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
12:52 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Bombino: Music With A Tuareg's Heart

The Tuareg have been fighting the government of Mali on and off for more than a century. Their rebellion intensified when the fiercely independent Tuareg allied themselves with Islamic Jihadists to fight the government and made huge territorial gains in the north of the country.

This week, the French launched a military intervention in Mali- once a French colony. The U.S. State Department is also considering limited involvement, including logistical support and training for intervention forces in the region. The Tuareg, however, just want to continue eeking out their lives in the desert.

Filmmaker Ron Wyman tracked Bombino down in Burkina Faso, where he was living in exile. That was the beginning of a creative collaboration that produced the iTunes best-selling album, Agadez and the feature film, Agadez: The Music and the Rebellion. We spoke with Ron in March about discovering Bombino, and we thought hearing him again would provide a timely window into a little known tribe of nomads who are now in the news.

This audio is pending

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Word of Mouth
9:48 am
Tue January 15, 2013

The Mars500 Experiment: Sleeping in Space

If you think it’s difficult to get enough sleep in an age of 24 hours news cycles and the allure of Facebook surfing, consider how hard it must be without the sun…or gravity. The first of many studies on the Mars500 Project have been released, and it documented the sleeping habits of five men isolated on earth for 520 days.

Listen to the interview

Word of Mouth
9:39 am
Tue January 15, 2013

One Man's Quest to Save Pinball

The steadfast fixture of arcades and bars has dwindled as the gaming industry has moved towards handheld devices and home consoles. Only one pinball production company remains. However, Jack Guarnieri is looking to revive the once uber-popular gaming machine.

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Word of Mouth
9:33 am
Tue January 15, 2013

Lead: The Criminal Element

Boing Boing Science Editor Maggie Koerth-Baker has tracked trending scientific evidence that suggests leaded gasoline was the primary catalyst for national fluctuations violent crime, IQ, and ADHD.

Word of Mouth
10:47 am
Mon January 14, 2013

Dystextia: A New Warning Sign

Here’s another sign that personal technology has penetrated nearly every part of our lives – Boston Globe Health Reporter and blogger Deborah Kotz recently wrote about a newly recognized medical phenomenon called “dystextia”


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Word of Mouth
10:01 am
Mon January 14, 2013

The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease

The recent and somewhat controversial changes to the manual to diagnose mental illness, also known as the DSM-5, will become official later this spring. Edits to the manual are based around an evolving understanding of mental disorders, which historically, haven’t always been accurate. A shocking diagnosis took hold at the height of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960’s, when thousands of young black men were arrested at protests and sent to the Ionia State Hospital for the Criminally Insane in Michigan, where they were systematically diagnosed with schizophrenia.

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Word of Mouth
9:22 am
Mon January 14, 2013

The Forgotten Vice President

A Vice President seems like an obvious choice at the end of any President’s second term, but President Obama’s right-hand man may face an “over-the-hill” battle for the nomination. Steve Kornacki writes about why Joe Biden so frequently gets left off of the presidential short list.


Writers on a New England Stage
10:38 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Jared Diamond

David J. Murray cleareyephoto.com

Jared Diamond, Pulitzer Prize-winning and bestselling author of Collapse and Guns, Germs, and Steel, takes the stage to discuss his latest foray into a field he has made his own -- a biological analysis of human history.

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Word of Mouth
9:28 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Philanthropy Class Attains Real Donation Fund

Last semester, students attending a course on philanthropy at University of Pennsylvania’s Urban Studies Department were given one-hundred thousand dollars to dispense to area non-profits.  Yesterday, Virginia Prescott caught up with Doug Bauer, Executive Director at the Clark Foundation – who co-teaches the course alongside Greg Goldman, Vice President of Development at the non-profit Philadelphia Zoo.



Word of Mouth
10:02 am
Tue January 8, 2013

The Piltdown Man Caper (and Five Other Archeological Hoaxes)

Replica of the Piltdown skull
Credit via www.History.com


It has been a century since one of the most publicized scientific hoaxes was presented to the world, and only sixty years since the find was exposed as a fraud. Here to talk about the centennial anniversary of the discovery of Piltdown Man is Robert Goodby. He’s an archeologist and Associate Professor at Franklin Pierce University.

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Word of Mouth
9:39 am
Tue January 8, 2013

The Ballet Girls: A Portrait of Life in Damascus During the Revolution

Emma LeBlanc


 


As the Syrian revolution grinds on, middle-class Damascus clings to the rituals of everyday life. Photographer Emma LeBlanc and Phil Sands capture the other story of the revolution. It is the story of a tension that has come to define this new Syria in transition, though the quiet, frightened, quotidian voices of the majority are those less often heard amidst the shouts for freedom and those for president Bashar. 

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Word of Mouth
9:12 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Safeguarding Liberty: Beyond the Second Amendment

Credit Roger Wood / NHPR

Today, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband launched a political action committee with a goal of countering the influence of the gun lobby. the new PAC leverages public calls for stricter gun controls following the Sandy Hook shooting last month.


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Word of Mouth
4:18 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

High Heels Are Sexy and Other "No Duh" Research

Credit pixieclipx via Flickr Creative Commons

The high heel—ever the fashion accessory—has always attracted attention. Turns out (insert astonishment here) that they make the wearer more attractive and more feminine. 


In honor of this not quite surprising research, here are our top scientific no-brainers inspired by the Ig Nobel prizes for thoughtful, humorous and sometimes absurd research.

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Word of Mouth
11:44 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Self Help: How to Think More About Sex

Credit How to Think More About Sex by Alain de Botton

The author and philosopher Alain de Botton addresses the chasm between our private feelings and real world experience of sex in “How to Think More About Sex."  It’s one of two new books in The School of Life Series – a smart and frequently funny twist on the “self-help” genre, which he curates.

Check out this short film that accompanies the book:

Word of Mouth
10:51 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Adopt a Fire Hydrant, Fix a Pothole...There's an App for That

Credit Code for America

The non-profit Code for America brings together coders, artists, and designers to create easy to use applications that address the specific needs of local communities.  Mick Thompson, engineer in residence and 2012 fellow at Code for America joined us to talk about how code and collaboration leads to better lives for citizens.

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