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New York City Public Schools Wrap

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Longform Podcast, Episode 1

I listened to the first episode of the Longform.org podcast. The format is essentially interviews with longform journalists, and the first episode is an interview with freelance Middle East correspondent Matthieu Aikins. I thought the technique was really good because the interviewer seemed truly interested in hearing about Aikins’ experiences in the Middle East. While Ratliff and Aikins know each other, it didn’t feel like Ratliff was deliberately asking questions he knew the answers to. If he was, I wouldn’t have known it. The tone of the interview was also somewhat conversational, making it easier to follow, in my opinion. I thought Ratliff’s questions really elicited some great anecdotes from Aikins. My favorite questions were those about whether or not Aikins’ parents knew he was in Pakistan and how Aikins managed to keep notes on the drug smugglers he was traveling with (he kept them in his underwear). While I felt at times that Ratliff’s questions were a bit rambling, I never got the feeling that he wasn’t sincerely interested in Aikins’...
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bike tuneup

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Afghanistan: 17 civilians beheaded

I was listening to WNYC Monday morning and heard a brief spot about 17 civilians being beheaded in Afghanistan for attending a dance party. The exact words I heard before running out the door to catch the train was something like: “17 Afghan civilians were beheaded in southern Afghanistan. Extremists said they were attending a dance party.” It sounded really shocking to me for obvious reasons, so I ended up looking up the story (appears here on NPR). Because I only heard the story mentioned in a brief news spot as opposed to a more in-depth newscast, I unfortunately didn’t get to hear how it was developed. However, if I could link this to the Transom reading on news spots, while the spot was very straightforward reporting, clearly and concisely worded, it created an image in my mind of how bad the conditions in Afghanistan still are. The spot mentioned Helmand, where the attack took place, was one of the most conflicted areas of the country, where insurgents hold the most power. So the image of 17 people being beheaded for attending a party is a good sense of just how bad things are. The radio story stayed in my head all day. While I continued to listen to WNYC throughout the week in search of other stories for this assignment, that’s the one that stuck with me, despite the fact that it was a spot no more than 45 seconds long. But again, as the reading suggested, a news spot can be more powerful than many...
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After shooting, Americans grapple once more with gun control...

Two were killed and nine were injured this morning after a shooting in front of the Empire State building. One of those killed was the shooter, 53-year-old Jeffrey Johnson, gunned down after opening fire on police. In light of recent shootings in Wisconsin, Colorado and California, retired NYPD officer Urida believes it should be more difficult for people to obtain firearms. Police said the other victim was Johnson’s coworker. Nine others were hit with gunfire, some of which was police fire, Mayor Bloomberg...