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Houses on the Moon Theater Company launches podcast

September 28, 2020

I’m helping my friends at Houses on the Moon theater company with their new podcast. You can listen to the pilot episode here:

Segment for PRI’s The World: Quarantine projects curate pandemic-inspired art

May 5, 2020

Today, thanks to the internet, we’re not so alone during our lives in lockdown. Numerous international art projects are harnessing the crowdsourcing power of the internet to curate art about life in quarantine.


BBC Cultural Frontline Airs Story about New Amsterdam Musical Association

December 27, 2018

For its episode on “The Art of the Gift,” BBC’s Cultural Frontline aired my story about the New Amsterdam Musical Association in Harlem, NY.

Podcast Extra with Eddy Arias from Episode 1

December 14, 2017


A lot has happened since the series was released this past summer–in particular there’s been a lot of talk about DACA: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The program has protected thousands of undocumented people from deportation. But recently the Trump Administration announced it would phase out DACA in March 2018. I wanted to see what the recent news means for Eddy Arias, the subject of Episode 1.

New Podcast: “Indefensible”

May 16, 2017



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Indefensible is a podcast series brought to you by the Immigrant Defense Project. Over five episodes, we’ll bring you stories from people who are standing up and holding out; fighting to be with their families. They say they’re here to stay.  

Listen: “The Zen Thing” via Interfaith Voices

May 5, 2017

KalaLea and I produced this story for Interfaith Voices:

Koshin Paley Ellison is one of a small but growing number of chaplains in the United States who are Buddhists. In fact, Koshin is a Zen Buddhist monk. He works in hospice, and his goal is to take “the Zen thing” out into the world…and the change the very nature of caregiving itself. Music by LD Brown.

Koshin Paley Ellison, co-founder of the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care and editor of Awake at the Bedside: Contemplative Teachings on Palliative and End of Life Care

Listen via @BBCWordService’s Outlook: New York’s trash collector

December 6, 2016

via BBC Outlook:

Nelson Molina finds treasures in trash. During his thirty year career with the New York Sanitation Department he has discovered some amazing objects amongst the rubbish including cameras, jewellery, photos and a framed letter from a former President. Now he exhibits his collection in a special garage at the sanitation department. Reporter Will Coley went for a tour. (Picture credit: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images.)

Listen via @MorningEdition: Former Refugee Helps Others Arriving To America AT JFK Airport

November 17, 2016

via National Public Radio’s Morning Edition:

Omar Nur left his native Ethiopia more than 35 years ago. He landed at New York’s JFK and took his first steps in his new country. In the decades since, he’s helped others arriving at the airport.

Photo credit: copyright Stad Gent

Podcasting for Racial Justice: Breakout Session at #FacingRace in Atlanta

November 12, 2016

This month, I presented at the Facing Race conference with Berry Sykes of Podcasts in Color. We had a full room of folks interested in podcasting for racial justice. Here’s the description:

A tape recorder, with microphone in hand, on the table or the arm of the chair or on the grass, can transform both the visitor and the host. On one occasion during a play-back, my companion murmured in wonder, “I never realized I felt that way.” I was filled with wonder, too. – Studs Terkel

Radio and audio have a long history in representing neglected or unheard voices. The great Studs Terkel used audio to relay the stories of all kinds of Americans including “the non-celebrated” so that “statistics become persons, each one unique.” Today millions of Americans continue to listen to the radio and now on-demand audio (or “podcasts”). Mobile phones make audio even more attractive for our busy lives. Since audio is far cheaper to record and edit than video or film, new producers are capitalizing on today’s “audio renaissance.” Their engaging shows and stories are providing some of the most important conversations around race are happening today. Audiences are hungry for reflections of their own experience in a changing America. At Facing Race, we will discuss what makes audio uniquely suited for telling our stories, challenging injustice, and truly reflecting the experiences of people of color in the United States. We will learn from a range of producers and creators who are pioneering new and exciting ways to use audio. We will share practical advice on telling effective stories with sound, including a hands-on exercise in creating stories.

You can check out our presentation on Prezi. As part of the presentation, we asked several podcasters to send us some clips and you can listen to the unedited audio below.


Listen to my story on @99piorg: “H-Day”

June 8, 2016

This week on the podcast 99 Percent Invisible, you can hear a story that I co-produced with Sam Greenspan.

Here’s my original pitch to the show (below). You can see how the final story changed a lot from what I first envisioned:

Read more…

What I’ve Learned So Far about Interviewing for Video & Audio Stories

January 29, 2016

Cross-posted from the Communications Network’s Storytelling for Good


Preparing for a video interview with Judy Mayotte for Women’s Refugee Commission. Photo by Loris Guzzetta

Over the years, I’ve interviewed a lot of people for video and radio projects, for both nonprofit organizations and broadcast media. So I’ve decided to compile some of the lessons I’ve learned. These recommendations can be applied to both video and audio-only interviews, but are by no means exhaustive. Feel free to add recommendations of your own in the comments section below. Read more…

Listen via @FI2W: An African Farm Grows In South Jersey

November 30, 2015

Check out this story that I helped produce for Feet in Two Worlds:

Tomatoes, corn, and peaches are the staples of New Jersey agriculture. But at Morris Gbolo’s farm in the state’s southern tip, crimson-hued amaranths and plump Liberian bitter ball are the prized crops. Read the accompanying story by Tiziana Rinaldi more here.

