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.”

Katy Vine is an executive editor for Texas Monthly.

“This is a huge state. There’s so much, and it’s different everywhere you look. You just go to Houston and there’s worlds within worlds within worlds just within the one city. You go to San Antonio and you’re in a different country, and you go to Dallas, you’re in a totally different country. … It’s wild to me. It’s endlessly fascinating.”

David Wolman is the author of six books and a magazine features writer who has written for Wired, Outside, and The New York Times. His latest article is ”Vanished in the Pacific.”

“I feel like conversations about characters, character development, strong characters gets a little nauseating in my field sometimes because it’s like, of course — you need that like you need periods at the ends of sentences. Do we really have to keep saying it? But in this conversation it’s worth saying, because there are great ideas out there where the sources or the characters just really weren't there and then you’re tucking your tail in between your legs to look for the next one.”

Clint Smith is a poet and a staff writer for The Atlantic. His most recent book is How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America and his latest feature is “Monuments to the Unthinkable.”

“I've been to a lot of places that carry a history of death and slaughter and murder. I've been on plantations. I've been in execution chambers. I've sat on electric chairs. I've been on death row. But I have never experienced anything like what I experienced walking through the gas chamber in Dachau. I mean, there's reading books about the Holocaust, and then there's that. And that is something that I hope to continue doing for the rest of my life: putting my body where these things happen. Because it completely transforms your understanding of what it was like.”

Grant Wahl was the founder of Fútbol with Grant Wahl, a longtime writer for Sports Illustrated, and the author of The Beckham Experiment and Masters of Modern Soccer. He died on December 10, covering the World Cup in Qatar. This interview was recorded in January 2016.

“I never would have predicted I would do soccer full time. And that’s happened. I’d love to say that this was all planned and inevitable but it really wasn’t.”

Ryan O’Hanlon is a soccer writer for ESPN. His new book is Net Gains: Inside the Beautiful Game’s Analytics Revolution.

“It wasn’t just that I was burned out from two years at The Ringer, it was being burned out from nine years of just freakin’ bobbing up and down to keep my head above water, and changing the water every year.”

Bradley Hope and Tom Wright are former journalists at The Wall Street Journal, the co-founders of journalism studio Project Brazen, and the co-authors of the book Billion Dollar Whale.

Their new podcast is Corinna and The King. Hope’s new book is “The Rebel and the Kingdom.”

“We’re a little bit skeptical of just jumping into the big story of the day with something that doesn’t feel differentiated. It needs to have character, storytelling—it can’t just be a great topic, or an important topic, even.”

Audie Cornish is a journalist and the former host of NPR’s All Things Considered. Her new CNN Audio podcast is The Assignment.

“I think there is journalism inherent in an interview. Like the interview itself should be considered a piece of journalism. It isn't always. Sometimes the vibe is that it’s a little window dressing or that it's personality driven and I don't subscribe to that. I think that it has its own journalism. It's my journalism.”

Taffy Brodesser-Akner is a staff writer at the New York Times and the creator of the new Hulu television series Fleishman Is in Trouble, based on her bestselling novel.

“I took the cast out to dinner … And the way they began talking to each other, which was very intimate, was like a punch in the stomach. Because I had always thought that I got people to open up to me [in celebrity profiles]. And I was like, Oh, no, I got them to answer questions differently than maybe they had before. … And that was a little devastating to me.”

Nancy Updike is a founding producer and senior editor at This American Life. Jenelle Pifer, a former Longform Podcast editor, is a senior producer at Serial. Their new three-part podcast, hosted by Updike and produced by Pifer, is We Were Three.

Updike: “I say it’s a story that’s a bit about COVID, but really about a family, and that’s the closest I’ve gotten to a short version. I don’t know. Why is that? I never have a short version of something I’m working on—never.”

Pifer: “We were doing a lot of talking about, for Nancy, what are the driving questions you tend to be attracted to? There were a few things we came up with, one of which was that you tend to gravitate toward stories where somebody is in the middle of something that they don’t know what to make of yet, and you kind of just want to sit with them and see what direction they walk in, or what they say, or what meaning they put onto something.”

