ESPN The Magazine investigative journalist Seth Wickersham joins Brian this week. The two bond over Jason Isbell and talk about the idea for a SiriusXM channel called “Byline” that would feature Isbell, Bruce Springsteen and other singers journalists tend to love.
Seth calls himself “an accidental byproduct of people landing on ESPN.com” but he’s one of the best reporters in sports journalism today. He talks about his work with Don Van Natta Jr and the lessons he’s learned from working with him on several ESPN stories and their upcoming book about the NFL. Seth also talks about why compassion is such an important skill for journalists, how he organizes his stories, why the worst thing you can feel as a writer is that you’ve plateaued, and why he has faith that the writing process will always work itself out.
Seth also tells the story of what happened when he asked Ben Bradlee a question at a Washington Post internship lunch. You can imagine how this one goes.