This week, as the global economy collapses, Sandy, Cecilia and I head merrily off to the Third Coast International Audio Festival in Evanston, Illinois. It’s an annual meet-up of people who tell stories with sound, with a pretty heavy emphasis on radio (the festival is organized by Chicago Public Radio) but also with sessions on podcasting, social media, and other 21st century formats. I’ve gone every year since 2001 and it always makes me giddy. For those of us who work alone in our attics or basements, it’s awfully nice to spend a few days soaking up the collegial vibe. And of course it’s inspiring to hear the great things folks are producing.
Before I go I thought I’d quickly report on what’s going on with WORKING. I’ve been editing three terrific profiles with three terrific reporters. Kelly McEvers spent more than two weeks tracking down a pirate in Indonesia (check out her blog for an amazing peek behind the journalistic curtain); the guy she finally found goes out at night on a little boat, climbs a pole onto giant cargo ships, and robs the crews with a machete. The intrepid Gregory Warner journeyed from Rwanda, where he was on another assignment, to the end of a tiny tunnel deep in a jungle in the Democratic Republic of Congo to find a guy who spends his days chipping away at a wall of rock with a little spike, looking for a mineral used in cell phones and other gadgets. And the inimitable Sean Cole spent a few days with a Ukrainian dancer doing a death-defying Argentinian cowboy act for a Russian circus traveling in England.
It’s weeks like these that remind me what an incredible privilege it is to do this work. I’ll let you know if the feeling persists.