Best of 2023

Producing sound-rich, unexpected stories for Bloomberg's new daily news podcast, The Big Take

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Why Employers Will Soon Be Fighting Each Other To Hire You

The future of US competitiveness is taking shape in a field in Licking County, Ohio. It’s the site of a new Intel semiconductor plant, part of the Biden administration’s effort to bring manufacturing jobs back to the US, with a focus on high tech products like semiconductors. But those ambitious plans have exposed a looming problem: The number of skilled workers needed to build factories and fill those jobs is shrinking. It’s a demographic reality that will only become more acute in the decades to come.

Countries Cautiously Weigh A Return to Nuclear Power

Twelve years after the 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster, Japan is now considering restarting its shuttered nuclear reactors to combat rising energy prices. It’s a slow process, and one where the government and the public are conflicted about the advantages and risks of nuclear power. Around the world, countries that turned off their reactors in the wake of Fukushima, or have closed old or expensive reactors, are doing a similar about-face, with rising energy prices and clean energy commitments changing their calculus. That’s inevitably raised questions about the safety of potentially running these aging behemoths to more than double their expected lifespan.

How Cocaine Hitches A Ride on The Global Fruit Supply Chain

In December, we told the wild story of drug smugglers who hide tons of cocaine aboard huge container ships bound for Europe from South America. Today, we pick up the saga from there. What happens to all that cocaine once it reaches port? Bloomberg investigative reporters Lauren Etter and Vernon Silver join this episode to talk about how a sophisticated network of drug cartels and traffickers recruit young people to sneak the cocaine off the ships and coerce dockworkers to look the other way. And how law enforcement is trying to stop cheap cocaine from flooding the streets of Europe–without grinding global trade to a halt.

How We’re (Not) Preparing For the Next Pandemic

Covid-19 isn’t quite done with us yet, but virologists are urging governments around the world to start preparing for the next pandemic. They warn it’s just a matter of time before it happens, and with good planning lessons learned from the current response can keep us from getting caught flat-footed again. So far, though, such calls haven’t been met with much enthusiasm by politicians who have more immediate concerns in front of them. Dr. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist with the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization at the University of Saskatchewan, joins this episode to explain where the next virus is likely to come from, and how to get in front of it. And Bloomberg reporters Riley Griffin and Josh Wingrove talk about what governments learned from the covid pandemic–and what if anything they’re doing to brace for what’s to come.

20 Extra Tons of — Ahem — Cargo

In 2019, US officials seized a massive cargo ship called the MSC Gayane in the Port of Philadelphia. On board, they found containers filled with products of all kinds that the ship had picked up along its global route. They also discovered cargo that didn’t appear on the ship’s manifest—40,000 pounds of cocaine. Bloomberg investigative reporters Lauren Etter and Michael Riley join this episode to tell the wild story of how one of the world’s biggest cargo ships became an unofficial courier for a notorious European drug cartel.

The Copper You Need Is Stuck In A 30-Mile Traffic Jam

Here’s a random yet important fact: Copper is one of the very best conductors of electricity of all metals. And that matters, because as we move toward a world in which more and more things in our lives plug in or charge up–not just your phone, but electric vehicles, solar panels and wind turbines that will power the future–copper is in increasingly high demand. Worldwide, about 21 million metric tons of it are hauled up from the ground each year. And demand will soon double. Some of the richest reserves of copper are found in Southern Africa. But getting it from deep underground and trucking it thousands of miles to buyers can be a harrowing journey.

The US Middle Class Is Doing Fine. Why Are They So Worried?

Hello and welcome to The Big Take Podcast! Today: The good news, and not so good news, about the US middle class. With inflation rising, the stock market ping-ponging and housing prices softening, that broad swath of Americans who form the backbone of the US economy are getting hit on all sides. Bloomberg reporters Shawn Donnan, Alex Tanzi, Claire Ballentine and Airielle Lowe teamed up to take a look at how middle-income Americans are doing. The answer: Not so badly, actually–at least on paper.

Like Family, Like Nation: A Braver Angel Mediates Polarization at Home & Nationwide

We kick off Episode 8 of Season 3, “Like Family, Like Nation,” with Guzmán’s retelling of that conversation stopper also featured in her new book, I Never Thought of It That Way: How To Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times. She joins Rob this week for Episode 8 of Season 3 to talk about open political dialogue, letting curiosity lead you, and why her Mexican immigrant parents voted for Donald Trump.

Heard the One About a Centrist Congressman? Carlos Curbelo on Polarization in the House — The Purple Principle

What’s it like to represent one of the very few remaining swing districts on the U.S. Congressional map, and be virtually the only Republican member at that time to publicly address climate change? Former Congressman Carlos Curbelo from Florida’s 26th district (including southwest Miami and the Florida Keys) fields these questions in a season-ending Purple Principle episode.

The United States of Narcissism? Speaking of Democracy's Worst Enemies — The Purple Principle

“If we believe democracy has failed us,” writes author and scholar Tom Nichols in his latest book, Our Own Worst Enemy, “we should first ask ourselves whether we have failed the test of democracy.” In this Purple Principle episode entitled “The United States of Narcissism,“ co-hosts Rob Pease and Jillian Youngblood ask Nichols why many Americans seem to be enthusiastically failing that test recently.

Best of 2021 / 2020

Highlights of my recent work. Freelance producer from February 2021 onward. Reporting Fellow for WFAE 90.7, Charlotte's NPR station in partnership with the nonprofit media organization Votebeat, 2020-2021.

Arts & Ideas: November 28th, 2021

[Producer for weekly show] This week on Arts and Ideas: 7pm: Tales of clandestine cooking, kitchen rituals and underground traditions. It’s Hidden Kitchens, from the Kitchen Sisters. The outdoor ovens of Western sheep-herders, barbeque meets Lebanese food in the Mississippi Delta, and more. 8pm: Winding down the Chicago, Green, and Ganges rivers. Stories about how rivers feed us and shape our lives. 9pm: Whether cancel culture is a good thing. A debate from Intelligence Squared US about the value of calling out and public

How the 2020 election sparked a new kind of journalism

One year ago this week, Americans’ anxiety and uncertainty about the 2020 election was already inching upward when Donald Trump propagated the lie that mail-ballot fraud could cost him his victory and as far-right media began a movement called Stop the Steal. Also one year ago, a group of 15 reporters around the country got a crash course in a new kind of journalism and started jobs with a pop-up newsroom called Votebeat.

Best of 2019

Transom Story Workshop (Spring 2019); Queen City Podcast Network Studio Producer (Summer 2019); WFAE Reporting Fellow (Beginning Fall 2019)

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Uptown Charlotte's Protected Bike Lane On Track, But Not Fast Enough For Cyclists

Cyclists would love to not worry about being hit by vehicles. And drivers would love to not worry about hitting cyclists. Charlotte planners believe a protected bike lane project will make everyone happier and safer on uptown's roads. Stephanie Bercht is a designer who works uptown. She commutes to work by bike every day — she says there’s no bad day to bike. You just need to be prepared. As prepared as Bercht is, she still gets scared on her commute into uptown.