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Preview: NPR Blogs: Tell Me More

NPR Blogs: Tell Me More

Last Build Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2007 19:54:16 -0500

Copyright: Copyright 2007

Until We Meet Again...

Fri, 27 Apr 2007 19:54:16 -0500

Source: audi_insperation Goodbyes for me are never easy. This one is bittersweet. After today, we'll no longer be a part of NPR's Rough Cuts. Beginning Monday, April 30th, we officially launch as a full-fledged NPR program! We've graduated! As you might recall, Rough Cuts was never designed to be a permanent location (or name...and thanks again to all of you who played the name game with us! That was crazy...). Instead, the whole idea was that this space was to serve as the "launch pad" or "laboratory" for new NPR projects. We had the honor of being the first such project. A lot has happened here over the past six months. When we first came to you, we were nameless, pretty much shapeless and searching to find our place (kind of like smooth cheeked little babies, but maybe not as cute). Now, I don't know what your attitude is about this, but in the nature vs. nurture debate I am a both-and woman. That's my way of saying, we may have come here unformed, but the development process was both learning how to do this radio thing, and discovering and refining what was already within us. What you will hear, we hope, is a combination of what we've learned from you -- what you've told us works or doesn't work -- but also what we all brought with us, in our hearts, souls and minds, about what this program should be. Looking back over the 16 pilots and nearly 20 other non-piloted stories posted here, I can say that every minute of this preliminary journey has been enriching. Don't get me wrong, we've had labor pains (and once we launch, we'll have growing pains), but they've been fruitful...and we're about to deliver!!! We always expected to put on a great program -- at least we plan to do everything we can to make it great -- but in the spirit of full disclosure, I'll admit that what we didn't expect was to make such great friends here -- You. We've been overwhelmed by the support, constructive criticism, the ideas, the personal stories. Can I just tell you? You have really shown us the love. Our entire team is humbled and gratified by it. Speaking of team...we finally have one! When we started Rough Cuts in December, I could count all of us on one hand. Those days are over (thankfully). We're blessed to have a fantastic -- not to mention brilliant -- group of folks working with us. Some time after we launch, I'll introduce them to you... So, what's next? Monday, we officially launch as NPR's Tell Me More with Michel Martin on stations across the country. If you don't hear us Monday on your local public radio station, you still have options! Catch us on Sirius Satellite Radio, download our podcasts on iTunes, or check us out on the web. And don't worry! Our blog will not die. I repeat. Will not die. It will serve as a supplement to our daily on-air conversations. Trust me, one of our producers, Lee Hill, will see to that. He assures me we have many exciting ideas to bridge the digital divide between what you hear on the radio and what you'll see on our website (he'd better or he's toast -- Lee...kidding...pre-launch aggression, nothing more) In other words, fasten your seat belts...we're ready to go! So, cheers to Rough Cuts. And cheers to new beginnings -- for us here and for you... Thanks for helping us find our way! See you Monday at -- Michel Martin

Next Week: Family, Money and Drama

Thu, 26 Apr 2007 16:24:20 -0500

What happens when lending or giving to family takes its toll? Source: -Mandie- Hey there, my peoples! I know it's been a while since you've heard (read?) from me, but we've been working our collective fingers to the bone preparing for our REALLY BIG DAY! More to come on this tomorrow... We want to get you involved in something we're working on. In the works for next week is another segment with one of our amazing coaches. The topic? We're taking on money and the family, baby! Do you have a family member on the dole?...Where one person (or more) in the family always seems to have a financial crisis? And the other person (or people) -- who just happens to be the most financially stable -- feels they have to support the others? (I'm tempted to write ne'er do wells but I want to avoid the editorial) Does it cause stress in the family, maybe among siblings who think one kid is always taking advantage? We've actually seen this scenario in the movies. Remember Soul Food or Million Dollar Baby? But, really. How many of us have actually talked about this seriously? So, we ask...can you relate? Have you been a borrower or a lender in your family? Have your loved ones ever caused you to secretly regret your own financial success? Or, have your loved ones ever caused you to feel bad for asking for their help? Our money coach plans to take the dynamic of the Bank of Dad head on, so... Have a question or scenario you'd like to discuss? Want advice? Drop us a line, and tell us more... -- Michel Martin

