The Nonfiction Podcast

The Nonfiction Podcast digs into the art and science of nonfiction writing. We look at one nonfiction article every episode and break it down, talking with the writers about how they researched, reported, and put their stories together.
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Now displaying: March, 2016
Mar 28, 2016

"The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous" looks at AA (and related treatment programs for alcohol and drug addiction) and asks tough questions about whether it works as well as many believe, and if there are better, more effective alternatives.  I talk with author Gabrielle Glaser about the challenges of reporting and writing about this controversial topic.

Gabrielle Glaser is an author and award-winning journalist who writes about issues of addiction and mental health. She specializes in long-form narrative and investigative writing, especially about social issues, health, and medicine. She has written for the New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, the Associated Press, The Economist, The Dallas Morning News, The Village Voice, and National Public Radio.   She is the author of three books, including her most recent work, "Her Best-Kept Secret."

Mar 21, 2016

"A Million Little Boxes" looks at the 39th Annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament and the battle between two of the greatest puzzle solvers of all time. I talk about the story with writer Oliver Roeder from

Oliver Roeder is a senior writer at FiveThirtyEight.  He's written about interesting corners of culture and competition, including The Westminster Dog Show, Rubik's Cube competitions, and the best Scrabble player on Earth.

Mar 14, 2016

This week’s episode looks at “The Long Fall of Phoebe Jonchuck,” by Lane DeGregory for the Tampa Bay Times in January 2016.

The story looks at the life and tragic death of Phoebe Jonchuck, a five-year-old girl, murdered by her father, who dropped her from the side of a bridge. I talk with Lane about the challenges of exploring this difficult story.

Lane Degregory is a feature writer for the Tampa Bay Times. She has won dozens of national awards, including the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing for her story "The Girl in the Window."  


Some other great examples of Lane's storytelling:

A Message from Roger

At 99, a St. Petersburg man finds meaning in the working life

Driving headlong into a sunny paradise

Couple falls for the biggest game at the fair


For next week: A Million Little Boxes by Oliver Roeder

Mar 7, 2016

This week’s episode looks at “The Wreck of Amtrak 188,” written by Matt Shaer for the New York Times Magazine in January 2016.

The story examines one of the worst rail disasters in American history, which occurred just north of Philadelphia in May of 2015. It looks at the accident, the victims, and Brandon Bostian, the man who was driving the train that night.

Matthew Shaer is an author and award-winning magazine journalist based in Atlanta. He has written for The New York Times Magazine, GQ, New York, Harper’s, Fast Company, Wired, Men’s Journal, Popular Science, and Smithsonian Magazine.


For next week, check out "The Long Fall of Phoebe Jonchuck" by Lane DeGregory.