Virginia Prescott

Host, Word of Mouth

Prior to joining NHPR, Virginia Prescott was editor and producer for the nationally syndicated programs On Point and Here & Now, produced at WBUR in Boston. Virginia grew up in New Hampshire, but began her radio career at WWOZ Radio in New Orleans. She moved to New York City and worked for the team behind NPR’s Peabody Award-winning Jazz from Lincoln Center series with Ed Bradley. Virginia then joined WNYC to launch the station’s website and oversee all its interactive media sites. Throughout her radio career, Virginia helped set up independent radio stations in developing regions in southern and West Africa. She has also trained journalists in post-conflict zones from Sierra Leone to the former Yugoslavia. She was awarded a Loeb Fellowship at Harvard University where she studied how broadcast media could spark dialogue and build community across terrestrial borders.

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Word of Mouth
12:44 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Reggie Watts: Beatboxer, Comedian, Musician

Credit Hopkins Center TEST

We spoke with beatboxer, comedian, musician, and kinda TV talk show host Reggie Watts about his music and other ongoing projects. Reggie takes suggestions submitted via Youtube and turns them into original songs which have never before been performed, and may never be performed again. It’s all part of his online comedy collective called Jash with comedians Sarah Silverman, Tim and Eric, and actor Michael Cera. In addition to his online performances, Reggie has also been playing shows and festivals around the country. He’ll be at the Portsmouth Music Hall in the fall.

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Word of Mouth
12:14 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

The Secret Lives Of Sports Fans

Credit ericsimons.net

If you’re a New England sports fan of a certain age, chances are you can describe exactly what happened during game 6 of the 1986 World Series when Bill Buckner missed a roller at first.

That error allowed the Mets a winning run and further cemented the “Curse of the Bambino” in the minds of Red Sox fans…many of those same fans still get weepy when thinking of 2004 – when the Sox finally reversed the curse and won the World Series.

Along with the thrill comes the agony …just ask any Bruins fan who watched Boston’s 2 - 1 lead in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals squandered  by two Blackhawk goals in the last 76 seconds of the game.

We spoke to science writer and Radiolab contributor Eric Simons before the Bruins crushing defeat. Eric’s latest book “The Secret Lives of Sports Fans,” is his attempt to figure out the science and psychology of sports fans…and it begins with a play-by-play of heartbreak.

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Word of Mouth
10:44 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Supreme Court Ruling On DNA Gathering Could Force Screenwriters To Find New Plot Twists

The Law & Order: SVU team might need to look for new ways to create drama.
Credit nbcsvu on tumblr

Early in June, the Supreme Court cleared the way for police to take DNA samples for people they arrest, without a warrant. The decision has stirred concerns among criminal justice and privacy advocates. The challenge of legally obtaining DNA samples from suspects is an essential plot point in police and court dramas – driving the action across two or even three commercial breaks. New York Times television critic Neil Genzlinger wondered what effect the high court ruling could have on TV crime shows.

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Word of Mouth
10:08 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Baz Luhrmann On Transforming Beyonce Into 1920's Jazz

Credit via amazon.com

“Yellow Cocktail Music: The Great Gatsby Jazz Recordings”, is a kind of way-back machine for the contemporary songs featured in the new film adaptation of The Great Gatsby. Jay-Z, Will-I-Am, and Beyoncé, are featured on the original soundtrack and this follow-up album imagines what the songs might have sounded like coming out of a Victrola in 1922…with help from the Bryan Ferry Orchestra. Joining us to discuss the album is Baz Luhrmann; the distinctive director, producer, and screenwriter for Romeo and Juliet, Moulin Rouge, among others, including the movie that kicked off the summer blockbuster season – The Great Gatsby.

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Word of Mouth
10:06 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Kickstarting The Colonial Theatre

Credit via bethlehemcolonialtheatre.org

The Colonial Theatre in Bethlehem, New Hampshire, is among the oldest continually running movie theatres in the country, and is currently the only venue for showing independent movies in northern New Hampshire. Now, nearly 100 years after opening its doors, The Colonial may have to stop showing films. Like many indie theaters across the country, The Colonial has to convert to the digital format adopted by the film industry if it wants to show new releases. The theatre recently launched a $10,000 Kickstarter campaign to help pay for and install digital projection equipment. Stephen Dignazio is executive director of The Colonial Theatre and joins us to discuss the campaign.

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Word of Mouth
10:04 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Facial Recognition Databases Add To Privacy Concerns

Credit Angus McDiarmid via flickr Creative Commons

Facial recognition databases containing millions of are being scanned by local and federal government agencies to help curb everything from driver’s license fraud to terrorism. The growing library of faces also consists of non-offenders and innocent witnesses; many of the photos were taken without the subject’s consent or knowledge. For some, this accumulation of facial data is adding to growing concerns over individual privacy rights.

Craig Timberg is the Washington Post’s national technology reporter and has been covering this story along with Ellen Nakashima.