The Perceptions of Tragedy

Fri, 20 Apr 2007 15:37:37 -0500

Roses at the foot of a light post serve as a small memorial outside Norris Hall, where 30 students were killed this week at Virginia Tech this. Source: Getty Images A week ago today, the "Hokies" of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University knew the weekend was fast-approaching. Thinking back to my own college days, I'd bet they were trying to figure out how to get the most out of their weekend -- study hard for finals, maybe play hard too...especially those graduating seniors. They didn't know that only a week later, their academic sanctuary -- the training ground for their greatest pursuits -- would be visited by utter mayhem and reduced to a crime scene of historic proportions. In the space of a couple of hours on Monday, Blacksburg, Virginia suddenly became a major topic of conversation -- and headlines -- across the globe. So far, all we really know is that the gunman was one sick young man. And the rest of us are left to try to make sense of whatever we can...Like everyone else, we have been trying to figure out what we can constructively add to the national conversation about all this. In our first blog entry, we wondered whether a gun control conversation might begin -- again. Many of you sent us thoughtful responses -- which we very much appreciate -- but we didn't see a way to make that conversation different from so many you've already heard. Then we started to notice something: Since the moment it was revealed that Sueng-Hui Cho was a native of South Korea, members of the Korean-American community across the US seemed to feel a special responsibility to express their regret and horror at the incident...even to apologize. One such leader is Washington State Sen. Paul Chin. We talked with him and asked why he felt an apology is in order... Also, learning the race of Cho Sueng-Hui Cho stirred interesting cultural reactions. Was the fact of his race and heritage overpowering enough to influence how we think about the crime...and its aftermath? What is to be said about individual's perceptions here? Blogger Phil Yu (his blog is called Angry Asian Man...and trust me, it's actually very smart and warm and often hilarious) helped us out with this one, as did Alvin Alvarez, Ph.D., president of the Asian American Psychological Association. In our last discussion (at least, for this pilot) on the Virginia tragedy: There's a debate about how closely the presumed shooter is being associated with his South Korean heritage by we, the media. This week the Asian-American Journalists Association (AAJA) urged journalists to exercise caution in reporting on Cho's ethnicity. What's behind their concerns? Jeanne Mariani-Belding, president of that organization tells us more... We think that's a thorough portion on the happenings of this past week. It's enough to keep you thinking (and blogging)... Now for a few of our signature dishes we love: Faith Matters -- Question: what happens when a registered sex offender desires to become a member of a church? Should churches -- many of which are thriving with young children -- feel obligated to extend the hand of fellowship? A congregation in California is grappling with this question. We talk with the pastor and two of his members, both of whom are parents of young children. *** PAUSE. SOUL BREAK *** Oliver Wang, the music and culture writer and curator of "Soul Sides Volume Two: The Covers" helps us with our groove for a minute...thank goodness, right on time... Sound Vault -- We posted a while back on the whole Ken Burns/PBS controversy (which is still being worked out, it seems). Well, here's more dialogue on the contribution of Latinos to WWII. This week, two remarkable men share their experiences -- including the obstacles they faced -- while serving as soldiers in a war that didn't always make them feel heroic. And... Heard on the Street -- Gotta love this one! The music of Don Witter, Jr. is the daily soundtrack for scores of New Yorkers who pass through the city's su[...]

We Could All Use a Little Peace...

Thu, 19 Apr 2007 10:42:51 -0500

Source: iStock We've said it before, but we can't say it enough...our hearts go out to all those affected by the tragedy at Virginia Tech, and indeed all those who are missing loved ones today due to violence. Very soon, we'll be bringing you some interesting conversations about this tragedy... Two segments today: Is your home in desperate need of some serious shalom (it's Hebrew for "peace")? Well, I'll be the first to admit that -- as a full-time wife, mother and NPR -- I could use a little Kum Ba Yah every now and then. Ok, enough of my business...get it together Michel! Listen in as we speak to Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, family counselor and host of Discovery's Shalom in the Home. He talks about establishing (and maintaining) peace in your house...and even in his house! We also explore how the culture we live in might sometimes pose an obstacle to this... And, again, Can I Just Tell You? Part of me is worried that this is dated but then a part of me says...yes, it is still relevant. It's my last word on Imus. With all that's going on in the world, the question is, when and how do we decide to focus on the little hurts that coarsen our daily lives? Who gets to decide what matters? -- Michel Martin

