Noa and Mira: Israeli and Palestinian Lay Groundwork for Peace

Several weeks ago, I heard an interview with musical artists Noa and Mira on Tell Me More, an NPR radio program.  The two featured singers, a Jew and an Arab-Israeli, teamed up to use their fame and talent to promote cooperation in the Arab-Israeli conflict.  Their music is trilingual–in Arabic, Hebrew, and English–which makes it especially fun to listen too.

Mira (left) and Noa (right) http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=127368488

On the show, the performed three of their songs: There Must Be Another Way, A Word, and Will You Dance with Me? and talked about the successes and struggles they’ve had in their goal to lay the groundwork for peace-building.

I’ve looked for MP3s of their music and haven’t been able to find them on iTunes or anywhere else.  So if you find them let me know!

Speaking of Faith

One of my favorite programs from American Public Media is Speaking of Faith, hosted by Krista Tippett.  I first listened to the program at home in Indianapolis, but because it is on the air at a really bad time (7am on Sunday mornings) I started to listen to the podcasts, which are downloadable on iTunes.  The show discusses a range of topics relating to religion, spirituality, and morality, and the intersection of those things with politics, culture, and everyday life.

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Some of my favorite shows have been…

-“Religious Passion, Pluralism, and the Young”: a discussion with Eboo Patel about the Interfaith Youth Core in Chicago, Ill.

-“The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi”: a look at the Muslim mystic and poet who has popularity has recently grown in the U.S.

-“The Spirituality of Parenting”: a conversation with a rabbi from Indianapolis about the importance of raising your children in a religious tradition

-“Reflections from a Former Islamist Extremist”: an interview in which a former extremist explains his previous mindset and rationale

-“The Beauty and Challenges of Being Catholic”: Catholics reflect on their experiences. (This is probably my favorite, because I relate so well to it.)

All of the pieces on Islam are great, but I don’t want to list them all here.

I hope you subscribe to Speaking of Faith.  I find it particularly useful to listen to while doing work around the house.

Ira Glass Storytelling Series (Pt. IV)

Here is the final video installment of Ira Glass’ storytelling video series.

He talks about two super important things that journalists should remember.  One, if you’re in broadcast, be yourself.  Don’t try to talk like someone else who’s already on TV because that’s just boring.  Two, stories are most compelling when you see the interaction between the subject and the people he/she knows.  This means that journalists don’t always have to cut themselves out of a story.  As the journalist, you were the one whose point of view the story is coming from, so the reader should be clear about your role in the process.

A really good example of this is Ira Glass’ piece called “Dead Animal Man.”  In the piece, you can hear Ira’s conversation with the D.C. sanitation man who scoops up dead animals and roadkill and disposes of them.  It’s a fabulous piece that has been used as a teaching tool at Y-Press a lot.  (If you can’t hear the piece, that’s probably because you don’t have an account on PRX.  But it’s easy to get one and it’s free.)

Ira Glass Storytelling Series (Pt. III)

Third video in the four part series.  Ira Glass on having “good taste”.

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He talks about how we (those who ambition to be storytellers, journalists) get into the business because we have good taste.  But he realizes–from his own experience–that even though we have good taste, our pieces don’t live up to our good taste for the first several years of being in the business.  We know our work sucks, but we can’t do anything about it.

Glass uses one of his old radio stories as an example.  The piece is about interesting stuff, but because of its presentation, it is really boring.  His tone, inflection, manner of speaking, and writing aren’t great, and basically encourage the listener to zone out or change the channel.

While talking about his piece, he criticizes his inflection and begs reporters to talk naturally, like they normally would.  In a future video he says something like, “We already have one Ted Koppel in the world, so you don’t need to sound like him, too.”  He claims it’s best to be yourself and I heartily agree.