Longform

Longform

Interviews with writers, journalists, filmmakers, and podcasters about how they do their work. Hosted by Aaron Lammer, Max Linsky, and Evan Ratliff.

Episodes

August 17, 2022 58 min

Yudhijit Bhattacharjee is a contributing writer for National Geographic and the New York Times Magazine. His new podcast is Chameleon: Scam Likely.

“I want a crumpled piece of paper where there are enough ridges and valleys and lines for me to be able to navigate, and they have to be authentic. And then of course the best stories among them will have surprise and intrigue, and things that are completely unexpected happen somewhere a...

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Hannah Goldfield is the food critic at The New Yorker.

“There are just only so many ways to say ‘crunchy.’ There's ‘crunchy,’ there's ‘crisp,’ there's ‘crispy,’ you can say something ‘crackles,’ and that's kind of it. It's really, really hard. And a lot of things are crunchy. It's a really specific sensation that needs to be described. But I've had moments where I'm like, I can't say crunchy again...

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August 3, 2022 63 min

Sam Sanders is the former host of NPR’s It’s Been a Minute. He hosts Vulture’s Into It, which launched last week.

“I don’t think I ever wanted a career where I was doing the same thing for 30 years. I think that, editorially, I had become someone who was really contemplating what kind of capital-j journalist I wanted to be, want to be, and I was questioning a lot of rules and the structure of what we think journalism is supposed to ...

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July 27, 2022 49 min

Michael Pollan is a contributing writer for New York Times Magazine, the host of Netflix's How to Change Your Mind, and the author of nine books. The latest is This Is Your Mind On Plants.

“I have found myself at two distinct points in my history having this transition from being the journalist, learning at the feet of these people, to becoming an advocate. And it’s an awkward role for a journalist, but at a certain point it wou...

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July 20, 2022 49 min

Evan Ratliff, a co-host of the Longform Podcast, is host of the new podcast Persona: The French Deception.

“One of these big scams is like a story. And in the story, what they're doing is they're manipulating you to be a participant in the story, and they're getting you so hooked that you will not just do anything they say, but you will invest yourself in bringing the story to its conclusion. And like, isn't that wha...

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July 13, 2022 57 min

Andrea Elliott is an investigative reporter for The New York Times. Her recent book, Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival & Hope in An American City, won a Pulitzer Prize.

”I don’t see reporting as a one-way street. ... I think that people need to know as much as they can about you. And yes, there are boundaries ... but at the same time, the fact of the boundaries is something to talk about with the people you’re writing about. Is...

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Nicholson Baker is the author of 18 books of fiction and nonfiction. He has written for The New Yorker, Harper’s, and many other publications. His latest book is Baseless: My Search for Secrets in the Ruins of the Freedom of Information Act.

"In the end, I don’t care how famous you get, how widely read you are during your lifetime. You’re going to be forgotten. And you’re going to have five or six fans in the end. It’s going to ...

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June 29, 2022 43 min

Rebecca Traister is a writer for New York and the author of Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger. Her latest article is "The Necessity of Hope."

“A big motivation of this piece, which I think is framed in this there’s still reason to hope is actually the inverse of that. Which is: Let us be crystal clear about what is happening, what is lost, what is violated. The cruelty, the horror, and the injustice, and...

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June 22, 2022 40 min

Alexandra Lange is a design critic whose work has appeared in The New YorkerThe New York Times, and many other publications. Her new book is Meet Me by the Fountain: An Inside History of the Mall.

“I really like to write about things that I can hold and experience. I'm not that interested in biography, but I am very interested in the biography of an object. ... Like I feel about the objects, I think, how most people feel about...

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June 15, 2022 53 min

Lulu Garcia-Navarro is a former war correspondent and host of NPR’s Weekend Edition. Her new podcast, for the New York Times, is First Person.

“I would always say that if you go cover a story and you already know what people are going to say, and you already have it in your head what the outcome is, and there's no surprise there, then that's a story that you shouldn't be working on. You have to allow the opportunity for ...

