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.
Take a Joke, Episode 4: Edith Zimmerman
Edith Zimmerman rocketed to media stardom early in her career. Her editing of the influential and hilarious website The Hairpin got her a place on Forbes’ 30 under 30—at only twenty-eight, she was a “much sought after writer,” noted the magazine.
Zimmerman hasn’t lost an ounce of her humor in the years since, but she has slowly rediscovered herself. In the last episode of Take a Joke, Zimmerman and host Don Van Natta Jr. share their respective experiences stopping drinking, reminisce about the glory days of Internet writing and chat about Zimmerman’s cartooning.
Take A Joke, Episode 3: Matt Shearer
Award-winning radio reporter Matt Shearer is making Boston’s WBZ station—and by extension, local journalism—cool again. The thirty-six-year-old TikTok star’s success has breathed new life into the industry. In a wide-ranging conversation with host Jacob Feldman, Shearer shares his path to social media stardom.
In the third episode of “Take a Joke,” an SLR series on the mixing of humor and reporting, we got deep into the process of producing short-form and talk about why the Massachusetts stereotype is alive and well.
Take a Joke is sponsored by Funny Girls, a program from The Harnisch Foundation that uses improv exercises to help third through eighth graders to develop their leadership skills.
Take A Joke, Episode 2: Dina Gusovsky
Dina Gusovsky was an award-winning investigative reporter before she put that career aside to pursue comedy in 2016, joining Late Night with Seth Meyers. Not because she wanted to move away from the news, but the opposite—she saw comedians doing deeper dives than journalists.
In the second episode of “Take a Joke,” an SLR series on the mixing of humor and reporting, Jacob Feldman talked to Gusovsky about that decision and the adjustments she had to make in her new role. Gusovsky also discussed how her personal back story—her family fled Soviet Russia when she was a child—has influenced the perspective she brings to the show, to comedy, and to her stories.
Take a Joke is sponsored by Funny Girls, a program from The Harnisch Foundation that helps third through eighth graders to develop their leadership skills.
Take a Joke, Episode 1: Maureen Dowd
Welcome to the first episode of Take a Joke, a Sunday Long Read podcast series on the captivating world of humor. Our first guest, Maureen Dowd, has been thorn in the side of American politicians for decades. In her conversation with host Don Van Natta Jr., she explains where her sense of humor comes from and how the subjects of her stories have taken it.
Take a Joke is sponsored by Funny Girls, a program from The Harnisch Foundation that helps third through eighth graders as they figure out all the changes they’re navigating by using improv exercises.
The Art of Remembering, Episode 4: Garrett Graff
Welcome back to The Art of Remembering, a Sunday Long Read podcast series on the fascinating world of obituaries. Our fourth guest is magazine writer and author Garrett Graff. In early 2023, the prolific journalist was tasked with one of the toughest assignments of his career: writing the obituary of his friend, New York Times editor and reporter Blake Hounshell. In a conversation with Don Van Natta Jr., Graff describes his experience working on this emotional piece in a short amount of time.
The Art of Remembering is sponsored by our friends at Air Mail, a weekly newsletter from former Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter and Alessandra Stanley, formerly of The New York Times.
The Art of Remembering, Episode 3: James Hagerty
Welcome back to The Art of Remembering, a Sunday Long Read podcast series on the fascinating world of obituaries. Our third guest, James Hagerty, is the only fulltime obituary writer at The Wall Street Journal, where he has worked for nearly 40 years.
He's also written a book, Yours Truly, on the value of telling your own story. He and Don discuss the value of humor in the face of grief and how thinking about what your own obituary will say could change your life.
The Shea Serrano interview was fun and engaging and made it very easy to root for a man who is just trying to do good things. Loved listening to this pod
Entertaining sports reporters
I enjoy listening to these top sports reporters telling about their business. Informative and very entertaining.