Tools of Mayhem at Virginia Tech

Wed, 18 Apr 2007 11:26:25 -0500

Source: AFP/Getty Images We were devastated to learn of the tragic loss of lives at Virginia Tech. Our hearts go out to the families and the campus community there. We were in the studio recording our Monday program, while the events were unfolding, but before anyone outside the VTECH community knew about all became public a short time later. Needless to say NPR has been covering the story closely... We're thinking about what constructive conversations we might have about the terrible events at Virginia Tech. Inevitably, a conversation about gun control ensues after an incident like this. Douglas Hopper, one of our producers, took a cab home the other night. The driver offered the opinion that it was a good idea that the courts have overturned D.C.'s strict handgun ban, the idea being if the government can't protect you, you'd better be able to protect yourself. But, clearly, others would argue that the very reason these incidents occur is that guns are so readily available in this country. So we would like to ask -- if we can ask this without being exploitative -- have you ever had occasion to defend yourself with a gun? Or, have you been in a situation that caused you to believe that the right to bear arms is worth defending? On the contrary, we'd also like to know if you've ever had a personal experience that caused you to reject the use of weapons, or to believe that access to weapons should be restricted. Talk to us... And thank you for allowing us into the sensitive corners of your lives. -- Michel Martin

Imus Out, Apple In...

Tue, 17 Apr 2007 11:43:51 -0500

Radio "shock jock" and television personality Don Imus was recently fired from MSNBC and CBS over comments about the Rutgers University Women's Baketball team. Getty Images   The new Apple TV. Source: niallkennedy The window on the latest "shock jock" drama -- it made world headlines -- is now closing. Aside from Don Imus' actual comments, what made this particular incident so important is the furor it incited. The public outcry was remarkable. Don't you think so? Judging by the comments to our blog last week...everyone else's blogs...and the chit chat at the supermarket, or maybe seemed that just about EVERYONE had an opinion on this -- talk radio listener or not. And such strong opinions. This I'd bet on: that the radio veteran had no idea that a few seconds of his show would generate such a deep discussion, a discussion which seems so much bigger than him. In the middle of all this yak yak we were trying to figure out what our contribution could be...because if you're hearing the same thing you're hearing on everybody else's air, why do you need us? First we thought, we wanted to at least try to get at what was, and still is, at the core of this whole...mess: what's the appeal of Imus, and indeed the genre we call "shock-jock" (a term some people hate btw)? So we put out a call in this space for people who say they listen to the show and asked them to join us. (What's up with all you Imus listeners that so many of you said, "not me!"?) But we were happy to have Anthony Duignan-Cabrera, an Imus listener and an editorial director for Imaginova Corporation; and -- a first for us -- a frequent commenter on our blog, Steve Petersen. We also wanted the perspective of a talk show industry insider so we were very lucky to get Michael Harrison, editor and publisher of Talkers Magazine in between his 50 million newspaper and television interviews. And, then we thought it would be interesting to hear from a group of African American women. (As you know, the subject of Imus' remarks was the Rutgers Women's Basketball team -- predominantly black females). Participating in that discussion: Rose Scott, freelance sports writer; Teresa Wiltz, writer for the Style section of the Washington Post; and journalist and professor E. R. Shipp. Curious where you come out on this. I hope you hear your view represented somewhere in these conversations...OR that someone had a thought that hadn't occurred to you. And because we cannot just live in the land of intensity we have some other dessert for you: Next Big Thing -- For all of you iPod worshippers out will soon have a sibling. We take a look at the new Apple TV. (It's basically an iPod, but for television content.) You knew it was coming, right? Allen Weiner takes us on a test drive and gives us his full "user experience..." Last, can a baseball widow become a baseball fan? Sydney Trent has a lovely story -- literally rooted in love -- on how and why she taught herself to become a great fan of the sport. Yes, she's a "gal of summer." Ok, your turn. So, what do you think is next for Imus? Do you think he'll pop up on satellite like his brethren in the business Howard Stern and Opie and Anthony? Do you even care? When you get a moment, scroll down and read our posts on this from last week. iPodder? Are you craving the next big thing: Apple TV? Hmm...I wonder what will follow the Apple TV. Maybe the Applemobile luxury sedan. GPS standard, of course. Blog it out... -- Michel Martin

Double the Pleasure...

