Gangrey: The Podcast

Narrative journalism and the reporters who write it

Episode 45: Michael Brick

Everyone Leaves Behind a NameThis episode is devoted to the life, stories and music of Michael Brick. Brick wrote for the New York Times, the Houston Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, Harper’s Magazine. He also wrote the book “Saving the School.”

Brick passed away in February from colon cancer. In Brick’s final days, his friends and fellow reporters scrambled to put together a book that contains so many of his amazing stories. That book, “Everyone Leaves Behind a Name,” was published by The Sager Group and is now available. All book proceeds go to Brick’s family.

In this episode, I’m going to talk with some of men who put that book together. On the show we’ve got Ben Montgomery, a senior writer at the Tampa Bay Times, Michael Kruse, a senior staff writer for Politico, Wright Thompson, a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine, Thomas Lake, who covers politics for CNN Ditital, and Tony Rehagen, a freelance writer living in Atlanta.

For Montgomery, Kruse and Thompson, this is their second visit to the podcast.

During the podcast, we listen to one of Brick’s songs. You can listen to that song here.

The book can be purchased at or at The Sager Group’s website.

Upcoming episode featuring Michael Brick’s work

Everyone Leaves Behind a Name


In the coming weeks, we will working on producing a new podcast episode featuring the work of Michael Brick, who recently passed away at the age of 41 after battling cancer.

Brick’s friends and colleagues have accumulated many of the amazing stories he wrote in the course of a career that included work at The New York Times and the Houston Chronicle into a book. That book, titled “Everybody Leaves Behind a Name: True Stories” was published by The Sager Group.

We will be talking with several of Brick’s friends, who helped make the book possible, including Ben Montgomery, Wright Thompson, Justin Heckert, Thomas Lake, Michael Kruse and Tony Rehagen. They will talk about their favorite Brick stories.

All proceeds from the sale of the book will go to Brick’s wife and children.

The podcast should be available by March 25.

Episode 44: Kaylen Ralph and Joanna Demkiewicz

Kaylen Ralph and Joanna Demkiewicz are the founders of The Riveter Magazine, which just put out its fourth issue. They are both graduates of the University of Missouri journalism school. The Riveter publishes longform work by female reporters only. The idea for the magazine stemmed from the fact that, in 2012, while Ralph and Demkiewicz were students, the National Magazine Awards put out its list of nominees, and there wasn’t a single female nominated in the reporting, feature writing, profile writing, essays and criticism or columns and commentary categories.

Ralph and Demkiewicz recently collaborated on the book, “Newswomen: Twenty-Five Years of Front-Page Journalism,” which was edited by Joyce Hoffman and published by The Sager Group. Ralph and Demkiewicz interviewed all of the women included in the book and write “as told to” pieces on how those women got their start in journalism. A similar book is in the works for female magazine writers, as Ralph and Demkiewicz continue to work with Mike Sager to showcase the top female writers and reporters in the country.

Episode 43: Lane DeGregory

Lane DeGregory is a Pulitzer Prize-winning feature writer at the Tampa Bay Times. In early January, the Times published a long story by DeGregory, told in three chapters, about a five-year-old girl whose father killed her by dropping her off a bridge into the ocean.

“The Long Fall of Phoebe Jonchuck” is a brutal yet powerful piece that shows how a sweet little girl was the victim of a child protective services system that let far too many children fall through the cracks. The editor on this story was Kelley Benham French, now a professor of practice at the Indiana University Media School. We featured French on the podcast after she wrote the three-part series, “Never Let Go.”

DeGregory won a Pulitzer in 2009 for feature writing for her story, “The Girl in the Window.” Her work has appeared in Best Newspaper Writing in four times. She has taught journalism at the University of South Florida – St. Petersburg, been a speaker at the Nieman Narrative Conference at Harvard University, and won dozens of national awards.

She’s also known for finding wonderful stories among everyday lives, including a piece on a flag-toting rodeo rider, and a boy buying a Valentine card for his first girlfriend.


