Episode 59: Don Van Natta Jr.

Don Van Natta Jr. is a senior writer for ESPN Digital and Print media. He was recently named a finalist — along with his reporting and writing partner Seth Wickersham — for a National Magazine Award in reporting for three stories: “Sin City or Bust,” “Standing Down,” and “Roger Goodell has a Jerry Jones problem.” Wickersham appeared on Episode 28 of the podcast, back in 2014.

Van Natta has had quite the illustrious career. He’s been on three Pulitzer Prize winning reporting teams — two at the New York Times and one at the Miami Herald.

He joined ESPN in 2012, and has since produced many features and investigative pieces centered around the NFL. His profile of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones in August 2014 is particularly amazing because of the access he got from a subject who initially did not want to participate.

In 2014, Van Natta started the Sunday Long Read newsletter with Jacob Feldman, a reporter for Sports Illustrated. The two launched the Sunday Long Read podcast in August of last year, and so far has produced more than a dozen episodes featuring some amazing reporters and writers.

Van Natta is currently working on a book with Wickersham. The book, tentatively titled “Powerball,” will be published by Crown Archetype in 2020.


Episode 58: Leonora LaPeter Anton

Leonora LaPeter Anton is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter on the Tampa Bay Times’ enterprise team. In January, the Times published her story, “Gang raped at 17. Therapy at 65.”

The story follows the attempt of Evelyn Robinson to cope with a horrific rape, 48 years after it happened.

LaPeter Anton has been at the Tampa Bay Times since 2000. She won a Pulitzer for her work in an investigation into the failing mental hospitals in the state of Florida.

She also contributes to the newspaper’s occasional series, Encounters, which are short narratives about people living ordinary lives in south Florida. Her most recent Encounter focused on a woman applying for a job at Subway.

LaPeter Anton grew up in Connecticut and Greece, and studied journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Episode 57: Christopher Goffard

On this episode of Gangrey: The Podcast, host and producer Matt Tullis talks with Christopher Goffard about “Dirty John,” a combination print series and podcast. Goffard is an author and staff writer for the Los Angeles Times. “Dirty John” focuses on the relationship between Deborah Newell and John Meehan. It was a relationship Deborah’s children hated, and one that ended in the death of one person.

Goffard shared in the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for the LA Times’ investigation into the city of Bell, California. He has twice been a Pulitzer finalist for feature writing, in 2007 and 2014.  His book, “You Will See Fire: A Search for Justice in Kenya” was based on his LA Times’ series and was published in 2011.

He’s also a successful fiction writer. His novel “Snitch Jacket” was a finalist for the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best First Novel in 2008.

Episode 56: Michael Kruse

Michael Kruse has been a senior staff writer at Politico for nearly four years. In that time, he has gone from writing deep profiles of presidential candidates to criss-crossing the country in an effort to understand the current state of politics in America.

One of Kruse’s most recent stories focused on Johnstown, Penn., a city and region that voted heavily for President Donald Trump. This story follows up on several people Kruse interviewed when he was in Johnstown just after the election.

Kruse also recently profiled Sen. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey in a piece headlined “Cory Booker Loves Donald Trump.”

Kruse has won the Paul Hansell Award for Distinguished Achievement in Florida Journalism and the American Society of News Editors’ distinguished non-deadline writing award. This is his third time on the podcast. He was the featured guest on Episode 16, when he talked about his three-part series “The Last Voyage of the Bounty,” which in the Tampa Bay Times. He was also on Episode 45 with Ben Montgomery, Thomas Lake Wright Thompson and Tony Rehagen, as they reminisced about the late Michael Brick.

Episode 55: Vanessa Grigoriadis

This week’s guest is Vanessa Grigoriadis, whose first book, “Blurred Lines: Rethinking Sex, Power and Consent on Campus,” was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in early September. The book reveals a new sexual revolution taking place across the country, one in which college students are on the front lines.

Her reporting shows women who are using savvy methods to fight entrenched sexism and sexual assault even as they celebrate their own sexuality. She also shows male students who are more sensitive to women’s concerns, and other men who perpetrate the most cruel misogyny.

Grigoriadis was on the podcast three years ago. In Episode 30, we talked primarily about her celebrity profiles. Toward the end of that episode, though, we talked briefly about a story she had done for New York Magazine that focused on Emma Sulkowicz, the young woman at Columbia University who had been carrying a mattress around everywhere she went to bring light to the fact she had been sexually assaulted, and the university had done little or nothing about it. Sulkowicz ends up kicking off Blurred Lines. The first chapter is titled Mattress Girl.

She very recently wrote an op-ed in the New York Times about what the Harvey Weinstein effect can tell us about campus sexual assault.

Grigoriadis is a contributing editor at the New York Times Magazine and Vanity Fair, specializing in pop culture, youth movements, and crime reporting. She has won a National Magazine Award, and been anthologized regularly, including in Next Wave: America’s New Generation of Great Literary Journalists.




Episode 54: Matt Tullis

On this episode, former podcast guest Steven Kurutz fills in for Matt Tullis, but only because our regular host is the one being interviewed.

Earlier this month, Tullis’s book, “Running With Ghosts: A Memoir of Surviving Childhood Cancer” was published by The Sager Group. The books expands upon “The Ghosts I Run With,” which was published by SB Nation Longform in April 2015.

In “Running With Ghosts” Tullis, who’s now 41, recounts the months he spent at Akron’s Children’s Hospital fighting for his life, and the years that followed, when he struggled to understand why he’d survived cancer when many of his fellow patients—and even some of his care providers—didn’t.

The book, according to Kurutz, is emotionally honest and moving and, although it’s a personal story based on memory, incredibly well reported.

Tullis is, of course, the host and producer of Gangrey: The Podcast. He’s also the director of the Digital Journalism program at Fairfield University. He is an associate editor for River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative, and has been noted in Best American Sports Writing three times and Best American Essays once. He was a daily newspaper reporter for about 10 years, culminating at the Columbus Dispatch, and has written for SB Nation Longform, Sports on Earth, Nieman Storyboard and Yahoo!’s The Post Game, among many other publications.


Episode 53: Thomas Lake

Thomas Lake is a senior writer at CNN Digital. He just published a three-story series titled “The Trigger and the Choice,” which examines multiple aspects of police shootings.

Prior to joining CNN, Lake was a senior writer at Sports Illustrated. Some of his most amazing stories include “2 on 5,” which won the Henry Luce Award for most outstanding story for 2008 across all Time Inc. publications; “The Boy They Couldn’t Kill,” which was named one of the 60 best features in the history of Sports Illustrated; and “The Boy Who Died of Football,” which was anthologized in Next Wave: America’s New Generation of Great Literary Journalists. Lake has also been anthologized in Best American Sports Writing four times.

One of his first big projects at CNN was authoring the book, Unprecedented: The Election that Changed Everything. That book was published just one month after the November 2016 presidential election.

Lake participated in the virtual roundtable discussion, “Getting The Story,” which was published in Creative Nonfiction. That discussion, which podcast host Matt Tullis moderated and Lake, Chris Jones, and Ben Montgomery participated in, became the inspiration for Gangrey: The Podcast.

Lake has also been on the podcast once before, in Episode 45: Michael Brick. In that episode, several of Brick’s friends remembered the talked about Brick and his stories, many of which were compiled in the book Everyone Leaves Behind a Name. Brick died in February 2016 of colon cancer.