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NYC Green Infrastructure Plan

Every year, New York City dumps millions of gallons of excess stormwater into the waterways the surround it. The discharge can kill plants and animals that live in the water and keep residents from fishing, boating and swimming in the one of the city’s most abundant resources. But this year, the NYC Green Infrastructure Plan was approved by Mayor Bloomberg. The plan will use innovative designs to reduce the amount of stormwater overflow into the city’s waterways by 10% a year by...
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A Night at the Golden Apple

Having written a number of radio pieces over the past few months, what stood out to me the most in This American Life’s Big Apple Diner show was its variety of style. Each period of time (or, well, story) throughout the day that the episode consisted of was produced in a different way, giving the entire show a staggered feel. The effect was not a bad one — it provided the show with a flow that seemed unbroken and was engaging throughout. I particularly liked the stories that used little to no narration, at least from the reporter. Ira Glass’ comments gave context to the time periods and add helpful detail to each scene, but I found the reporters’ narration sometimes got in the way of what could have been better pieces. The story at night with the two highschool girls who called their friends to join them at the bar was very compelling both because of a lack of narration and change of scenery — instead of taking place at one table, that story took the listener outside to the front of the diner, to a cramped car and to someone else’s house. The story provided the most variety and the most compelling story, while at the same time having minimal narration. One of the last scenes with the police officers was also one of the best for many of the same reasons as the one previously mentioned. The story features dialogue between two characters that reveals hidden aspects of a culture alien to most — the candid nature of the policemen’s exchange and the relative lack of background noise set a scene that was at once both silent and captivating. One of the midday stories about the couple that once dated would have been more interesting had it not used the Sex and the City motif. Granted I can understand, having listened to my tape, making that connection from the number of times the show was mentioned. Working with what you have is a reality of any journalistic medium. But the story could have been more compelling had it not used an unworkable shtick to propel it. Maybe it’s just me, and my aversion to Sex and the...
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Dog Sled Tearjearker

The podcast How To Do Everything is an eclectic mix of stories loosely based around the idea of explaining, well, how to do things. The show most definitely veers from that idea regularly to present a quirky collection of interesting tales, and this is one of them. Starting at about 2:00 is a story about the Iditarod dog race, wherein a man describes reviving one of his sled dogs after it loses consciousness. The story will bring anyone, dog lover or not, to tears. The man isn’t particularly good at storytelling, but the genuine emotion he expresses about the potential loss of his dog is more than enough. Sometimes people who try to hard to tell a story overstep their bounds because of a lack of sincerity — this man is on the opposite end of that...
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Jamie Hook on the Moon

Urban dandy Jamie Hook is interested in a lot of things. While he may not be an expert on any of them, he has no problem giving eager audiences at Pete’s Candy Store in Williamsburg a piece of his mind about them. His lectures are both informative and entertaining, sometimes at his own...
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The Community of War

Michael Kamber has been taking pictures of war for over 25 years. Between 2003 and 2010, the award-winning journalist worked for the New York Times in Iraq, amassing a vast body of work covering the conflict there. Later this year Kamber will release a book of oral histories from his fellow photojournalists who worked in Iraq during the war. Journalists on War: Untold Stories from Iraq will feature accounts of the conflict from nearly 40 journalists from around the world. Kamber sat down with the New York City News Service’s Sean Carlson to talk about the book, and his experiences in...