Episode 42: Ed Caesar

Ed Caesar is the author of “Two Hours: The Quest to Run the Impossible Marathon.” The book chronicles the attempts of the world’s greatest marathon runners to inch closer and closer to the magical two-hour mark, and follows one runner in particular, Geoffrey Mutai.

Caesar has contributed to The New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Outside, The Smithsonian Magazine, The Sunday Times Magazine and British GQ. He’s reported from a wide range of countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kosovo, and Iran. He’s written about secretive Russian oligarchs, African civil wars, marathon tennis matches, British murder trials, and more.

He’s also written celebrity profiles, as well as a profile on the greatest darts player to ever live.

In 2014, Caesar was named Journalist of the Year by the Foreign Press Association of London.

Episode 41: Chuck Klosterman

Chuck Klosterman is the author of six books of nonfiction and two novels. His most recent book, “I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains (Real and Imagined)” was a New York Times bestseller.

In the two most recent issues of GQ, Klosterman has interviewed Taylor Swift and Tom Brady. In fact, he’s done several celebrity interviews this year, including Kobe Bryant and Eddie Van Halen.

He’s written for Grantland, Esquire, GQ, Spin, the Washington Post, the Guardian, the Believer, and the A.V. Club. He currently serves as The Ethicist for the New York Times Magazine.

Episode 40: Robert Sanchez and Bradford Pearson

Robert SanchezThis episode of the podcast features the work of Robert Sanchez of 5280 magazine in Denver and Bradford Pearson.

Sanchez is a senior staff writer for 5280. In 2014, he was named the City and Regional Magazine Association’s Writer of the Year. He also won that organization’s award for best profile in 2015, for his story “The Rise and Fall of Terrance Roberts.” Sanchez has been a finalist for the City and Regional Magazine Association Writer of the Year three times, and is also a three-time finalist for the prestigious Livingston Awards for Young Journalists. His work has been anthologized twice in “Best American Sports Writing,” and has also been included in “Next Wave: America’s New Generation of Great Literary Journalists” and in the “Missouri Anthology of Narrative Journalism.”

Sanchez also contributes features to ESPN The Magazine and has been published in Esquire and Men’s Health. He’s also worked for the Associated Press, the Denver Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Rocky Mountain News.

Bradford Pearson is a managing editor at Southwest: The Magazine. In September, he published his story “My Kidnappers” in Philadelphia magazine. The story is about a time when Bradford was in college, and he was robbed and kidnapped at gunpoint. In the piece, he actually tracks down the men who did this to him. Bradford has also been an editor at D Magazine in Dallas.

In our Required Reading segment, Zack Lemon offers his thoughts on Tom Junod’s classic piece “The Rapist Says He’s Sorry.” Lemon is a senior at Ashland University who has served as the managing editor of the award-winning student newspaper The Collegian. He is now the senior reporter at the paper, where he has won first place in the Ohio Newspaper Association’s College Newspaper Competition for in-depth reporting for a watchdog piece on the university administration. He recently finished an internship at the Columbus Dispatch.

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Episode 39: Glenn Stout & Jeremy Collins

stout hi resThis episode of Gangrey: The Podcast is focused solely on the “The Best American Sports Writing 2015,” which is now on sale at bookstores across the country. This year marks the 25th edition of the book, and it was guest edited by Wright Thompson.

The podcast opens with a conversation with Glenn Stout, the series editor. Stout also serves as the longform editor of SB Nation, and has edited all four pieces that host Matt Tullis has written for the Website. That includes “The Ghosts I Run With,” which you can hear on Episode 37.

SB Nation Longform ran Stout’s Forward to this years BASW, which is a personal look at how the series came about, as well as what made Stout into the writer and editor that he is.

In the second segment, Jeremy Collins talks about his story “Thirteen Ways of Looking at Greg Maddux,” which is included in this year’s Best American Sports Writing. He also talks about his latest SB Nation piece, “The Reckoning.”

Finally, in the Required Reading segment, host Matt Tullis breaks down this year’s “Best American Sports Writing,” and why it is a must-read for everyone, even non-sports fans.

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