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."

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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>

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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>

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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>

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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>

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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>

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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."

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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>

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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>

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Emily Nussbaum is a television critic at The New Yorker.

"I actually feel this kind of crazy cause ... because TV is condescended to, has been put down and treated like it's junk, and TV deserves to have the kind of criticism that expects it to be great. To me it's a really engaging and satisfying cause, no matter whether I'm praising or criticizing something."</i>

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Keith Gessen is the founding editor of n+1 and a contributor to The New Yorker.

"The founding editors are slowing down. We're not mad at anyone anymore. We think everything is great. ... But amazingly at n+1, we've had this younger generation of angry young women kind of rise up. Something has created space for young editors to come in and be really angry ... But that's holy, that's the thing that makes great writing: being angry."

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Matthew Power is a freelance writer and contributing editor at Harper's.

"The kind of stories I've gotten to do have involved fulfilling my childhood fantasies of having an adventurous life. Even though I don't make a ton of money doing it, I've never felt like I was missing out on something. I haven't worked in an office since a two-week stint as a fact checker at House and Garden magazine in 2001, so that's 12 years, and I haven't starved to death yet."

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Joel Lovell, deputy editor of The New York Times Magazine, interviewed live at the University of Pittsburgh.

"I think if you can make a writer feel like it's okay to not know what they're doing—they don't really know exactly what their story is, they're a little lost in their material—that's a fine place to be. If you can sort of talk it through, if you can minimize their anxiety a little bit, then I think you've done most of your job. After that it's just looking at the words and just figuring out which ones work."

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Joshua Topolsky is editor-in-chief of The Verge.

"Sometimes you tell stories that people don't know they need to read yet. You have to keep telling those kinds of stories, and eventually people will wake up to them. Of course we look at traffic. But the main thing is, are we doing good work? At the end of the week or the end of the day, do I think, that was awesome, I'm really glad we wrote that?"

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Jennifer Gonnerman is a contributing editor at New York and contributing writer for Mother Jones.

"How much do we really interact with people who are different from ourselves? We go to work, we go home, we go to a party—I feel like this is a fantastic opportunity to meet peope who are totally and completely different, from totally different worlds, backgrounds, interests, countries. It's almost like a passport to a different world with every story. Once you make that trip and go into someone's home and really listen to them, empathy is not that hard to come by."

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Susan Orlean is a staff writer at The New Yorker.

"There's always the fear, which comes with having done it for a long time, that you're repeating yourself. That's actually a genuine concern—you worry that you're becoming an imitiation of yourself ... The funny thing is that you spend the first half of your career wanting desperately to have a voice that's distinctive and recognizable, then you go to the other side of that and think oh my god, all my stories sound the same."

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In this special episode with Stephen Rodrick, contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine and contributing editor at Men's Journal, Rodrick discusses his recent story "Here Is What Happens When You Cast Lindsay Lohan in Your Movie."

"Publicists don't want to give you access because they're afraid of what you're going to see. But if you spend enough time with anybody, short of Mussolini or Ghengis Khan, they're going to humanize themselves. Because they're human beings, like you are. And they have whatever demented battles they're fighting, their version of crazy, but if you get to spend some time with them as flesh and blood, they're going to come across as flesh and blood in the story."

Starlee Kine is a contributor to This American Life and the New York Times Magazine.

"There's a fearlessness I had when I was younger that I don't have now ... It threw me into a crisis, the Internet in general. You're more cautious about what you kind of have out there. There's that, that I just don't want people to know every single thing anymore, but there's [also] an inner fear that did not exist before, an inner censoring that was not there."

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Charles Duhigg is a New York Times reporter and author of The Power of Habit.

"The stuff that gets cut out gets cut out for a reason. The discipline of space is always a good discipline. If it deserves to be read, it shouldn't be on the cutting room floor ... If it ends up on the cutting room floor, there's usually a reason why."

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Eli Sanders is an associate editor at The Stranger and the winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing.

"There was one particular moment in the trial, which I described, where ... there was just not any human ability to be detached from what was happening in front of you, what was being shared. It was so painful, you could not help but cry, and there was no reason to deny that that moment had happened."

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Patrick Radden Keefe is a staff writer at The New Yorker.

"I tend not to like really prescriptive writing, and as often as not what I want to do is kind of get in and find the stories and the narratives almost as a delivery mechanism to just get people to sit up and think about it. Honestly, the areas that I'm interested in are so obscure, often, that the thing that I want is for people just to understand and care a little bit more than they did before."

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Choire Sicha is co-founder of The Awl.

"People come to me pretty much every week ... and say 'I'm starting a website about ... say ... Canadian ... candy makers' and they're like 'What's the secret?' And I say, the secret is when we launched there were three of us. Two of us were doing editorial. And one of was doing business. And guess what? We had a new product and he had nothing to do all day so he had to make himself a job that was about revenue. So, who is this dedicated person at your company? And they're like 'we're both editorial' and I'm like 'you're hosed, you're done, forget about it.'"

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Mike Sager, writer-at-large for Esquire and founder of The Sager Group.

"I was instilled with this thing by my parents who loved me — they fucked me up plenty but they loved the shit out of me — where I can go with people who are different and I don't feel bad about myself. I've had 13-year-old pit-bull fighting kids shame me horribly...throw pebbles at my head, and it doesn't bother me. Because when I'm a reporter, I'm not me. I'm just there to get the job done and learn stuff. I don't take it personally. Plus, I know I'm going to get the last word."

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Joshua Davis is a contributing editor at Wired and author of the new ebook John McAfee's Last Stand.

"This is a pretty unique situation [for me]. Never has a multimillionaire tech pioneer gone on the lam for a murder and called me from hiding. Yeah, this is a first."

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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."

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