How Nonprofits Can be Part of the #Podcasting Renaissance (at #501TechNYC)

October 30, 2015

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At at recent meeting of the  501 Tech NYC, we discussed audio and podcasting for nonprofits . I was be joined by Alex Kapelman and Veralyn Williams.501 Tech NYC Tech for Good logo

If nonprofits want to learn how to create content that both engages audiences and creates devoted supporters, we need look no further than the gold standard offered each day by public radio and cutting edge podcasts.

Check out this Storify for an archive of tweets from the event. 



Watch: Women on the Run – Alba’s Story

October 30, 2015

This week, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees released a new report entitled “Women on the Run.” Women in Central America and Mexico are fleeing their countries in rising numbers to escape a surge in deadly, unchecked gang violence, fueling a looming refugee crisis in the Americas. Loris Guzzetta and I produced the video above for the project. You can help by sharing the video on Youtube and other stories here.

Music is by Podington Bear


Listen: New radio story for PRI’s The World on Mexican asylum seekers

July 22, 2015


Credit: Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement.

I recently visited Des Moines, Iowa and met the family and friends of Constantino Morales, who applied for political asylum in the United States. Read more here.



Building Relationships with Journalists via Social Media

July 10, 2015

Prezi-JournlRelationshipsNonprofits use social media for many reasons: activism, fundraising, volunteer recruitment, affecting policy change,”brand raising”, etc. It’s undoubtedly become an integral part of your organization’s communications. But how are you using it to build stronger relationships with local journalists? Sure you can create your own networks to communicate directly with supporters but broadcast journalists often have greater reach. At the same time, you can help journalists do their job more effectively by connecting them to more information for their stories.

I recently developed a checklist for nonprofits, particularly those working on immigration issues. You can see my presentation on Prezi here or read my suggestions below.

Read more…

Why It Matters to Follow Back on Social Media

May 13, 2015

Cross-posted from E-Politics

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Mary Tremonte “Gentleman Antbirds Courting” via JustSeeds

To measure the online influence of your organization or campaign, it’s not enough to simply count your followers on social media. That’s part of the argument in a recent report by the Citizen Engagement Lab, “Moving Beyond Vanity Metrics.” Instead the ultimate goal should be active engagement (online and off) around your mission.

But it’s not just your followers who should be doing the engaging online. They are not a faceless audience who simply receive your content. It’s important for your organization to follow back some of your followers. Of course, this isn’t the only way that your organization should interact with followers… but it’s a start. As digital strategist Beth Becker likes to say, “You can’t follow no one but you can’t follow everyone.”

Here’s why: (The “how” comes after):
Read more…

Listen: The Abandoned – Life for Migrants in Sicily After the Cameras Leave

April 25, 2015

I recently completed a radio documentary for the BBC World Service: “The Abandoned” as part of their new “World Stories” initiative. You can listen to it here.

Social media was instrumental in helping me find this story. Last year in the New York Times, I read about a similar community of squatters in Rome, “The Salaam Palace.” I happened to be attending a wedding in Palermo in October 2014 and thought I’d see if there was a similar community there. I found Centro Sociale Ex Karcere online and tweeted them. They connected me to Emiliano Spera who then introduced me to residents at Via Oberdan. The building was only two blocks from where I was staying! Prendocasa also has a Facebook page that has helped keep me up to date on what the residents are up to… as well as connecting to them via mobile apps like Viber.

Special thanks: The story wouldn’t have been possible without the invaluable support and assistance of Zoe Sullivan, Loris Guzzetta, Ann Hepperman, Anna Fileccia, Enzo Guzzetta, Bianca Guzzetta, Salvo Ruvolo, Antonio “Frillo” Zito, Emiliano Spera, Samrawit Gebrihet , Vittorio Pitrelli, Centro Sociale Ex Karcere, members of Prendocasa, Jesuit Refugee Service (Oscar Spooner, Riccardo Campochiaro and Ketta), Sergio Calabrese, Neil Trevithick, Nebiyu Aklilu, Fereiewi Ferhawet, Estub Dinak Amanuel “Mimi”, “Yeshi”, Fulvio Vassalo, and most importantly, Wubelem Aklilu, or “Beauty.”

Let me know what you thought of the story by leaving a comment below.


Crosspost: Above the Noise via @CultureStrike

November 19, 2014

Written by Michelle Chen and cross posted from

At the workshop, surrounded by a small gathering of people holding colorful hand-scrawled signs, Lupe Mendez, poet and self-proclaimed “Librotraficante,” reflected on his adventure as a book smuggler of sorts. Back in 2012, when the Arizona education authorities sought to crack down on a Chicano-focused ethnic studies program in public schools, he and other activists launched a campaign to “traffic” the contraband literature—works by radical authors, poets of color, and other rebel storytellers. Now before his fellow workshop participants, Mendez held up a simple placard displaying block-print alphabet in black and blue letters. He voiced his answer to the prompt for the workshop: getting people to think about why telling stories is important.

“See the letters below?” Mendez said. “This is my ‘why’: I want to share, discover the ways to tell the stories, create the voices of color that our histories need, and to build a Librotraficante Nation.”

The participants in the workshop at the Facing Race Conference, “Stepping Up Cultural Strategy: How can Racial Justice Rise Above the Noise?” focused on building out that storyline, the “why” that activists are questing for. The theme was the core of our “cultural strategy”: “the potential of arts experiences and cultural content to shift how people feel, think, and communicate about an issue. Read more…

New Series: Women’s Refugee Commission – 25 Years of Leading Change

October 19, 2014

I’m helping produce a series of video for the Women’s Refugee Commission which is celebrating 25 years of improving the lives and protecting the rights of refugee women and children.