This week, I talk with Stephen Rodrick, a writer for The New York Times Magazine. He wrote the cover story for the Jan. 10 issue of the Times magazine, titled “The Misfits.” Online, thanks to search engine optimization, the story was called “Here is what happens when you cast Lindsay Lohan in your movie.” Rodrick was embedded with the cast and crew of the movie, The Canyons, which was directed by Paul Schrader, and starred Lindsay Lohan.
Rodrick has also written the memoir “The Magical Stranger: A Son’s Journey into his Father’s Life.”
Check out Rodrick’s Longform page to read more of his work, including stories he’s written since joining the podcast.
Kelley Benham French of the Tampa Bay Times wrote the three-part series “Never let go.” The story focuses on the birth of Juniper French, the daughter of Kelley and husband Tom French (as in Pulitzer Prize-winning Tom French). Juniper was born at 23 weeks, six days and weighed just one pound, four ounces at birth.
Since joining the podcast, Kelley teamed with husband Thomas French to write “Juniper: The girl who was born too soon.” The book was just released in September 2016, and is already getting rave reviews.
While written in the first-person, this story is not your typical piece of memoir. Benham reported the hell out of this story, starting with more than 7,000 pages of medical records and continuing on with extensive interviews with ever doctor, nurse and social worker involved in her daughter’s life.
French is now a professor of practice at the Indiana University Media School. She recently worked as the editor on Lane DeGregory’s piece, “The Long Fall of Phoebe Jonchuck,” which was featured in Episode 43 of the podcast.
Episode 3 features Pamela Colloff of Texas Monthly. Late last year, her two-part series, “The Innocent Man” was published. The story focuses on Michael Morton, who in 1987, was wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife. In the podcast, Colloff talks about how she found out about the story, how she reported it and what it was like to shine light on a case like this.
Colloff has written a lot of stories for Texas Monthly since joining the podcast. Most recently, and movingly, though, was a piece titled “The Reckoning,” which was about one of the victims of what is regarded as the first mass school shooting in the country’s history.
In June 2012, D Magazine published Michael Mooney’s “The Most Amazing Bowling Story Ever.” The story is about a recreational bowler named Bill Fong, who on one night two years earlier, made an improbable run at perfection. The story has been included on just about every list of the best nonfiction of 2012 and ultimately was selected for Best American Sports Writing.
In this podcast, we talk with Mooney about how he found the story, what the reporting process was like and how he decided to structure it.
Since joining the podcast, Mooney has written dozens of amazing stories, including an up-close look at Glenn Beck. He just published the piece “Weekend at Johnny’s,” which had him traveling across America and visiting all of the bars that Johnny Manziel has partied in.
In the first episode of Gangrey: The Podcast, Matt Tullis talks with freelance writer Justin Heckert, who wrote the story “The Hazards of Growing Up Painlessly” for The New York Times Magazine. The story was published in November, and is about Ashlyn Blocker, a teenager who suffers from congenital insensitivity to pain.
Heckert has written several amazing stories, some before his Times piece and some after. His story “Lost in the Waves” was anthologized in “Next Wave: America’s New Generation of Great Literary Journalists.” Heckert also talked about that piece with Tullis for an Annotation on Nieman Storyboard.
His piece “Let Me Live That Fantasy,” published on Grantland, was one of the sites greatest pieces before it shut down in October 2015. His story “Susan Cox is No Longer Here,” published in Indianapolis Monthly in December 2013, was reprinted in River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative.
Most recently, Heckert wrote the afterword for Walt Harrington’s “Artful Journalism: Essays in the Craft and Magic of True Storytelling.”