With Congress set to consider bills next week that could set the future of Puerto Rican self-determination, we consider how a 70-year-old promise to decolonize the island keeps getting broken. Plus, how Puerto Ricans notched a hugely symbolic victory over the U.S. — during the 2004 Olympics. 1. Yarimar Bonilla [@yarimarbonilla], political anthropologist at Hunter College, examines the afterlife of Puerto Rico's political experiment. Listen. 2. Julio Ricardo Varela [@julito77], co-host of In the Thick and editorial director at Futuro Media, on what the showdown between the Puerto Rican and U.S. Olympic basketball teams in 2004 meant to him then and now. Listen. Music: We Insist by Zoe KeatingYUMAVISION by ÌFÉMalphino by Ototoa La Brega is a podcast series hosted by OTM producer/reporter Alana Casanova-Burgess. The series uses narrative storytelling and investigative journalism to reflect and reveal how la brega has defined so many aspects of life in Puerto Rico, and is available in English and Spanish.
For over four years, Reveal, an award-winning program from the Center for Investigative Reporting, was embroiled in a multimillion-dollar libel suit. Planet Aid, a non-profit known for clothing collection, had sued the podcast over an intensive two-year investigation that "tied the charity to an alleged cult and raised significant questions about whether the funds from the U.S. and other governments actually were reaching the people they were intended to help." Two weeks ago, a judge in California dismissed the case. Despite being a fairly straightforward SLAPP case—the case required dozens of reporter hours that took away from crucial reporting work—the newsroom only managed to stay afloat long enough to fight the suit because of generous pro-bono support. This week, Bob spoke to Victoria Baranetsky, general counsel at Reveal, about what small newsrooms stand to lose in court battles with wealthy public figures and organizations.
La Brega is a seven-part podcast series hosted by OTM producer/reporter Alana Casanova-Burgess. The series uses narrative storytelling and investigative journalism to reflect and reveal how la brega has defined so many aspects of life in Puerto Rico, and is available in English and Spanish. This is episode seven. Puerto Rico’s relationship with the United States has long been a subject of intense debate. In 1952, Puerto Rico adopted a new status that was meant to decolonize the island. In English, we call it a “Commonwealth.” In Spanish, it’s called “Estado Libre Asociado”, or ELA. Puerto Ricans were promised for decades that this unique status meant they had a special kind of sovereignty while maintaining ties to the US. Now, a series of recent crises on the island have led many to question that promise, and to use the word “colony” more and more. In this episode, political anthropologist and El Nuevo Día columnist Yarimar Bonilla looks for those who still believe in the ELA, and asks what happens when a political project dies. You can get more resources for related issues at the Puerto Rico Syllabus website.
The trial of the former police officer charged in the death of George Floyd has been broadcasting live all this week. This week, we examine what effect the cameras in the court can have on the verdict and on us, watching from home. Plus, how striving for the appearance of journalistic “objectivity” can make newsrooms less diverse, and how trauma informs journalism. 1. Steven Zeitchik [@ZeitchikWaPo], entertainment business reporter at the Washington Post, explains how Court TV became the world’s window into the Derek Chauvin trial. Listen. 2. Ishena Robinson [@ishenarobinson], staff writer at The Root, about the mounting toll of watching Black people lose their lives on camera. Listen. 3. Bruce Shapiro [@dartcenter], executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia Journalism School, on why trauma shouldn't disqualify reporters from reporting on topics into which they have insight. Listen. 4. Ernest Owens [@mrernestowens], Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists president, about the double-standards facing journalists who have identities or lived experiences that are different from editors who still determine what constitutes "objectivity." Listen. 5. Steve Friess [@stevefriess], editor at Hour Detroit and contributor for Newsweek, looks back at how he covered gay marriage when his own marriage hung in the balance. Listen. 6. Lewis Raven Wallace [@lewispants], author of The View from Somewhere, on why what we call "neutrality" so often reflects the ideological assumptions of the status quo. Listen. Music from this week's show: Frail As a Breeze — Erik Friedlander The Artifact and the Living — Michael AndrewsNight Thoughts — John ZornFallen Leaves — Marcos CiscarMiddlesex Times — Michael Andrews Bubble Wrap — Thomas Newman Carmen Fantasy — Anderson + RowTribute to America — The O’Neill Brothers
Before the Vietnam War there was a law that banned women from reporting on the frontlines of any war for the U.S. When President Johnson refused to officially declare a state of war in Vietnam, an opening appeared: no war, no ban. A handful of pioneering women bought one-way tickets into the battlefield. They had no editors, no health insurance and little or no formal training. This week, Brooke spoke about this time to reporter Elizabeth Becker, formerly a Washington Post war correspondent in Cambodia, NPR's foreign editor and then national security correspondent for the New York Times. Becker is the author of a new book: You Don't Belong Here: How Three Women Rewrote the Story of War.
La Brega is a seven-part podcast series hosted by OTM producer/reporter Alana Casanova-Burgess. The series uses narrative storytelling and investigative journalism to reflect and reveal how la brega has defined so many aspects of life in Puerto Rico, and is available in English and Spanish. This is episode six. Luis J. Valentín Ortiz from the Centro de Periodismo Investigativo tells a hidden story from Puerto Rico’s debt crisis, that of the micro-creditors — thousands of low-income retirees and former public employees with claims that the government may never pay, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars. As a federal judge prepares to make a decision on whether they’ll get paid, this episode asks: how can the government settle its many debts — not just monetary — with its citizens? You can read more about micro-creditors in this piece from CPI. We also recommend this Radio Ambulante episode, produced by Luis Trelles, for more context about the debt crisis.
