Blog

"Giant Pool of Money" named one of the Top Ten Works of Journalism of the Decade!

Apr 5, 2010

We're proud to announce that NYU has selected our episode "The Giant Pool of Money" as one of the ten best works of American journalism of the last decade, 2000-2009. In May 2008 staff producer Alex Blumberg and NPR correspondent Adam Davidson reported "Giant Pool," arguably the earliest comprehensive story on the sub-prime mortgage crisis, the first of many full hours and individual stories about the economy co-produced by This American Life and NPR News, and the catalyst for the NPR podcast and blog Planet Money.

The ten winners were chosen by the faculty of NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, along with outside judges including Morley Safer, Juan Williams and Greil Marcus. Among the other winners are "The Looming Tower" by Lawrence Wright, who appeared in our episode "Truth Will Out," and Adrian Nicole LeBlanc's "Random Family," a passage of which we included in "The Annoying Gap Between Theory and Practice." See the complete list of winners.

Congratulations Alex and Adam!

A very nice review of our iPhone app

Mar 31, 2010

Steve Myers, managing editor of Poynter Online, has some very nice things to say about our iPhone app - including an explanation of how it supplements the podcast and online streaming. Some quotes:

"I bought the app without hesitation because I made a quick calculation: The convenience of being able to stream any episode, without having to sync my iPhone with my computer, was worth a few bucks."

"The podcast never changed how I experienced 'This American Life' stories. The app, however, encourages me to browse the content by reading the blog, browsing the categories of stories, flipping through the "extras" (which includes early stories by Glass and longtime contributor David Sedaris) or watching clips of the TV show that aired on Showtime."

Read the entire column here.

Hot Tub Time Machine and This American Life!

Mar 26, 2010

In a recent cast interview for the upcoming film Hot Tub Time Machine, actor Rob Corddry brings up a This American Life story from the episode My Brilliant Plan:

"Ronald Mallett his name is and he basically invented time travel. It's really actually possible. The problem is is that his theory of time travel is you can only travel back to when you turn the switch of the machine on and it's actually impossible to build a machine that big. His theory of time travel is sound it's just not..."

We have to admit, we really didn't think there'd be any crossover between these two projects.

Our Store is Back Online!

Mar 22, 2010

Hey everyone, good news: our web store is back in action!

Thank you for your patience while it was down. Click on over to purchase Posters, CD Collections, Live Show DVDs and DVDs of the TV show (including the last copies of our Limited Edition DVD/Book containing both seasons of TV, behind the scenes photos and production diaries). Or you can deck yourself out with a This American Life Radio Dial T-Shirt - like Maggie, pictured, who was enjoying a warm pre-Spring day in Union Square NYC last week (and if you're lamenting the passing of Winter, well, we have our Snowman Shirts in stock too).

On that note, send us a picture of yourself sporting some This American Life gear and we'll post some favorites to the blog! You can:

Four of Our Contributors Onstage in NY This Thursday

Mar 22, 2010
The Talent Show

The second monthly variety show featuring many This American Life regulars happens this week. Mike Birbiglia, Dave Hill and Elna Baker will perform. Our producer Jane Feltes will teach the audience how to open a beer bottle using any object at hand. Also: Paul Dinello, who has never been on our show is doing some sort of story.

Gershwin Hotel, 7 E. 27th Street in New York. $5. Details.

Last month's show sold out, so act fast. In that one, John Hodgman cut someone's hair while giving them advice and Ira Glass made animal balloons while singing a duet with Lucy Wainwright Roche.

UPDATE: This month's show is also sold out now.

Giant Pool of Money Show ... translated into German!

Mar 20, 2010

Look what we found by googling "der globale Geldtopf" ... the global money pot.

Our special program about the housing crisis, Giant Pool of Money, has been translated into German by the magazine of Swiss daily, Neue Zürcher Zeitung.

Two This American Life stories nominated for best journalism of the decade

Mar 16, 2010
Ira writes: Like they say, it's an honor just being nominated. NYU's Journalism Institute chose 80 stories for the honor of "Top Ten Works of Journalism of the Decade 2000-2009." They included our "Giant Pool of Money" show about mortgage-backed securities and how they brought down the global economy and a story we did on both radio and TV "If By Chance We Meet Again," about a man who brings his dead pet bull back to life with the help of cloning technology (which doesn't work out as he'd hoped). But I found that reading NYU's full list was surprisingly moving. So many of these stories opened my eyes to things I hadn't known about or fully understood, written and executed with amazing style and understated force. I took inspiration especially from these, during this past decade: James Fallows, Errol Morris, Michael Lewis, David Foster Wallace, Malcolm Gladwell, Atul Gawande, Seymour Hersch, Elizabeth Kolbert, Ron Suskind, George Packer, Alex Gibney and Eva Orner.

Newsflash: "Ira" is a calendar model

Mar 12, 2010

We just got wind of the 2010 NYC Sex Bloggers Calendar, which features a picture of writer Melissa Gira Grant dressed as Ira Glass. Several years ago Melissa was a dancer at the famous unionized San Francisco strip club The Lusty Lady, when she happened across This American Life.

She writes: "I discovered the show accidentally when flipping the dial, and listened when working solo in the one-on-one fantasy booth. I thought I had found a pirate radio broadcast and kept it on between customers, turning the volume down fast with my foot when guys came in."

Anyone else listen to the show in unusual places? Tell us over at our Facebook page.

Check out our new website!

Mar 4, 2010
We're very proud to unveil our brand new This American Life website! It was designed by the same talented folks who created our new logo, a company called Number 17. Our goal was to make it much easier to search for old shows, because that's really what the vast majority of people use the website for - listening to archived episodes. To this end we've improved the search functionality, made the archives easier to navigate, and added the ability to search by contributor. If you like someone's story, just click their name to see every other show they've been in. And more generally, we've simplified the menu structure to make it a more pleasing experience to move through the site. We hope you like it.

Words on Sound

Mar 3, 2010

Ira appears onstage in Chicago at the MCA Saturday night, March 6, with radio producers Joe Richman and the Kitchen Sisters, for the Third Coast Filmless Festival. It's partly a talk, partly a discussion, partly a book launch for Reality Radio, a new book of essays about making great radio stories. Tickets are $12 and $15, but it's a small venue so act fast.