18 / Ask for What You Want

When editor of FastCompany.com Anjali Khosla was in her late twenties, she was finishing up an MFA and contemplating starting another, this time in animation and film (she was really into making rudimentary stop-motion videos inspired by high-minded concepts like Gilgamesh). She happened to apply to the Studio 20 program at New York University, even though, she admits, she was never a big fan of the media. Inspired by the citizen journalism that was popping up around 2008 (and at the urging of her dad, who told her to check it out), Anjali ended up going.

During one class, the executive editor of the New York Daily News came to Anjali's class to give a talk. Even though she wasn't familiar with the Daily News, she got his card, studied what the paper was doing on social media, and wrote to him. This was before papers had social media editors, but Anjali pitched herself anyway—and they let her join the team as a consultant.

I asked Anjali if she was scared to put herself out there like that. It was nervous-making, yes, but she knew she had to get a job in journalism. Plus, "a little bit of fear can be pretty healthy if the fear is driven by yourself and not by other people," she told me. She worked at the Daily News full-time for six months while going to school because she wanted to be brought on permanently...and she was.

Anjali and I also talk in this episode about how important it is to keep learning at your job and to ask for the raise you want—don't lowball yourself, and don't unnecessarily justify it. Plus: Just how hard is it to get a journalism job if you don't have an "in"? Pretty hard—and that's why it's up to managers to go outside of referrals and read applications, especially if they want to diversify their offices. Listen below, or subscribe in Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

This episode was produced by Erin McKinstry. Our music, from Blue Dot Sessions, is called The Zeppelin and Sunday Lights. This interview was recorded with the help of Google Hangouts.

15 / The Go-Slow Approach

My interview today is with Melissa Ludtke, a journalist who has reported for Sports Illustrated, been a correspondent for Time, worked at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism, and is also the creator of a transmedia project called Touching Home in China. But in today's interview we're talking about life in her twenties, and Melissa's was marked by the famous 1978 court case Ludtke v. Kuhn in which she, a young journalist backed by her employers, Sports Illustrated and Time Inc., sued the Major League Baseball Commissioner for the right to report from players' locker rooms. Melissa is at work writing a memoir about this experience, and I can't. Wait. To. Read. It.

Melissa didn't fall into sports reporting so easily. She had graduated and wasn't quite sure what she wanted to do next when she had a chance encounter with football player and commentator Frank Gifford, who told her she knew a lot about sports—for a girl. Melissa decided that sports journalism was going to be it, and Gifford invited her to New York City to tour ABC Sports.

Despite having a foot in the door, Melissa didn't get a job at ABC Sports right away because—twist!—the women's movement had started, and companies were coming under fire for putting women who had college degrees in administrative work. First she had to pay her dues as a secretary for Harper's Bazaar (which, I guess, didn't care about that). But when Melissa wasn't working, she'd shadow at ABC, absorbing as much as she could.

Melissa ended up at Sports Illustrated as a researcher/reporter, and using her press pass, spent night after night at the ballpark. There was just one problem: Because she was a woman, Melissa wasn't allowed to go into the players' locker room for interviews before the game started (this was after batting practice—no one was naked!). If one of her male cohorts couldn't persuade a player to step outside and do an interview with Melissa, she didn't get any work done that day.

But Melissa didn't make waves—it wasn't her style—and she didn't stop showing up. And then, a breakthrough that signaled her go-slow approach was working: Mickey Morabito, the Yankees' PR director, asked her if she'd like to join the men reporters in Yankees manager Billy Martin's office after games to do interviews. And for the 1977 World Series, both teams—the Yankees and Dodgers—agreed to allow Melissa access to their locker rooms to report.

Unfortunately, that wouldn't come to pass. The baseball commissioner banned Melissa from the locker rooms during the World Series because she was a woman.

And so, Melissa became the face of a lawsuit against Major League Baseball for equal rights. To find out how the judge in her court case ruled, listen below, or subscribe in Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

This episode was produced by Erin McKinstry. Our music, from Blue Dot Sessions, is called The Zeppelin. This interview was recorded with the help of Google Hangouts.

11 / Ask and Give in the Same Sentence

Freelance entertainment, culture, and travel writer Valentina Valentini (Vanity Fair, the BBC, Departures, The L.A. Times, VICE, Refinery29, the list goes on!) was 19 when she abandoned the political science degree she was pursuing at a school in Boston and moved to San Diego without a plan. Valentina and I connect on a spiritual level about our love of organization, and we discuss how scary it was for her to find a job in the middle of the L.A. writers' strike, how she made her first story happen, her best pitching advice, and much more. Listen below, or subscribe in Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

This episode was produced by Erin McKinstry. Our music, from Blue Dot Sessions, is called The Zeppelin.

10 / Don't Get in the Elevator with Anna

Deenie Hartzog-Mislock, formerly the copy director of Vogue, now a full-time freelance copywriter, essayist, and blogger, has one of the most unique "how did I get to be a writer" stories—it involves auditions and fishnets as much as it does F. Scott Fitzgerald. Here's Deenie on how "I don't have time" really means "I don't want it enough," the fine art of politely needling your way into getting an assignment, and, of course, what it's like to work at the one-and-only Vogue with the equally one-and-only Anna Wintour. Listen below, or subscribe in Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

This episode was produced by Erin McKinstry. Our music, from Blue Dot Sessions, is called The Zeppelin.

9 / Work Harder! Lean In!

Vanessa Grigoriadis, contributing editor at the New York Times Magazine and Vanity Fair, and author of the new book Blurred Lines, on reporting about sexual consent on college campuses, the glory days of magazine journalism, influencers, why working in your twenties is so important, meeting Harvey Weinstein, and chillaxing with Mariah Carey. Listen below, or subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher.

8 / Badass, Renaissance, Whatever-You-Need Editor!

Happy Friday from Life TK—here's a jazzy little bonus episode, an interview with my dear friend Ettie Berneking! Ettie, a food and drinks writer and social media consultant, had the poor luck of visiting me in Brooklyn the week she turned 30. So I stopped her from enjoying an egg sandwich and made her talk to me about this EXCITING life transformation. Plus: the weird way we met, finding the courage to go full-time freelance, and the importance of selling yourself. Listen below, or subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher.

4 / Things Are Going to Start Happening to Me Now!

It's a reference from The Jerk, everyone. Channel your inner Steve Martin with the Emily Gould episode of Life TK. Emily, co-founder of feminist press Emily Books (emilybooks.com) and author of And the Heart Says Whatever and Friendship, talks to me about what it's like to work in book publishing, when it's time to give up and when it's time to lean in, finding your writing people, and astrology. Spoiler alert: Saturn returned in her twenties, and, according to Emily, the worst years were between 20 and...31. Yikes. Listen below, or subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher.