interesting moment that's part of this job where you’ve spent a lot of time with someone and it often feels very personal and very intimate. And then when you go to write the piece, you have to sort of take a breath and say to yourself, Okay, I'm not writing this for this person. I'm writing this for the reader.

Sarah Marshall is a writer and hosts the podcast You're Wrong About.

”I love it when people tell me that listening to the way I talk about these people in the stories that we tell, and just about the world generally, has made them practice empathy more. I almost feel like I have preserved this a-little-bit-past version of myself, because I've been on this journey throughout the pandemic of becoming pretty cynical, and then deciding cynicism is a luxury and that it feels better, ultimately, to try to believe in people.”

Abe Streep is a journalist and contributing editor for Outside. His new book is Brothers on Three: A True Story of Family, Resistance, and Hope on a Reservation in Montana.

”The way journalists talk about, ‘Did you get the story?’—that's not how I see this. That would be extractive in this setting, I think. If someone shares something personal with me, that is a serious matter. It's a gift and you’ve got to treat it with great respect.”

George Saunders is the author of eleven books. His latest is A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life.

”I really have so much affection for being alive. I really enjoy it. And yet, I’m a little negative minded in a lot of ways too, like I really think things tend to be fucked up. ... To get that on the page—to sufficiently praise the loveliness of the world without being a sap, and also lacerate the world for being so goddamn mean—to do those in the same story would be a great aspiration. And I haven’t gotten there yet.”