Episode 45 with Engaging and Thoughtful Vice News Journalist and Multimedia Standout, Keegan Hamilton


Show Notes and Links to Keegan Hamilton’s Work and Allusions/Texts from Episode


      On Episode 45, Pete talks with Keegan Hamilton about his reporting for Vice News. The conversation focuses on his work for three thorough, shocking, engrossing, and nuanced multimedia pieces about the trial of El Chapo, fentanyl’s explosive growth in the US and abroad, and recent developments and fighting in Micoachan, México’s “Tierra Caliente,” fifteen years after Felipe Calderón declared “war” on the cartels.


Keegan Hamilton is a senior reporter, podcast host, and Emmy-nominated producer at VICE News, where he covers organized crime, prisons, and the drug trade. 

Keegan Hamilton's Personal Website with Links to His Work


Vice News Article: "On the Front Line of Mexico’s Forever War Against the Cartels" by Keegan Hamilton and Miguel Fernández-Flores


YouTube trailer for “Painkiller: America’s Fentanyl Crisis,” a Spotify podcast series, found here


Chapo: Kingpin on Trial Podcast

At around 2:00, Keegan talks about his role as a “senior editor” at Vice News


At around 2:40, Keegan talks about his beginnings of journalism, and his love for Jack McCallum and Frank DeFord and other great writers for his beloved Sports Illustrated

At around 4:20 (coincidentally!), Keegan talks about his work at alt-weeklies and how they have informed his own writing and local alt-weeklies’ role in advancing narrative nonfiction and long-form, nuanced pieces 


At around 7:00, Keegan talks about writers who have inspired him and continue to inspire him, including Charles Bowden, Terrence Papá, Ioan Grillo, and Sam Quinones


At around 11:40, Keegan talks about his view of himself as what it means to be a “writer” and “journalist,” particularly with the acceleration of multimedia in recent years


At around 14:00, Keegan talks about his writing work during the pandemic


At around 16:00, Keegan talks about Vice and their target audience(s)


At around 17:00, Keegan talks about his podcasting techniques and what’s he’s learned about the mechanics of the medium


At around 19:45, Keegan and Pete discuss the romanticization of organized crime figures, including “El Chapo,” whose U.S. trial Keegan covered in a recent Vice podcast series, as well as common misconceptions about the drug trade and its participants


At around 25:20, Keegan discusses the importance of speaking Spanish pretty well and his valuable and helpful translators, including producer Miguel Fernandez


At around 27:00, Keegan describes the thesis/pitch for the Vice News podcast/article/project chronicling 15 years of the “drug war” in Michoacán, México 


At around 29:35, Pete and Keegan talk about some rays of hope in the story of the drug war, and a well-written scene at the end of Keegan’s article on Michoacán that shows a possible more tranquil future in La Tierra Caliente


At around 30:35, Pete and Keegan talk about the Michoacán autodefensas and the role of indigenous communities in forming strong groups for security and self-sufficiency


At around 32:40, Pete and Keegan discuss the role and responsibility of The United States in the “drug war,” as the users of the illicit drugs are overwhelmingly in the US


At around 34:50, Pete and Keegan toss around ideas for Keegan’s next project(s)

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