Multi-platform Public Media Collaboration Tackles Global Food Security
"Food for 9 Billion" examines the challenge of feeding the world at a time of growing demand, changing diets, rising food and energy prices, shrinking land and water resources, and accelerating climate change. It is a collaborative project of Homelands Productions, the Center for Investigative Reporting, American Public Media's Marketplace, PRI's The World, and PBS NewsHour.
The main project elements are:
- Radio features on Marketplace, public radio’s daily show about business and economics
- Radio features on The World, public radio's daily newsmagazine about international affairs;
- Video features on PBS NewsHour, public television’s flagship daily news program;
- A website with video and audio features, blog, animations, infographics, interactive maps and timelines, and links to other resources;
- Curriculum materials designed by specialists at Cornell University, Franklin & Marshall College, and PBS NewsHour for high school students and teachers;
- Micro-sites on PBS.org/newshour and Marketplace.org; and
- A television documentary.
Major funding for "Food for 9 Billion" comes from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the New Venture Fund, the Grantham Foundation, and the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, with additional support from the National Science Foundation and the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future at Cornell University.
Multimedia Series Looks at Hunger Among Older Americans
Jonathan Miller, Sandy Tolan, and Cecilia Vaisman have joined forces with photographers from Magnum Photos on "Hungry in America," a series of multimedia essays for AARP about hunger among older Americans. The pieces were produced by Magnum in Motion, the photo agency's multimedia studio.
A "Journalist's Notebook" features an overview of the series and an interview with Jonathan Miller.
Fonografia Collective Comes Under Homelands Umbrella
Fonografia is a multimedia collaboration between audio and print journalist Ruxandra Guidi and photographer Roberto "Bear" Guerra. They report on human rights, health, the environment, and social issues around the Western hemisphere. Homelands is proud to serve as their fiscal sponsor.
Homelands Wins Three National Awards for WORKING Series
Homelands has won the 2008 Sigma Delta Chi Award for Radio Feature Reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists. The award was for the "WORKING" series, our collaboration with Marketplace about workers in the global economy.
The SDX Awards, given annually since 1939, are for "excellence in journalism," and are considered among the most prestigious in the industry. This year more than 900 entrants vied for awards in 53 categories. Among the winners are NPR, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and Chicago Tribune. The award was presented at the National Journalism Conference in Indianapolis on August 28, 2009.
On October 21, 2009, the Third Coast International Audio Festival presented Gregory Warner with a Third Coast Festival/Richard H. Driehaus award for best news feature for his profile of Congolese miner Fidele Musafiri. The same profile won a Silver Medal in the human interest category of the 2009 New York Festivals award competition. The "WORKING" series as a whole was a finalist among nominees in the community profiles category.
Cecilia Vaisman Teams with Open Society Institute on Statelessness Project
Homelands co-founder, senior producer, and current board president Cecilia Vaisman was part of a multimedia team working on the Open Society Institute's initiative on statelessness. She conducted interviews with people of Haitian descent who are denied many basic rights by the government of the Dominican Republic. The multimedia project was posted on OSI's website in October 2009. According to OSI, 15 million people around the world are denied the rights of citizenship. Citizenship enables people not only to vote, hold public office, and exit and enter a country freely, but also to obtain housing, health care, employment, and education.
WORKING Series Presents Intimate Profiles of Workers in the Global Economy
Inspired by Studs Terkel's classic 1974 book Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do, "WORKING" launched in January 2007 as a regular monthly feature on Marketplace, public radio's daily show about business and economics. The 29th and final segment aired in July 2009. Each profile takes listeners deep into the life of a single worker in the global economy. The goal of the project was to help radio listeners, web users, workers, and students understand how their lives are linked to the lives of real people around the world through the medium of labor.
Workers profiled were a mine clearer in Kosovo, a metal worker in Peru, a fixer in Lebanon, a pop singer in Bulgaria, a silk merchant in Cambodia, a mail carrier in China, an oil worker and his family in Canada, a lobster diver in Honduras, a basketball scout in Nigeria, a textile worker in Peru, a cabinet minister in Macedonia, a French chocolate taster working in Ecuador, an Indian cargo agent working in Saudi Arabia, an Iranian trader working in Dubai, a movie director in Nigeria, a teenage tannery worker in Pakistan, a fisherman-turned-iceberg hunter in Newfoundland, a Kyrgyz sex worker in Azerbaijan, an industrial designer in Italy, a pirate in Indonesia, a miner in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a labor inspector in Brazil, a Ukrainian circus performer working in the UK, a marriage broker in Vietnam, a human smuggler in Pakistan, an electronic waste recycler in Mexico, a banker in London, a 13-year-old shipbreaking worker in Bangladesh, and a marathon runner in Kenya.
