Columbia Journalism Review

The Turnaround: Terry Gross

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Show: 
The Turnaround
Guests: 
Terry Gross

Jesse will be hosting an AMA on Reddit on Friday, August 11th at 12 pm PST to talk about what he's learned from making The Turnaround. Visit iama.reddit.com to join in the conversation and ask Jesse anything you'd like.

On the last episode of The Turnaround, Jesse talks to his all-time interviewing hero Terry Gross! For more than 30 years Terry's hosted Fresh Air from WHYY in Philadelphia, conducting some of the most insightful, fascinating conversations you'll likely ever hear.

Being a radio interviewer came somewhat naturally to Terry. She tells Jesse she prefers the medium to television, where you're expected to look or dress a certain kind of way, and where you can't just disappear behind a microphone. She also goes into the nuts and bolts of how Fresh Air gets made, and why doing a recorded show allows her take risks that often make for wonderful, unexpected moments. They also talk about a not-so-wonderful moment: that infamous 2002 interview with Gene Simmons.

Be sure to check out Terry's amazing interviews on Fresh Air's online archives.

The Turnaround is a production of Maximum Fun in partnership with the Columbia Journalism Review. Visit their website to learn more about their "mission to encourage excellence in journalism in the service of a free society," and to read edited transcripts of our other Turnaround episodes.

Hosted and created by Jesse Thorn
Produced by Kara Hart and Nick Liao
Senior Producer: Laura Swisher
Managing Director: Bikram Chatterji

Music for The Turnaround provided by Mobius Van ChocStraw.

Special thanks to Kyle Pope and his team at CJR, Darrel Frost, and Emilie Erskine.

The Turnaround: Ray Suarez

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Show: 
The Turnaround
Guests: 
Jesse Thorn
Guests: 
Ray Suarez

New to The Turnaround? Subscribe in Apple Podcasts or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get two new interviews a week through August 11. Also, Jesse will be hosting a Reddit AMA talking about what he's learned from creating The Turnaround on Friday, August 11 at noon PST.

Ray Suarez is a broadcast journalist and news anchor who has done just about everything under the wider "journalism" umbrella. He began his career working for WMAQ in Chicago, covering local and national news. He was a senior correspondent for PBS NewsHour, hosted NPR's Talk of the Nation for almost seven years, and most recently, he hosted a show on Al Jazeera America called Inside Story. He is a published author, and is currently a visiting professor at Amherst College in Massachusetts.


Photo: Courtesy of Ray Suarez

Ray is the kind of journalist that you would want to talk to as a private citizen. He's kind, morally adept, and does not try to take advantage in any way. He's still a super fair guy when he's interviewing public figures, but he tries to get them off script -- which he's become really good at in his more than three decades-long career.

Ray tells Jesse about his childhood ambition to be a professional journalist. They talk about his time reporting local news, and what he learned about talking to private versus public people. They also talk about the moral choices that comes with interviewing non-professionals. We also find out what it's like to interview politicians, and how to get the better, less rehearsed interview.

Ray has written three books, the most recent of which is called Latino Americans: The 500 Year Legacy that Shaped a Nation. You can also hear Ray interviewing Desus Nice, the Kid Mero, and Walter Murch on Bullseye with Jesse Thorn this past February here.

The Turnaround is a production of Maximum Fun in partnership with the Columbia Journalism Review. Visit their website to learn more about their "mission to encourage excellence in journalism in the service of a free society," and to read edited transcripts of our other Turnaround episodes.

Hosted and created by Jesse Thorn
Produced by Kara Hart and Nick Liao
Senior Producer: Laura Swisher
Managing Director: Bikram Chatterji

Music for The Turnaround provided by Mobius Van ChocStraw.

Special thanks to Kyle Pope and his team at CJR, Darrel Frost, and Emilie Erskine.

The Turnaround: Katie Couric

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Show: 
The Turnaround
Guests: 
Katie Couric

New to The Turnaround? Subscribe in Apple Podcasts or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get two new interviews a week through August 11. Also, Jesse will be hosting a Reddit AMA talking about what he's learned from creating The Turnaround on Friday, August 11 at noon PST.

America's Sweetheart meets America's Radio Sweetheart! Katie Couric visits Jesse Thorn on today's episode of The Turnaround. Katie Couric has worked in TV news for nearly 40 years, an illustrious career that's included hosting duties at the Today Show, CBS Evening News, and most recently, an interview show on Yahoo. Name a famous person, and she's probably talked with them at some point: everyone from presidents, to superstar athletes, to actresses. But her skill as an interviewer also extends to her intimate conversations with everyday people, as seen in documentaries like Gender Revolution. And when she's not anchoring or interviewing people, she's hosting her own podcast.