A so-called surge of migrants at the southern border has caught the attention of immigration reform advocates, conservative trolls, and TV news crews, but alarming headlines may not tell the full story. Plus, a #MeToo reckoning on YouTube has caused a new media empire to crumble. Then, a look at the controversy surrounding the newsletter site Substack, home to "sustainable journalism" and culture war punditry. And, the internet's most innovative observer on the cultivation of her misunderstood beat. 1. Tom K. Wong [@TomWongPhD], founding director of the U.S. Immigration Policy Center, on misleading coverage about the southern border. Listen. 2. Kat Tenbarge [@kattenbarge], digital culture reporter at Insider, and Taylor Lorenz [@TaylorLorenz], tech reporter for The New York Times, on the exploitation behind YouTube's viral prank culture. Listen. 3. Peter Kakfa [@pkafka], senior correspondent at Recode, and Taylor Lorenz [@TaylorLorenz], tech reporter for The New York Times, on the promises and controversies at the heart of Substack. Listen. 4. Taylor Lorenz [@TaylorLorenz], tech reporter for The New York Times, on how she keeps her finger on the internet's pulse. Listen. Music from this week's show:Whispers of a heavenly death — John ZornThe Desert and Two Grey Hills — Gerry O’BeirneInvestigations — Kevin MacLeodIl Casanova de Frederico Fellini — Nino RotaString Quartet No. 5 - Philip Glass — Kronos QuartetWhat’s that Sound — Michael AndrewsTrance Dance — John Zorn
In 2015, a tragedy gripped Romanian consciousness when a fire at a popular club in the country's capital killed 27 people, injured nearly 200 more, and sparked national protests about corruption. In the weeks following the fire, 37 of those injured died in hospitals — a statistic that authorities and doctors claimed was simply a result of their injuries. But the victims' families and a small team of reporters at the Romanian daily paper the Sports Gazette had their doubts — doubts that were confirmed when the Gazette learned that a national supplier of medical disinfectants was diluting their products, nearly ten times over, to reap profits and pad the pockets of its CEO. The burn victims of the fire hadn't died from injuries; they died from preventable bacterial infections, a consequence of malpractice that stemmed from doctors, hospital managers and the highest officials in government. In 2019, filmmaker Alexander Nanau wrote, produced and directed the film Collective, chronicling this saga. Last year, the film was released in the US, and, this month, it received two Academy Award nominations. In this podcast extra, Nanau speaks with Brooke about why he decided to follow the story, how the pieces fell into place, and how this single story changed Romania's relationship with the press — possibly for good. Watch Collective here.
La Brega is a seven-part podcast series hosted by OTM producer/reporter Alana Casanova-Burgess. The series uses narrative storytelling and investigative journalism to reflect and reveal how la brega has defined so many aspects of life in Puerto Rico, and is available in English and Spanish. This is episode five. In this episode: David and Goliath play basketball in Athens. Despite being a U.S. colony, Puerto Rico competes in sports as its own country on the world stage. Since the 70s, Puerto Rico’s national basketball team has been a pride of the island, taking home trophy after trophy. But in the 2004 at the Athens Olympics, the team was up against the odds, with an opening game against a U.S. Dream Team stacked with players like Lebron James and Allen Iverson. Futuro Media’s Julio Ricardo Varela tells the story of a basketball game that Puerto Ricans will never forget, and why he thinks now, more than ever, is a crucial moment to remember it. The documentary "Nuyorican Basquet" is here. If you want to see the famous photo of Carlos Arroyo, click here. To read more about sovereignty and sports, we recommend The Sovereign Colony: Olympic Sport, National Identity, and International Politics in Puerto Rico, by Antonio Sotomayor.
Police statements about the Atlanta shooter’s motives defined early media reports and earned swift derision. This week, we examine how bad habits in the press undermined coverage of the tragedy. Plus, how we equate presidential power with presidential willpower. And a behind-the-scenes look at a new radio play that interweaves Shakespeare’s English with its Spanish translation. 1. Erika Lee [@prof_erikalee] Regents Professor of History and Asian American Studies at the University of Minnesota, on how Asian women have been targets of exclusion in the U.S ever since they first arrived in the United States. And Jason Oliver Chang [@chinotronic], Associate Professor of History and Asian/Asian American Studies at the University of Connecticut, explains how the model minority myth has cloaked patterns of brutality against Asian-Americans in the U.S. long before Tuesday's tragedy. Listen. 2. Brendan Nyhan, [@brendannyhan] professor of government at Dartmouth College, on his "Green Lantern theory of the presidency," the limits on executive power, and the history of presidents who thought they could expand it. Listen. 3. Saheem Ali, director of Romeo y Julieta from New York’s Public Theater and WNYC Studios, on the aim to both entertain and show that language need not divide us. Listen. Music from this week's show:The Glass House — David BergeaudMisterioso (Thelonoius Monk) — Kronos QuartetSomeday My Prince Will Come — Fred HerschUluwati — John Zorn