Editor’s Roundtable: All Things Being Unequal (Podcast)

The demonstration tunnel approximately 420 meters underground at Onkalo, a spent nuclear fuel repository in Finland. (Antti Yrjonen/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

On our June 28, 2019 roundtable episode of the Longreads Podcast, Audience Editor Catherine Cusick, Essays Editor Sari Botton, and Culture Columnist Soraya Roberts share what they’ve been reading and nominate stories for the Weekly Top 5 Longreads.

This week, the editors discuss stories in The Cut, Columbia Review of Journalism, The New York Times, Longreads, and Pacific Standard.


Subscribe and listen now everywhere you get your podcasts.


0:46 Hideous Men (E. Jean Carroll, June 21, 2019, The Cut)

Times Public Editor: Ignoring a scoop that’s not your own. (Gabriel Snyder, June 24, 2019, Columbia Journalism Review

Our Top Editor Revisits How We Handled E. Jean Carroll’s Allegations Against Trump. (Lara Takenaga, June 24, 2019, The New York Times

“You’ve seen it through a bunch of women who come forward, where people almost police the way they come forward, and how they should be reflecting on their own experience.” Soraya Roberts

The team discusses The Cut’s excerpt of E. Jean Carroll’s new memoir What Do We Need Men For? and the way the media handled coverage of this story. The excerpt revealed some of the instances of sexual assault Carroll experienced in her life, including an allegation that Donald Trump raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room.

The editors discuss why the New York Times initially buried the story, and how not breaking the story appears to have impacted its coverage. They also question whether where a story is published — in this case, a women’s website — impacts how seriously that story is taken. 

11:55 If I Made $4 a Word, This Article Would be Worth $10,000. (Soraya Roberts, June 2019, Longreads)

“All of us are part of an inequitable system. She just happens to be benefiting from it.” – Soraya Roberts

The team discusses issues of compensation, access, and privilege in journalism. Longreads culture columnist Soraya Roberts shares her reaction to systemic inequality in an industry where most seasoned, talented writers are lucky to get $0.50 per word — a small fraction of what a select few of their peers are making. The team questions why Roberts’ attack on a broken system was misinterpreted as an attack on an individual, and weighs the relative benefits of not rocking a media boat that is clearly sinking. 

34:55 The Hiding Place: Inside The World’s First Long-term Storage Facility for Highly Radioactive Nuclear Waste.  (Robert MacFarlane, June 24, 2019, Pacific Standard)

“How can we be good ancestors?” – Catherine Cusick 

In Pacific Standard, Robert MacFarlane visits a Finnish nuclear waste site and explores the difficulty of communicating its danger to future generations in today’s languages or symbology. 

* * *

Produced by Longreads and Charts & Leisure.