The Big Take - Bloomberg News

Producer for The Big Take, a daily news podcast that focuses on one big story each weekday, and explains why it matters. Featuring some of the best of Bloomberg's reporting around the world.

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Avoiding War With China Is The Top Issue In Taiwan's Election

Taiwan’s current Vice President, ​​Lai Ching-te, leads the polls in the upcoming January presidential election. The winner will have a lot to contend with–and at the top of the list is how to keep the peace with China amid rising tensions. Bloomberg Businessweek editor Joel Weber sat down with Vice President Lai for several wide-ranging interviews in Taiwan. Joel and Taipei deputy bureau chief Cindy Wang join this episode to talk about the challenges the next president will face in preserving a democratic Taiwan.

US-Made Guns Are Fueling Global Shootings

American-made guns are pouring into countries all over the globe, even more so after the US made it easier to export guns in 2020. Even as America’s mass shootings horrify the world and gun-crime rates rise in many of the importing countries, the US government is playing a key role as the firearm industry’s booster and concierge. Bloomberg’s Michael Riley, David Kocieniewski and Patpicha Tanakasempipat join this episode to talk about one gunmaker, Sig Sauer.

You Never Think About Your Car’s Catalytic Converter—Until Thieves Saw It Off

Catalytic converters are a vital part of emissions reduction in gas-powered vehicles. But that’s not why they’ve been making headlines. Thieves across the US have been sawing them off cars because they contain precious metals like platinum, palladium and rhodium. Bloomberg Businessweek contributor Evan Ratliff is here to tell the tale of a $500 million catalytic converter theft ring—and how local police departments and federal law enforcement brought it down.

Women's Pro Tackle Football Takes The Field

Bloomberg Businessweek contributor Mary Pilon joins this episode to talk about the promise–and challenges–of building a fanbase for the Women’s Football Alliance, an all-female, full-contact league that has 60 teams in four divisions across 32 states. And we head to a nighttime practice of the DC Divas, to hear from the players and coaches about why they love the game and what it means for women to play tackle football.

Dust Off Your Dice–Dungeons & Dragons Is Back

The tabletop roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons is approaching its 50th anniversary and it has never been more popular, attracting players of all ages to its analog charms. Now Hasbro, the toy company that owns it, is betting D&D can be brought into the digital age and become a big moneymaker. Bloomberg correspondent Felix Gillette joins this episode to talk about why Dungeons & Dragons is having a cultural — and economic — moment, and why it might not be so easy to persuade diehard fans to pay for a digital experience. Gaming retail store owner Lauren Bilanko shares what it’s like to run a business that caters to the D&D crowd.

Will ChatGPT Steal Your Job?

As the technology powering artificial intelligence keeps improving, it’s getting harder to tell the difference between human and machine. And that means companies are looking to capitalize on its uses.ChatGPT’s maker OpenAI is quickly rolling out new iterations, like the more powerful version of the product called GPT-4. Google has introduced its own version, albeit with some early stumbles. And Elon Musk also has his eye on the AI space. Bloomberg Opinion columnist Parmy Olson and technology reporters Dina Bass and Rachel Metz have reported extensively on the rise of ChatGPT and other forms of AI. They join this episode to talk through the upsides–and significant downsides–of a bot that can appear to write and sort of think for you, and what it looks like when humanlike machines become a bigger part of our daily work and lives.

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 - The Big Take

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.

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.

The Purple Principle (2022)

Associate Producer for The Purple Principle, a podcast exploring how and why America has gotten so polarized, and how independent minded Americans might be part of the solution. A production of Fluent Knowledge.

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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.

Polarized Politics & Hispanic Identity: These Not So United States (TX Part 4)

Is the Tejano identity weakening or changing amidst nationwide polarization and the increasing attention being paid to Hispanics as swing voters? Two respected commentators weigh in on this and related issues. Former four-term San Antonio mayor, Henry Cisneros, provides an insightful critique of his own Democratic Party’s failings in Texas of late, as well the growing appeal of the GOP to specific groups of Hispanics, such as small business owners.

Growth, Diversity & One Party Politics? (TX Part 3)

Is democracy still democracy when one party wins all the elections? That’s a question we’ll be asking around the country on our state level-identity and polarization series, since 37 state “trifectas,” or one-party governments, are now in office and in complete control. And as a result it’s a major point of discussion with Dr. James Henson, Director of The Texas Politics Project, in our third episode on the biggest, proudest and so often loudest of the Republican trifectas: Texas.

Messing with that Texas Identity? These Not So United States (TX Part 1)

The Purple Principle kicks off its extended Season Three series on state level polarization with a mini-series on the great state of Texas. And who better to discuss Texas politics than the co-hosts of the artfully named podcast, Y’all-itics: Jason Wheeler (Senior News Reporter) and Jason Whitely (News Anchor) of the ABC Dallas affiliate, WFAA. Both Jasons concur that polarization has been eating away at that powerful Texas identity in recent times. Jason Whitely hearkens back to the 2000 Georg

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.

Lagos to Mombasa, The Trans-Africa Podcast from CGD (2021-2022)

Podcast editor and consultant for the first season. An interview show about African development in the 21st century. Hosted by Gyude Moore, former Minister of Public Works for Liberia and a senior policy fellow for the Center for Global Development.

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Internet Citizen Podcast (2016-2020)

A podcast I developed, produced, and hosted, about Internet culture and gaming. Earlier episodes at

Charlotte Newsmakers (2019)

An interview podcast focused on the people and organizations behind Charlotte's biggest news trends. Hosted by Associated Press reporter Sarah Blake Morgan.

Studio producer and associate editor for Summer 2019.

Backyard Cambridge - A Local Politics Podcast (2018)

Highlights of a narrative podcast I produced about local politics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with support from the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.

The podcast is no longer listed on iTunes, but you can listen to it at the Backyard Cambridge website, or contact me for the podcast audio.

Other Shows

Select field production and tape syncs I've done for podcasts and radio.

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