Photo courtesy of Midroll

Katie talks to Jesse about what it was like being a morning talk show host for years, including dealing with the insanely early call times. She also opens up about tense interview situations, like the time in 2008 when she interviewed then VP candidate Sarah Palin about her foreign policy credentials. Plus: she offers tips on how to exit conversations at parties.

Check out Katie's great podcast on the Stitcher network, simply called Katie Couric.

The Turnaround is a production of Maximum Fun in partnership with the Columbia Journalism Review. Visit their website to learn more about their "mission to encourage excellence in journalism in the service of a free society," and to read edited transcripts of our other Turnaround episodes.

Hosted and created by Jesse Thorn
Produced by Kara Hart and Nick Liao
Senior Producer: Laura Swisher
Managing Director: Bikram Chatterji

Music for The Turnaround provided by Mobius Van ChocStraw.

Special thanks to Kyle Pope and his team at CJR, Darrel Frost, and Emilie Erskine.

The Turnaround: Louis Theroux

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Show: 
The Turnaround
Guests: 
Louis Theroux

New to The Turnaround? Subscribe in Apple Podcasts or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get two new interviews a week through August 11. Also, Jesse will be hosting a Reddit AMA talking about what he's learned from creating The Turnaround on Friday, August 11 at noon PST.

Today Jesse is joined by Louis Theroux, a British documentarian whose work frequently brings him into intimate contact with some of the most fascinating subcultures in our society.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

For more than fifteen years, Louis has been a BBC presenter, covering some of the most extreme groups in the world today, including the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, and the leader of the White Aryan Resistance. In recent years, he has also covered a plethora of public interest issues, including crime, disability, and alcohol addiction.

Louis talks to Jesse about what it's like to go into seemingly hostile environments and interview people he deeply disagrees with. He also shares some interviewing insights, including why a non-response to a question can almost be as interesting as an actual response.

Louis' latest feature film is called , which follows his attempts to delve into the Church of Scientology's inner workings. You can find it on iTunes, Amazon, and wherever else you watch movies.

The Turnaround is a production of Maximum Fun in partnership with the Columbia Journalism Review. Visit their website to learn more about their "mission to encourage excellence in journalism in the service of a free society," and to read edited transcripts of our other Turnaround episodes.

Hosted and created by Jesse Thorn
Produced by Kara Hart and Nick Liao
Senior Producer: Laura Swisher
Managing Director: Bikram Chatterji

Music for The Turnaround provided by Mobius Van ChocStraw.

Special thanks to Kyle Pope and his team at CJR, Darrel Frost, and Emilie Erskine.

The Turnaround: Reggie Ossé (Combat Jack)

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Show: 
The Turnaround
Guests: 
Combat Jack

New to The Turnaround? Subscribe in Apple Podcasts or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get two new interviews a week through August 15th.

Joining Jesse on The Turnaround is Reggie Ossé, also known as Combat Jack. He's a founding partner of the Loud Speakers podcast network and host of The Combat Jack Show, one of the best hip-hop podcasts around -- some might say the best, period. On his show Reggie chops it up with a veritable who's who of the rap world -- people like Dame Dash, Big Daddy Kane, and Lord Finesse -- not only about music, but also about race, politics, and a whole lot more.

Reggie has led a truly fascinating career. He's a lawyer by training and used to represent some of the biggest hip-hop stars, including guys like Jay-Z. He also worked for MTV and was managing editor of The Source. But as he tells Jesse, he kind of fell into what he does now, which is interviewing people for a living.

There's no denying that Reggie is a true New York hip-hop head. He grew up in Brooklyn during the '70s and early '80s, where he had a privileged front seat as rap was quite literally being invented before his very eyes. His deep respect for the culture shines through all his interviews, paving the way for some amazingly real moments.

You can find the latest episodes of the Combat Jack Show on Soundcloud. Reggie is also the host of the excellent new podcast Mogul: The Life and Death of Chris Lighty, a collaboration between his podcast network Loud Speakers Network and Gimlet Media.

The Turnaround is a production of Maximum Fun in partnership with the Columbia Journalism Review. Visit their website to learn more about their "mission to encourage excellence in journalism in the service of a free society," and to read edited transcripts of our other Turnaround episodes.

Hosted and created by Jesse Thorn
Produced by Kara Hart and Nick Liao
Senior Producer: Laura Swisher
Managing Director: Bikram Chatterji

Music for The Turnaround provided by Mobius Van ChocStraw.

Special thanks to Kyle Pope and his team at CJR, Darrel Frost, and Emilie Erskine.