Fri, 13 Apr 2007 17:29:30 -0500

Source: alborz_d92 Listen to the Pilots Pilot "A" Pilot "B" Rolling out our new name, sharing our first FULL pilot hour, tweaking it all; a quick trip to New York to help NPR member station WNYC mark its capital campaign to pay for their new fancy studio space...a lot on our plates this past week. Then, Imus. Need I say any more? But, somehow I've enjoyed...most of it. I'm beginning to think I actually function better without sleep. Could that possibly be true? (And no, I will NOT be asking for a second opinion) ANYWHO...It's Friday the 13th. We're not superstitious so we're going to take a chance on posting two full pilot hours today and hope that no buggies take us down. So, let's get to it... Pilot A: You'll hear a discussion on circumcision and talks in New York to encourage adult men to have the procedure as a way to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS. . (Gee--wonder why none of the guys on our staff wanted to work on this segment?!) We also talk baseball and Barry Bonds. Some predict that he'll soon pass Hank Aaron's homerun record. But that got us to thinking: given Bonds' checkered history, do his homerun stats alone mean that we should think of him as a "hero?"... Plus, we talk to the only woman currently working as an umpire in professional baseball. Yep, we found her--no easy feat, since she calls a game just about every night during the season and is constantly on the road. Sorry, I know some people hate this "first-only woman/black/purple/ whatever person to do this or that" coverage. But I couldn't help myself. I love stories about people who've broken barriers, and ( you might have figured this out by now) I really like sports. You'll also hear a discussion on differences among ethnicities when it comes to end of life decisions. I confess the discussion forced me to think about my own attitudes about this... Pilot B: Katrina -- We are very interested in following the stories of those affected by the storm. And we remain intrigued by the stories of where everyone has gone and how they have fared. In this program we focused on folks who have moved to Atlanta. Why Atlanta? You'll just have to listen. Then...could you have a fantasy about money? No, not that you'll win Powerball (we all have that). One of our money coaches stops by to give us some tips on how we'd know if we are actually disconnected with reality when it comes to our cash. And of course...Mocha Moms. Are you a stay-at-home mom? If so, could you be doomed!? A new book by Leslie Bennetts calls staying home "The Feminine Mistake." But don't worry...the Moms don't play! It's as good it gets for a very balanced discussion. Twice the segments...twice the fun, right? I'm giving you the entire weekend to chew on these, so you'll have more than enough time. Let us know what you think... Now, here are couple things I'd like to know... Are there pioneers whom you'd like to know more about ? (hopefully living ones I could interview -- but wait --even some historical figures might be in our sound vault!) Heads of state? Sports figures? Scientists? People in your community? What kind of achievers interest you? And do you have their cell phone numbers? (Of course, that is a "yes" or "no" cell numbers on the blog, please) Have a great weekend! -- Michel Martin

My Thoughts on Imus

Thu, 12 Apr 2007 14:05:03 -0500

Can I Just Tell You?... Our blog entry below has generated some spirited comments in response to this whole Don Imus flap. Lend your ear to this commentary and hear my thoughts on the issue... (This was recorded before the MSNBC suspension, and so on...) -- Michel Martin

