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April 22 2012

17:31

May 24 2011

14:00

“Expanding the palette of public radio”: Marc Maron’s WTF moves from podcast to program

Last month, we posted an interview Josh did with The Sound of Young America‘s Jesse Thorn. During their conversation, Thorn mentioned that he was working on trying to bring his friend Marc Maron‘s interview show WTF to public radio sometime in the “late spring of this year.”

Well: It is done. Last week, WTF was picked up by PRX (FTW!), thus making it available for distribution to stations around the country. And a number have already signed on: WTF has been licensed so far by New York’s WNYC, Chicago’s WBEZ, and, as of yesterday, Austin’s KUT — with more, Thorn told me, on the way.

WTF both is and isn’t standard public radio fare. On one hand, it’s two people sitting behind microphones, one interviewing the other, a form as old as the medium. On the other, it’s far less formal and more sprawling than what you’d get from a Terry Gross or a Diane Rehm. Maron interviews comedians in each episode — Conan O’Brien, Robin Williams, Patton Oswalt, Louis C.K. — in loose conversations that can extend well beyond an hour. The format and Maron’s abilities have led to surprisingly open and revealing interviews. As Ira Glass told The New York Times, “People say stuff to him that you can’t imagine them saying to anyone else. And they offer it. They want to give it to him. Because he is so bare, he calls it forward.”

As part of the shift to a public radio format, podcast episodes had to be compacted and reshuffled to fit into one-hour time slots. There was also some bleeping necessary; WTF suggests “sensitive listeners should be advised.” Glass, who championed the show’s move to radio, insisted on keeping the name intact, acronym moralists be damned. (Check out Glass’ promos for the show below. You can hear all 10 episodes, pulled from the best of WTF’s archives, at PRX’s website.)

Thorn said he hopes that WTF can be part of a move to broaden the kind of content — and the kind of show formats — on the public airwaves. “I think the type of interview that Marc does is something that’s new to public radio,” he says. His interview style signals a shift not because it’s profane or vulgar — “which I think is what, sometimes, program directors assume about it” — but because it is raw and real in a way “that you don’t hear almost anywhere in broadcasting — outside of, to some extent, your semi-exploitative television interviews” (Oprah, Barbara Walters, etc.).

That emotional, human-to-human connection can be a rarity within a platform whose definition of professionalism is often bound up in the interviewer’s ability to express both empathy and detachment at once. (Paging Jay Rosen.) “I don’t think it’s something that has existed in public media in the context of an interview show — and especially on a public radio show,” Thorn says. He likens Maron’s interviewing style to that of…Howard Stern, since, say what you will about the shock jock, “one thing that he’s capable of doing brilliantly is finding emotional revelations in his guests. And he does that by being so honest about himself that the guest can’t help but be honest about themselves.”

That authentic element, Thorn notes — the closeness, the rawness — is part of what has made shows like This American Life and Radiolab into successes, particularly with younger listeners. And when Glass made his push to promote WTF into a show, furthering that trend was part of the idea:

It’s high time we on public radio harvest the very best of the podcasts out there and bring them to our audience. This is a great, easy, audience-friendly way to do that.

It’s about, essentially, “expanding the palette of public radio,” Thorn says: about providing listeners with new ways to understand the intimacy of the spoken word. “I think that Marc recording the show in his garage, with his books, feeds that strength of audio as a format,” Thorn says. “It’s like having something whispered in your ear. It’s automatically very intimate.”

May 18 2011

19:00

Video: Civic Media Session, "Civic Disobedience"

(For great detail about the "Civic Disobedience" session, check out moderator Ethan Zuckerman's write-up.)

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Watch the full video...

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May 12 2011

05:32

My ugly mug…

…yeah. So I’m not the most attractive face on the planet and generally have spent my life behind a camera shooting those much more worthy.

But lately…been thinking. Maybe a series of web videos…podcasts…on the subject of video and journalism might not be a BAD thing.

So long as I don’t scare the livestock and children.

Hmmm…something to ruminate over….


May 04 2011

20:08

Video: Civic Media Session, "Design for Vulnerable Populations"

Designers often want to help people that they perceive as being in need -- whether those affected by natural or human-caused disasters, the economically or physically disadvantaged, or those who are on the losing end of a cultural power dynamic. However, naive attempts to "help" through simplistic techno-centric design can be at best ineffective, and at worst counter-productive.

What can designers do to better connect with the communities and individuals they wish to serve? How can design projects avoid patronizing attitudes and economic colonialization? How can a designer be effective in promoting social change while following their conscience?

This panel brings together designers who have worked in the mental health industry, international development, the prison system, and community environmental action to discuss what has worked and what hasn't, and what approaches designers can take to increase their chances of success.

  • Charlie DeTar (Moderator) Co-founder of Between the Bars, a blogging platform for prisoners. Fellow at the Center for Future Civic Media, and PhD student at the MIT Media Lab.
  • Patricia Deegan Creator of the CommonGround web application which supports shared decision making in psychopharmacology consultation. Adjunct Professor at the Dartmouth College School of Medicine and at Boston University, Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.
  • Liz Barry Director of Urban Environment at Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science, a collaborative developing inexpensive and community-led means to explore environmental and social issues; Co-founder of TreeKIT, an initiative to collaboratively measure, map, and manage urban forests.
  • Nathan Cooke Born and raised in California, USA, Cooke works at MIT’s D-Lab documenting technologies and working with students on design projects. He has previous experience working for Frog Design in San Francisco and at Autodesk as part of their Sustainability division.

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April 25 2011

18:30

Video: "Steve Kurtz: Cultural Resistance"

A Civic Media Session about models and techniques for public interventions and soft subversions aimed at undermining authoritarian tendencies in a time of neo-liberal domination.

