Jesse Thorn is an accomplished guy — he’s the host of NPR’s Bullseye and proprietor of the Maximum Fun podcast network. And yet, he feels a little insecure about having never attended journalism school.
So this summer, Thorn organized his own journalism academy of sorts and let everyone else listen in. He’s just completed the 15-episode run of his podcast miniseries The Turnaround, a show co-presented with Columbia Journalism Review in which Thorn interviews various legendary interviewers about interviewing, including such public media luminaries as Terry Gross, Brooke Gladstone, Audie Cornish, Ray Suarez, Anna Sale and Ira Glass.
“My goal was to learn tips and tricks,” Thorn told me on The Pub. “What I learned was that you cannot be anything other than yourself.”
On this week’s episode, Thorn reflects on what he got out of interviewing his interviewing heroes. Plus, the question of what public media should become in the next 50 years leads me down a reporting rabbit hole where I try to quantify just how much money public broadcasting stations are worth. (It turns out it’s way less than I thought.)
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Adam Ragusea hosts Current’s podcast The Pub and is a journalist in residence and visiting assistant professor at Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism.