Leading long-form journalists Josh Dean (The Clearing), Vanessa Grigoriadis (Tabloid: The Making Of Ivanka Trump), Matthew Shaer (Over My Dead Body), and screenwriter/producer Adam Hoff, today announced the creation of Campside, a podcast studio uniquely dedicated to premium narrative non-fiction storytelling. The new venture is being launched in partnership with Sister, the global content company formed in 2019 to champion the best creative talent and help bring their stories to life in new ways.
As podcasts continue to grow in popularity, Campside will serve as a best-in-class hub for creators to develop top-tier audio content, building on the combined experience of the founders. Collectively, Dean, Shaer and Grigoriadis bring decades of award-winning reporting and a proven track record of breaking and shaping some of the biggest stories of our time. By coming together, they aim to empower fellow creators while drawing an audience of listeners who believe in the power of great storytelling.
Campside has received a significant start-up investment from Sister which was founded by Elisabeth Murdoch, Jane Featherstone and Stacey Snider. The two companies have already identified three projects to develop for television as part of a first-look agreement.
Grigoriadis said: “We believe in story first and to that end, we wanted to make Campside a company built around storytellers. At a time when the audio medium is exploding with potential – ever-growing audiences hungry for more, significant investment into new and exciting platforms – we want to empower the journalists who create and labor over amazing stories. This is our goal not just because it is fair and just, but because it is how you create hits.”
Stacey Snider, Global Chief Executive of Sister, said: “The minute the Campside team walked into the room, Liz, Jane and I were blown away by their ideas, their integrity and their passion for great stories. This is a team of incredible writers whose mission, like ours, is to support fellow creatives in their pursuit of excellence and self determination. We are excited to work with Campside to grow their network, identifying outlets for their stories and nurturing a new generation of talent.”
The new network already has 11 original non-fiction podcasts in production or development spanning the true crime, scandal, and adventure. Hoff, who has optioned or adapted over a dozen nonfiction stories for film and television, commented: “Every time I open our company Slack feed, Josh, Matt, and Vanessa have 10 new amazing ideas: their own ideas, or ideas from journalist friends.” Shaer adds that the podcast format is an ideal fit for many of these projects: “So many of them are perfect for audio, where the story can reach a level of intimacy that is harder to achieve in print.”
Campside has also signed with UTA’s industry-leading Emerging Platforms division, who helped negotiate the deal with Sister alongside Morris Yorn and Blakemore Fallon.
“We are extremely proud to be on this journey with Campside and unveil this esteemed group whose passion lies in extraordinary journalism,” says UTA’s Oren Rosenbaum. “This collaboration represents more than a coming-together of brilliant creatives, but a pivot in how stories are told and consumed. Their trajectory is singular and inspiring and we couldn’t be more grateful to Sister for sharing our dedication to this team and for helping pave the way for new and exciting opportunities.”
Campside’s first show will be a 10-part series on the outrageous Hollywood Con Queen scam, hosted by Dean and co-developed with Grigoriadis. Other year one shows include Masked, an investigation into a botched murder case in Seattle (co-reported by Shaer and fellow magazine journalist and Over my Dead Bodyalum Eric Benson) and the first of the three projects being developed by Sister; The Lost, hosted by Italian journalist Matteo Fagotto, a riveting exploration of a mother and daughter finding each other decades after the latter was stolen from the former by the Spanish government in a national black market adoption scandal; and Hooked, the story of a serial bank robbery spree set against the backdrop of America’s opioid crisis. Created and hosted by Dean, Hookedis already in development for TV by John Ridley for ABC Studios.
In addition, Campside will be producing shows in new genres like adventure, as well as other global narrative shows, including projects in Japan, Brazil, and India. Every story has to clear a very rigorous internal process. “Our entire mission is big, ambitious stories, built around ground-breaking reporting,” Dean says. “We have no B-sides.”