Forging Our Way

Mon, 09 Apr 2007 18:03:53 -0500

Source: Quarter Less Three Listen to the Pilot Full Pilot Hour: 'Tell Me More' with Michel Martin Another week of piloting... and BREAKING NEWS! Are you ready?? We have a name!!!!!! Drumroll (cue announce)... Are you ready? TELL ME MORE with Michel Martin It has been a long process... I can't even tell you how many names we explored. Thousands, literally. YOU sent us some great ones... but alas, SO many great ones were already taken! So, here's why we think this one will work: It says exactly what we're trying to do: We're listening. We've got our collective ears to the ground. And to you, it says we want to know more -- so much more. We're going behind the headlines to give you the angles and the perspectives that others might miss or just not talk about. So...Tell Me More. That's why we're here. (And sorry! Nobody won the dinner. The name came from in-house!) And even more BIG NEWS! In honor of our new name and our drive toward our on-the-air launch, this week, we share with you our first FULL pilot hour! (Um, sorry... give me a minute. Sniff!) Sorry to get emotional. This is kind of a big deal to us because it's the first entire show that we're making available to you As you know, our earlier posts have just featured "samples" from our piloting. We wanted to tweak things just right -- at least to us -- before revealing ALL. (Just like I wouldn't come out of the house with my hair in a doo-rag... ya feel me? ) So, here's what's up for today's full hour: Award-winning documentarian Ken Burns is facing controversy. Critics say his upcoming 14-hour series on World War II overlooks the contributions and experiences of Latinos who fought and served. Some believe Burns' omission is a major slap in the face, while some other documentary filmmakers say, "Not so fast." We wanted to hear from both sides. We talked to Maggie Rivas Rodriguez, a journalist and historian at a major Texas university and Nina Gilden-Seavey, a filmmaker in her own right. In a separate conversation, Latino filmmaker Hector Galan also weighs in. We were debating whether a film that has yet to premiere really merits so much attention. But we decided the issues raised were so interesting -- and that these three points of view were so compelling we really couldn't handle it in less time. Hope you agree. By now, we are probably all aware of major conflict in Darfur and how it's affecting lives. (If not, catch up here). We hear a lot about the number of people displaced. But one thing I always wonder when I hear that is: Where do the people go? One answer (although not the whole answer, by any means) is: a small Midwestern town. Where? You'll have to listen. Suliman Giddo, co-founder of Darfur Peace and Development Association, and Abdula Salah, a Dafari refugee. Barbershop -- It's back! We took your advice. I'm just eavesdropping this time. (I have tough skin; it's ok. Brooklyn, remember?) Listen to these fellas talk about some of everything. They cover presidential fundraising and a bit of recent celebrity "baby daddy" drama. In the shop this week is Jimi Izrael, from the last go-around; Michael David Cobb Bowen, freelance writer and author; Quibian Salazar-Moreno, a freelance writer whose work has appeared in URB magazine and AOL Black Voices, and Ruben Navarrette, a syndicated columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune and Lastly, it's your turn. No, really! We read from your blog posts and feedback to what we're doing. Take a listen. You might hear from yourself! That's a wrap. Do you think that Ken Burns is obligated to be more inclusive in his war documentary? Or is his artistic freedom more important? What do you think about all the fuss? Let us know what you think about the full selection of content...and listening to our first release of a (mock) full show. We love hear[...]


Mon, 09 Apr 2007 17:48:44 -0500

Sorry in advance about the language but there's no way to tell the story otherwise: If this is the first you're reading -- or hearing -- of this here's the deal: Last week, radio "shock jock" Don Imus, on his show, described the Women's basketball team (predominantly African-American) of Rutgers University, the NCAA finalists, as "nappy headed ho's." You can read more about it here. It's not the first time for Imus. He once called a prominent African-American reporter "the cleaning lady" and a Jewish reporter...well, enough already. Many people have now called for him to be fired, including the President of the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. He has since apologized (the sincerity of which some question but still..) and had a fairly contentious appearance on the Rev. Al Sharpton's radio program this morning (Monday, April 9) where he insisted he is not a racist and said he wanted to meet with the young ladies on the basketball team to let them know he's not a bad guy. Rev. Sharpton, for one, says he still thinks Imus needs to go and will organize pickets until Imus does go. But we have a couple of questions. Isn't that the game? They don't call him a "shock jock" for nothing. Isn't getting people riled up the very reason he draws his handsome paycheck? So, where, exactly is the line? We are hoping you can help us with this. We want to know if you listen to Imus and if so, what do you like about the show? We are particularly interested if you are: A) a woman -- since a lot of people think his comments were at least as sexist as they were racist -- or B) a person of color (see "A") or white man and you consider yourself politically correct or progressive. That is to say even if YOU don't go around calling people nappy still enjoy the banter. We want to understand the appeal and we'd rather get it from listeners than people who study listeners, although we might ask them too. We also want to know where you draw the line? Have you ever turned off a show or stopped watching or listening all together because the host went too far? We're hoping to construct the entire segment from people who actually listen to the show. When you're not listening to NPR, of course... -- Michel Martin

