Category

Social Issues

Journalism, Non Fiction, Social Issues

Apr 27: Why We Fall For Hype with Gabrielle Bluestone

How Con Artists, Grifters and Scammers are Taking Over the Internet – & Why We’re Following

Gabrielle Bluestone shares her insights into why scammers do what they do, and why – despite overwhelming evidence calling them out – we blindly believe what we’re told without researching the source.  She says we are at the natural end of a society primed to trust their own emotions over objective, verifiable facts.” 

From celebrities to politicians, to the little-known, we discuss why we get sucked into their spiel. Where social media and influencers factor in. The rise of cancel culture, where seemingly harmless messaging and soundbites create images that can make or break reputations and campaigns. Why Fyre was the greatest festival that never happened. Where greed plays a role. And why you shouldn’t trust cosmetic surgery photos because even they are often digitally altered.

About Gabrielle Bluestone

A journalist and licensed attorney from New York, Gabrielle Bluestone’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, New York Observer, Sunday Times Magazine, and more. She’s the Emmy-nominated producer of Netflix’s  documentary Fyre. And the associate producer of Different Flowers, winner of the 2017 Kansas City FilmFest Festival Prize.

Continue reading
Journalism, Non Fiction, Social Issues

NOV 24: Pulitzer Prize Winner Eric Eyre with Death in Mud Lick

Why Death In Mud Lick Booka town called Kermit with only 382 residents prescribed 12 million pills in 3 years.

In Death in Mud Lick: A Coal Country Fight against the Drug Companies that Delivered the Opioid Epidemic, journalist Eric Eyre set out to expose the mysteries, tragedies, and government corruption behind the opioid crisis in West Virginia.

Eric joins us to share stories from the investigative research that took him to counties at the heart of the opioid crisis—small rural counties with the highest overdose rates in the United States.  We discuss the  importance of strong independent journalism, and community journalism in particular. Eric also shares the  concept of sustained outrage and how even tiny actions can make a huge impact.

About Eric Eyre

For more than 20 years, Eric Eyre was a reporter for the Charleston Gazette-Mail.  His series of investigations into massive shipments of opioids to West Virginia’s southern coalfields was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2017, and led to his book, Death in Mud Lick: A Coal Country Fight against the Drug Companies That Delivered the Opioid Epidemic.

Continue reading
Environment, Memoir, Non Fiction, Science, Social Issues

OCt 06: Dr Samantha Montano & Disasterology–Dispatches From the Frontlines of the Climate Crisis

“At the start of every disaster movie, is a scientist being ignored.”

Dr Samantha Montano became passionate about studying disasters after spending years in New Orleans, working with various nonprofits on recovery efforts, related to Hurricane Katrina and the BP Oil Disaster.

Disasterology is part memoir, part expert-analysis. Dr. Montano shares insights on how climate crisis impacts what we call ‘natural disasters’. She discusses how media, politicians, and communities can hinder and help in such disasters. Why disaster resilience is the responsibility of every citizen. And what happens to those left behind after networks turn off their cameras.

About Dr. Samantha Montano

Dr. Samantha Montano has a B.S. in Psychology, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Emergency Management. She is currently an assistant professor of emergency management at Massachusetts Maritime Academy. She’s been interviewed in the New York Times, The Atlantic, National Geographic, Los Angeles Times, and published in the Washington Post, Teen Vogue, among others. Dr Montano is the author of Disasterology: Dispatches from The Frontlines of The Climate Crisis.

 

Continue reading
Journalism, Non Fiction, Social Issues

JUN 16: Gabrielle Bluestone with Hype (& Why We Fall For It)

How Scammers, Grifters, & Con Artists are Taking Over the Internet – & Why We’re Following

Gabrielle Bluestone says we are at the natural end of a society primed to trust their own emotions over objective, verifiable facts.”   She joins us to share insight into why scammers do it, and why – despite the availability of myriad resources – we blindly believe what we’re told without verifying facts.

From celebrities to politicians, and the little-known, we discuss why we get sucked into their spiel. The role of influencers and social media. How messaging and soundbites create images that can make or break reputations and campaigns. Why Fyre was the greatest festival that never happened. Where greed plays a role. And why you shouldn’t trust cosmetic surgery photos because even they are often digitally altered.

About Gabrielle Bluestone

Gabrielle Bluestone is a journalist and licensed attorney from New York whose writing has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, New York Observer, Sunday Times Magazine, and more. She’s the Emmy-nominated producer of Netflix’s  documentary Fyre. And the associate producer of Different Flowers, winner of the 2017 Kansas City FilmFest Festival Prize.

Continue reading
History, Non Fiction, Social Issues, Women's Issues

APR 14: The Agitators with NYT Bestselling Author Dorothy Wickenden

Three Friends Who Fought for Abolition and Women’s Rights

The Agitators tells fascinating stories surrounding America’s abolition, the Underground Railroad, and early women’s rights movements from the intimate perspective of three friendsMartha Coffin Wright, Frances A. Seward, and Harriet Tubman.

