Episode 49: Tom Junod

Tom Junod is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com. He joined ESPN after spending nearly 20 years at Esquire, which he left after former editor-in-chief David Granger was fired earlier this year.

Junod is one of the most decorated magazine writers of his generation. He has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award 11 times, and has won twice. His story, “The Death of Patient Zero,” won the June L. Biedler Prize for cancer writing earlier this year. He’s been anthologized in The Best American Magazine Writing, Best American Sports Writing, Best American Political Writing, Best American Crime Writing and even Best American Food Writing.

For Esquire’s 75th anniversary issue, editors at the magazine selected his 9-11 story “The Falling Man” as one of the top seven stories in the magazine’s history.

In this episode, Junod talks about the first story he reported for ESPN (his second story overall), a piece titled “Eugene Monroe Has A Football Problem.” The story is about the retired NFL lineman who spoke out earlier this year about the NFL needing to change its policy toward marijuana.

He also talks about a piece that just went live on ESPN.com, titled “In Defense of Participation Trophies.”



Episode 48: Steven Kurutz & True Story

Steven Kurutz, a features reporter for the New York Times, where he writes about style, culture and design. Kurutz wrote the piece “Fruitland” for Creative Nonfiction magazine’s new series, True Story. The story expands upon a piece he wrote for the New York Times in 2012 headlined “A Time Capsule Set to Song.” That story was about two brothers who put out a record in the 1970s, but didn’t receive fanfare for three decades.

Prior to joining the New York Times, Kurutz was a staff writer at the Wall Street Journal and Details. He is the author of “Like a Rolling Stone: The Strange Life of a Tribute Band,” which was published by Random House, and which the New York Times called “heartfelt and often hilarious.”

Also joining the podcast on this episode is Hattie Fletcher. Fletcher is the managing editor of Creative Nonfiction, and is editing each installment of True Story. The new series publishes one big work of creative nonfiction every month in a mini-magazine. It started in October with Kurutz’s Fruitland.

Fletcher edited a virtual round-table discussion titled “Getting the Story” that I conducted with Chris Jones, Ben Montgomery and Thomas Lake in 2012 on journalism as creative writing. That discussion ran in the Winter 2013 issue of Creative Nonfiction, and ultimately inspired this podcast.

If you’d like to subscribe to True Story, click here.


Gangrey Extra: Eli Saslow on ‘Into The Lonely Quiet’

In this short outtake from Episode 26, Eli Saslow and Matt Tullis talk about “Into The Lonely Quiet,” Saslow’s story about one family whose first-grade son was murdered in the Sandy Hook killings. They also talk about why reporters are often drawn to hard and depressing stories.

Since joining the podcast in September 2014, Saslow has continued to write incredible stories, including, most recently, his piece on the orphaned daughter of the San Bernardino shooters.

Episode 47: Sonya Huber

Sonya Huber is an associate professor of English at Fairfield University. She is the author of five books, including “The Evolution of Hillary Rodham Clinton,” which she wrote for the British imprint Squint Books.

Huber is a reporter, memoirist and essayist who also frequently writes about social issues. Her memoir “Cover Me: A Health Insurance Memoir” delves into the many issues she has experienced in life with health care and insurance.

Her book “Opa Nobody” is a family memoir, as she seeks to understand her grandfather, who was a coal miner, union organizer and social activist in Nazi Germany.

Her new book “Pain Woman Takes Your Keys and Other Essays from a Nervous System” will be published by the University of Nebraska in 2017. Huber has also been published in The New York Times, Creative Nonfiction, Brevity, Fourth Genre, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the Washington Post Magazine.

She also teaches in the low-res MFA program at Fairfield University.

Episode 46: Kathryn Miles

Kathryn Miles is the author of three books, including “Superstorm: Nine Days Inside Hurricane Sandy.” Her essays and articles have appeared in publications including Audubon, Best American EssaysBoston Globe, Ecotone, The New York Times, Outside, Pacific Standard, Popular Mechanicsand Time

 Her forthcoming book, “Quake Land,” examines the changing face of earthquake hazards in America, and will be published by Dutton in July 2017.

Miles currently serves as writer-in-residence at Green Mountain College, where she also teaches in the college’s low-residence graduate programs.  She lives with her family in Portland, Maine.

She recently wrote a piece that appeared in the Boston Globe about the death and ultimate recovery of a woman who got lost hiking the Appalachian Trail. We’ll talk with her about that story, as well as some of her other work.



New episodes returning later this month

Gangrey: The Podcast will be back with new episodes later this month after securing the use of a recording studio at WVOF 88.5, the student-run radio station at Fairfield University.

Over the summer, host and producer Matt Tullis moved from Ashland, Ohio, to Newtown, Connecticut. The podcast was previously recorded in the studios of 88.9 WRDL at Ashland University, where Tullis was an associate professor of journalism and digital media. Tullis is now an assistant professor of English and digital journalism at Fairfield University.

With the job change, Tullis will have more time to dedicate to the podcast, and expects to resume posting at least two episodes every month.

The first episode this fall is scheduled to be released on Sept. 27. That episode will feature Kathryn Miles, who recently had a piece in the Boston Globe about the last days of an Appalachian Trail hiker who got lost and ultimately died. Miles is also the author of three books, including her most recent book “Superstorm: Nine Days Inside Hurricane Sandy.”

The podcast has other guests lined up for this fall. They include:

Skip Hollandsworth, an executive editor at Texas Monthly and the author of “The Midnight Assassin: Panic, Scandal and the Hunt for America’s First Serial Killer.”

Eli Sanders, a Pulitzer Prize winner for his piece “The Bravest Woman in Seattle” and author of the book “While the City Slept: A Love Lost to Violence and a Young Man’s Descent into Madness.”

Sonya Huber, author of six books, including “The Evolution of Hillary Rodham Clinton.”



Episode 45: Michael Brick

This 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. Everyone Leaves Behind a Name

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 Amazon.com or at The Sager Group’s website.