Spirit-Filled Conflicts

Wed, 04 Apr 2007 18:14:19 -0500

Many religious communities continue to grapple with ideas of homosexuality within the church. iStock   Rene Syler has written a new book on motherhood. Source: Rene Syler Listen to Today's Segments Homosexuality & the Church History Minute with Ruby Dee Behind Closed Doors: Rene Syler Culture Coach What if you could know whether your baby is gay? I know, I know. This sounds like something from the supermarket tabloid wars. But this question has set off a serious theological discussion within one of the nation's more conservative denominations, the Southern Baptists. The President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Albert Mohler, took that question and wrote a rather serious meditation on the implications as he saw them. You can read the article for yourself here. I could have told Rev. Mohler that his writing would produce one thing for sure: lots and lots of DRAMA! Given that many of the world's major religions are struggling over the issue of homosexuality, we thought it would be interesting to talk about how other religious leaders are grappling with the issue, particularly within the Baptist tradition (given that Rev. Mohler is Baptist). What are his colleagues saying? Do they agree? Should the matter even be up for discussion? You'll hear from two ministers with similar roots who embrace very different ideas. They are Dr. Kenneth Samuel, pastor of Victory for the World Church in Atlanta, and Dr. Hershael York, associate dean at the Southern Baptist Seminary, and pastor of Buck Run Baptist Church. In addition to the controversial "gay baby" article, they talk about their beliefs on opening the "doors of the church" to the gay community. They also chime in on the debates some states are having about whether to apologize for slavery. Good idea, bad idea? From there, travel back in time with us for our "History Minute." (I hope you're keeping a list of our new signature never know when you'll be tested). We rediscover a powerful letter written by Abigail Adams, wife of former president John Adams. Best part of all: Reading the letter for us -- and somehow capturing all of its intended passion -- is the acclaimed actress Ruby Dee. Then, we go...Behind Closed Doors. Rene Syler, former anchor of The Early Show on CBS, talks candidly about deciding to have her breasts removed (yes, both of them) after realizing how vulnerable she was to breast cancer, and about motherhood. And get this...she lost her breasts and her job all within one month's time. She's a trouper. Her new book is "Good-Enough Mother: The Perfectly Imperfect Book of Parenting." And (drum roll) the moment you've been waiting for, our Culture Coach segment... I don't know if you've been monitoring our post asking for your questions, but there has been rich dialogue there...good stuff. Blogger Samuel has been holding it down... Harriette Cole cuts to the chase and answers some of your most interesting questions about those awkward situations that we all sometimes have. Just one of the experiences she addressed: A guy in the car (as a passenger) with a group of friends. A popular hip-hop song comes on the radio that generously drops the "n" word (of course, "for entertainment purposes only."). Uncomfortable? What to do? Listen to her advice... The church debate over homosexuality? What's your belief? Will there ever be common ground? Apologies for slavery. Necessary, or forgive and forget? Let us know! And KEEP THOSE EXPERIENCES COMING FOR OUR LIFE COACHES. If you have a life dilemma, we want to know about it... AND, any travel experiences THAT CHANGED YOUR LIFE?...We want to know about it all, your questions, your insights, your ideas...yes, we're greedy. -- Michel Martin

