In 2016, Amina endeavored to explain the celebrity web ensnaring at least two Kardashian-Jenners, Blac Chyna, Amber Rose, and Kanye West. All the subtext a pop culture skimmer needs to understand Rose’s now infamous tweet about Kanye. I had some fun with audio illustration to help keep track of the many characters involved. (Note: this was before our upgraded mics and downgraded White House).
In 2018, I reported, hosted, edited and mixed an episode about misconceptions and feelings of invisibility that affect bisexual women.
In 2017, I spoke with YA author Zan Romanoff about teens, technology and her novel Grace and the Fever. This was a particularly fun interview as Zan and I spent our teenage years together, going to concerts and obsessing over crushes, much like the protagonists of her very excellent book.
After of years podcasting and our preoccupation with the political necessity of women’s friendships, CYG had the opportunity to meet and interview Hillary Rodham Clinton. We only wish she had been sitting behind the Resolute desk. I prepared questions, supervised freelance audio engineers, and edited this interview.
When I stated working with host and entreprenuer Tom Serres and executive producer and blockchain expert Bettina Warburg-Johnson in 2015, we knew there were myriad ways that technology and Silicon Valley giants could reshape the political system. We didn't expect to see them play out quite so immediately in the 2016 election and aftermath.
When we published this interview with Jutta Steiner in November, 2016, cryptocurrency had already been through a few big moments. But all the energy was still on Bitcoin. Ethereum - the coin Steiner is most closely associated with - was selling for $11. At its peak in January, 2018, Ethereum hit $1,300. But Steiner's interests lay far beyond the speculative fever that was to come. From smart contracts to decentralized nations, she sees blockchain as technology that will remake the internet, business, and governance for generations to come.
Michael Fertik is probably best known at the founder of Reputation.com, but he's also an attorney and civics nerd. When this interview was recorded in late 2015, he was pondering the idea of a Constitutional Convention to address fundamental road blocks like paralysis in Congress. That idea has since gotten a lot more traction, although from very different political corners.
The national public radio show, Marketplace, has been on the air for decades, making sense of the economy through accessible reporting and interviews. In my stint as a producer, I learned the art of cutting an interview on deadline and came into my own as a self-directed producer hunting for stories in the newsroom and in the field. I spent a tense hour with LA billionaire Eli Broad, had 25 minutes to edit an interview with International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde before it aired to an audience of millions, and convinced host Kai Ryssdal to voice some goofy skits I wrote. These are my favorite of the hundreds of pieces I worked on at Marketplace.
From a series about the individuals who stand in for loathed institutions, I booked, produced, rode along and edited this interview with LA parking enforcement officer Jenny Day as she wrote tickets. As the recipient of too many parking tickets, the inside view of Officer Day, doing her job, and the violent behavior she has had to confront gave me a much greater appreciation for meter maids (and men).
Diplo had some big hits before Kai interviewed him in 2014, but to newsroom staff and public radio audiences, he was still something of an unknown. Likewise the role of the producer-hitmaker-DJ-artist. I booked, prepared and edited this interview between two prominent radiomakers, of very different genres and generations.
Welfare as we don’t know it. For the 20th anniversary of welfare reform, I joined a team of reporters at Marketplace looking at how the landmark 1996 law reshaped the safety net: who won, who lost and who took to the spotlight. For the debut season of this hit podcast, I sourced characters, interviewed the former Kennedy School dean who coined the phrase "a paycheck, not a welfare check," traveled to West Virginia as a field producer to meet a family Marketplace interviewed 20 years prior, helped coordinate a 50 state data visualization project and found a government-funded CD full of welfare songs.
Larry Townsend is like a lot of retired civil servants: he speaks in measured, clearly enunciated phrases and go-to anecdotes about hard work and middle class values; he has a good memory for the details of policy that was debated decades ago; he lives a quiet life in a quiet beach town. Unlike many retired local bureaucrats, he became a star in a highly controversial federal debate over welfare in the 1990s. His program in Riverside County, CA was so successful, it became a model for federal welfare reformers. Townsend was featured in hundreds of news stories, even invited to testify before the U.S. Senate. But after about 10 years, the so-called Riverside Miracle was kind of a bust. Was it simply economic conditions that helped Riverside flourish? Or maybe Townsend himself? He was full of flourish and salesmanship, going so far as to commission inspiring work songs in English and Spanish, at taxpayers' expense. When host Krissy Clark became obsessed with this miracle-that-kinda-wasn't, I tracked Townsend down, and we took a California coastal roadtrip to find him (and his CD of welfare songs).
When welfare reform was debated in the mid-1990s, Marketplace commissioned a reporter in West Virginia's coal country to tell the stories of families losing their welfare benefits where job prospects were slim, especially for women. Digging through the archive, I not only heard every episode of the show from 1997 (remember MCI?) I revisited the story of Josephine Moore, and, after trying at all times of day, started a series of long phone calls, to find out how her life had turned out after welfare. After a few months of talking and planning, (and flights, hours in the car, and a climb up a treacherous driveway), Krissy and I arrived in Kermit, WV with our California IDs and accents and lemons in tow (motel proprietor: "y'all girls ain't from around here are ya?"). We sat in Jo's doublewide trailer to learn about all the jobs she'd held during and after her time on welfare, including call centers, a chicken processing plant, collecting aluminum cans and even selling her blood plasma.
What do college scholarships, marriage counseling classes and crisis pregnancy centers have in common? In some states, they're funded by federal welfare dollars. For this episode, I dug deep into the numbers to understand why Michigan had startling high welfare spending on out-of-wedlock pregnancy prevention (permissible under the law). More surprising were the actual programs: college subsidies, including a small portion of upper middle class families receiving private college tuition subsidies, paid for by federal welfare dollars. (Note: I did not report on or participate in any research or fact-checking around the crisis pregnancy centers discussed in this episode).
In 2017, I helped create and launch Pitch Makeover, hosted by Pipeline Angels CEO Natalia Oberti Noguera. The first season featured female and nonbinary entrepreneurs, all seeking to improve their startup pitches.
It can be so hard to ask for help. Natalia and I spoke with Jean Miller Truelson about her app intended to make giving and asking for things like food and comfort easier when families are experiencing the hectic joy of a new baby, an illness, or in Jean's case, both in short succession.
When Natalia invited me to co-host a few episodes of Pitch Makeover, one entrepreneur I was delighted to meet was Starr Barbour. Her energy, wit and intelligence are infectious as she explains the power of meditation, and the need for busy people to access it when in-person classes are not available.
DeShuna Spencer wondered where all the great stories featuring black people were, and as she found scripted series and documentaries from around the world, decided to share that content in the form of kweliTV. She opens up about finding her own authentic path in an interview to inspire many founders.
In 2013, I joined host and startup investor Jason Calacanis to produce his long-running podcast, This Week in Startups. I booked, prepared and produced over 100 episodes of this twice-weekly show.
One of my favorite moments came from a founder with a social venture: Rose Broome is working to end homelessness through her for-profit benefit corporation, HandUp. While host Jason Calacanis was passionate about the cause, he had trouble squaring the social mission with the for-profit venture. Not only did Broome convince him, Calacanis asked, on-air, to be her first angel investor.