Pulitzer-winning reporter Don Van Natta Jr. and journalist Jacob Feldman chat with writers and editors from across the industry as an audio extension of The Sunday Long Read e-mail newsletter.
Episode 41: Tim Urban
Tim Urban is a popular blogger and the co-founder of “Wait But Why,” a site that discusses a wide variety of topics including picking the right career path, SpaceX rockets, and love. His most recent mammoth work is “The Story of Us,” a re-tracing of how we got to this political moment.
Episode 40: Caity Weaver
Caity Weaver is a favorite of the Sunday Long Read, appearing in multiple newsletters every year, always giving us thoughtful, clever, and enjoyable stories to read. This week, the New York Times features writer joins Jacob to talk about how she interviews celebrities, to outline how she interacts with editors, and to perform a real-time dive into her search history on the Oxford English Dictionary. Along the way she provides a few tips for writers and talks about how she discovers new stories.
Due to some technical difficulties, we had some trouble with the audio quality of our interview with Caity. So if you'd prefer to read this conversation instead of listening to it, we've published a transcript of this episode on our website, sundaylongread.com.
Episode 39: Deborah and James Fallows
There are few couples like Deborah and James Fallows, who have spent more than half a decade talking to people and visiting communities across America to produce "Our Towns," a New York Times bestseller, published last year, and an online series for The Atlantic. They're some of the smartest, most diligent people reporting on the state of the country today and they joined Jacob for a two-in-one SLR podcast to discuss their distinct reporting styles, the power of positive reporting, and the lessons they've learned from their travels.
Episode 38: Charles Duhigg
Charles Duhigg is a 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, the author of The Power of Habit, and a magazine writer who most recently published an in-depth look at Amazon's world-eating growth for The New Yorker.
“The first question I might ask is, ‘I’m really sorry, I don’t know enough to know what question to ask you. What do you think is the most interesting thing I could ask you about x?’ It catches them off guard ... and they always come up with some suggested question that never would have occurred to me — because they know their own brain better than I could ever know it by asking them questions to get at it.”
Jacob and Charles discuss how every corporate job at Amazon is really the same, how longform and books allow a conversation around a subject to linger, and reporting style and tips for podcasts, print and books — including using LinkedIn to find sources and stories.
Charles can be found on Twitter @cduhigg and emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org (he promises to get back to anyone who reaches out).
[0:57] Is Amazon Unstoppable? (New Yorker, 10.10.19)
[1:09] Did Uber Steal Google’s Intellectual Property? (New Yorker, 10.15.18)
[9:52] The iEconomy (New York Times, 2012)
[10:41] Covering the Cops (New Yorker, 2.9.86)
[14:31] Amazon’s Next-Day Delivery Has Brought Chaos And Carnage To America’s Streets — But The World’s Biggest Retailer Has A System To Escape The Blame (BuzzFeed News, 8.31.19)
[14:32] His Mother Was Killed by a Van Making Amazon Deliveries. Here’s the Letter He Wrote to Jeff Bezos. (ProPublica, 9.5.19)
[14:40] Amazon Has Ceded Control of Its Site. The Result: Thousands of Banned, Unsafe or Mislabeled Products (Wall Street Journal, 8.23.19)
[14:50] Jeff Bezos’s Master Plan (The Atlantic, 10.10.19)
[16:39] “On the Clock: What Low-Wage Work Did to Me and How It Drives America Insane” (Little, Brown and Company, 2019)
[18:23] Emily Guendelsberger’s Twitter thread (10.18.19)
[23:01] “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” (Random House, 2012
[23:01] “Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business” (Random House, 2016)
[28:58] “How To!” Podcast (Slate, 2019)
[51:30] Zuckerberg: Standing For Voice and Free Expression (Washington Post, 10.17.19)
Episode 37: Rowan Jacobsen
"I kind of think of myself as a nature writer disguised as a food writer. Food is a great way to write about plants and animals because everyone has a built-in interest, "
Rowan Jacobsen is an award-winning author who writes about food, sustainability, and the environment. Jacob and Rowan discuss how the latter delved into the world of food writing and some of his work including "Is Sunscreen The New Margarine?" for Outside, which became the most popular article in their website's history.
[1:09] How does one become a food writer?
[4:41] Rowan on "Is Sunscreen The New Margarine"
[8:17] On Rowan equating lack of sun to smoking
[12:25] Rowan on "What Happens When the World’s Top Plastics Executives and Environmentalists Go Snorkeling Together in the Atlantic Garbage Patch?"
[21:40] Rowan on Alt Meat Is Turning Cattle into Stranded Assets
[28:38] On reading content that doesn’t take into account certain factors that endanger the environment
[32:09] On not reading any fiction
Episode 36: Jessica Pressler
"If you don’t want to tell me something it makes me very interested in what it is.” Jessica Pressler is a staff writer at New York magazine and joins Jacob this week to talk interesting stories, screen adaptations, and empathy. Her article "The Hustlers at Scores," is the basis for the new movie "Hustlers," and Jessica discusses the unique experiences of having a story adapted for the screen and being visited in your own home by a movie star assigned to portray you (Hello, Julia Stiles!).
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