Episode 59: Don Van Natta Jr.

Don Van Natta Jr. is a senior writer for ESPN Digital and Print media. He was recently named a finalist — along with his reporting and writing partner Seth Wickersham — for a National Magazine Award in reporting for three stories: “Sin City or Bust,” “Standing Down,” and “Roger Goodell has a Jerry Jones problem.” Wickersham appeared on Episode 28 of the podcast, back in 2014.

Van Natta has had quite the illustrious career. He’s been on three Pulitzer Prize winning reporting teams — two at the New York Times and one at the Miami Herald.

He joined ESPN in 2012, and has since produced many features and investigative pieces centered around the NFL. His profile of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones in August 2014 is particularly amazing because of the access he got from a subject who initially did not want to participate.

In 2014, Van Natta started the Sunday Long Read newsletter with Jacob Feldman, a reporter for Sports Illustrated. The two launched the Sunday Long Read podcast in August of last year, and so far has produced more than a dozen episodes featuring some amazing reporters and writers.

Van Natta is currently working on a book with Wickersham. The book, tentatively titled “Powerball,” will be published by Crown Archetype in 2020.

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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.

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 5: Stephen Rodrick

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.

No. 1: Justin Heckert and “The Hazards of Growing Up Painlessly

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.”