Known for his work in Electronic Civil Disobedience and BioArt, Steve Kurtz is a founding member of the Critical Art Ensemble, a collective of five tactical media practitioners of various specializations including computer graphics and web design, film/video, photography, text art, book art, and performance.

Formed in 1987, Critical Art Ensemble’s focus has been on the exploration of the intersections between art, critical theory, technology, and political activism.

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February 17 2011

18:50

Video: From Cities, Code, and Civics: "Enhanced serendipity"

Max Ogden of Code for America discusses taking "treasure troves" of government datasets to bring citizens and friends together.

From "Cities, Code, and Civics", a Civic Media Session of the MIT Center for Future Civic Media.

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18:47

Video: From Cities, Code, and Civics, "Customizing tools from city to city?"

Nick Grossman of OpenPlans, Nigel Jacob of the City of Boston Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics, and Max Ogden of Code for America respond to questions about how civic tools do (or need to) vary from city to city.

From "Cities, Code, and Civics", a Civic Media Session of the MIT Center for Future Civic Media.

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18:40

Video: Civic Media Session, "Bustling with Information: Cities, Code, and Civics"

Nick Grossman, Nigel Jacob, and Max Ogden

Moderator: Center director Chris Csikszentmihályi

Cities are vibrant, complicated organisms. A still-working 200 year old water pipe might rest underground next to a brand new fiber optic cable, and citizens blithely ignore both if they are working well. Cities are constantly rewriting themselves, redeveloping neighborhoods and replacing infrastructure, but deliberative structures like school boards and city council meetings continue to run much the way they have for generations. In what ways can information systems rewrite our understanding of civics, governance, and communication, to solve old problems and create new opportunities in our communities?

Nick Grossman is Director of Civic Works at OpenPlans. He oversees development of new products around smart transportation, open municipal IT infrastructure, participatory planning, and local civic engagement.

Nigel Jacob serves as the Co-Chair of the Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics, a group within City Hall focused on delivering transformative services to Boston's residents. Nigel also serves as Mayor Menino's advisor on emerging technologies. In both of these roles Nigel works to develop new models of innovation for cities in the 21st century.

Max Ogden is a fellow at Code for America and develops mapping tools and social software aimed at improving civic participation and communication. This year Max is working with Nigel and the Office of New Urban Mechanics to create technologies that better enable education in Boston's Public Schools.

Civic Media Sessions
Hosted by the MIT Center for Future Civic Media, these open sessions highlight cutting-edge media research and tools for community and political engagement.

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October 15 2010

12:56

October 08 2010

16:50

#WEFHamburg: Jpod day 3 – training for journalists and working with Google

On the final day of the World Editors Forum we heard from media training organisations about how editors can improve the skills of their journalists; from Google about how online publishers can improve audience figures through the search engine’s platforms; and from mainstream media about how to improve hyperlocal reach. 

Listen to our round-up of the day’s events, featuring interviews with the Poynter Institute’s Interactive Learning and News University director Howard Finberg, the International Center for Journalists’  president Joyce Barnathan and Zeit Online’s editor-in chief Wolfgang Blau.

For the rest of Journalism.co.uk’s coverage follow the tag wefhamburg on the news and blog pages of the site.Similar Posts:



11:45

#WEFHamburg: jpod day two – innovation and tablet technologies

At the second day of the World Editors Forum in Hamburg, delegates attended presentations on new business models and product innovation, from tablet technology development to newsroom organisation.

Listen below for our round-up of the day’s events, featuring interviews with Washington Post managing editor Raju Narisetti, LePost.fr co-founder Benoit Raphael, NewsCloud founder Jeff Reifman, Innovation Media Consulting Group director Carlo Campos and News International director of creative projects Alfredo Trivino.

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08:00

#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – journalism news podcast

Keep up to date with journalism news by signing up to Journalism.co.uk's jpod, a series of podcasts including a weekly news round up. Tipster: Rachel McAthy. To submit a tip to Journalism.co.uk, use this link - we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.


October 07 2010

09:12

#WEFHamburg: Jpod day one – optimism and new business models

For the rest of this week, Journalism.co.uk is at the World Editors Forum in Hamburg. We will be bringing you the latest from the conference, letting you know what editors from around the world are saying about the industry.

Catch up on the first day of events with the Jpod, featuring interviews with: Martha Stone, director of the Shaping the Future of the Newspaper Project; Dr ErikWilberg, associate professor at the Norwegian School of Management; Eric Hazan, partner at MKinsey & Company; David Cohn, founder of Spot.us; and John Yemma, editor-in-chief at the Christian Science Monitor.

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October 01 2010

12:32
08:25

#jpod: Where does the truth lie in journalism and communications?

What is truth? Tricky as a philosophical question, even more so when discussing truth and objectivity in today’s  media. Speaking at an event organised by Editorial Intelligence, journalists, PR agencies, academics and bloggers discussed how online communications are affecting the idea of truth in the media; and how the speed with which information spreads via the web is challenging accuracy and objectivity amongst news organisations.

Debating the issues were:

  • Political bloggers Guido Fawkes and Iain Dale;
  • FT journalist Sue Matthias;
  • head of journalism at City University London George Brock;
  • BBC Panorama journalist John Ware;
  • Chief executive of Editorial Intelligence Julia Hobsbawn.

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September 28 2010

08:54

September 24 2010

11:30

September 23 2010

16:13

#jpod: Data journalism – what’s driving the trend?

Journalism.co.uk caught up with speakers and delegates at last night’s Frontline Club event on data journalism to ask what makes a good data journalist and what’s behind the current popularity of infographics, data visualisation and data amongst journalists and trainers.

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September 17 2010

14:17
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