Emily Witt is a freelance writer and the author of Future Sex.

“I think I had always thought that—maybe this is coming from a WASPy, protestant background—if I presented myself as overtly sexual in any way, it would be a huge turnoff. That they would see me as a certain type of person. They wouldn’t have respect for me. And I thought this both professionally—I thought maybe writing this book was going to be really bad for my career, that nobody would take me seriously anymore—and also that nobody would want to date me if I was too honest. In both counts the opposite happened.”

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Krista Tippett is the host of On Being and the author of Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living.

“Good journalists in newsrooms hold themselves to primitive standards when they’re covering religious ideas and people. They’re sloppy and simplistic in a way that they would never be with a political or economic person or idea. I mean they get facts wrong. They generalize. Because they don’t take it seriously, and they don’t know how to take it seriously.”

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Luke Dittrich is a contributing editor at Esquire. His new book is Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets.

“As soon as I told [my mom] that I got my first book deal for this story about Patient H.M., her first words were, ‘Oh no.’ That was sort of her gut reaction to it because, I think, she knew at a certain level that I was going to be dredging up very painful stories. And I think at that point even she didn’t know the depth of the pain that some of the stories that I was going to find were going to lay out there.”

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A.J. Daulerio is the former editor-in-chief of Gawker.

“The choices they’ve given me are take back everything that you loved about Nick [Denton], Gawker, and your job, and we’ll give you your $1,000 back or your ability to make money. You can walk away from this, but you just can’t talk about it ever again. I don’t see there’s any question for me. I definitely thought long and hard about it, and I’ve talked to a lot of people about it. It’s just not in me. Some days I absolutely wish I could say, ‘Is there a phone call I could make to make this all go away?’ Because I want my life back. That’s happened. But for the most part I just think I would regret doing that.”

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Julia Turner is editor-in-chief of Slate.

“That’s what we’ve been focused on: trying to double down on the stuff that feels distinctive and original. Because if you spend all your time on a social platform, and a bunch of media brands are optimizing all their content for that social platform, all those media brands’ headlines say the same, all the content is pretty interchangeable. It turns media into this commodity where then what is the point of developing a media company for 20 years? You might as well take the Silicon Valley approach and just make a new one every three years for whatever that moment is.”

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Naomi Zeichner is editor-in-chief of The Fader.

“Right now in rap there’s kind of a huge tired idea that kids are trying to kill their idols, and kids have no respect for history, and kids are making bastardized crazy music, and how dare they? I just don’t even know why we still care about this false dichotomy. Kids are coming from where they come from, they’re going where they’re going. And it’s like, do you want to try to learn about where they’re coming from and where they’re going, or do you not?”

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Ben Taub is a contributing writer at The New Yorker.

“I don’t think it’s my place to be cynical because I’ve observed some of the horrors of the Syrian War through these various materials, but it’s Syrians that are living them. It’s Syrians that are being largely ignored by the international community and by a lot of political attention on ISIS. And I think that it wouldn’t be my place to be cynical when some of them still aren’t.”

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Sarah Schweitzer is a former feature writer for the Boston Globe.

“I just am drawn, I think, to the notion that we start out as these creatures that just want love and were programmed that way—to try to find it and to make our lives whole. We are, as humans, so strong in that way. We get knocked down, and adults do some horrible things to us because adults have had horrible things done to [them]. There are some terrible cycles in this world. But there’s always this opportunity to stop that cycle. And there are people who come along who do try that in their own flawed ways.”

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Rachel Monroe is a freelance writer based in Texas.

“I will totally go emotionally deep with people. If I can find a subject who is into that then it will probably be a good story. Whether that person is a victim of a crime, or a committer of a crime, or a woman who spends a lot of time on the internet looking for hoaxes, or whatever it may be—I guess I just think people are interesting. Particularly when those people have gone through some sort of extreme situation.”

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McKay Coppins is a senior political writer for Buzzfeed News and the author of The Wilderness: Deep Inside the Republican Party's Combative, Contentious, Chaotic Quest to Take Back the White House.

“I am part of the problem. Not in the sense that it’s my fault Trump ran, but in the sense that I’m one of many who for his entire life have mocked him and ridiculed him. He’s a billionaire—I don’t feel any moral guilt about it. But if being I’m honest with myself that same part of me can also, when not checked, be projected onto vast swathes of people. It’s easy to have a lazy classism about the type of people who would vote for Donald Trump.”

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Gabriel Sherman is the national affairs editor at New York and the author of the New York Times best-seller The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News—and Divided a Country.

“There was a time when we got death threats at home. Some crank called and said, ‘We’re gonna come after you. You’re coming after the right, we’re gonna get you.’ That was scary because, again, you don’t know if it’s just a crank when you have right wing websites that are turning you into a target. You know, it’s one thing if they do it with a politician. They have security or handlers—I don’t have any of that.”

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Ezra Klein the editor-in-chief of Vox.

“I think that if any of these big players collapse, when their obits are written, it’ll be because they did too much. I’m not saying I think any of them in particular are doing too much. But I do think, when I look around and I think, ‘What is the danger here? What is the danger for Vox?’ I think it is losing too much focus because you’re trying to do too many things.”

