#19: Strings – Bussing Around (Episode #1)

With this episode, we introduce a new series called Strings. It’s all about how issues and individuals string our communities together in surprising ways. Podcast producers Kevin Beasley and Ann Powers take the show on the road starting out in U.S. District Court and sitting down with Judge John V. Acosta’s, which leads them to a ridealong with a Trimet bus operator and ultimately lands them in a psychologist’s office speaking with Dr. Elisa Rudd. 

So, how are these three unique professionals strung together? From the importance of being heard to unlikely safe spaces for those in need, and introducing mental health issues into everyday narratives – listen and find out how these connect to each other.

We’d love to hear your thoughts as well.  Please submit your comments and suggestions on other strings you know of or how we can make this series the best it can be. 

Show notes & links:

#18: Amanda Ripley: Adding Complexity to the Stories We Tell

Last summer, bestselling author and Atlantic magazine contributor Amanda Ripley published an essay, Complicating the Narratives, exploring what journalists could learn from mediators, lawyers, rabbis, and others “who know how to disrupt toxic narratives and get people to reveal deeper truths.” Ripley revealed how she discovered her own shortcomings as a journalist and called on reporters to change how they conduct interviews and cover conflict — in order to do a better job listening and being heard in the current age of outrage. The essay went viral online and was translated into multiple languages.

This episode captures a presentation Amanda did at the University of Oregon’s Agora Journalism Center as well as a conversation with Agora’s director Regina Lawrence. 

Show notes & links: 

#17: Kaitlin Prest: Discovering the Magic in Modern Audio Fiction

Kaitlin Prest is an award-winning podcast artist whose keen ability to blend intricate sound design and distinct narrative storytelling into one-of-a-kind sensory experiences has earned her high acclaim at audio festivals and conferences worldwide. She got her start as a puppeteer, moved onto launch a Canadian radio show called Audio Smut, directed The Shadows for CBC Podcasts and is the co-founder, creative director and host of Radiotopia’s The Heart.

Our conversation with Kaitlin touches on her own personal journey in striving to make it in the radio and podcast worlds, as well as the inspirations and ethics driving her unique creative process that transforms audio into artwork expressing the complexities of intimacy and the human condition.

(Photo of Kaitlin Prest by Eleanor Petry)

Show notes & links:

#16: August Wilson Red Door Project – Hands Up, Cop Out – Look Within & Evolve

The August Wilson Red Door Project strives to change Portland’s racial ecology through the arts. It started with a play called Hands Up: 7 Playwrights, 7 Testaments that showcases a powerful set of monologues commissioned by The New Black Fest in response to police shootings and institutional profiling. Then came Cop Out: Beyond Black, White & Blue. This series of monologues portray police of various rank and experience relating to the community, each other, their families and the institutions they represent. Up next for the Red Door Project is The Evolve Experience, a blend of Hands Up and Cop Out.

Kevin Jones and Lesli Mones co-founded the Red Door Project. They sat down with us for a compelling conversation about closing the gap between racial divides by taking center stage. During our talk, you’ll hear us reference findings from the Portland Police Bureau Strategic Insights Report, which is a summary of data collection and outreach efforts on behalf of the Bureau.

Show notes & links:

#15: Claire Cain Miller – Admitting and Overcoming Bias

Research shows that developing empathy, connection and compassion is crucial to a sustainable and humane society. But, in order to do that we must first admit our own biases, overcome them and step outside of our bubbles – or comfort zones.  

So, how do we do that?  Claire Cain Miller is a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist who covers gender, work, family and the way technology changes our lives. She writes for The Upshot – a New York Times site about politics, economics and everyday life. In one of her recent articles, How to Be More Empathetic, she offers a guide on doing just that – bursting our bubbles to become better members of society with evidenced-based exercises anyone can do to increase empathy.

Show notes & links:

Reading literary fiction is one of those evidenced-based exercisers. We’ve listed three books Claire recommends during the episode:

In addition, this The Ezra Klein Show episode also came up during our conversation with Claire: Jay Rosen is Pessimistic About the Media. So am I.

Original music by Podington Bear.

#14: Bob McKinnon – Headwinds & Tailwinds

What happens when we change the narrative of the classic American Dream mantra – that our position in life depends on more than just pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps? How does this impact reaching our personal and professional goals, helping others reach theirs and how public policy and resources are developed?

Bob McKinnon is an author and founder of GALEWiLL, an organization that designs social change programs, executive director of the online platform Moving Up and creator of Your American Dream Score – a quiz to help you reflect on the headwinds and tailwinds guiding your life and an opportunity to better empathize with the journeys of others.

Show notes & links:

Original music by Podington Bear & Kevin Beasley

#13: Kara Moore – Being Present

Kara Moore is the lead facilitator at Kickstand Comedy Space in Portland, OR.  Having studied, performed, and coached improv and sketch comedy since 2001. She says improv is more about being a hardcore listener than it is about trying to be funny. We had a fun conversation with Kara about being present, genuinely portraying subjects, and how the best improvisers listen for cues to further the narrative.

Show notes & links:

Original music by Podington Bear

#12: Eli Saslow – Building Trust

Eli Saslow is an award-winning journalist and a staff writer for The Washington Post. In 2014, he received a Pulitzer Prize Award for his work on food stamps in post-recession America. His most recent book, Rising Out of Hatred tells the story of Derek Black’s transition from an emerging white supremacist leader, to an outspoken opposer of the white nationalist movement.

Show notes & links:

#11: Gabe Howe – Literal Common Ground

Gabe Howe is the Executive Director of the Siskiyou Mountain Club. The group works to maintain and promote remote trail systems in southwest Oregon. Gabe finds that when volunteers from different walks of life and diverse backgrounds come together in the wilderness, they’re able to connect in special ways over a literal common ground.

Show notes & links: