Episode 19: Mike Sager

Mike Sager is a bestselling author and award-winning reporter who has been called the beat poet of American journalism. He currently works as a writer at large for Esquire Magazine, and is also the editor and publisher of The Sager Group, a consortium of multimedia artists and writers.

Sager recently co-edited the book, “Next Wave: America’s New Generation of Great Literary Journalists.” He’s also released a collection of his own magazine stories called “The Someone You’re Not,” as well as a novel titled “High Tolerance.”

Sager began his journalism career in the Washington Post newsroom, working for Bob Woodward. He went on to write for dozens of high profile magazines, including GQ, Playboy, Rolling Stone, Vibe, Spy and Interview, among many others. In 2010, he won a National Magazine Award for profile writing for his story on former NFL quarterback Todd Marinovich.

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Episode 18: Flinder Boyd

Flinder Boyd is a former professional basketball player who now writes longform journalism. For 10 years, he played as a point guard in the lower and upper levels of many professional European basketball leagues.

Now he’s writing, often about basketball. His story “20 Minutes at Rucker Park” profiles a young man’s cross-country journey on a Greyhound bus to New York City’s streetball Mecca.

That story was published on SB Nation Longform. It was subsequently a Longform selection and named by Longreads a Top 5 Longread of the Week. It was also a Nieman Storyboard recommended reading selection and earned Boyd Longread’s Favorite New Writer Discovery in 2013. Finally, Sports on Earth called the story a Top 20 sports story in 2013. To top things off, the story was anthologized in Best American Sports Writing 2014.

He’s written two other stories for SB Nation Longform; a profile of NBA player Chris Copeland and a first-hand account of the corruption and chaos of playing professional basketball in Slovakia.

Since joining the podcast, Boyd has started writing for many other outlets, including Rolling Stone, Newsweek and Fox Sports, where he wrote about Rafael Palmeiro in April 2016.

Boyd has also written for The Classical, Sports On Earth and BBC online among others. You can follow him on Twitter @FlinderBoyd.

 

Episode 17: Chris Jones

At the time of his visit on the podcast, Chris Jones was a writer at large for Esquire, as well as a back-page columnist for ESPN The Magazine. Jones has twice won National Magazine Awards. In 2009, his story “The Things that Carried Him” won for feature writing.

Jones is an expert profile writer. His 2010 piece on the late Roger Ebert is, in our opinion, one of the best celebrity profiles ever written. It’s touching and poignant, showing a side of the film critic that hadn’t been seen since Ebert’s battle with cancer.

Most recently, Jones turned his eye on a man most have never heard of, but a man who has been involved in nearly every major tragic event in recent US history. His Esquire story,  “Kenneth Feinberg: the nation’s leading expert in picking up the pieces,” looks at the man who decides how much money the surviving victims of horrific shootings and bombings get once there is a monetary fund set up for those victims.

In October 2012 he wrote a historical piece on what happened on Air Force 1 immediately after the President John F. Kennedy assassination.

In 2011, Jones participated in a virtual roundtable discussion moderated by podcast host Matt Tullis. That discussion focused on journalism as a sub-genre of creative nonfiction, and was published in Creative Nonfiction in the Winter 2012 issue of the magazine. The discussion was ultimately the inspiration for the podcast.

Since joining the podcast, Jones wrote a piece about astronaut Scott Kelly as he prepared to spend a full year in outer space.

Episode 16: Michael Kruse

When Michael Kruse visited the podcast, he was a staff writer on the enterprise team at the Tampa Bay Times. In October and November 2013, Kruse published a three-part series titled “The Last Voyage of the Bounty.” It chronicled a tall wooden ship bound for St. Petersburg, Fla., as she sailed straight into Hurricane Sandy. Sixteen sailors were aboard that ship, and not everyone survived.

Since then, Kruse joined Politico, where he has been writing feature stories on those who ran and are still running for president. He wrote at least two pieces on Jeb Bush, including “Jeb ‘Put Me Through Hell'” and  “The Year That Changed Jeb Bush Forever.” He’s written about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Kruse has been recognized for his writing and reporting a number of times. Most recently, he won the Paul Hansell Award for Distinguished Achievement in Florida Journalism. He also won the American Society of News Editors distinguished nondeadline writing award. His story, “A Brevard woman disappeared, but never left home,” was included in the anthology “Next Wave: America’s Next Generation of Great Literary Journalists.” He’s given a TedX talk on the importance of story, and has written the book “Taking the Shot: The Davidson Basketball Moment.”

On top of writing for the Tampa Bay Times, Kruse has also been published by Grantland, Yahoo sports, Our State and Men’s Health magazines and Harvard’s Nieman Storyboard, among others.

 

Episode 15: Jeremy Markovich

When Jeremy Markovich visited the podcast, he was a writer and columnist for Charlotte magazine. He also contributed to SB Nation Longform and Our State magazine, and an Emmy-award winning producer at WCNC-TV. His first story about a blind man who hiked the Appalachian Trail won several awards, including the National City and Regional Magazine Award for Personality Profile.

Markovich is now a senior editor/writer at Our State. Click here to see many of his newer stories for that magazine.

On this episode, we talk with him about two stories he wrote for SB Nation Longform. The first — “Elegy of a Race Car Driver” — is about famed NASCAR racer Dick Trickle, who committed suicide earlier this May. That story was recently named a Best of 2013: Sports by Longform. The second — “Over the Edge” — is about BASE jumping, particularly those who gather at the New River Gorge bridge in West Virginia on the third Saturday in October every year to jump.

Episode 14: Susan Dominus

Susan Dominus is a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine. She’s written about everything from higher education to organizational psychology. She also writes celebrity profiles. The most recent focused on Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter Fame. The other was about Stephen King and family of writers.

The Radcliffe piece — “Daniel Radcliffe’s Next Trick is to Make Harry Potter Disappear” — followed the Harry Potter star as he promoted the independent film “Kill Your Darlings.” The story shows just how much life as Harry Potter has affected the young actor.

“Stephen King’s Family Business” centered around a family get-together in Maine, where the King family of writers got together to discussion the early days of Stephen’s career and the new generation of writers he raised.

Episode 13: Jeanne Marie Laskas

Jeanne Marie Laskas is a correspondent for GQ and the director of The Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of seven books, including “Hidden America,” as well as the award-winning trilogy of memoirs: “Fifty Acres and Poodle,” “The Exact Same Moon,” and “Growing Girls.”

Since joining the podcast, Laskas turned her story about concussions in the NFL, “Game Brain,” into the book “Concussion,” which has since been turned into a feature film starring Will Smith.

On this episode of the podcast, we talk with Laskas about her profile of Vice President Joe Biden“Game Brain,” and her most recent GQ story, “Oops, You Just Hired The Wrong Hitman.”

Formerly a contributing editor at Esquire, and a weekly columnist (“Significant Others”) at The Washington Post Magazine, she has been writing for national magazines for twenty years, with work appearing in The New York Times Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, O: The Oprah Magazine, Allure, Ladies Home Journal, and many others.

Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies, including Best American Magazine Writing and Best American Sports Writing.