March 2019

  Lebanon, USA - Kerning Cultures: Once I was driving from Toronto to New York and I saw a turnoff for a town called Damascus. I was really excited by this but the driver, more familiar with these parts, told me it was nothing special. There's a lot of towns across the states named after biblical places. So many there's even a Wikipedia entry on it, in fact (omg Half Hell, North Carolina!!!).  Anyway, this story is about a Lebanese man's plan to visit the 47 American towns named Lebanon. He doesn't quite get to all of them because is in Lebanon South Dakota, he comes across some particularly interesting roots. This episode introduced me to Kerning Cultures, who describes itself as a podcast "made by children of the Middle East, telling the kinds of stories in which we can actually see ourselves".  


  Palaces for the People - The Kitchen Sisters: No fancy production here, just a fascinating conversation with Eric Klinenberg, author of Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life. My favourite part is how he expresses his wonder at the fact libraries exists, by asking us to imagine there are no libraries and how we would have to put it to the local mayor to establish them: "We want to have these things called libraries. We are going to set up buildings, we're going to put them in every single neighbourhood, fill them up with comfortable furniture, let's throw in a bunch of computers, and let's put wifi access in there, why not? And let's have lots of books and DVDs and there will be people we will hire as public employees, called public librarians, and their job will be to open the door and say 'how can I help you?'. We should make sure everybody in the city can use it regardless of their age, social class, or their race or ethnicity. And let's make sure people who are not citizens feel especially welcome here and we will have ESL classes. Oh and we want all this to be free?" (I'm paraphrasing a bit because sadly the Kitchen Sisters does not post transcripts 😖). He is so right. Libraries are these AMAZING places and their very existence seems to defy all neo-liberal reason. If you love libraries as much as I do,  have a listen to recent episode of This American Life - The Room of Requirement.  
  The Dropout - ABC Radio(USA): The story of Elizabeth Holmes and her failed biotech company, Theranos. The company claimed it would revolutionise blood testing by reducing the amount of blood required from test tubes full from an intravenous needle, to a couple of drops from a finger prick. When Theranos was on the rise, Holmes was heralded as the next Steve Jobs. She was profiled in the New Yorker, she was on the cover of Forbes and Fortune magazine. And then, in 2015 the Wall Street Journal published a piece detailing the fraudulence of most of the company's claims. It catalysed the end of the company. Holmes and former Theranos COO Ramesh Balwani have been indicted on several counts of fraud. This podcast's production is overblown, they've made some dubious sound design decisions, but the story is a cracker and I whipped through it in a couple of days. 

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Understanding China with NPR’s Shanghai Correspondent Rob Schmitz

We spoke American Public Radio's Shanghai Correspondent Rob Schmitz at the 2017 Sydney Writers' Festival about how to report on China's economy when the country's leading politicians admit GDP figures are mostly 'man-made' and why Rob has higher hopes for Chinese millennials than American.

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Australia Through American Eyes with NYT Race Reporter John Eligon

John Eligon is the New York Times race reporter based in Kansas City, Missouri. Host Olivia Rosenman spoke to Eligon about his collaboration with ABC Foreign Correspondent, Through American Eyes. Eligon's impressions and observations from his trip around the country, from Sydney to Kununurra, Brisbane to Murray Island, make for thought provoking listening.

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Covering Afghanistan with photojournalist Andrew Quilty

An interview with Andrew Quilty, who has covered Afghanistan since late 2013, when he arrived to work as a photojournalist just as NATO troops were beginning to withdraw. In the four years since, he has captured the ongoing conflict there with stunning photography that documents the trauma of a 40 year war and the impact of extremist groups and foreign forces in the country. His work won him the 2016 Gold Walkley for Excellence in Australian journalism.

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Aaron Glantz, Gerard Ryle, Kate McClymont and Siddharth Varadarajan (live from Storyology 2017)

Broadcast from the Walkley's 2017 Storyology conference, host Olivia Rosenman spoke with a panel of four of the world's top investigative journalists about how they decide which topics to pursue and whether the end always has to justify the means. With Aaron Glantz, senior reporter with Reveal from the US Center for Investigative Reporting, Gerard Ryle, Director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), Kate McClymont, Fairfax Media senior journalist and Siddharth Varadarajan, Founding Editor of The Wire in India.

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What does it mean to be human in the digital era?

An interview with the 2017 Boyer Lecturer, Professor Genevieve Bell, about how we live in world ruled by technology data and algorithms. Bell describes technological solutions to fake news and considers Australia's role in our globalised, online world. Bell is one of the world's top technologists and the head of the Australian National University's Autonomy, Agency and Assurance Institute.

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News, humour and despair in Venezuela

El Chigüire Bipolar (the Bipolar Capybara) is a Venezuelan news website in that won the 2017 Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent. The satirical website covers Venezuela’s current political and economic turmoil, and provides independent reporting in contrast to the country’s state-owned media. With Elio Casale (Founder) and Jesus Roldan (Editor), hosted by Olivia Rosenman.

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