You heard it here first: a new journalism outlet in Chicago, in collaboration with…
CivicLab is a new-ish space in the West Loop for folks who want to innovate in the public sphere–their tagline was recently changed to “Making Democracy.” As I understand it—and this is a gross over-simplification—they’re piggy-backing on the makerspace/hackerspace movement to do some good in the body politic.
At any rate, as their first resident reporter, I’ll be host and editor of a new audio show we’re calling “Some Assembly Required.” A show about civics. Broad enough to generate awesome content for years to come. Focused enough to not be a cop-out.
Just don’t call it a “podcast.” We’re having fun, but we’re doing serious work.
More to come.
I know it’s 10 days late, but other deadlines—having to do with my academic or professional lives!—hung over my head until now. So here’s a final review of other select pieces from the 2010 FilmLESS festival for radio arts, in downtown Chicago.
Tupperware, by David Nelson and Nikki Silva, aired in 1981 on All Things Considered. (I hear this piece was the debut of the now-infamous “Kitchen Sisters” duo.) The only thing that hinted this was made in 1981 was a bit of sound quality degradation. Otherwise, it was an avant-garde piece if I’ve ever heard it, about the fanaticism and just plain weirdness in the way this product is sold. I can’t believe something with this kind of production was on All Things Considered. Voices drifted in and out of one another, overlapping. There was no narrator. It bordered on noise at some points, but it was relevant—Tupperware parties are noisy things, apparently.
Si Se Puede, by Dan Collison and Elizabeth Meister, aired on Latino USA in 2009. This ran longer than the others, at 22 minutes, but it was worth it. The piece chronicled the fight of 300 workers at Republic Window and Door to obtain what their contracts outlined once the plant closed. Republic had no choice but to deny them things like continued health insurance because Bank of America wouldn’t extend credit to the company.
The Third Coast FilmLESS festival, sponsored largely by Chicago Public radio, just can’t fit into Twitter posts. Been there, tried that.
So here’s my rundown of my favorite segments so far:
1. Lucy and the Bike Girl, by Hillary Frank, aired in 2007 on This American Life. It’s the story of Lucy, who has cystic fibrosis, making her very susceptible to germs. Every day she sees this girl in red pigtails ride a bike by her house, and when she finds a picture of this same girl on an internet message board for CF, she chats her up. They become awesome friends, better than Lucy’s in-person friends. But she doesn’t tell her she lives right down the street, because they might be tempted to meet. …Lucy’s tempted, though, despite the bike girl’s having a type of bacteria that could kill Lucy.