Joshuah Bearman is the co-founder of Epic Magazine and a freelance writer. His latest story is "Coronado High."

"People who know me well will realize that parts of this story are actually about me. … It's about loss of innocence and getting to a certain point in your life where you realize the excitement of youth is over. Life at a certain point gets complicated and there are consequences and things get hard. These are people who dealt with those consequences in a way that I never did — they had to go to prison or destroy their friends lives — but that's what I liked about this story. It's a true crime story, but it became universal when I realized that there is this emotional experience that these characters go through that anybody can relate to."

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

Amy Harmon, a Pulitzer Prize winner, covers the intersection of science and society for the New York Times.

"I'm not looking to expose science as problematic and I'm not looking to celebrate it. But it can be double edged. Genetic knowledge can certainly be double edged. Often the science outpaces where our culture is in terms of grappling with it, with the implications of it. Part of the reason for this widespread fear about GMOs is people don't understand what it is. I'm looking for an emotional way or a vehicle through which to get people to read about it. It's an excuse to talk about the science, not just explain it. … My contribution, what I can do, is try to tell a story that will engage people in the story and then they'll realize at the end that they learned a little bit about the science."

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

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.

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 elicited an emotional response from people; that is not always what magazine covers do. I think it's 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."

Thanks to this week's sponor, Squarespace.

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.

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.

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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."

Thanks to TinyLetter for sponsoring this week's episode.

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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. You'll live to fight another day."

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

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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."

Steve Kandell is the longform 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.

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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.

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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 that 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 The Literary Reportage concentration at NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute for sponsoring this week's episode.

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Jonathan Abrams covers the NBA for Grantland.

"Players know that with the stories I do I'm not trying to burn anybody. I'm trying to tell a story for what it's worth and be honest to that person. ...That's one of my main goals, that you know why this person is [a certain] way when they step on the court. You know why Monta Ellis is going to keep shooting the ball. You know why Zach Randolph is such a gritty player. What these guys have gone through growing up, it materializes in their game."

Thanks to this week's sponsor, TinyLetter!

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Margalit Fox is a senior obituary writer for The New York Times.

"You do get emotionally involved with people, even though as a journalist you're not supposed to. But as a human being, how can you not? Particularly people who had difficult, tragic, poignant lives. But there are also people that you just wish you had known. And, of course, the painful irony is that you're only getting to know them by virtue of the fact that it's too late."

Thanks to this week's sponsor, TinyLetter!

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Mat Honan is a senior writer at Wired.

"[The tech] industry—especially as it relates to a lot the silly apps and the silly websites and the silly shit that we put up with—is ridiculous. It's just such a hype fest, people living off of jargon and nonsense. There are entire conferences devoted to nonsense! ... I like to skewer that stuff, because I don't want to feel responsible for it. I don't want to feel like I'm making someone go out and buy some piece of shit they don't need."

Thanks to this week's sponsor, TinyLetter!

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Jonathan Shainin is senior editor at The Caravan in Delhi.

"Working in an environment that's foreign, where you have to kind of think through a lot of things from the ground up ... I find it to be really stimulating to have to interrogate the assumptions that you have as an editor about what's interesting and what's not interesting, what's a good story and what's a bad story, what's the story that's been done a million times already. When you get out of a place that is your place, you have to kind of think through some things in a fresh way. And that can be really productive."

Thanks to this week's sponsor, TinyLetter!

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Vanessa Grigoriadis is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and New York.

On the art of the celebrity interview: "People are smart. Particularly these people. They're sitting there thinking, 'When is she going to drop that question?' They know what you're doing. So the way I think about it is: let's have an actual, genuine, human, interesting conversation. ... [Journalists] have all sorts of schemes of what they think works for them. My scheme is no scheme."

Thanks to this week's sponsors, TinyLetter and Audible!

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Natasha Vargas-Cooper has written for GQ, Spin and BuzzFeed.

"Writing is the worst part of this gig for me. I hate sitting down and writing; it's being with my worst self. … But then, when it's over, it's the best. I have no greater joy than reading what I've published—with the exception of some editors who have fucked up my shit."</i>

Thanks to TinyLetter for sponsoring this week's episode!

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Ted Conover is the author of five books and the recent Harper's article "The Way of All Flesh."

"My identity is a rubber band. It can stretch that way and it can stretch this way. When I get home it goes mostly back into the shape it's been, but not completely. And it's that not completely that is interesting and makes me who I am."</i>

Thanks to TinyLetter for sponsoring this week's episode!

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Ann Friedman is a writer, editor and co-founder of Tomorrow.

"The notion of kissing up is super weird to me. You should always be kissing down and sideways, to the people who are going to be working alongside you and coming up behind you. I'm really aware of my impending irrelevance. ... I'm waiting for that day when I'm in dire need of work and 65 years old—because none of us are retiring, obviously—and I don't understand how to write on Google Glass or whatever we're composing on then. I want there to be some journalist who remembers when I got on the phone with her in 2013 and helped her negotiate for her first salary and throws me a fucking bone. I think about that moment a lot."</i>

Thanks to TinyLetter for sponsoring this week's episode!

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Patrick Symmes is a foreign correspondent and contributor to Outside and Harper's.

"They rolled us up like a cheap carpet. We were locked in a room for 14 hours. And for the first six hours that was okay. Everything was nice; there was coffee. But then the nightshift came on. You could hear gunshots in the street, and these guys were scared. And they were thugs. And they were thugs with a mission: to get rid of every foreigner who might witness what was happening."</i>

Thanks to TinyLetter for sponsoring this week's episode!

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Jay Caspian Kang is a writer and editor at Grantland.

"That's one of the things I've been learning: sometimes if you just sit there, they forget that you're there, so they forget to get rid of you. I'm very quiet and I try not to ask them a lot of questions. ... Generally I just observe. I feel like because I'm a fiction writer, the story will tell itself through the narrative of the person's movement through their daily life."</i>

Thanks to TinyLetter for sponsoring this week's episode!

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Molly Young is a freelance writer for GQ and New York.

"Writing a celebrity profile puts you in a position that no human being wants to be in: you are speaking with somebody, you know that they're lying to you, and you know that they know that they're lying to you. That's just the most humiliating position—it violates any human instinct for maintaining dignity."

Thanks to TinyLetter for sponsoring this week's episode!

Rolf Potts is a veteran travel writer.

"Instead of seeking out the stories, the stories sort of found me. I miss those days. I mean, I make more money from my writing now and I'm probably a better journalist. But having seven-day weeks to wander, month after month, for two years, was a great way to find real and spontaneous and human travel stories."</i>

Thanks to TinyLetter for sponsoring this week's episode!

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Jake Silverstein is editor-in-chief of Texas Monthly.

"Texas is not a frontier in the same way it was 150 years ago, but it still has a frontier mentality. And that's definitely true from a journalistic standpoint. ... You have more of a feeling that you're figuring things out for yourself. Which means that you make more mistakes, but you also have a little bit more leeway and freedom to find a certain path down here than you would if you were surrouded by other magazines and media companies."</i>

Thanks to TinyLetter for sponsoring this week's episode!

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