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.

 

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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.

Episode 12: John Woodrow Cox

When John Woodrow Cox talked with Matt Tullis on the podcast, he was working at the Tampa Bay Times and writing short narratives. Since then, Cox joined the Washington Post, where he is an enterprise reporter who has written about a flawed sexual assault investigation in the Marines and about a 10-year-old who has HIV.

At the Times, Cox was a general assignment reporter in Pinellas County. He covered breaking news and led long-term investigations into frivolous government spending, military contract fraud and Florida’s prescription pill epidemic. He also wrote feature stories, including the “Dispatches from Next Door” series for the Floridian magazine. These stories are very short — just 500 words long — but painstakingly reported. They tell a full story in a very short amount of space.

We talked with him about two such stories, one about a woman who is only able to find peace on the ocean. The other is about a senior citizen always on the look for that special young woman who will save him from loneliness. We also talked about writing cops and crime stories and how it can help form a narrative sense.

Episode 11: Wright Thompson

Wright Thompson is a senior writer for ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine. Thompson is widely regarded as one of the top literary sports journalists in the country. His work has been featured in seven editions of “Best American Sports Writing.” This year, his story “Urban Meyer will be home for dinner,” was included in the anthology.

2013 was an epic year for Thompson, who reported and wrote several memorable stories, including a profile of Michael Jordan as he turned 50 years old, a story about Italy’s racist soccer thugs, a story about a paralyzed fly rod maker in Montana and a profile of legendary wrestling coach Dan Gable in the wake of the International Olympic Committee cutting that sport.

Since joining the podcast in October 2013, Thompson has written an incredibly in-depth piece on Tiger Woods as well as a piece on New Orleans on the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. That piece took up the entire feature well in one issue of ESPN: The Magazine.

Thompson also took part in the Gangrey podcast episode that focused on the work of Michael Brick, and the book “Everyone Leaves Behind a Name.” 

In this podcast, we talk about the Gable story, which Thompson says he wouldn’t change a thing about, and the Jordan story. Both are intimate profiles of people you wouldn’t think would ever open up to anyone, let alone a reporter.

Episode 10: Janet Reitman

Janet Reitman is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone and is the author of Inside Scientology: The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religion.

In July 2013, she wrote the story “Jahar’s World” for Rolling Stone. The story dug deep into the life of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving brother accused of the Boston Marathon bombing. That issue created a huge controversy when the magazine decided to put Tsarnaev on the cover.

Reitman’s most recent story for Rolling Stone was a Q&A with Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy, who was elected to the senate just one month before the Sandy Hook shooting.

Reitman has written about a wide range of topics, including the church of Scientology. She was nominated for a National Magazine Award for that story. She’s also covered the war in Iraq and written about Anonymous hactivists, among many other things.

In addition to Rolling Stone, her work has appeared in GQ, Men’s Journal, The New York Times Magazine, the Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, ESPN The Magazine and Salon. For links to many of Reitman’s stories, check out her Byliner page.