Zach Baron is a staff writer for GQ.

“People love to put celebrity stuff or culture stuff lower on the hierarchy than, say, a serial killer story. I think they're all the same story. If you crack the human, you crack the human.”

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Ben Anderson is a war journalist and documentary filmmaker for Vice News. His latest book is The Interpreters.

"You're surrounded by people who are so poor. Maybe their family members have already been killed. And they still can't leave. So compared to that, I can't really take the idea that I've suffered and that I need stop and go to a spa for a few days. I can't take that idea that seriously. Compared to them, it feels like I am leading an almost privileged existence."

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Lewis Lapham, formerly the editor of Harper's, is the founder of Lapham's Quarterly.

"The best part of my job was to come across a manuscript. You never knew what would show up. ... I always had the sense of opening a present, hoping to be both delighted and surprised. Often I was disappointed. But when I wasn't, it was a lot of fun. And word got around that I was that kind of an editor, that I was willing to try anything if you could make it interesting."

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Adam Higginbotham has written for Businessweek, Wired and The New Yorker. His latest story is A Thousand Pounds of Dynamite, for The Atavist.

"There's always a narrative in a crime story. Something has always gone wrong. These guys are always in prison, because they all fucked something up or trusted the wrong person. They always get caught in the end. Because if they hadn't, you wouldn't be reading about it."

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Brin-Jonathan Butler has written for SB Nation, ESPN, and The New York Times. His new book is A Cuban Boxer’s Journey.

"He smiled at me and just to make small talk, I said, 'You know, you’ve got this gold grill on your teeth. Where did you get that from?' And he said, 'Oh, I just melted my gold medals into my mouth.' And I thought, 'I think I’ve got a story here.'"

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Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah has written for The Believer, The LA Review of Books, Transition and The Paris Review. "If He Hollers Let Him Go," her essay on Dave Chappelle, was a 2014 National Magazine Award finalist.

"So the stakes are high. I’m not just writing this to write. I’m writing because I think there’s something I need to say. And there’s something that needs to be said. ... What I hope is that a young kid or an older person will see that you have choices, that you don't have to accept what people hand to you. That you have control."

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A look back at some of our favorite moments from the first 99.

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John Heilemann is the managing editor of Bloomberg Politics and the co-author of Game Change and Double Down.

"If you're a writer, and you're not an asshole, you want the maximum number of people to read your stuff. There's nothing wrong with that. There's no great glory in cultivating some niche audience. I do this work because I believe in what I'm doing. I'm not trying to compromise my principles or my standards to get a larger audience. But once I've written the thing of which I feel confident and proud, which I feel is ethically and journalistically sound, I then want the maximum number of people to read it."

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Sarah Nicole Prickett is the founding editor of Adult.

"I'll admit to being resistant to the 'by women for women' label that Adult had before because I saw it as being just 'by women,' period. That’s way more feminist than making something for women, which is very prescriptive and often comes in various shades of pink."

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a senior editor at The Atlantic. His latest cover story is "The Case for Reparations."

"The writer hopes for change, but writers can't assume that their work is going to cause change."

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Nathaniel Rich writes for Rolling Stone, Harper's and the New York Times Magazine. His latest novel is Odds Against Tomorrow.

"I'm drawn to obsession. I think I'm an obsessive in a way, probably most writers are. It's an obsessive act to sit at a desk by yourself."

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Wesley Morris, a Pulitzer Prize winner, covers film at Grantland.

"That's what writing about race and popular culture is for me: it's crime reporting. It's not me looking for an agenda when I go to the movies ... but I feel a moral responsibility to report a crime being committed. That's what I'm forced to do over and over again."

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Gary Smith, a four-time National Magazine Award winner, retired last month after 32 years at Sports Illustrated.

"We were on the Santa Monica Freeway, Ali's driving 70 miles an hour and his eyes are drifting asleep—the medication for Parkinson's would do that to him. I'm thinking, 'Oh, crap.' We're weaving between lanes, cars are honking, and I'm wondering in the passenger seat, 'Should I grab the wheel from the greatest champ of all-time?' The writer in me wants to let it go, let the crash happen just so I get a scene for the story. But the human in me was just getting scared as hell."

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Michael Paterniti, a correspondent for GQ, has also written for Esquire, Rolling Stone and Outside. His latest book is The Telling Room.

"I want to see it, whatever it is. If it's war, if it's suffering, if it's complete, unbridled elation, I just want to see what that looks like—I want to smell it, I want to taste it, I want to think about it, I want to be caught up in it."

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Leslie Jamison has written for The Believer, Harper's and The New York Times. Her latest book is The Empathy Exams.

"I sort of love imagining a small army of 22-year-old men who are just like, 'Fuck that book, I wish it was never published.'"

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Michael Lewis has written for The New Republic, Vanity Fair and The New York Times Magazine. His latest book is Flash Boys.

“When you're telling a story, you're essentially playing the cards you're dealt. ... Sometimes the hand is very easy to play. Sometimes the hand is difficult to play. At the end, I just try to think, ‘Is there anything I would have done differently?‘ ‘Is there any trick I missed?’ If I don't have the feeling that I missed something big, I feel happy about the book.”

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Susan Dominus is a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine.

"A lot of reporting is really just hanging around and not going home until something interesting happens."

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Alice Gregory has written for GQ, The New York Times, n+1 and Harper's.

"If you don't have a real story with a beginning, middle and an end, you owe it to the reader to kind of serve as their chaperone."

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Sam Biddle writes for Valleywag.

"It's a lot of overgrown, entitled manchildren pulling price tags out of the ether and passing them around. Considering Silicon Valley worthy of contempt is the first premise that we work from."

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Amanda Hess, a staff writer at Slate, has also written for Pacific Standard, GOOD, and ESPN the Magazine.

"I ended up not loving the fact that I was getting a bunch of calls from MSNBC and CNN, who mostly wanted to talk about people threatening to rape and kill me and only a tiny bit about the story I'd written. ... It was tiring, and it seemed dismissive of me as a person. It's a strange thing to become somebody else's story, especially when the story is: You're a victim of an insane online harasser. That's who you are."

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Mattathias Schwartz has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine and Harper's.

"I figure it's like digging through a wall with a spoon: if you spend enough time at it eventually you get to the other side."

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Tavi Gevinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of Rookie.

"I just want our readers to know that they are already smart enough and cool enough."

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Sabrina Rubin Erdely, a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, has also written for GQ, Philadelphia and SELF.

"I think that people are, by their nature, good and want to act rightly. So I'm very interested in why people do these things that result in really bad actions. My lack of outrage actually is one of the things that probably helps me in my reporting because I really am propelled by this pure curiosity. ... I just want to know, 'Where did that come from?'"

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Lawrence Wright, author of The Looming Tower and Going Clear, is a staff writer for The New Yorker.

"If I had the chance to interview Osama Bin Laden, should I kill him? It’s a fair question. Suppose we’re having dinner — should I stab him with the bread knife? Do I have a moral obligation to kill him? Or do I have a moral obligation as a reporter to simply hear him?"

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

"That sense of loss, that sense of normal life turning on a dime is something that, in a very different way, I’ve experienced. And I carry that with me into some of the more difficult stories."

Smiley face Mimi Swartz has written for Talk, The New Yorker and Vogue. She is an executive editor at Texas Monthly.

"Here’s this great [public interest] story that nobody’s ever told. Now how can I write it so the maximum number of people want to read it? I try to make the homework part as interesting and compelling as possible."

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