Today's Special

Fri, 30 Mar 2007 15:21:29 -0500

Shaquanda Cotton of Paris, Texas. Her case is the subject of at least 400 blogs. Source:   Frazlier Pope created a Facebook page to influence his peers on Shaquanda Cotton's case. Source: Frazlier Pope, III Listen to Today's Segments Social Networking & Activism Dispatches with Teresa Rodriguez Sneakers, Macy Gray and Cookies TGIF! Five intense days of meetings, interviews, bookings and... We close the week with great material (if I might say so, myself...) for you. Here's what your chefs have cooked up. Please, have a bite: Social Networking Sites -- Are MySpace and Facebook just for making friends? We thought so, too, until we learned of their role in the case of Shaquanda Cotton, where social networking has helped to make all the difference. If you don't know who Shaquanda Cotton is, read on; and if you do, chances are it's because of what we're about to tell you: She's a teenager from Paris, Texas, who was sent to prison for up to seven years for pushing a teacher (which she says she didn't do, by the way). Her story was first covered by a "traditional" journalist, Howard Witt of the Chicago Tribune. But then a man named Frazlier Pope read Howard's story, and decided to use the Web site Facebook as a vehicle for telling Shaquanda's story and mobilizing his peers to action. His dozens of peers soon became hundreds, which in turn soon became THOUSANDS of Shaquanda sympathizers. Why did Frazlier Pope do it? We'll let him tell you. And (a producer's dream), we were able to locate Creola Cotton, Shaquanda's mother. She and Mr. Pope are introduced for the first time. Check it out. *LITERALLY ">just in as I was writing this.* Also... Dispatches -- In case you don't remember (how could you forget?), this is the segment where we talk to our journalism colleagues about what's happening around the globe, namely in Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America. This time we went outside of the NPR family because for a decade, Univision's Teresa Rodriguez has been obsessed with one especially horrible situation in Mexico: the heinous murders of more than 400 young women in Juarez, just across the river from El Paso, Texas. Teresa joins us from Miami to talk about her book, The Daughters of Juarez, which details the unsolved killings of hundreds of girls and women... Plus, something a bit less serious... Sneakers! -- As part of our ongoing fascination with the "Next Big Thing," we chased down twin brothers Shane and Shawn Ward, two of New York's newest designers and creators of Detny. They are trying to make it happen in the shoe business. We asked them to talk shop with me about shoes...sneakers, specifically (or whatever they're called where you shoes, Chucks, etc...give me a break, I'm from Brooklyn!). We chat about the details -- their designs, materials and even a little about how, in some places, your footwear can make you a target... Then... In Your Ear -- Another new one for us (and you, too...) Grammy Award-winning artist Macy Gray dropped by our studios recently and told our director, Rob Sachs, what SHE listens to (since WE like to listen to HER). And, now for dessert... Can I Just Tell You? -- This is where I serve up my own personal dish, or view, on something. This week, something we long for every year (at least in this office...I can't speak for you): We salivate like hounds when we hear that special knock on the door, or get an e-mail that someone is selling...Girl Scout cookies! Well folks, that's a wrap for this week... and for the month of March. But before we go, we want to hear (or rather, read) from you. What's your take on social networking sites and advocacy? Do you belong to MySpace, or Facebook? What[...]

Complicated Lessons

Wed, 28 Mar 2007 17:25:25 -0500

Source: mirandaceleste Listen to the Segments D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty 'Chat Room': School Takeovers Men and HPV Bill Fletcher Commentary Do you have kids in public schools? Do you know any? How about this: Do you ever plan to get operated on... or hire someone who went to public schools? Do I have your attention now? I'm asking because 90 percent of America's kids go to public schools. We can debate all day whether American schools in general are up to par, how they stack up against schools in the nations we're most likely to compete against economically (and we should debate... all ideas welcome.) But one thing is clear: too many schools are in trouble. It's not for nothing that President Bush made education the focus of his first campaign for the presidency. His big idea is to insist upon increased standards of accountability for schools and to give parents more choices if the schools don't meet those standards (It's complicated, I know...) Now at the local level of government: the mayor's office. A number of big city mayors have their own big idea... In Los Angeles, Albuquerque and Washington D.C., the mayors want to follow the lead of their counterparts in Boston and New York and take over responsibility for their city schools. It's a hot issue everywhere it's been raised. Picketers showed up at D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty's house to criticize his proposal. So that seemed as good a reason as any to talk to him about why he thinks this is such a good idea (We also reached out to Mayors Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angles and Martin Chavez of Albuquerque, but they showed us no love...) Who's the major beneficiary of school takeovers? Too much power for a mayor? Should all cards be on the table, and all options considered, when a school system is obviously struggling? The conversation spilled over into our Chat Room (hooray! Another new segment!). In "the room:" Keith Boykin, best-selling author and host of BET's "My Two Cents;" Ruben Navarrette, nationally syndicated columnist and Faye Anderson, freelance writer and public policy consultant. In addition to schools, they also talk to us about the controversy swirling around Alberto Gonzales, the U.S. Attorney General. We especially wanted to get their take on whether they think ethnicity has anything to do with his situation...Why bring that up, you say? Well, we try to say out loud what others may only be whispering about... all kinds of opinions to consider. And, of course, we discuss my personal obsession -- American Idol. Need I say more? Last...certainly not least -- remember our post "A Common Virus" about HPV? Well, I told you at the time, I had never heard of this before. Many of you were quite up to speed and shared some powerful stories; many of you were just as clueless as I was. And many of you guys wanted to know: What about the men? Fair question. We heard you. We asked Dr. Richard Schlegel, chair of the pathology department at Georgetown Medical Center to answer your questions.. Web extra! Hear a commentary on HPV by Bill Fletcher, associate professor at Brooklyn College, at the City University of New York. So... school takeovers. Where do you come out? Who runs your school system and do you think it matters? Plus, make time for our Diversity Coach...etiquette expert and lifestyle guru Harriette Cole will be in house this week for one of next week's programs (she's a busy lady) ...if you have a question for her about cross cultural communication, dating, entertaining, send it along! -- Michel Martin

