Archer City is the hometown of Larry McMurtry, and is the inspiration for the setting of his novel “The Last Picture Show.” The story center is just about a year old, and is starting to offer more workshops that aim to help all sorts of storytellers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wil S. Hylton wrote the book “Vanished,” which focuses on the modern-day search for one American bomber that crashed over the Pacific Islands during World War II. That bomber carried 11 men, who for decades, were listed as missing in action. Finding that lost bomber gave closure to the families of those men, but it also took an amazing feat of detective work and amazing modern technology.
“Vanished” came out in November 2013 and has garnered praise from newspapers and magazines around the country. Time Magazine said the book contains “passages so expressive that we’re constantly reminded we’re in the hands of a phenomenal writer.”
Hylton is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine. His work has also been featured in Harpers, GQ, Esquire and Rolling Stone, among many others magazines. He’s profiled US Attorney general Eric Holder among many others and written about the doomed Air France Flight 447. He’s also written about mothers who make the agonizing decision to abandon their children at safe havens.