Legendary organized crime reporter Jerry Capeci has been covering America’s top five crime families for over 25 years – a beat he created at the New York Daily News that has continued to captivate readers, both cops and wise guys alike, long after he made his column, Gang Land, a paid subscription site.

Capeci joins ProPublica’s Joe Sexton on the podcast to discuss how he made the break into this niche world of organized crime – without getting whacked.

Highlights from their conversation:

  • How Capeci’s reporting career began largely by accident at the New York Post (2:44) and how, through the years, he’s earned “grudging respect from the wise guys.” (17:30)
  • Asked whether he ever felt in danger on the job, Capeci says there’s an unspoken rule that it’d be “bad for business” for the mob to kill anyone in law enforcement or the press. “Thank goodness they did abide by it, for the most part.” (9:50)
  • His brief but coveted cameo on the last season of “The Sopranos.” (17:53)
  • “The real legitimate journalistic issue” that emerges when much of the proceedings surrounding organized crime – the prosecutions, the sentencing – appear to go on in secret. (15:47)

You can listen to this podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud or Stitcher, and read Capeci's column, Gang Land, for more on his reporting.