New Segments, New Voices

Mon, 26 Mar 2007 14:20:45 -0500

Bassie Montewa of Bush Radio in Cape Town, South Africa. Courtesy of Bush Radio Listen to the Segments Bassie Montewa, Our International Anchor Buddy Iraq War Correspondents Nancy Trejos and James Blue Personal DNA Tests So... piloting week... what is it? Three? It's becoming a blur. Actually, we like piloting. I might even say we love it. (Kind of like the way we like doing push-ups -- you're so happy when it's over and you're on your way to becoming buff... no, really.) We like it because it's a way to experiment with what we call our "signature" segments, the segments we think give us our distinct flavor. So far, you've heard a few of them: Mocha Moms, Dispatches, the Barbershop. Your response to these has been outstanding, even when critical. So we want to introduce you to both a new segment and a new person here on Rough Cuts, our "International Anchor Buddy." We love all of our NPR correspondents serving overseas and we want you to hear from them as much as possible. But we also like hearing stories from the "inside out," from people who not only cover the story but also live it in some way. And one of the wonders of radio is that for a bit more than the cost of a phone call, we can bring you those people. For anchor buddies we are looking at "me's" elsewhere (scary thought?): radio and TV hosts, bloggers and others who give you the scoop on what's going on in their world. Earlier, I checked in with Bassie Montewa of Bush Radio in Cape Town, South Africa, where he hosts the daily radio call-in program "Back Chat." Bush Radio is respected as one of the oldest, if not the oldest, community radio stations on the continent. It's commonly referred to as the "Mother of Community Radio in Africa." Bassie talked to us about preparations for the 47th anniversary of the Sharpeville Massacre and a sneak peak at his radio show's line-up for the anniversary. He also dished on his career in radio and the format of his program. Take a listen and let us know what you think. It would be great if you'd share with us names of radio and TV hosts elsewhere in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean whom you would like to hear on our air, too, as part of our regular rotation. Shoot us a line. In last week's post, we mentioned the fourth anniversary of the Iraq war. In all of the non-stop war coverage, two voices you may not have heard from belong to Nancy Trejos and James Blue, two Iraq war correspondents. Nancy recently returned from Iraq as a reporter for the Washington Post. James, formerly of ABC News, is a producer with the Koppel Group at Discovery. They join us to talk about their coverage but also whether being a reporter of color makes a difference. I think it's worth nothing that 54 journalists have been killed in this conflict. Do you find yourself wondering why they go? Let us know. And finally, another new segment we'd like you to hear: "The Next Big Thing." This week we take a look at personal DNA tests. Huh? No, this isn't a "Baby Daddy Drama." Geneticist Dr. Rick Kittles -- who, it has to be said, owns a testing company -- talks to us about why people pursue these tests. And we found a family story that we had to share. You'll have to listen to get all the details, but I will "spill" this much: a black woman from Harlem, N.Y., and a white man from Poplar Bluff, Mo. What's the unique connection? Which brings me to ask: Have you ever discovered a long, lost relative? What was that like? Would you ever consider submitting DNA to learn your family roots? Please do let us know! Let the blogging begin... and the piloting continues. -- Michel Martin

We Have Our Diversity Coach!

Mon, 26 Mar 2007 12:20:18 -0500

Last month we pitched an idea to you about a diversity, or culture, coach -- "Culture Coaching 101?" to be exact. Well, good news: We found one! Later this week, we'll be joined by the fabulously talented Harriette Cole. Here's my short version of her bio: life and etiquette coach, author of at least 1,000 books (OK, maybe a tiny exaggeration there), syndicated columnist and... former lifestyle and fashion director for Essence magazine. Can we say "diva"? Oh, and she just signed on as creative director for Ebony magazine. She's already prepping to answer those taboo questions about culture, diversity and those hangnail life experiences that place you in need of some serious "coaching." Note: We've just entered spring and Cole has also written extensively on wedding etiquette. She can also help you (and your image) from making one of those disastrous faux pas we often read about. You know, those "Oops! I didn't know..." moments! What's on your mind? Quick! Send us your questions... -- Michel Martin