A special, stand-alone website includes audio, photos, and a reporter's notebook for each profile, as well as an interactive web tool called the Worker Browser, which lets people around the world share and compare their work experiences.
The executive producer of "WORKING" was Jonathan Miller. Sandy Tolan was the senior producer. Collaborating producers were Chris Brookes, Sean Cole, Petra Costa, Janna Graham, Ingrid Lobet, Claudine LoMonaco, Kelly McEvers, and Gregory Warner. Robby Aceto wrote and performed the theme music. Sue Johnson designed and edited the "WORKING" website on Marketplace.org; she also served as photo editor. Virginia Marques was (and is) our office manager. The Worker Browser was designed by Thiago Demello Bueno and Matt Shultz of MadeofPeople!, with help from Jonathan Miller, Sue Johnson, and Mike O'Toole.
Segment editors at Marketplace were Karen Lowe and John Haas. Celeste Wesson was Marketplace's producer, George Judson was managing editor, and JJ Yore was the show's executive producer. Stephen Colón was chief engineer, and Richard Core handled the Marketplace website.
To mark the US Labor Day holiday for 2009, Chicago Public Radio's Re:sound presented a special hour-long program about the "WORKING" project. For Labor Day 2008, Marketplace rebroadcast excerpts of four WORKING profiles—mail carrier Laowang, chocolate taster Chloé Doutre-Roussel, tannery worker Mohmen, and silk maker Chanta Nguon. Chris Brookes re-edited the profiles for broadcast.
Major funding for "WORKING" was provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, International Labour Organization, American Public Media, and Wallace Global Fund. Additional support came from the Polson Institute for Global Development at Cornell University.
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Alan Weisman's World Without Us Explores Humanity's Impact on Natural World
Homelands cofounder Alan Weisman's fifth book, The World Without Us, provides a detailed account of what would happen if human beings were to vanish from the face of the earth. It was released in the US by Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press in July 2007 and within a month it was a New York Times top 10 best-seller. By year's end it was on many best-of-the-year lists.
The book was a finalist for the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction; TIME magazine, Amazon.ca, and Entertainment Weekly rated it the #1 nonfiction book of 2007; and the editors of Salon.com put it in their ten "most pleasurable reading experiences of the year." Amazon.com ranked The World Without Us first among books about the outdoors and nature and Barnes and Noble rated it best in politics and current affairs. The audio book
(read by actor Adam Grupper) was named the #1 Editor's Choice in nonfiction by iTunes.
Foreign editions of The World Without Us have been released in many countries in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. The book has been translated into 32 languages.
The World Without Us grew out of Alan's article "Earth Without People" for Discover Magazine, which was included in The Best American Science Writing 2006, edited by Atul Gawande and published by Ecco/HarperCollins.
Alan's goal was to find a fresh way to portray the environmental snarls our world currently faces—a way that might intrigue readers rather than depress them. He came up with "a simple fantasy—imagining a world from which humans have suddenly vanished, never mind why." That fantasy, he says "both defuses anxieties over calamities that might someday kill us all, and prompts irresistible speculation on how the rest of the planet might proceed with us gone."
He calls the premise of the book "something of a red herring. Lurking behind the notion of a world without us is another question even dearer to us all: Might the world somehow flourish anew with us still in it?"
From reviews of The World Without Us:
"A thoroughly engaging and clarion writer fueled by curiosity and determined to cast light rather than spread despair. His superbly well researched and skillfully crafted stop-you-in-your-tracks report stresses the underappreciated fact that humankind's actions create a ripple effect across the web of life."
—Booklist (starred review)
"A provocative perspective on life on Earth and the degree to which human activity has shaped the planet....The book's strength lies in its audacious willingness to confront uncomfortable questions while offering glimpses of answers.... This book should be broadly read and discussed."
—Library Journal (starred review)
"[An] imaginative hybrid of solid science reporting and morbid speculation.... Weisman's enthralling tour of the world of tomorrow explores what little will remain of ancient times while anticipating, often poetically, what a planet without us would be like."
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Marvelously straightforward. It makes for obsessive reading. At once the most harrowing and, oddly, comforting book on the environment that I've read in many years."
—Louise Erdrich, author of Love Medicine
"Weisman writes like Malcolm Gladwell and John McPhee mashed together and set on fast-forward in this spirit-enlarging, screech-free hymn to the environment... I don't think I've read a better nonfiction book this year."
—Lev Grossman, TIME magazine
"One of the grandest thought experiments of our time. A tremendous feat of imaginative reporting."—Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy and The End of Nature
"Compulsive and nearly hypnotic. This is a text that has a chance to change people, and so make a real difference for the planet."
—Charles Wohlforth, author of The Whale and the Supercomputer
"Refreshing, and oddly hopeful."
"Illuminating and terrifying."
