Two Audio Stories That Should be Required Listening

A story told without video or a slide deck can be as powerful as a story supported by video. But it takes a rare talent to pull it off.

While riding my bike home last night and driving into work this morning, I listened (on a safe little speaker) to two podcasts (episodes?) that

(1) Reminded me what a powerful thinker and speaker Barbara Jordan was before her death

(2) Introduced me to Will Hurd, the only black GOP member of Congress who used to be a CIA agent and whose district runs hundreds of miles along the southwestern border.

(3) Show that a stories told without video or a slide deck can be as powerful as stories supported by video. But it takes a rare talent to pull it off.

Disclaimer: I think what Hurd says in this Daily interview makes great sense. However, I have no idea where he stands on other issues or, frankly, anything. On the issue of “the wall,” he’s a voice of reason.

Here are links to the two posts.

Where Have You Gone, Barbara Jordan? Our Nation Turns Its Lonely Eyes to You  (This American Life)

A Republican Congressman from Texas Who Opposes the Wall (The Daily)

Photo: GettyImages

Interesting Pew Survey (2016 vs 2018)

Interesting data for political stats wonks.


(Update: Also see, “How Broad and How Happy Is the Trump Coalition?” Nate Cohn’s article mentioned below.)


Here are some fascinating Pew Research survey findings in the run-up to the “mid-year” 2018 election and backward look at 2016.

Why is it interesting?

The 2018 findings are from a tracking poll of the same individuals who participated in the 2016 Pew American Trends Panel. In other words, the same people who participated in 2016 also participated in this year’s panel. (Let me try again: It’s not a random sampling. It’s a survey of the same people who participated in 2016.)

While the write-up of the Pew findings is comprehensive, today’s NYT “The Daily” podcast has guest Nate Cohn of @UpshotNYT diving deep into the role of educated suburban women in both the 2016 and 2018 races.

Bottomline

Before this survey, the conventional wisdom has been that a core of “uneducated white rural male voters” is the key to Trump’s 2016 victory. While the Pew survey concurs that that demographic was a key member of the Trump “core,” it also reveals that educated women in the suburbs who were against Hillary Clinton were what sealed the deal for Trump. And, as this Pew chart shows, this cohort is the most likely voter to have become disenchanted with Trump.

@R eview | STown

More masterful work from the folks at This American Life.

If you visit the website of the podcast STown, you’ll notice that the seven-part series is divided into “chapters.” After binge-listening seven hours during the past weekend (kept doing yard work so I could listen guilt-free), I agree that “chapters” is more appropriate than “episodes” as STown flows like a well-crafted story, masterfully told.

First a word of caution. If cussing (and I mean cussing, not cursing) offends you, please stop here and forget the podcast. Okay. You’ve been warned. STown stands for Shit Town, the name given to his hometown by John B. McLemore. The town he’s grown to hate is in Bibb County, Ala., about midway between Tuscaloosa and Birmingham. John (or John B) is one of those people who has grown angry with the world, an iconoclast who can’t believe what idiots human beings have become. Unfortunately, he’s smart enough to know it’s true. He’s brilliant on a wide range of topics and is one of the world’s most talented restorers of antique mechanical clocks. But he’s also crazy as a loon and a world class cusser. Read more “@R eview | STown”

Radio Lab’s Seven-Episode Podcast Series About the Supreme Court is Beyond Perfect

More Perfect bypasses the wonkiness and tells stories behind some of the court’s biggest rulings

Radiolab_Presents__More_Perfect___WNYC

I’ve just listened to a couple of episodes about the workings of the Supreme Court in the seven-part podcast series, More Perfect. The series is the first spin-off from the Radio Lab folks at WNYC Studios. The host is Jad Abumrad, the founder and co-host of Radio Lab.  (Did I mention Abumrad, a MacArthur Fellow, is a Nashville native?)

More_Perfect___NPRIf you are familiar with the production approach of Radio Lab, you’ll recognize how the podcast episodes are edited with layering approaches that are like those you’d hear in recorded music, not spoken word reporting. This is a signature of Abumrad, who majored in music at Oberlin College and, well, have I mentioned he’s a native of a place that has the nickname, Music City?

The episodes are also filled with parenthetical conversations that allow Abumrad to interject questions to the reporter right at a point where the listener may be getting a bit confused. “I can’t believe I’m hearing you say that,” Abumrad says at one point when the show’s lawyer explains a way in which the legal system works.

According to the show’s website, “More Perfect, dives into the rarefied world of the Supreme Court to explain how cases deliberated inside hallowed halls affect lives far away from the bench….More Perfect bypasses the wonkiness and tells stories behind some of the court’s biggest rulings.”

I agree.

Another thing to check out are the episode pages for the way in which they provide and organize links related to all aspects of the podcast. Well done. Here’s the page for one of the episodes I heard.

Stuff I Learn Only From The BBC World Service

The BBC is a great example of a vast media empire that uses its resources to add context — history programming, for example — into the current flow of news.

I just heard two early-morning episodes (Central Time) of the BBC series called, “The Why Factor.” One was about how America sees itself (followed next week by how it’s seen by the rest of the world) and the other on why people have different preferences in the types of music they enjoy. (More on that one in a second.)

I’ve written before about my fascination with contextual content (the hows, whys, data, background and how-tos) — as much as I am fascinated with the chronological content we news and info-junkies plug in to. The BBC is a great example of a vast media empire that uses its resources to add context — history programming, for example — into its constant flow of current news.

For example, here is a factoid I just learned on “The Why Factor” episode about music.

According to research conducted by Spotify,the generational difference in music preference between Millenials and Baby Boomers boils down to Skrillex vs. Roy Orbison. (Meaning, the music you’d least likely find any overlap among people who are teenagers vs. 60+.)

I’m convinced (but I’ll note I’m in neither camp):