It took Dorothy Wickenden seven years to research and write The Agitators. Today she shares some of the challenges in the lives of these “agitators”, and how they were united in spirit, despite having very different backgrounds. We also discuss how Quakers led the first large movement to abolish slavery. Some of the research that surprised and delighted the author. And what she would ask these women, if she could.

About Dorothy Wickenden

Dorothy Wickenden is the author of Nothing Daunted and The Agitators, and has been the executive editor of The New Yorker since 1996. She also writes for the magazine and is the moderator of its weekly podcast Politics & More. A former Nieman Fellow at Harvard, Wickenden was national affairs editor at Newsweek from 1993-1995.

Continue reading
Non Fiction, Social Issues

APR 07: New Yorkers with Craig Taylor

New Yorkers: A City and Its People in Our Time

Who better to capture the essence of New York in today’s times, than New Yorkers themselves. Journalist Craig Taylor immersed himself into the crowded streets of New York, speaking to over 200 everyday people, to let their words paint the picture of contemporary New York.

We discuss some of the 75 characters in the book, and learn why most say NYC is just a “playground for the rich.” Why part of  “living in NY is just mourning the hell out of it.”  Why some stay when they say they want nothing more than to leave. How the city became “very dark” in March 2020. And what Craig misses the most now he’s back in Canada.

About Craig Taylor

Craig Taylor is the author of the bestselling Londoners, Return to Akenfield, and One Million Tiny Plays About Britain.  His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, The Globe & Mail, and McSweeney’s.  Craig Taylor’s latest book New Yorkers: A City and Its People in Our Time.

Continue reading
Non Fiction, Social Issues

OCT 28: MIT’s Justin Reich with Failure to Disrupt

How distance learning impacts school kids

The United States continues to debate, juggle, and deal with school closures and distance learning because of COVID-19.

While learning technology can carry a high cost economically and culturally, maybe a more important question is how it impacts our kid’s education and social skills. Today Justin Reich joins us to discuss some of the issues and benefits of distance learning and technology.

About Justin Reich

Justin Reich is Mitsui Career Development Professor of Comparative Media Studies and Director of the Teaching Systems Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He hosts the podcast TeachLab. And has written about education and technology for Education WeekThe New YorkerThe AtlanticThe Washington Post, and Science. Justin Reich’s latest book is Failure to Disrupt: Why Technology Alone Can’t Transform Education.

Continue reading
Non Fiction, Social Issues, Women's Issues

AUG 26: Julie Suk with We The Women & Why the Equal Rights Amendment Matters

Julie Suk joins us to discuss stories from her new book WE THE WOMEN: The Unstoppable Mothers of the Equal Rights Amendment.

We explore why the ERA still hasn’t made it into the U.S. Constitution — and who’s blocking it.  What that means to women today, and what to do about it.  Julie also highlights some of the brilliant women suffragists who’ve kept pushing the ERA forward despite fierce opposition and subterfuge.

Julie C. Suk is a frequent media commentator on legal issues affecting women. She’s a professor of Sociology, Political Science, and Liberal Studies at the the Graduate Center of the City University of New York where she serves as Dean for Master’s Programs.

Continue reading
Conservation, Environment, Non Fiction, Social Issues, Sustainability

JUL 22: Facing the Climate Emergency with Dr. Margaret Klein Salamon

“You can create transformative change only by facing the truth.”  So much of the battle to save the climate is psychological and Dr. Margaret Klein Salamon’s new book, Facing the Climate Emergency: How to Transform Yourself with Climate Truth, gives you the tools to face your negative emotions, accept your fears, and channel them into protecting humanity and the natural world.

So what is the Climate Truth we need to face? Simply put, Dr. Margaret Klein Salamon believes the scientific consensus that our current ecological crisis threatens every life on our planet.

Margaret Klein Salamon, PhD, is a clinical psychologist turned climate warrior and founder of The Climate Mobilization, which pioneered the internationally recognized Climate Emergency.

 

Continue reading
Creativity, Fiction, Social Issues, Writers on Writing

JUL 15: A Dangerous Breed with Glen Erik Hamilton

Thriller author Glen Erik Hamilton returns to Conversations Live with the latest novel in his popular Van Shaw series, A Dangerous Breed.  We discuss a broad range of topics, including character development and how he keeps his recurring characters evolving from book to book.  We also dive into some of the research he did for the novel, and where he took creative license and why.

Glen also shares his perspective on artist rights and responsibilities as related to our current political climate and how artists can (or should) go about representing characters from other backgrounds or orientations.

Glen grew up aboard a sailboat in Seattle, Washington, playing and occasionally finding trouble around the islands, marinas, and commercial docks of the Pacific Northwest.  His books in the Van Shaw series have won numerous awards and received critical acclaim from Publishers WeeklyLibrary Journal, and more.

 

Continue reading