Episode 7: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Ta-Nehisi Coates, senior editor at The Atlantic and author of The Beautiful Struggle, interviewed by Evan Ratliff.
“I was 24 when my son was born. People always say that kids get in the way, right? But actually it had the opposite effect on me. I feel like I could have spent my twenties doing all sorts of self-destructive things - that was my natural inclination - but having a kid suddenly makes that not OK…. The stakes of everything just went up. I think I’m the type of person where, for any reason, I only respond to pressure. That kid just so raised the pressure, for everything. … So I started writing for the Washington Monthly, and the Monthly pays shit, everybody knows that, right? They were paying ten cents a word at this point. But because they have these big-shots writing for them, nobody ever calls for the check! But I would say, ‘no, I need you to send me that check. Yeah, I know it’s only $150, but I actually need that check, you really need to send that check.’”
Show notes and links:
Longform made Time’s annual list of the 50 best websites.
Further Reading is a new blog feature in which we take a deeper look at topics from stories featured on Longform. It is produced along with Pitt Writers.
Last week, Longform picked a piece from The Billfold on the crushing burden of student loan debt. The anonymous author, out of equal parts desperation and wanderlust, was driven to a pair of war-torn nations in search of cash. Suggestions for further reading about debt, Kosovo, and Iraq:
As part of 30 Issues in 30 Days, WNYC is partnering with Longform.org to bring you great stories on the key issues this election season. Check out the first batch of six articles on jobs, education, and the economy. More stories every Monday between now and the election.
Editor’s note: This is the first installment of a new blog feature in which we take a deeper look at topics from stories featured on Longform. It is produced along with Pitt Writers.
Last week Longform picked interviews with a pair of Pulitzer Prize winners, Katherine Boo and Jonathan Gold. Suggestions for further reading:
Katherine Boo covers poverty and social welfare issues in the United States and elsewhere for The New Yorker. Last February marked the release of her first book, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, which employs three years of immersive reporting to tell the story of Annawadi, a slum outside of Mumbai, and the lives of its residents. In the interview that made Longform’s picks, Boo talked with Guernica's Emily Brennan about journalistic ethics, the limits of language, and her approach to judiciously writing about her subjects. Here are some of her earlier pieces, plus an NPR interview about the book.
Update, Monday 8/27: Testing is now closed. Thanks to everyone who volunteered!
We’ve been hard at work on an update to our iPad app, and it’s almost done. But we need to make sure every last kink has been worked out.
If you have an iPad and some free time this weekend, we’re looking for a small group of volunteers to test a private beta version of the update. You’ll have our eternal thanks…and a free story from our friends at The Atavist.
SO DAVID GRANN IS ON THE PODCAST THIS WEEK AND WE’RE A LITTLE EXCITED.
Episode 3: David Grann
David Grann, staff writer at The New Yorker, talks with Max Linsky.
“You don’t always know all the answers. I think that’s what kinda makes life interesting. The thing that makes these stories real, while they are in some ways unfathomable, [is that] there’s an uneasiness of certitude. Because there are things that are not always known, there are elements of doubt, and that can be very haunting…In some of the stories, you get as close as you can to all you know—and then there are parts that elude you.”
Show notes and links:
- “The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon” (Amazon)
- “Crimetown, U.S.A.” (The New Republic • July 2000)
- “The Yankee Comandante” (New Yorker • May 2012)
- “The Squid Hunter” (New Yorker • May 2004)
- “Trial By Fire” (New Yorker • Sep 2009)
- “The Chameleon” (New Yorker • Aug 2008)
- Grann on Longform
Episode 2: Janet Reitman
Rolling Stone contributing editor and Inside Scientology author Janet Reitman talks with Aaron Lammer.
“I’m very open about the fact that I know nothing…. Every reporter should admit you know nothing, and when you do, there will be people that will take pity on you, and try to teach you. And then you have to be shrewd enough to know who’s spinning you, and who is being genuine.”
Show notes and links:
- “Inside Scientology: The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religion” (Amazon)
- “Confessions of an Ivy League Frat Boy: Inside Dartmouth’s Hazing Abuses” (Rolling Stone • Mar 2012)
- “Sex and Scandal at Duke” (Rolling Stone • June 2006)
- “Baghdad Follies” (Rolling Stone • July 2004)
- Reitman on Longform