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June 8, 2022 54 min

Matt Levine is a finance columnist for Bloomberg News. His newsletter is Money Stuff.

”I write a lot about people who have gotten in trouble with the SEC or the Justice Department. And a surprising subset of them will email me. And often I will have made fun of them, and they'll be like, ‘That was pretty fair.’”

Show notes:

  • @matt_levine
  • Levine's Bloomberg News and Money Stuff newsletter archive
  • 19:00 "The Goldman Sachs A...
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    We've got something a little different today, the trailer for co-host Evan Ratliff's brand-new podcast Persona: The French Deception. It's the story of Gilbert Chikli, one of the greatest con artists of all time. Over eight episodes, Evan investigates how Chikli duped some of the world’s most powerful people into handing over their fortunes, evaded the law for years, and became a Robin Hood-like hero to many in the proc...

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    June 1, 2022 47 min

    Molly Lambert is a writer and host of the new podcast HeidiWorld: The Heidi Fleiss Story.

    “I think as a writer I always had this thing: I don't want to be out front. I don't want the spotlight on me. I'm not an actor. I want to be lurking in the back with the cast accepting the applause, but I don't want to be the center of attention. And so I think kind of like making peace with like, Look man, it's fine to be t...

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    May 25, 2022 55 min

    Sam Knight is a London-based staff writer for The New Yorker. His new book is The Premonitions Bureau: A True Account of Death Foretold.

    “I had a kind of working definition of what a premonition was when I was writing this book, which is: It's not just a feeling. It's not just a hunch. It's just not like a sense in the air. It's like, you know. You know, and you don't even want to know because you can't know ...

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    Mitchell S. Jackson is a journalist and author. His profile of Ahmaud Arbery, ”Twelve Minutes and a Life,” won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.

    ”What is 'great'? 'Great' isn’t really sales, right? No one cares what James Baldwin sold. So: Are you doing the important work?”

    Show notes:

  • @MitchSJackson
  • mitchellsjackson.com
  • Jackson on Longform
  • 00:00 "Twelve Minutes and a Life" (Runner’s World • Jun 202...
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    May 11, 2022 48 min

    Joe Bernstein is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News.

    “The question of disinformation is almost an attempt to create a new mythology around why people act the way they do. I don’t mean to say that it’s some kind of nefarious plot. ... It’s a natural, or a convenient explanation. And that’s why I think it caught on for some time anyway.”

    Show notes:

  • @Bernstein
  • Bernstein on Longform
  • 02:00 "Bad News: Selling the Story of Disinforma...
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    May 4, 2022 54 min

    Vauhini Vara is a contributing writer at Wired and author of the novel The Immortal King Rao.

    “With a magazine story, it might be like six months or a year or two, if it's something that took you a long time. With this [novel], it was 13 years for me, but the sort of emotional arc felt similar, where there were these periods of despair and a sense that like, this wasn't going anywhere, and then these periods where like, I...

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    April 29, 2022 26 min

    Azmat Khan is an investigative reporter for the New York Times Magazine. She won the George Polk Award for uncovering intelligence failures and civilian deaths associated with U.S. air strikes.

    “I think what was really damning for me is that, when I obtained these 1,300 records, in not one of them was there a single instance in which they describe any disciplinary action for anyone involved, or any findings of wrongdoing. … When I w...

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    April 28, 2022 19 min

    Daniel Chang covers health care for the Miami Herald. Along with Carol Marbin Miller, he won the George Polk Award for "Birth & Betrayal," a series co-published with ProPublica that exposed the consequences of a 1988 law designed to shelter medical providers from lawsuits by funding lifelong care for children severely disabled by birth-related brain injuries.

    “I think that someone on the healthcare beat looks for stories...

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    April 27, 2022 25 min

    Sarah Stillman is a staff writer for The New Yorker and the director of the Global Migration Program at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She won the George Polk Award for "The Migrant Workers Who Follow Climate Disasters."

    “I’m all about the Venn diagram where the individual meaningful stories of things people are up against intersect with the big systemic injustice issues of our day. It feels like climate ...

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