—Barry Lopez, author of Arctic Dreams
"Brilliantly creative. An audacious intellectual adventure."
"Extraordinarily farsighted. Beautiful and passionate."
"Breathtaking... I believe it will be a classic."
—Dennis Covington, author of Salvation on Sand Mountain
"Alan Weisman has produced, if not a bible, at least a Book of Revelation."
—The Washington Post
"Fascinating, mordant, deeply intelligent, and beautifully written."
—James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency
Click here to visit The World Without Us website, and here to read a related article Alan wrote for Vanity Fair.
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Lemon Tree Wins Christopher Award for "Affirming Highest Values of Human Spirit"
Sandy Tolan's The Lemon Tree: An Arab, A Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East, a finalist for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle award for nonfiction, has won a 2007 Christopher Award. First presented in 1949, the Christophers salute media that "affirm the highest values of the human spirit." The book was also chosen by Booklist (published by the American Library Association) as the best adult nonfiction book of 2006. The Lemon Tree grew out of a radio documentary Sandy produced for NPR's Fresh Air as part of Homelands' "World Views" series. It's the true story of a remarkable relationship between two families amid the fraught modern history of the region. It was published in hardcover in May 2006 and in paperback in April 2007. More critical acclaim:
"Extraordinary.... A sweeping history of the Palestinian Israeli conundrum.... Highly readable and evocative." —Washington Post
"A handbook to understanding the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Literally the single work I'd recommend to anyone seeking to understand why the conflict remains unresolved, and why it continues to dominate the region." —Tony Karon, editor, TIME
"No novel could be more compelling.... It will certainly be one of the best works of nonfiction that you will read this year." —Christian Science Monitor
"This truly remarkable book presents a powerful account of Palestinians and Israelis who try to break the seemingly endless chains of hatred and violence.... Sandy Tolan offers something both Israelis and Palestinians all too often tend to ignore: a ray of hope." —Tom Segev, Israeli author of 1967, One Palestine, Complete, and 1949: The First Israelis
"This is a hard book to read with dry eyes and without a lump in one's throat. And it is a hard book to read, also, without feeling—dare one even say the word in speaking about the Middle East?—something approaching hope. Sandy Tolan has found a remarkable story and has told it in all its beauty and sadness." —Adam Hochschild, author of Bury the Chains and King Leopold's Ghost
"Beautifully told.... A very poignant but impressively unsentimental story.... It reads like a work of fiction.... Tolan is a magnificent storyteller." —The Nation
"A powerfully humane telling of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Tolan's book is nothing short of remarkable." —Institute for Middle East Understanding, independent Palestinian media organization
"It's a page turner!... Everyone simply has to read this book, both sides, all sides!" —Marcia Socci, regional chair for the Book Club of Hadassah
Listen to or Download "The Lemon Tree"
Global Warming Collaboration Wins George Polk Award
A team of UC Berkeley journalism students led by Sandy Tolan won a George Polk Award for Early Signs, a series of reports on global warming from around the world. Radio pieces aired on Living on Earth and American RadioWorks, and articles appeared on Salon.com. It was the first time in the history of the Polks that an award went to a student production.
"Saints & Indians" Wins Edward R. Murrow Award
Homelands has received the 2006 Edward R. Murrow Award for best national radio news documentary for "Saints & Indians," produced by Kate Davidson for the "Worlds of Difference" series and broadcast on NPR's All Things Considered. The editor was Deborah George. The unnarrated piece provides an inside look at a program that placed tens of thousands of Native American children in Mormon homes each school year between 1954 and 1996. Kate spent a year visiting former students, host families and program officials.
The Murrow Awards are given each year by the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA). They are among the most prestigious awards for broadcast journalists. "Saints & Indians" was the only independent production to win a national radio award this year.
Listen to or Download "Saints & Indians"
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Elif Shafak is Acquitted in Free Speech Trial in Turkey
Turkish author, journalist, and professor Elif Shafak was acquitted in Istanbul in September 2006 of charges of "insulting Turkishness" in her latest novel. The court deliberated for just an hour and a half before deciding that the case had no merit. Homelands had joined PEN International and PEN USA in protesting the indictment. The charges stemmed from the use of the word "genocide" by an Armenian character in Elif's novel, The Bastard of Istanbul, when referring to the mass killings of Armenians during the final years of the Ottoman Empire.
Elif was tried under Turkey's Article 301, a law passed in 2005 under pressure from nationalist political forces opposed to Turkey's bid to join the European Union. More than 60 Turkish writers and artists have been tried under the law, and many have been found guilty. No one convicted under Article 301 has yet served prison time, but fines are common.
Elif co-produced the radio piece The Street of the Cauldron Makers, part of Homelands' "Worlds of Difference" series. The Bastard of Istanbul is the second of Elif's six books to be written in English. Elif gave birth to her first child, a girl, five days before the trial.
