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.

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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 27: Earl Swift

Earl Swift is the author of “Auto Biography: A Classic Car, An Outlaw Motorhead, and 57 Years of the American Dream.” The book tells the life story of a 1957 Chevy that, at the beginning of the book, is falling apart.

Swift profiles the car’s thirteenth owner, Tommy Arney, who has led an extraordinary life, one that started with a brutal childhood, proceeded into a life of crime and ended up as a somewhat successful and controversial businessman. Arney sets out on a quest to restore the car to its former glory, and Swift is there for all of it. Through that narrative, Swift manages to also tell the stories of every single person who had ever owned the car. In the process, he captures America’s strange and abiding relationship with the automobile.

This is Swift’s fifth book. Since 2012, he’s been a residential fellow of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities at the University of Virginia. Before that, he was a newspaper reporter for the Virginian-Pilot, where he was nominated five times for a Pulitzer Prize.

Episode 25: Walt Harrington


Walt Harrington
is a former staff writer for the Washington Post Magazine. He’s now a journalism professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Harrington has written a number of award-winning books, including “The Everlasting Stream,” which was turned into an Emmy-winning PBS documentary.

His book “Intimate Journalism,” has been a staple of journalism writing classes for more than 15 years. Last year, he co-edited an anthology called “Next Wave: America’s New Generation of Great Literary Journalists.” He produced that book with Esquire writer Mike Sager, a former podcast guest. The book features 19 stories written by journalists who are all under the age of 40.

In May 2014, Harrington’s book “Acts of Creation: America’s Finest Hand Craftsmen at Work,” was published by The Sager Group. That book consists of 14 portraits of people who work with their hands, including a fireplace maker in Maine, a cabinet maker in Maryland and a locksmith in Ohio.

Since talking with Matt Tullis on the podcast, Harrington write another book: “Artful Journalism: Essays in the Craft and Magic of True Storytelling.”

Episode 23: Jackie Valley


Jackie Valley
is a reporter at the Las Vegas Sun. In 2013, she published a seven-part series called “Grace Through Grief.” The series followed Arturo Martinez and his two young sons as they dealt with the brutal murder of their wife and daughter, their mother and sister. The murders happened in April 2012, and Valley covered it as breaking news on her cops beat. She got to know Martinez through her reporting, and he eventually allowed her remarkable access as he recovered from the murders, both physically and emotionally.

This was Valley’s first foray into a large project. She studied journalism at Kent State University, and completed a Dow Jones copy editing internship at the Virginian Pilot in 2009. She joined the Las Vegas Sun one year later.

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.