Next week on Focus, we'll talk with the official historian for Major League Baseball and an Urbana man working with unmanned aerial technology for both journalistic purposes and to inspire high school students to study math and science. We'll also address the unmet need for homeless services in the area and talk about the growing disconnect between law schools and law firms in Illionis and why it matters.
Senior reporter Jim Meadows will become Focus’ new interim program host starting Monday, February 25. Current host and News and Public Affairs Director Craig Cohen is leaving Illinois Public Media/WILL for Houston Public Media.
Meadows says he’s excited to have the opportunity to host Focus and is looking forward to being part of program’s rich legacy. He’s been with WILL since 2000 working as a reporter, newscaster and local host for Morning Edition, and has also been a substitute host for Focus several times.
“It’s going to be a challenge, but it’s also going to be a lot of fun,” he said.
During this episode of Focus, we talked about film and its role in public discourse. Host Craig Cohen talks with Ben Kenigsberg, Film Section Editor for Time Out Chicago, and Richard Leskosky, an Associate Professor (retired) of Media and Cinema Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, about this year’s Academy Award nominees and the political statements they make. We discussed waterboarding and the capture of Osama bin Laden in Zero Dark Thirty, mental health issues raised in Silver Linings Playbook and the different depictions of slavery in Lincoln and Django Unchained. We also asked whether it’s a conflict of interest in Argo wins best picture; after all, it is a picture about how Hollywood came to the rescue...
Tens of millions of viewers were captivated by Fox’s “The X-Files” in the late 1990’s. Inspired by shows like The Twilight Zone, The X-Files resonated with skeptics, conspiracy theorists and those who see reason to mistrust the government. This hour on Focus, host Craig Cohen talks with the show’s creator, Chris Carter, about what inspired the show, what made it a hit and why he slept on a couch in Fox studios' lobby after pulling an all-nighter to finish the pilot. We’ll also ask Carter about his character Bambi Berenbaum, a knock-out entomologist who appears in season 3 and was named after University of Illinois Professor May Berenbaum.
Carter joins Focus in preview of his visit to this year’s Insect Fear Film Festival.
In the second half of the hour, we’ll talk with John Grant, the author of “Denying Science: Conspiracy Theories, Media Distortions and the War Against Reality” about conspiracy theories in popular culture and why they persist.
This hour on Focus, host Craig Cohen talks with Nina Totenberg, NPR’s award-winning legal affairs correspondent and this year’s winner of the Illinois Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism about her coverage of the US Supreme Court and some little known facts about her life and career. Then for the second half of the hour, we’ll talk with Nathan Wolfe, a virologist who has been named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine, about his work in Africa and why globalization is making our society more vulnerable to pandemic diseases.
Both Totenberg and Wolfe are speaking on campus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaing on Monday, February 11. Find more information at the links listed below.
January 7 is the 14th anniversary of the beginning of President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial in the U-S Senate. He was the first president to be impeached by the House since Andrew Johnson in 1868. It was a major political development dissected, moment by moment, by 24 hour news channels and talk radio. Politicians and pundits alike spoke in ever coarser tones about the issues surrounding the trial. And our political discourse hasn’t exactly improved since then. In fact, we saw moments when the major players in the so-called fiscal cliff negotiations, just over the last week or two, struggled to communicate effectively with one another. We’ll consider what it might take to raise the level of discourse in our politics – and whether major issues and ideas can be debated thoughtfully and respectfully by people with wildly divergent views. We’ll also explore what led to the coarsening of our political discourse particularly in the last 20 years, and whether our perception that it was more respectful in the past is really true.
Reporters from Illinois Public Media - Jim Meadows, Jeff Bossert and Sean Powers - choose and discuss their picks for the top IPR news stories of the year.
Since the beginning of his career in journalism eight years ago, Jose Vargas has written hundreds of stories — including covering the 2008 presidential campaign for The Washington Post; profiling Al Gore for Rolling Stone and Mark Zuckerberg for The New Yorker; writing and producing a documentary on the AIDS epidemic in the nation's capital; and winning a Pulitzer Prize for helping cover the Virginia Tech massacre. A little over a year ago, Vargas wrote a groundbreaking essay in the New York Times Sunday Magazine revealing his "undocumented immigrant" status. Since then, he founded Define American and has worked to facilitate dialogue about the DREAM Act and immigration issues.
This is a repeat broadcast from Friday, October 26, 2012, 10 am
On March 16, 1970, Newsweek published a cover story on the fledgling feminist movement entitled “Women in Revolt.” The same day, Lynn Povich and other women filed a class action lawsuit––the first by women journalists–– against their employer, the very same Newsweek magazine.
Did video kill the radio star? If so, it was with a lot of help from MTV. It's hard to remember that the initials MTV, now better known for reality programming, actually stand for "Music Television." In its first decade, MTV lived up to its name - it played music videos all day, the way a radio station played records. Though music videos had been played on television since the 1960s, MTV was the first outlet specifically programmed around music videos. We'll talk with Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum, authors of "I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution" about the tumultuous first decade of MTV and the videos that made the 1980s and early 1990s memorable.