Our 50th Episode featuring Ira Glass


“I want you to be bold. I want you to change things. Although I am what came before you, I want you to tear up what came before you.” -- Ira Glass to the 2018 Columbia Journalism School graduating class

This American Life founder, Host and Producer Ira Glass gave a recent commencement speech at Columbia Journalism School, and his passionate words were so inspiring, we knew he’d be the perfect person to feature in our 50th episode of the On Assignment Podcast. Plus he and his TAL staff have won a boatload of duPont Awards since they started in 1995, including this year’s Our Town, last year’s Party in the USA, and several others. Some call Glass the godfather of the burgeoning podcast revolution, although as you’ll hear in this conversation, he humbly demurs. 

Glass spoke with Prizes Department Executive Director Abi Wright and duPont-Columbia Awards Director Lisa R. Cohen at the TAL New York office, about his love of the competition (especially 2018 duPont winner The New York Times’ “The Daily”), his fear of the current “war on truth,” and his excitement for the next generation of journalists. He also gives an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at how the TAL staff gets their ideas, reports their stories...and then ruthlessly kills a high percentage of them to air just the ones that meet their high standards. 

This conversation is bookended by excerpts from his graduation speech. Watch the full speech here.

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