Andy Kroll is an investigative reporter for ProPublica. His new book is A Death on W Street: The Murder of Seth Rich and the Age of Conspiracy.

“I think a book has ruined me for writing hot takes and spicy Twitter dunks and all of these other one- and two-dimensional bits of ephemera. I wasn't really a big fan of it in the first place, but I can't do it anymore. A book forces you to look at the world in a much more fine grained, humane, empathetic way, and there's no going back from that.”

Erika Hayasaki has written for The New York Times Magazine, Wired, and The Atlantic. Her new book is Somewhere Sisters: A Story of Adoption, Identity, and the Meaning of Family.

“I don’t subscribe to the belief that it’s our story because we’re the journalist that wrote it — especially when people are sharing these really intimate, deep, painful moments. That is not my story. That’s their story that they've collaborated in a way with me to share through these interviews.”

Rachel Aviv is a staff writer for The New Yorker. Her new book is Strangers to Ourselves: Unsettled Minds and the Stories That Make Us.

“I used to feel that if I knew everything, that was a good sign. And I've become more aware that if you know everything you want to argue, that's not such a good sign…. Do I have a genuine question? Is there something I’m trying to figure out? Then the story is worth telling. But if I don’t really have a question or if my question is already answered, then maybe that should give you pause.”

Sam Anderson is a writer for New York Times Magazine and the author of Boom Town.

“I love being in that place where everything is just coming in, and everything is potentially important, and I’m underlining every great sentence that John McPhee has ever written and then I’m typing it up into this embarrassingly long set of reading notes, documents, organized by books. And then when you sit down with it as a writer who has a job, and his job is to fill a little window of a magazine or website, all of that ecstatic inhaling has to stop. You realize that you’ve collected approximately 900,000% of what you need or could ever use.”

Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa are reporters for The Washington Post and co-authors of the new book His Name Is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice.

“Looking at George Floyd's family history, looking at the poverty that he grew up in, looking at the schools that he attended, which were segregated, looking at the opportunities that were denied to him and the struggles he had in the criminal justice system—it's an extraordinary American experience, in part because it's so outside of the norm of what we think of when we think of the American dream…. And so we wanted to be able to showcase that that kind of extraordinary American experience is ordinary for so many people.”

Pablo Torre is a sports journalist and the host of the ESPN Daily podcast.

“I have an open borders policy as a podcast. All are welcome, but I’m specifically appealing to people who want a little bit more of that magazine curation. What if I gave you one thing today, and that thing was the thing you needed, and what if that thing is deliberately different from every other way you consume sports? That’s the premise.”

Evan Osnos is a staff writer for The New Yorker. His new book is Wildland: The Making of America’s Fury.

“I'm always trying to get inside a subculture. That's the thing that I think has been the most enduring, attractive element for me. Is there a world that has its own manners and vocabulary and internal rhythms and status structure? And who looks down on whom? And why? And who venerates whom? Who's a big deal in these worlds? And if I can get into that, it doesn't even really matter to me that much what the subculture is. I'm fascinated by trying to map that thing out.”

Graciela Mochkofsky is a writer for The New Yorker and dean of CUNY's Newmark Graduate School of Journalism. She has written six nonfiction books in Spanish. Her new book, her first in English, is The Prophet of the Andes.

“It connects with me as a journalist, actually — it’s this idea of just seeking truth and how elusive that is. So this is a person who thinks he can get to the true meaning of God and of how he needs to live. And he thinks that by asking the right questions, and by reading, and reading, and reading, and by discussing collectively, he can get to the truth. And he can’t.”

Nona Willis Aronowitz, an editor and author, writes a sex and love advice column for Teen Vogue. Her new book is Bad Sex: Truth, Pleasure, and an Unfinished Revolution.

“I'm getting a lot of emails from people saying basically ‘You've inspired me to break up with my man tomorrow.’ Or ‘I may not ever break up with my man, but I'm starting to tell the truth, at least to myself, about my relationship.’ And I think a lot of people — even though I think being open about your feelings and acceptance of all kinds of lifestyles are two tenants of modern society — I still think there's a lot of silence around dissatisfaction around sex and love.”