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Word of Mouth
9:43 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Glam Rock: Why It Matters

Credit boingboing.net

Glam rock paraded its outrageous self across the stage between the early and late 1970s… David Bowie, Lou Reed, and bands like T-Rex, and Roxy Music traded in mad men and hippy era masculinity for flamboyant hairstyles, blue eyeshadow and platforms shoes. Glam came from Britain, but conspired with America’s Me Generation…dropping a glitter bomb of theatrics, androgyny and gay camp on a country lurching between deprivation and hedonism. Without glam, there would be no punk, no Flock of Seagulls hair bands, goth rock or KISS…  cultural critic Mark Dery argues that glam was surprisingly radical…planting the seeds of genderplay in the minds of middle class kids, one guitar riff at a time. Mark is author of “All the Young Dudes: Why Glam Rock Matters,” the inaugural e-reader release from the new Boing Boing imprint.

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Word of Mouth
11:33 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Word Of Mouth 06.15.2013

Credit Atelier Teee via flickr Creative Commons

Don't fear the ides of June, the Saturday show is here! Our can't miss mix of the best of the best of Word of Mouth.

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Word of Mouth
12:01 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

A Lost Art: One Man Handwrites The Bible

Working on Corinthians
Credit Laura Glazer

Phillip Patterson is a sixty-three year old retiree from Philmont, New York who’s spent the past 7 years working on a handwritten volume of the entire  – almost 800,000 word King James Bible. Phillip suffers from AIDS and related illnesses, often making the quest slow-going, though he sometimes logged up to eighteen hours of writing a day. He just recently finished the epic manuscript.

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Word of Mouth
9:38 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Plimpton! Comes To Massachusetts

Credit Plimptonmovie.com

If there was ever a man who knew how to fail fabulously, it was writer, journalist, and editor George Plimpton.  Ten years after his death, and sixty since he helped launch esteemed literary magazine The Paris Review, Plimpton is probably best known for his amateur antics among pro athletes – taking hits from light-heavyweight champ Archie Moore, playing quarterback for the Detroit Lions, and taking the mound at Yankee Stadium. His accounts of these stories, now acknowledged as the beginning of participatory journalism, effectively transformed Plimpton one of the greatest everyman writers in modern memory. 

For the new documentary Plimpton!, directors Tom Bean and Luke Polling combed through countless hours of footage to create a film posthumously narrated by its own subject.  Already out in select cities, Plimpton! opens Friday, June 21st at the Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline, Massachusetts. 

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Word of Mouth
9:27 am
Wed June 12, 2013

The Dirty Truth Behind Idyllic Farm Photography

Credit modernfarmer.com

As farming takes off for a new generation of hip young homesteaders, beautifully crafted farm photos have made an impression in digital media – who hasn’t seen an adorably old-fashioned photo of sun-drenched pasture on Facebook… or a picturesque sunrise over a dewy, field of grazing grass-fed livestock on Instagram?

As a goat farmer and freelance photographer based in Vermont, Stephanie Fisher worries her own idyllic farm photos might be sugarcoating a job that’s often tougher than it looks.  She spoke with word of mouth producer Taylor Quimby about her recent article in Modern Farmer, “The Side of Farming You Won’t See on Facebook”.

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Word of Mouth
8:00 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Superfoods Don't Need To Be Exotic Or Expensive

Credit dorkboycomics via flickr Creative Commons

Products like goji berries and quinoa are part of a fast-growing health-food industry – just last year, products derived from the Brazilian açaĺ-berry grossed 200 million dollars in the United States alone. The aggressive marketing of these superfoods are backed up by often misleading, or overblown, claims of their healthful benefits. Tom Philpott is the co-founder of Maverick Farms, a center for sustainable food education in North Carolina. His work on food politics has appeared in Newsweek and The Guardian…he wrote about superfood myths for Mother Jones.

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Word of Mouth
1:32 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

How The Internet Is Responding To The NSA Story

Credit Richard Holt® via flickr Creative Commons

Privacy is a topic we’ve visited and revisited on this program, especially when it comes to the web community’s reaction to shifting policies on our social media and email accounts. Revelations made by former CIA and Booz Allen employee Edward Snowden about the National Security Agency’s sweeping electronic surveillance program could forever change the “privacy conversation.” Joining us with more on the internet’s reaction to the unfolding NSA story is Brady Carlson, our always-vigilant eye on social media and the world of the web.

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Word of Mouth
9:13 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Looking For Love? Try The Internet. No, Really!

Credit AlexanderVorobiov via 500px Creative Commons license

A new study from the University of Chicago shows that couples who meet via online dating sites tend to have better relationships than couples who meet for the first time in person. Here to tell us more about these findings is Ingrid Wickelgren, editor with Scientific American MIND.  She wrote the article, “Does Finding Your Spouse Online Lead to a Stronger Marriage?”

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Word of Mouth
9:01 am
Tue June 11, 2013

The Fifth Amendment In The Digital Age

Credit kalavinka via flickr Creative Commons

A case in Wisconsin is testing the limits of the Fifth Amendment in the digital age. In January, the FBI seized 20 terabytes of hard drives from Jeffrey Feldman, a man accused possessing underage pornography – but could only decrypt 20% of it. Until last week, a federal court judge had placed the burden on the defendant to decrypt the rest or face charges of contempt. Last week, his attorney successfully argued an emergency motion to extend that deadline. She claims that asking Feldman to decrypt files that would be used against him in the case is a violation of his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Declan McCullagh is chief political correspondent and senior writer for C-Net and has been following the story.

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