The Turnaround: Jerry Springer

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Show: 
The Turnaround
Guests: 
Jerry Springer

New to The Turnaround? Subscribe in Apple Podcasts or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get two new interviews a week through August 15th.

This week's Turnaround guest is the one and only Jerry Springer! You might be surprised to know that Jerry didn't begin his career in broadcasting an intern for a TV station, but instead as a politician and lawyer. He was a city councilman in Cincinnati, OH and even served as mayor of the city for a one-year term in the late 1970s.


Photo: Courtesy of Artist

Later on, Jerry was hired by Cincinnati's NBC affiliate WLWT as a political correspondent and commentator. He won numerous Emmys for his nightly commentaries on WLWT. He eventually began anchoring the news desk, after which he was asked to host his own daytime talk show, Jerry Springer, in 1991.

You may know what Jerry Springer is now, but the daytime talk show used to be a lot more anodyne. In fact, it was originally modeled after Phil Donahue's show. In 1994, Jerry Springer's producers revamped the program to boost its popularity by planning shows around sensationalist topics and conflict-driven interview segments that often resulted in chaos. The show became a ratings smash, and the rest is more or less history. Jerry Springer is now in its 26th season.

What you know about the Jerry Springer show is probably correct, and Jerry would agree with you. But as he explains to Jesse, he sees his show as a way of empowering his guests. Jerry wouldn't trade his job for anything, mainly because he's got some really great stories. He also shares about his fascinating past jobs, including his stint as mayor.

Jerry's daytime talk show, Jerry Springer, is in its 26th year. Jerry also hosts a weekly podcast, simply called The Jerry Springer Podcast.

The Turnaround is a production of Maximum Fun in partnership with the Columbia Journalism Review. Visit their website to learn more about their "mission to encourage excellence in journalism in the service of a free society," and to read edited transcripts of our other Turnaround episodes.

Hosted and created by Jesse Thorn
Produced by Kara Hart and Nick Liao
Senior Producer: Laura Swisher
Managing Director: Bikram Chatterji

Music for The Turnaround provided by Mobius Van ChocStraw.

Special thanks to Kyle Pope and his team at CJR, Darrel Frost, and Emilie Erskine.

The Turnaround: Larry King

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Show: 
The Turnaround
Guests: 
Larry King

New to The Turnaround? Subscribe in Apple Podcasts or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get two new interviews a week through August 15th.

It's Larry King! You know, the real Larry Legend -- the guy so famous that all you'd have to do is draw a stick figure with a pair of glasses and suspenders, and you'd know it was him. Otherwise you know him from Larry King Live, CNN's most watched show ever that ended in 2010 after a remarkable 25-year run. Larry's pretty much interviewed everyone over his 60 years in broadcasting: actors, world leaders, superstar athletes, UFO experts, even Eleanor Roosevelt.

Prior to his CNN show, Larry did a bunch of different things in broadcasting: he had a nightly radio show on the Mutual Broadcasting System that ran for many years. Larry was also a sports color man for the Miami Dolphins during their perfect season. But interviewing has been the main thing that has held together his career.

For this episode, Jesse visited Larry King at his palatial home in Beverly Hills. They sat in his trophy room, literally surrounded by bookcases full of Emmy awards and letters from U.S. presidents.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Despite his rise to celebrity from humble beginnings in Brooklyn, Larry has always considered himself an every man. He explains to Jesse why being "dumb" -- knowing relatively little about his subjects and asking them simple, obvious questions -- has been his greatest asset as an interviewer. Very much a creature of live broadcasting, he loves the thrill of going into an interview cold and not knowing what's going to happen next.

Larry's a natural storyteller, and he tells Jesse about what it was like to interview guys like Richard Nixon and Frank Sinatra. He gets introspective too, talking about both his proudest accomplishments and deepest regrets, as well as his biggest fear: death.

You can catch Larry still doing his thing after 60 years on his new show Larry King Now, available on Ora TV and Hulu.

The Turnaround is a production of Maximum Fun in partnership with the Columbia Journalism Review. Visit their website to learn more about their "mission to encourage excellence in journalism in the service of a free society," and to read edited transcripts of our other Turnaround episodes.

Hosted and created by Jesse Thorn
Produced by Kara Hart and Nick Liao
Senior Producer: Laura Swisher
Managing Director: Bikram Chatterji

Music for The Turnaround provided by Mobius Van ChocStraw.

Special thanks to Kyle Pope and his team at CJR, Darrel Frost, and Emilie Erskine.

The Turnaround: Audie Cornish

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Show: 
The Turnaround
Guests: 
Audie Cornish

New to The Turnaround? Subscribe in Apple Podcasts or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get two new interviews a week through August 15th.

