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 Program Page

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Word of Mouth
10:37 am
Wed May 16, 2012

The “Who Done It” of Vladimir Lenin’s Death

Photo by alogou1775, via Flickr Creative Commons

A Soviet news reel shows teary mourners shuffling past the body of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.  The Bolshevik leader and chair of the soviet state in its early years died of a he died of an apparent massive stroke in 1924 at age 54. His embalmed corpse still throngs of visitors to his tomb in Moscow’s Red Square, and was the topic of an annual clinicopathological conference held at the University of Maryland.

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Word of Mouth
10:32 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Writers on a New England Stage: Erik Larson

Author Erik Larson

Bestselling author Erik Larson, discussing “In the Garden of Beasts” live at the Portsmouth Music Hall for the Writers on a New England Stage Series. The book is set in Berlin, 1933; the year Hitler became chancellor.

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Word of Mouth
1:05 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

America the Amateur

Photo by brizzle born and bred, via Flickr Creative Commons

America loves amateurs. The country was founded by dilettantes and enlightened rebels. Cities, farms and businesses were seeded by adventurous greenhorns and neophytes. Writer Jack Hitt argues that the DIY spirit that generated untold number of patents and subscriptions to Popular Mechanics drives the country’s success and identity. The popular TV shows The Voice and Project Runway continue a long tradition of discovering and rewarding talent.

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Word of Mouth
12:39 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

Photographed, but not forgotten

Photo by Pete Ashton, via Flickr Creative Commons

 Five years ago, the New York Times moved into a gleaming new office tower in mid-town Manhattan. The shimmering structure by Starchitect Renzo Piano was commended for being green and digital-ready. Half a block away, the paper’s archives could not be more dissimilar. The sub-sub-basement -- affectionately known as the Morgue --  is cramped with hundreds of cabinets, stuffed with twelve million clippings and more than six million photographs from the paper’s 160-year history.

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Word of Mouth
12:15 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

From Elvish to Klingon

Photo by *nettie*, via Flickr Creative Commons

It’s a fiction writer’s job to create authentic worlds  and suspend disbelief. One of the more time-consuming techniques in their toolbox? Inventing new languages – like the two forms of elvish used throughout J.R.R Tolkien's the Lord of the Rings. Michael Adams is a professor of English at Indiana

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Word of Mouth
11:39 am
Mon May 14, 2012

The Upside of Piracy...

(Photo by phreneticgamer via Flickr)

TV is big right now. Premium channel series like Mad MenGirls, and Game of Thrones are the stuff of water cooler and Twitter conversations, leaving those without access to cable in quandary…do they patiently await the iTunes, or Netflix release? Or give in, and illegally download fresh episodes? Even law-abiding viewers admitted to pirating Downton Abbey from British television before it made it to PBS.

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Word of Mouth
1:00 am
Sat May 12, 2012

Word of Mouth 05.12.2012

(Photo by Chris in Plymouth via Flickr Creative Commons)

Part 1:

All that "40 is the new 30" boosterism aside, midlife is not the start of a downward spiral. David Bainbridge is a clinical veterinary anatomist at Cambridge University, and the author of several books including Middle Age: A Natural History. He believes middle age might be a pivotal part of the human evolutionary process, and potentially the most productive years of our lives.  

and

An online dating site that caters specifically to doomsday preppers. 

by Danielle Lima

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Word of Mouth
12:00 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

Is Fiction Good For Us?

Photo by Bryan Alexander via Flickr Creative Commons

Novels, movies, TV and games engage the human imagination with tragedy, comedy, sex, violence, twisted families, rapacious gangsters, mysteries and monsters. But could all this fantasy be good for us?

Jonathan Gottschall is author of The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make us Human. He wrote about research into how fiction influences our views for The Boston Globe.

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Word of Mouth
11:47 am
Thu May 10, 2012

Zero-Tolerance Suspended At Struggling High School

Photo by Rev. Bombasticos via Flickr Creative Commons

In 1999, the Columbine massacre dramatically shifted how American schools approach student discipline. Zero-tolerance policies became the norm. Rates of suspensions have doubled, with minority-students seeing the most dramatic rise.

Studies show that only 5% of those suspended are for weapons or drugs. It’s behavior that gets the vast majority of these kids sent home. But a high school in Walla Walla, WA realized that home is not giving these kids what they need.

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Word of Mouth
11:04 am
Thu May 10, 2012

How To Eat A Beaver

Photo by Manual Crank via Flickr Creative Commons

Carol Leonard is considered one of the forerunners – or foremothers – of the modern midwifery movement. She was the first midwife certified to practice legally in New Hamsphire back in 1982, and has since delivered more than 1,200 babies safely in their homes.  That story is covered in her memoir, “Lady’s Hands, Lion’s Heart: A Midwife’s Saga.”

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Word of Mouth
1:50 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

A Comicon for the Rest of Us

Photo by Rodney Brown, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

The annual San Diego Comicon attracts crowds in excess of 100,000 people.  But there are plenty of colorful cosplay outfits, industry peeps, classes, and special events expected at a much closer and much smaller convention in Portland, Maine – Tristan Gallagher is co-owner of Coast City Comics in Portland.  He’s one of the organizers of the second Coast City Comicon – which is raising funds on

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Word of Mouth
12:53 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Sustainability on the Home Front

Photo by Keving Matteson, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

 A decade ago, few people were talking about sustainability, especially in the South Bronx. It was there that Majora Carter founded programs for green-collar jobs, spearheaded policy changes, and helped transform a toxic dump into a riverside park. From a local movement to “green the ghetto,” she has inspired people across the nation to secure the environmental, educational and economic futures of their own communities.

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Word of Mouth
11:45 am
Wed May 9, 2012

From Keg-Stands to Start-up

Photo by slworking2, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Produced by Jonathan Lynch

In the 1980s classic comedy revenge of the nerds, there was a clear cut boundary between the titular nerds and the preppy, popular frat boys that sought to humiliate them. A recent culture trend in Silicon Valley is looking to completely upend that convention by fusing the two. A new breed of software engineers is on the horizon, and they are just as likely to fine tune code as they are to lift weights and party on the weekend.

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Word of Mouth
10:47 am
Tue May 8, 2012

Closeted MD

Photo by deathtiny42, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

We begin with homophobia in American hospitals. A recent, New York Times op-ed by Dr. Pauline Chencaught  our eye. In an era of rapidly expanding acceptance and rights for gays and lesbians, her question, “does medicine discourage gay doctors?” is one we had not yet heard asked. So, we invited Dr. Chen to tell us more. 

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Word of Mouth
2:22 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

Kickstarter: Postcards from Nowhere

Photo by Andrew Kenney

Jake Jones and Andrew Kenney are New York photographers heading out for the open road in June. They’ll send an original, freshly photographed, newly minted postcard to anyone who helps fund their trip on Kickstarter. The cost: 2 dollars per postcard, per state.

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