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Behind the Scenes of Your Mani-Pedi

A nail salon in Greenwich Village this month. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

A native New Yorker, Sarah Maslin Nir was a regular manicure customer – until her investigation for The New York Times revealed oppressive conditions for salon workers.

In the wake of her articles, which spurred immediate action from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, she is making do without her weekly "grooming staple."

In this week's podcast, she talks with ProPublica reporters and manicure lovers Lois Beckett and Marian Wang about:

  • How the intimacy of a manicure stirs a feeling of complicity in readers.  "We hold hands with this person for a half hour; we look into her eyes," Nir says. "I think my investigation revealed that we are not seeing them." (3:52)
  • The way the articles came together without tipping off salon owners, starting with translators scouring the foreign-language press for stories of harm. (2:15)
  • The need for gender diversity in investigative journalism. "I do think a man could've – but maybe not would've – done this story," Nir says. (7:25)
  • What proposed new regulations will do to help salon workers. (12:08)

Hear their conversation on iTunes, SoundCloud or Stitcher, and read Nir's investigation.

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