We're working on a new version of PRX. Want a sneak peek?

Comments by Mark Saldaña

Comment for "Different, Not Disabled: The Perception of My Mind"

User image

thought provoking

this is a piece of real value. producer Ian Kathan strikes a thoughtful balance between a personal and social/cultural perspective. well done!

Comment for "Sidewalk Skater"

User image

a sidewalk survey of skateboard dodgers

Kyle and Joseph string together frank, often a little silly responses to their questions about skatebording on the sidewalks of downtown Tucson. I love the use of music & the closing. I was a little disappointed that the narrators disappear from the piece for so long -- more back and forths and segues would help keep the listener connected to the audio. The candid responses are enjoyable as is, but I'd also love to hear more context. Who are the people being interviewed? What's the journey from place to place like throughout the day of interviews? A few of the respondents mention how a skate park would be a good idea. What are your thoughts? Would people still skate on the sidewalks? There's a funny and informative story just beneath the surface of this piece, and some more narration from Kyle and Joseph could help bring the listener into it.

Comment for "Two Zambian girls talk about climate change"

User image

casual conversation & uncommon insight in the biology lab

“Two Zambian girls talk about climate change” captures just what its title implies – a casual conversation about climate, politics, and everyday attitudes in a biology lab in Zambia. This piece benefits immensely from the interviewee Kapambwe Chanda’s perspective and wit. Kampambwe’s emphasis on making climate change an interesting and entertaining issue for young people is enjoyably candid, and complements her argument about youth becoming engaged future leaders well.

Equally as important as Kampambwe’s insight is the editorial decision to foreground these youth voices on their own terms, without any framing or editorializing. I feel this piece, at a lightweight 3:45, is a wonderful example of the radio’s ability to be transportive and poignant & bring us for a moment to often-unheard terrain of a familiar issue.

With that said, the ending is quite abrupt. The sudden introduction of an editorial voice would alter the piece, but it would have been nice to hear some closing comment from the interviewer. Along those lines, the piece is really an interview rather than a ‘talk;’ perhaps we could hear more from Mwangala.

Do take a moment to listen to this wonderful little piece!

Comment for "Greenwashing and Consumerism: Why Walmart Doesn't Care"

User image

the endless demand to 'buy green!': a youth response

"Greenwashing and Consumerism: Why Walmart Doesn't Care" is an engaging radio short on how companies use 'green consumerism' to their advantage, and how youth like producer Isaac Woodbury High are responding. Highlights of the piece include wonderful music selections (both Kermit AND Fugazi!), Isaac's thoughtful questions and first-person narration, and some wonderful anecdotes and analysis from the interviewee, John Rooks. Though the pacing of the piece was occasionally slow (I can imagine this piece a minute or two shorter,) I felt quite drawn in as a listener.

One thing that would help this piece is better framing of the interview. As the interviewee is central in the piece, we should be introduced to him a little earlier on. Though he provides thoughtful contemplation of 'greenwashing' and his role as a consumer, Isaac rarely comments directly on what Rooks has to say. Does Isaac agree that authenticity is most important when it comes to greenwashing? Rooks seems to praise Walmart for being authentic about its profit motives, whereas the title Isaac chose for the piece suggests that Isaac condemns Walmart for being insincere. Perhaps Isaac is still not 100% what he thinks about Walmart - he openly asks the listener if being a green consumer is even possible. But a better framing of the interview would help the listener place Rooks' comments in context. I would have loved to hear a little more about Rooks' job, for example, and in what manner he acts on his opinions.

Isaac has a knack for great sound and compelling narration, and both shine in this piece. For a youth response to the Greening of our supermarkets and just about everything else, check out this piece.

Comment for "The Heated Future: A Timely Tale"

User image

climate change in the arabian peninsula

Terrascope Radio brings together an impressive collection of student journalists, interviewees, and settings (Abu Dhabi & a post-climate-change future!) to bring life to a startling new planning project of the United Arab Emirates. The piece draws listeners in with the frame narrative of teens from a climate-wrecked future traveling back in time, using an entertaining palette of sound effects and bantering. The transition from being transported into the middle of the desert to joining a tour group is especially clever.

As we learn more about the Masdar City project, I found myself wishing for more details about the project -- who will live there? What types of research will the project generate? What are some criticisms of this type of city planning, and how are the planners anticipating and addressing those criticisms?

This piece benefits from enthusiastic acting, a clever mashup of radio styles&techniques, and the strong pairing of a surprising planning project with the climate change concept of 'making a difference before it is too late.'It's a great, fresh take at environmental themes; make sure it to save it a spot on your playlist!

Comment for "Impact of BP Oil Spill Reaches Minnesota"

User image

far-reaching effects of an environmental disaster

Though the BP oil spill may seem like something that happened 'way over there' for most Minnesotans, producer Mesgana Tesfahun's piece is an important reminder of just how far-reaching and significant the spill's effects truly are. Mesgana did a good job selecting evidence of how the spill affected Minnesota, capturing both business and wildlife/habitat concerns. I was intrigued by her observation that gas stations had changed their names, and also that BP wouldn't comment for the interview! After Diana's first quote, Mesgana immediately begins to talk about Josh, which may signal to the listener that Diana's comments are less interesting or important. Mesgana chooses strong words and phrases for her voiceover, but I would love to hear a little more excitement in her inflection and quickness to the editing. The comments about the spill cleanup right now are also a little vague -- is tens of thousands of gallons of oil being burned a good thing? Mesgana says that BP 'took the lead' with the cleanup, but she doesn't describe the government and public's criticism of BP's response. I feel this piece's strength is its emphasis on the local impact of a complicated issue far away; to that end, more detail and exploration of the examples of local impact will go a long way. Maybe record a trip to the seafood isle of a local grocery store, or try to dig up more Minnesota-specific statistics about the economic effect of the spill. "Impact of BP Oil Spill Reaches Minnesota" is a solid beginning on an issue listeners will be eager to hear.

Comment for "Raining Cats and Dogs " (deleted)

User image

a wake-up call about setting pets loose (deleted)

This timely and well-researched piece examines why people, especially college students, abandon their pets. Producer Meghan Sweeney manages to fit a good mix of voices into the piece without it seeming overcrowded. The quotes are spot-on. Who is the interviewee with the great suggestion that irresponsible students "get a goldfish!"? One thing that would help drive the story home would be a little more direction from the narration. I was waiting for Meghan to ask us "why aren't most college students as responsible as Andrew Boyer?" The story ended with a powerful statistic, but I wanted to hear Andrew's voice again, as well as Meghan's response to the "bad economy" excuse for abandonment -- do college students think this way as well? Why would Andrew not think this way, and how we can we learn from him? The piece sounds clean and professional. As a minor point: the interviews start and end a little abruptly. Allowing some audio to creep in beneath the narration would be an easy fix to help the listener anticipate what's about to happen. Overall, I think this is a wonderful piece for a college community to hear - or any community, for that manner. I hope that anyone thinking of ignoring their pet-owner responsibilities because of a busy semester or a dwindling bank accounts hears Meghan's piece; I'm sure they will think twice.