Award-Winning Argentine Thriller Opens in US
"Cautiva," Gastón Biraben's internationally acclaimed Argentinean political thriller, opened in New York and Los Angeles in November 2006. The US launch included a gala pre-release screening co-hosted by Amnesty International and the Consulate General of Argentina in New York. Homelands' cofounder and Senior Producer Cecilia Vaisman is the film's associate producer.
"Cautiva" won two Silver Condor awards from the Asociación de Cronistas Cinematográficos, also known as the Argentine Oscars. At the San Sebastian Film Festival, "Cautiva" won the Horizons Award for best Latin American film. The film earned the FIPRESCI International Critics Prize at the Toulouse Festival of Latin American Cinema and won four awards at the Mar del Plata International Film Festival. The screenplay received first prize at the Incaa (National Film Board of Argentina) competition. "Cautiva" had its US premiere at the New Directors/New Films series organized by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art.
"Cautiva" is written, produced, and directed by Gastón Biraben. In the film, Cristina, an Argentinean teenager, is plucked out of class at the summons of a judge and told that the couple she knows as her parents in fact adopted her. She learns that her biological parents "disappeared" in the early 1980s for criticizing the political regime of the time, and that their surviving relatives have spent years trying to track her down. The judge directs her to live with her biological family, and hints that her adoption may have been the result of an appalling crime.
Cristina sets out to find the truth. Played by the luminous Bárbara Lombardo, the girl meets others like herself and discovers the real-life horrors of Argentina’s "dirty war" that claimed tens of thousands of lives. A movie about the consequences of both political and psychological repression, "Cautiva" ultimately celebrates the resilience of the human spirit.
Third Coast Festival/Richard H. Driehaus Award for Chris Brookes' "A Map of the Sea"
Congratulations to Homelands friend and long-time collaborator Chris Brookes for winning a 2005 Third Coast Festival/Richard H. Driehaus Foundation award for his piece "A Map of the Sea," produced for Homelands' "Worlds of Difference" series. It's a complex, lyrical, sound-rich meditation on the collapse of the cod fishery in Chris' native Newfoundland, and on the choices facing the oldest non-indigenous culture in the Americas. The piece first aired on Living on Earth, and is included in the special hour "Finding a Niche." "A Map of the Sea" was one of eight winners among nearly 300 entries. Chris picked up his award at a ceremony in Chicago on October 22, 2005.
Premio de Nuevo Periodismo for "Cruz de Juárez" Collaboration With Mexican Journalists
of the 2003 Premio Nuevo Periodismo (New Journalism Award) were announced in Cartagena, Colombia,
by La Fundación para un Nuevo
Periodismo Iberoamericano, founded in 1994 by Nobel laureate Gabriel García
Márquez. In awarding the $25,000 first prize in the radio category, the judges
stated: "The dedicated, rigorous work of Mario Mercuri and Sandra Vanesa Robles
addressed with great sensitivity and technical prowess the inefficiency of the Mexican
judicial system in failing to resolve the 270 murders of women during the past nine
years in Ciudad Juárez. 'La Cruz de Juárez' is brave investigative reporting,
incorporating multiple sources and clear, direct language to produce a simple, yet
The ongoing tragedy of the Juárez murders, involving
mainly young female employees of US-owned factories, has resonated disturbingly
and distinctly on both sides of the border. For "Border Stories," Homelands Productions
elected to send a binational team, in hope that the different perspectives of each
would enrich both sides' understanding of the story and produce fresh, creative approaches
to its coverage.
In searching for the right collaborators, senior producer Cecilia Vaisman eventually selected Mario and Vanesa, well-known investigative reporters
at the Guadalajara newspaper Público. Neither Mario nor Vanesa had ever attempted
radio journalism before, but Cecilia, a former NPR producer, has conducted Spanish-language
radio documentary training in countries from her native Argentina to Puerto Rico.
Their joint field research in Juárez and El Paso resulted in a radio piece
by Cecilia for NPR's LatinoUSA; a four-part newspaper series in Público by all three; and Mario and Vanesa's documentaries of five, twelve, and twenty minutes'
duration for Radio Universidad de Guadalajara, which won the Premio Nuevo Periodismo.
In Mario Mercuri's own words: "Les debemos al Homelands que hayan confiado en
dos personas que nunca habían hecho con una radio nada más complicado
que cambiarla de emisora." [We are indebted to Homelands for their confidence in two
people who had never done more with a radio than change stations.]
We are proud of our colleagues—both of whom were eloquent presenters at our
Transborder Journalism Conference in Tijuana—and especially grateful to
the Ford Foundation, whose
funding made this series possible.
Listen to "La Cruz de Juárez"
Lea en español
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