Last summer, I got a phone call out of the blue from a former BBC producer named Maria Balinska. She wanted to tell me about her new international news site, Latitude News. It was offering a completely new take on international news and events, one that explored the rich, deep, but often hidden connections between the US and world events. The tagline they were employing at the time--and one I still like a lot--was "Because international isn't foreign anymore."
Maria and I instantly hit it off, understanding how the missions of our respective organizations might overlap. But our first venture together wasn't going to be a civic engagement project. Instead, we began to collaborate on a monthly podcast, one that explored those sometimes hidden connections between our lives and the lives of people a lot like us on the other side of the planet. In the production of one of our first podcasts--one about anti-gay legislation in Uganda--I realized how powerful this could be. Producer Jack Rodolico interveiwed an American evangelical preacher who had played a supporting role in encouraging Ugandan legislators to introduce what was being called, unironically and without euphemism, the "Kill the Gays Bill." It's the story of extreme ideology taken to its logical end point, and, frankly, it's kind of terrifying.
Not everything we've done is so important and serious. We've also explored why the cod fishery in Norway is so abundant and fruitful while New England's is moribund. We've found out why some Muslim immigrants prefer Salt Lake to any other U.S. city, how a black woman from Missouri seeking to reinvent herself can have an impact on a Chinese city of some 400,000 residents, and the troubling connection between aging race horses and Belgian cuisine. In our most recent one, we explored the potential impact of recently passed pot legalization laws on the international drug trade.
We've been boot-strapping this so far. Sometimes, I'll record the voice over in a duvet-covered fort in my living room. (Sometimes, my friends in local radio loan me a studio.) It's been a successful six month experiment because these guys are an absolute joy to work with. They're professional, thorough and committed to doing everything right. Right now, we're trying to make it into something a bit more. We're trying to raise a little over $40,000 to turn our monthly program into a weekly program. It's another experiment, to see if we can get the people who enjoy the show to pay for the opportunity to hear it more often. Maria has outlined the whole project on our Kickstarter page, and it in the fantastic video, you'll get to see Jack's impressive facial hair (which totally surprised me. We've worked together for six months, but I've never actually met the team.)
Anyway, please consider backing this project. If you're not familiar with how Kickstarter works, it's very simple. You make a pledge to donate, and the donation only happens if we get enough pledges to reach the goal. Thanks so much. We'll talk to you on the podcast.
Copyright © 2013 Dan Moulthrop; available under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License.
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