Michael Slackman: Planet Sandwich

When I first met Michael Slackman at Columbia University in 2014, he was the epitome of Bronx-born cool: fast-talking, wise-cracking, and whip-smart. A one-time bureau chief in Berlin, Cairo, and Moscow, and current Assistant Managing Editor for International at The New York Times, Slackman led reportage across the newsroom and oversees bureaus around the globe. For…

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Neal Carruth: Radiohead

When I was twelve or so, I fashioned a desk from a cardboard box, placed my mom’s Smith-Corona Super Sterling typewriter on top, tucked a slip of paper marked “Press” in my brother’s fedora and began publication of a neighborhood broadsheet. Little wonder Freakonomics Radio Network’s EVP, Neal Carruth, and I get along like gangbusters.…

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Kirtan Smith: If Not For You

Abbi began pitching me yoga as a means to remedy my stress and marathon-worn body back in early aughts. I demurred; truth was, I thought I’d look clumsy and awkward. But my protesting grew tired, and I relented. Which is when I met Kirtan Smith in a dark yoga studio on Central Park South.  Yes,…

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Samantha Critchell: Meet Me In The Middle

Samantha Critchell and I met on our first day at Syracuse University, two of a few dozen underclassmen somehow placed an old apartment building hastily converted for that year’s overflow of Gen Xers. Through career changes and moves, movie premieres and promotions, Sam’s been a constant. Little wonder, then, as I settle into my new…

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Dennis Scott: Still Feel Like A Kid

Fred Rogers famously said, “The child is in me still… and sometimes not so still.” The same can surely be said for Grammy Winning Songwriter, Producer and Performer, Dennis Scott. Dennis began his career as a seven-year-old Broadway actor, before touring with the ensemble folk group, The New Christy Minstrels. His novelty tune “Captain Kirk’s…

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Mike Joseph: Don’t Give Up

Dominant American culture prefers its men more Harrison Ford than Harry Styles, more Paul Newman than Paul Rudd. More John Wayne than Elton John. Yunno, fists first, feeling later. Bravado. Machismo. Muscles. Strong and silent.  Mine have always been the guys with their hearts on their sleeves, though. They express themselves. They talk about difficult…

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Casey Shea: Undisputed Hope

Enthusiasm comes at a premium in The Big City. Springsteen busking on the L? Whatever. Madonna singing in St. Patrick’s? Feh. And that’s what makes Casey Shea’s shows are a thing of their own. Whether solo or with his L.A.-based band, Grand Canyon, Casey’s shows are a dash of Vaudeville, a shot of Vegas, and…

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Josh Horowitz: Blockbuster Wit

Josh Horowitz launched MTV News’ first online movie coverage in the early oughts, then quickly pivoted to on-camera work on everything from the MTV’s Movie Awards and Oscars to Comic-Con and the Sundance Film Festival.  At well over 400 episodes, his Happy Sad Confused podcast has featured in-depth interviews with Hollywood a-listers from Samuel L…

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Kim Thai: Get Free

The last time I remember really talking with my friend and former MTV colleague, Kim Thai, we were sitting in a nondescript production trailer outside of the Barclay Center at the 2014 Video Music Awards.  Kim, who, at the time, managed social media for the channel’s biggest shows, and I, who ran MTV News, often…

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Kelli Rae Powell: Hope & The High Road

I left Facebook one year ago, and have spent the better part of my time since trying to figure out what the fuck just happened. Pre-pandemic, I worked at a high-stakes, high-pressure job at a company under scrutiny, in an industry under duress, on a planet on fire. I was on the road and in…

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