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Malcolm Gladwell is a staff writer at The New Yorker. His new podcast is Revisionist History.

“The amount of criticism you get is a constant function of the size of your audience. So if you think that, generously speaking, 80% of the people who read your work like it, that means if you sell ten books you have two enemies. And if you sell a million books you have 200,000 enemies. So be careful what you wish for. The volume of critics grows linearly with the size of your audience.”

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Ellis Jones is the editor-in-chief of VICE Magazine.

“I’m just not an edgy person. You know what I mean? I think I am a nice person. I think VICE Magazine reflects the qualities that I want to have or think that I have or that my team has. The magazine would be terrible if I tried to make edgy content ... people would just see right through it. It wouldn’t be good.”

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David Remnick is the editor of The New Yorker.

“I think it’s important — not just for me, but for the readers — that this thing exists at the highest possible level in 2016, in 2017, and on. That there’s a continuity to it. I know, because I’m not entirely stupid, that these institutions, no matter how good they are, all institutions are innately fragile. Innately fragile.”

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T. Christian Miller, senior investigative reporter at ProPublica, and Ken Armstrong, staff writer at The Marshall Project, co-wrote the Pulitzer-winning story, “An Unbelievable Story of Rape.”

“I won’t forget this: when T. and I talked on the phone and agreed that we were going to work on [“An Unbelievable Story of Rape”] together, T. created a Google Drive site, and we decided we’d both dump all our documents in it. And I remember seeing all the records that T. had gathered in Colorado, and then I dumped all the records that I had gathered in Washington, and it was like each of us had half of a phenomenal story. And in one day, by dumping our notes into a common file, we suddenly had a whole story.”

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Jack Hitt contributes to Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, and This American Life.

“I’ve always lived more or less unemployed in these markets, and happily so. I think being unemployed keeps you a little more sharp in terms of looking for stories. It never gets any easier. That motivation and that desperation, whatever you want to call that, is still very much behind many of the conversations I have all day long trying to find those threads, those strings, that are going to pull together and turn into something.”

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Kathryn Schulz is a staff writer for The New Yorker. "The Really Big One," her article about the rupturing of the Cascadia fault line, won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize.

“I can tell you in absolute sincerity: I didn't realize I was writing a scary story. Obviously I know the earthquake is going to be terrifying, and that our lack of preparedness is genuinely really scary. But, as I think often happens as a reporter, you toggle between professional happiness, which is sometimes, frankly, even professional glee—you’re just so thrilled you’re getting what you’re getting—and then the sort of more human and humane response, which comes every time you really set down your pen and think about what it is you’re actually reporting about.”

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Shane Bauer, a senior reporter for Mother Jones, spent four months working undercover as a guard in a private prison.

“The thing that I grappled with the most afterward was a feeling of shame about who I was as a guard and some of the things that I had done. Sending people to solitary confinement is hard to come to terms with—even though, in that situation, I don't know what else I could have done. ... I had to do what I could to keep myself safe.”

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Frank Rich, a former culture and political columnist for The New York Times, writes for New York and is the executive producer of Veep.

“All audiences bite back. If you have an opinion—forget about whether it’s theater or politics. If it’s about sports, fashion, or food—it doesn’t really matter. Readers are gonna bite back. And they should, you know? Everyone’s entitled. Everyone’s a critic. Everyone should have an opinion. You’re not laying down the law, and people should debate it.”

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Louisa Thomas, a former writer and editor at Grantland, is a New Yorker contributor and the author of Louisa. Her father Evan Thomas, a longtime writer for Newsweek and Time, is the author of several award-winning books, including last year's Being Nixon.

“That's one thing I've learned from my dad: the capacity to be open to becoming more open.”

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Nikole Hannah-Jones covers civil rights for The New York Times Magazine.

“I don’t think there’s any beat you can cover in America that race is not intertwined with—environment, politics, business, housing, you name it. So, whatever beat you put me on, this is what I was going to cover because I think it’s just intrinsic. If you’re not being blind to what’s on your beat, then it’s part of the beat.”

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Jon Favreau, former chief speechwriter for President Obama, is a columnist at The Ringer and co-host of Keepin’ It 1600.

“And then Obama comes over to my desk with the speech, and he has a few edits. And he’s like, ‘I just want to go through some of these edits and make sure you’re ok with this. I did this for this reason. Are you ok with that?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, buddy. You’re Barack Obama.’”

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Leah Finnegan, a former New York Times and Gawker editor, is the managing news editor at Genius.

“After the Condé Nast article, Nick Denton decided Gawker needed to be 20% nicer, and I took a buyout because I was not 20% nicer.”

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Pablo Torre is a senior writer at ESPN the Magazine and frequently appears on Around the Horn, PTI, and other ESPN shows.

“Most of my friends are not sports fans. My parents aren't. Brother and sister — no. So I just want to make things that they want to read. That's the big litmus test for me in deciding if a story is worth investing my time into: Is somebody who doesn’t give a shit about sports gonna be interested in this?”

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