Audie Cornish co-hosts NPR's All Things Considered. On NPR, she's often doing live interviews on breaking stories, interviewing reporters and newsbreakers who are on the scene after huge, sometimes really scary events took place. In a world where news moves so quickly, it's gotten easier and easier for hosts like Audie to slip up, maybe get a fact wrong. Honestly, the whole thing kind of terrifies me. But when Audie's covering a breaking story, she's careful, she's unflappable, and prepared.


Photo: Stephen Voss/NPR

This week, Jesse sits down with Audie to talk about how she got into broadcasting and the difference between working in broadcasting and print journalism. She tells us what it's like to work at such an established news institution like NPR, and why the word "dispassionate" does not describe her and her fellow broadcasters.

You can listen to Audie Cornish every weekday on NPR's All Things Considered on your local NPR affiliate station.

The Turnaround is a production of Maximum Fun in partnership with the Columbia Journalism Review. Visit their website to learn more about their "mission to encourage excellence in journalism in the service of a free society," and to read edited transcripts of our other Turnaround episodes.

Hosted and created by Jesse Thorn
Produced by Kara Hart and Nick Liao
Senior Producer: Laura Swisher
Managing Director: Bikram Chatterji

Music for The Turnaround provided by Mobius Van ChocStraw.

Special thanks to Kyle Pope and his team at CJR, Darrel Frost, and Emilie Erskine.

The Turnaround: Marc Maron

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Show: 
The Turnaround
Guests: 
Marc Maron

New to The Turnaround? Subscribe in Apple Podcasts or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get two new interviews a week through August 15th.

Marc Maron is a standup comedian, actor, and host of one of the biggest podcasts ever: WTF with Marc Maron. Recording in his garage in Highland Park, Los Angeles, Maron has long, free-wheeling conversations with every kind of famous person you can think of, from comedians, to actors, to musicians -- even President Barack Obama when he was still in the White House.

When you listen to WTF, though, you aren't just listening for the guest. Maron has a big personality, and it shows in his interviews. He's not rattling off a list of questions, but instead he's having a really intimate and revealing conversation. It doesn't always go great, but it always reveals a lot about the guest, even if they aren't into it.

Marc and Jesse talk about what it's like recording his very popular show in his garage, his tactics for getting people to open up to him, and the differences between his standup and podcast personas. They also discuss two very different people who loom large in their consciousness: Terry Gross and Chris Hardwick.

Marc's podcast WTF with Marc Maron comes out twice a week. He also has a book called Waiting for the Punch coming out this fall.

The Turnaround is a production of Maximum Fun in partnership with the Columbia Journalism Review. Visit their website to learn more about their "mission to encourage excellence in journalism in the service of a free society," and to read edited transcripts of our other Turnaround episodes.

Hosted and created by Jesse Thorn
Produced by Kara Hart and Nick Liao
Senior Producer: Laura Swisher
Managing Director: Bikram Chatterji

Music for The Turnaround provided by Mobius Van ChocStraw.

Special thanks to Kyle Pope and his team at CJR, Darrel Frost, and Emilie Erskine.

The Turnaround: Susan Orlean

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Show: 
The Turnaround
Guests: 
Susan Orlean

New to The Turnaround? Subscribe in Apple Podcasts or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get two new interviews a week through August 18th.

Susan Orlean has been a journalist for over 30 years, writing for publications like The Rolling Stone and Vogue. In 1992 she was made a staff writer at The New Yorker and has been contributing ever since. She has also written eight books. One of them, The Orchid Thief, was the basis of Adaptation, Charlie Kaufman's 2002 film starring Nicholas Cage and Meryl Streep.

Susan talks to Jesse about how some of her best pieces start as one thing and end up as another, especially once she begins talking to living, breathing human beings. She did just that in her 1994 piece about disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding, which she wrote by talking to locals in Harding's hometown of Clackamas, Oregon. She also shares about her experiences interviewing celebrities, including the valuable lesson she learned when profiling Tom Hanks for Rolling Stone.

Visit Susan Orlean's website to learn more about her work, including the many articles and books she's written.

The Turnaround is a production of Maximum Fun in partnership with the Columbia Journalism Review. Visit their website to learn more about their "mission to encourage excellence in journalism in the service of a free society," and to read edited transcripts of our other Turnaround episodes.

Hosted and created by Jesse Thorn
Produced by Kara Hart and Nick Liao
Senior Producer: Laura Swisher
Managing Director: Bikram Chatterji

Music for The Turnaround provided by Mobius Van ChocStraw.

Special thanks to Kyle Pope and his team at CJR, Darrel Frost, and Emilie Erskine.

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