Episode 38: Kim Cross

Our first guest this week is Kim Cross. Cross is the author of “What Stands In a Storm: Three Days in the Worst Superstorm To Hit the South’s Tornado Alley.” Cross, who lives in Alabama, experienced those storms, although not to the extent of the people she writes about.

Cross has written for The Anniston Star and the Birmingham News. She was a spot news reporter for the New Orleans Times Picayune and the Tampa Bay Times. She has also been an editor at Southern Living and Cooking Light magazines.

In our second segment, we talk with fiction writer Karen Bender. Bender is the author of a relatively new collection of short stories titled “Refund.” That book was recently long-listed for the National Book Awards in Fiction. Bender has also written the novels, “A Town of Empty Rooms” and “Like Normal People.”

karen-author-200Bender is a distinguished professor of creative writing at Hollins University, and has also taught creative writing in Taiwan and at the MFA programs at Antioch Los Angeles, Chatham University, the University of North Carolina Wilmington, and at the Iowa Summer Writer’s Festival.

Finally, in our third segment, Required Reading, Dave Stark offers his thoughts on J.R. Moehringer’s “The Tender Bar.”

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Episode 37: Tyler Cabot

This week’s episode once again features three segments.

The first is a talk with Tyler Cabot, an articles editor for Esquire Magazine. Cabot also directs the magazine’s research and development. He spearheaded the revamping of Esquire Classic, which now includes access to every issue Esquire has ever published.

Cabot has said that today, he is focused with finding new ways to tell and sell stories, and that is evident in Esquire Classic. On that new site, you can read Gay Talese’s landmark celebrity profile, “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold,” and you can read it as it appeared in the April 1966 issue of the magazine. You can also read a short, behind-the-scenes piece on the difficulties of reporting that story. And you can read the letters-to-the-editor that the piece spawned.

From Ernest Hemingway to F. Scott Fitzgerald to Chris Jones and Tom Junod, it’s all there on this new site.

In the second segment, we offer our first, full-length audio version of a piece of nonfiction. We’ve got “The Ghosts I Run With,” by host Matt Tullis. The piece of memoir ran on SB Nation Longform in April, and is about the many people Tullis thinks about when he runs, people he came to know when he had leukemia as a teenager, people who didn’t survive their own illnesses.

Finally, in Required Reading, freelance writer D. Rossi tells us why we should all read Brian Ives’ piece “How Bruce Springsteen Got His Groove Back,” which ran on Radio.com. Rossi maintains the blog Life among the Humans.

Episode 36: Nathan Thornburgh

This week, Gangrey: The Podcast gets a makeover.

This week’s episode has three segments, starting with Nathan Thornburgh, a chief editor and publisher of the website roadsandkingdoms.com. Thornburgh spent much of the last decade as a foreign correspondent and editor for TIME Magazine. He’s reported on everything from cyber war in Russia to information wars in Georgia – not the state Georgia, by the way — to drug wars in Juarez. He also co-founded the parenting blog DadWagon.

We’re going to talk about his story, “The Root of All Things.” Mike Wilson mentioned the story in Episode 34 and said he had been told about the piece by one of his reporters at the Dallas Morning News.

The story is also going to be republished in River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative this fall. Last spring, River Teeth republished Justin Heckert’s “Susan Cox is No Longer Here,” which originally ran in Indianapolis Monthly Magazine.

In the second segment, I talk with David Caswell. Caswell has created a new news database called Structured Stories. He hopes the database will empower everyone to collect, use and improve a permanent record of news events.

Finally, the third segment will be something new called “Required Reading.” This week, I’ll tell you about two stories I’ve recently read that I think everyone should also read. The stories are “Ballad of the Sad Climatologists,” by John H. Richardson, which ran in Esquire. The other story is “The Really Big One,” by Katherine Schultz, which ran in The New Yorker.

In the future, though, we hope podcast listeners will contribute to this segment. We’ll have more posted on the website about how to get involved.

Episode 35: Michael Graff

Michael Graff is the editor of Charlotte Magazine and is a freelance writer for SB Nation Longform, Washingtonian Magazine and Politico. Before taking over Charlotte Magazine, Graff was an editor and writer for Our State Magazine in North Carolina for four years.

On June 4, SB Nation Longform published Graff’s piece, “Two Lanes to Accokeek.” The story is an at times graphic story about a street race that turned tragic in the most unimaginable way.

In this podcast, we talk about that story as well as some of Graff’s work with Charlotte Magazine, including a story about the world’s greatest female skydiver and her quest to become the first woman with 20,000 dives.

Episode 34: Mike Wilson

Mike Wilson, Editor of The Dallas Morning News, photographed February 16, 2015. (Evans Caglage/The Dallas Morning News)
Mike Wilson, Editor of The Dallas Morning News, photographed February 16, 2015. (Evans Caglage/The Dallas Morning News)

Mike Wilson is finishing up his first few months as the new editor of the Dallas Morning News. Wilson came to Dallas from ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight website, where he was managing editor.

Before that, he was the editor of the St. Petersburg/Tampa Bay Times. While in St. Petersburg, Wilson oversaw a staff of incredibly talented writers and reporters, many of whom have been featured on this podcast, reporters like Ben Montgomery, Michael Kruse and Kelley Benham French. During the podcast, we talk about a series of stories that ran in the St. Petersburg Times called Encounters. One by Kruse was about a dad teaching his young daughter how to ride a bike.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the writers Wilson cultivated in Florida. He was the primary editor on Lane DeGregory’s story, “The Girl in the Window,” which won the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing in 2009.

During our discussion, we also talk about a story Wilson said he recently read, titled “The Root of All Things,” by Nathan Thornburgh. The piece ran on the website roadsandkingdoms.com, an independent journal of food, politics, travel and culture. It’s a story well worth checking out.

Gangrey 33: Brooke Jarvis

Brooke Jarvis is a longform narrative and environmental journalist who lives in Seattle. One of Jarvis’s more recent stories, “The Deepest Dig,” will be included in The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2015. She is a 2015 Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellow, reporting on the advent of deep-sea mining. That is what her story, which ran in the The California Sunday Magazine in November 2014, is about.

More recently, Jarvis wrote the story “Homeward.” That story was also published by The California Sunday Magazine, and is about a young man from the jungles of Ecuador, whose village sent him stateside so he could be educated and come back to save the village from the oil industry and colonization.

Jarvis has written for a whole host of national publications, including The California Sunday Magazine, Bloomberg Business Week, Al Jazeera America, Audubon Magazine, Rollingstone.com, The Washington Post and Orion Magazine, among many others.

Episode 32: Brandon Sneed

UPDATE: Brandon Sneed’s story “Born This Way” was just picked as one of SB Nation’s Best of Longform 2015. We talked with him about his book “Behind the Drive” back in March.

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Brandon Sneed wrote the book “Behind the Drive: A Story of Passion, Dreams, Demons, and Highway 55, the World’s Next Favorite Burger Joint.” The book is a collaborative effort with Kenney Moore, the man who started the popular restaurant.

Despite Sneed’s youth, this is already his second book. His first was titled “Edge of Legend: An Incredible Story of Faith and Basketball.” That book was about a dominant Division 2 basketball player.

Sneed writes often about sports, and has also written for publications like GQ, ESPN The Magazine, Pacific Standard, Outside and SB Nation Longform. His story “The Prospect” was noted in “Best American Sports Writing 2014.”