Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em Podcast
Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em Podcast
140. Andy Mills on How Curiosity Can Save Journalism -- and Us

140. Andy Mills on How Curiosity Can Save Journalism -- and Us

The creator of "The Daily" and "Witch Trials of JK Rowling" on his NYT exile, losing/finding faith, and "Reflector," a new pod whose first episode tackles addiction. Also: A duel over "Civil War"

You may not recognize Andy Mills’ name, but you likely know his work: He co-created The Daily podcast for The New York Times, where he also produced Rabbit Hole, a fantastic series on the internet, and – quite fatefully! – the war on terror podcast, Caliphate. Shit happened. It was complicated. Andy is no longer at The New York Times

But he’s struck out on his own. Last year he gave us The Witch Trials of JK Rowling, one of 2023’s best podcasts, and now he’s back with a new podcast, Reflector, which tells “stories about the strange experiences of being human — sparking wonder, unveiling complexity, and igniting curiosity,” which Mills created with longtime producing partner Matthew Boll. The first episode tackles a familiar topic, over-drinking, and centers on an unexpected subject: Katie, the very funny host of Blocked & Reported, who shares her experience with the anti-drinking drug Naltrexone. Nancy and Sarah chat with Andy about addiction, storytelling, faith, and how to push back on the media’s excesses.

Also discussed:

  • The burden of knowing who is going to hell

  • The Bible, it has slow parts

  • The love of God is a very hard thing to lose

  • Drinking as a spiritual experience

  • How the social justice movement is deeply Protestant

  • The Caliphate scandal

  • About Andy’s exit from the New York Times …

  • Sarah, the black belt of dumping beer on people’s heads

  • Jealousy’s role in the media meltdown

  • More on Donald McNeil Jr. ouster, and Nancy could not be happier/angrier

  • Did Infinite Jest predict social media?

  • Naltrexone: Miracle drug, or “quick fix” that doesn’t address what’s wrong?

  • “You’re a smoker? Lucky you.”

  • A civil war on the movie Civil War

  • “I wanna listen to a podcast that’s just Nancy saying, ‘William Langewiesche.’”

  • The Harry Potter of adult romance novels

Plus, video texts equal love, why no stories are actually neutral, why alcohol is an “analog drug,” and much more!

We usually tuck the best tidbits behind the paywall, but Andy’s 2020 Daily episode “Delilah” is so beautiful, it must be shared freely.


Good storytelling is priceless, but paid subscriptions are only $7 a month.

Episode Notes:

Welcome to Reflector
Hi, this is Andy and Matt. We’re the guys who helped create and produce shows like The Daily, The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling, Crimetown, Radiolab, Rabbit Hole, and many others. We’ve spent much of our careers at places like The New York Times, Spotify and NPR. But now we’re striking out on our own and seeking support from the people—people like you—who…
Read more

Reflector: Ep 1, “The Sea Change: Why aren’t Americans embracing the most promising medications for treating over-drinking?

“Today I’m resigning from The New York Times. Those are not words I ever wanted to write….” Andy’s resignation post

Fleishman’s in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner (Amazon link)

Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World by Tom Holland (Amazon audiobook)

Blocked and Reported
Episode 201: Mills Spills (with Andy Mills)
This week on Blocked and Reported, Katie is joined by longtime radio and podcast producer Andy Mills to discuss the scandal that nearly killed his career. The Daily Caliphate The Witch Trials of JK Ro…
Listen now

New York Times Says ‘Caliphate’ Podcast Fell Short of Standards,” by Marc Tracy, Katie Robertson and Tiffany Hsu (New York Times)

Rukmini Callimachi at the New York Times

Joe Kahn: ‘The newsroom is not a safe space,’” by Ben Smith (Semafor)

Kids and Cowards: What Really Happened to Donald McNeil at the New York Times,” by Nancy Rommelmann (Newsweek)

The Fix,” Andy’s 2015 Radiolab episode on Naltrexone, addiction, and AA

The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous,” by Gabrielle Glaser (The Atlantic)

Blackout by Sarah Hepola (Amazon link)

The Biggest Takeaways From Oprah’s Ozempic Special,” by Olivia Craighead (The Cut)

What is the Sinclair Method for Addiction?

Bill Wilson's Experience with LSD” by Thomas B. (Preston Group AA)

What’s in your hot box?


The Other Side of Everything by Mila Turajlić:


A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Mass (Amazon link)

Inside the Sky: A Meditation on Flight by William Langewiesche (Amazon link)


Andy picks the outro, a Chicago band …

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Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em Podcast
Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em Podcast
Journalistas Nancy Rommelmann and Sarah Hepola on what's burning through the culture right now. Flirtatious banter for serious times.