Episode 23: Jackie Valley

jackie_valley copyJackie Valley is a reporter at the Las Vegas Sun. Just about one year ago, she published a seven-part series called “Grace Through Grief.” The series followed Arturo Martinez and his two young sons as they dealt with the brutal murder of their wife and daughter, their mother and sister. The murders happened in April 2012, and Valley covered it as breaking news on her cops beat. She got to know Martinez through her reporting, and he eventually allowed her remarkable access as he recovered from the murders, both physically and emotionally.

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This was Valley’s first foray into a large project. She studied journalism at Kent State University, and completed a Dow Jones copy editing internship at the Virginian Pilot in 2009. She joined the Las Vegas Sun one year later.

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Episode 22: Eva Holland

Eva Holland is a freelance writer and editor based in Canada’s Yukon Territory. She writes for several publications, including Vela Magazine and SB Nation Longform. She is the co-editor of World Hum, a website devoted to the best travel stories on the Internet. 

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In 2013, Holland had pieces from Vela Magazine listed as notable in both Best American Essays and Best American Sports Writing. She’s written two stories for SB Nation Longform that were aggregated by Longform.org. One focused on the handlers who help sled dog racers in the one-thousand mile Yukon Quest. The other story is about called “Wilderness Women” and is about women who go to Alaska to compete in one of the wildest and strangest competitions ever.

Her story “Chasing Alexander Supertramp” looks at the increasing number of people who make the pilgrimage to the bus where Christopher McCandless of “Into the Wild” fame died. The hike to that bus includes a dangerous crossing of the Teklanika River in Alaska, and continues to strand hikers on a regular basis, and sometimes claim lives.

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Episode 21: Ben Montgomery

ImageBen Montgomery is an enterprise reporter at the Tampa Bay Times and the author of “Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail.”

Montgomery’s book focuses on Emma Gatewood, who at the age of 67, through-hiked the 2,050-mile Appalachian Trail. She was the first woman to ever do so, and later became the first person, male or female, to hike the trail two and then three times. Montgomery’s book doesn’t just chronicle Gatewood’s hikes, but seeks to understand why she took to walking at such an advanced age.

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As a reporter, Montgomery was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and won the Dart Award and Casey Medal for a series of stories called “For Their Own Good.” Those stories examined abuse at Florida’s oldest reform school, at times called the Florida School for Boys and the Dozier School for Boys.

He is also the founder of Gangrey.com, a blog devoted to sharing and talking about the best narrative journalism being done in magazines and newspapers around the country. The podcast is a spin-off of that blog.

You can follow Montgomery on Twitter @gangrey.

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Episode 20: Wil S. Hylton

Wil S. Hylton Imagewrote the book “Vanished,” which focuses on the modern-day search for one American bomber that crashed over the Pacific Islands during World War II. That bomber carried 11 men, who for decades, were listed as missing in action. Finding that lost bomber gave closure to the families of those men, but it also took an amazing feat of detective work and amazing modern technology.

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“Vanished” out in November 2013 and has garnered praise from newspapers and magazines around the country. Time Magazine said the book contains “passages so expressive that we’re constantly reminded we’re in the hands of a phenomenal writer.”

Hylton is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine. His work has also been featured in Harpers, GQ, Esquire and Rolling Stone, among many others magazines. He’s profiled US Attorney general Eric Holder among many others and written about the doomed Air France Flight 447. He’s also written about mothers who make the agonizing decision to abandon their children at safe havens.

You can also find out more about Hylton by visiting wilshylton.com.

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Episode 19: Mike Sager

MikeSager headshot (1)Mike Sager is a bestselling author and award-winning reporter who has been called the beat poet of American journalism. He currently works as a writer at large for Esquire Magazine, and is also the editor and publisher of The Sager Group, a consortium of multimedia artists and writers.

Sager recently co-edited the book, “Next Wave: America’s New Generation of Great Literary Journalists.” He’s also released a collection of his own magazine stories called “The Someone You’re Not,” as well as a novel titled “High Tolerance.”

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Sager began his journalism career in the Washington Post newsroom, working for Bob Woodward. He went on to write for dozens of high profile magazines, including GQ, Playboy, Rolling Stone, Vibe, Spy and Interview, among many others. In 2010, he won a National Magazine Award for profile writing for his story on former NFL quarterback Todd Marinovich.

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Episode 18: Flinder Boyd

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Flinder Boyd is a former professional basketball player who now writes longform journalism. For 10 years, he played as a point guard in the lower and upper levels of many professional European basketball leagues.

Now he’s writing, often about basketball. His story “20 Minutes at Rucker Park” profiles a young man’s cross-country journey on a Greyhound bus to New York City’s streetball Mecca.

That story was published on SB Nation Longform. It was subsequently a Longform selection and named by Longreads a Top 5 Longread of the Week. It was also a Nieman Storyboard recommended reading selection and earned Boyd Longread’s Favorite New Writer Discovery in 2013. Finally, Sports on Earth called the story a Top 20 sports story in 2013.

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He’s written two other stories for SB Nation Longform; a profile of NBA player Chris Copeland and a first-hand account of the corruption and chaos of playing professional basketball in Slovakia.

Boyd has also written for The Classical, Sports On Earth and BBC online among others. You can follow him on Twitter @FlinderBoyd.

 

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Episode 17: Chris Jones


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Chris Jones is a writer at large for Esquire, as well as a back-page columnist for ESPN The Magazine. Jones has twice won National Magazine Awards. In 2009, his story “The Things that Carried Him” won for feature writing.

Jones is an expert profile writer. His 2010 piece on the late Roger Ebert is, in our opinion, one of the best celebrity profiles ever written. It’s touching and poignant, showing a side of the film critic that hadn’t been seen since Ebert’s battle with cancer.

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Most recently, Jones turned his eye on a man most have never heard of, but a man who has been involved in nearly every major tragic event in recent US history. His Esquire story,  “Kenneth Feinberg: the nation’s leading expert in picking up the pieces,” looks at the man who decides how much money the surviving victims of horrific shootings and bombings get once there is a monetary fund set up for those victims.

In October 2012 he wrote a historical piece on what happened on Air Force 1 immediately after the President John F. Kennedy assassination.

In 2011, Jones participated in a virtual roundtable discussion moderated by podcast host Matt Tullis. That discussion focused on journalism as a sub-genre of creative nonfiction, and was published in Creative Nonfiction in the Winter 2012 issue of the magazine. The discussion was ultimately the inspiration for the podcast.

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