Still doing radio! And life updates

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It has been a while since I updated this site — like, I had a kid almost a year ago, and oops, haven’t updated this since a bit before then. In the meantime, I won a New York state broadcasting award with a lot of great colleagues for Outstanding Public Affairs Series for WRFI’s The Loneliness Radio Project. For those who heard me talk about my podcast idea for The New Normal a few years ago (which never panned out), this actually started as an episode idea — goes to show you never know when some creative ideas will finally bear fruit.

I’m 7 months pregnant here, nicely hidden by WRFI General Manager Felix Teitelbaum’s arm.

Two months after the picture above, I gave birth to Tomer, my first child. And soon after that, we all moved from Ithaca, NY, to Berkeley, CA, where my husband is a postdoctoral scholar in UC Berkeley’s theoretical high energy particle physics group.

I still report for Public News Service and produce national pieces for them constantly, like these. I’ll admit that since Tomer was born, I’ve had little sleep/time to update this site and social media as much as I would like — or hardly at all.

It’s probably better to stay in touch on Twitter or LinkedIn for the time being. For folks who subscribe to my email updates, you’ve known me for a long time and I really appreciate your ongoing support. Hope everyone’s able to stay relatively healthy/safe/sane amidst COVID-19.

Working at WRFI

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I’m happy to announce that I’m currently working as the interim news director at WRFI, Ithaca’s community radio station. This is exciting, particularly since I got my start in radio by volunteering for the news team, where I have contributed to WRFI News at 6 and am currently a Friday host for Your Morning (from 7-8 a.m.). The station has been a home for me since I moved to Ithaca in the fall of 2016, and I hope I’ll be able to expand it so that more people from all walks of life can be part of WRFI.

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Here are a few of my favorite pieces I’ve done at WRFI (in reverse chronological order):

Talking to Tracy Mitrano, winner of New York’s 23rd district’s Democratic congressional primary

The House of Merlot, Ithaca’s main drag night, talks about drag in the LGBTQ community and the death of Josie Berrios

Joe Margulies, Abu Zubaydah’s lawyer, talks about Gina Haspel and fighting against torture post-9/11

Kathleen Weldon from the Roper Center at Cornell discusses public opinion data on gun violence

Aidan Quigley discusses reporting on allegations against IC President Shirley Collado for sexual abuse

She organizes people’s homes and sells their stuff online. It’s beyond a gig – it’s like social work

Tompkins County votes to join county-based suit against big pharma for the opioid crisis

Community members share personal struggles with the opioid epidemic at Ithaca College harm reduction panel

That’s it for now! Thanks everyone for your support over the years.

Reporting on opioid crisis in Tompkins County, hate speech at Cornell, Uber opening in Ithaca

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I’ve been doing a bunch of reporting lately for NPR member station WSKG and am including some of my recent clips here.

Why Are So Many New York Counties Suing Big Pharma Over The Opioid Crisis?
Ride Hailing’s In Ithaca Now. So, We Rode With An Uber Driver
Cornell Black Students’ Group Demands Hate Speech Policy, Permanently Banning Psi Upsilon Frat House

Tompkins County To Consider Joining Opioid Lawsuits

Black Students United silently protested at the University Assembly meeting on Tuesday. CREDIT: LAURA ROSBROW-TELEM

Black Students United silently protested at the University Assembly meeting on Tuesday. CREDIT: LAURA ROSBROW-TELEM

It’s been quite a learning process doing more radio. A few things I’ve learned:

  • The importance of capturing “scenes,” not just interviews. This is very different from print. So, taping live events, such as public court sessions, protests, a night out with an Uber driver, etc, are key. It also makes you understand why broadcasting sound bytes, for better or for worse, are so crucial to the medium.
  • This is technical, but I figure important for anyone here interested in radio reporting: Even if someone is speaking into a mic, it’s always better to put your mic close to them, rather than hooked up to an audio system or close to a speaker. A space’s sound system can often be bad and I’ve sadly had to not use really good tape because I made the rookie mistake of mic’ing a speaker rather than up close to a person.
  • Always record more “ambient” sound than you need. What I mean by “ambient” is background sound of whatever events or interviews you’re doing. It saves a lot of time in the editing process if you have extra ambient sound. I had no idea how much radio reporting needs ambient, even if you’re narrating something that’s unrelated to you being at a certain place. My editorial supervisor for The New Normal, Jonathan Miller, wisely suggested always getting one minute of “room sound” before or after an interview. This is super good advice.

Also, for folks subscribed to my website, I’m a lot more active in posting updates to my Twitter and Facebook profiles. So, if you feel like following me there, go for it! Thanks as always for your support and thoughts.

Doing more radio, clip with NPR

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I know I haven’t written here in quite a while. Over the past year, I have gradually decreased my responsibilities at Geektime and been digging deep into learning how to/now doing more radio work. And I’m very excited.

Here’s a taste of what I’ve been up to: my first clip with NPR’s Binghamton/Ithaca station. It’s just a minute and a half, so won’t take too much of your time, if you would like to listen. It’s about how Ithaca’s mayor, who is advocating to open a supervised injection site for drug users, thinks that proposing such a radical measure has made it possible to fund other drug-related programs. Also, for those hard of hearing, there is a transcript in the link as well.

Svante Myrick

Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick. CREDIT CLIFF OWEN / AP PHOTO

 

An image that shows what my move feels like

As most of you know by now, I am moving to Ithaca, NY in September. My husband has been offered the opportunity to do a PhD in physics at Cornell – I’m very proud of him and excited to start this new chapter of our life together.

As you can imagine, my emotions are all over the place, particularly now that we’re beginning to pack and say goodbye to people. I think this image best sums up some of what I’m currently going through. (The following image and text first appeared on Instagram.)

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“I have moved a lot in the last 13 years, and have had the privilege to live abroad for a bit more than half of them. My first time living out of the U.S. was in Senegal 11 years ago, when I studied there for my junior year abroad. I still have a few photos (this was before smartphones and at the very beginning of Facebook) and this: this little, Senegalese wicker basket. It’s never served much purpose beyond decoration. Now, as I’m packing up my husband’s and my place as we embark on moving to the U.S., I thought I could pack this little souvenir amidst some sheets. I guess I hadn’t touched it in years – upon contact, the threading started dusting off like flaky wax. Alas – getting to the age where some moments will only be able to live on in my memories. Without that year in Senegal, I’m not sure I would have had the courage to move to Israel.”

I appreciate all your love and support as we embark on this journey and I look forward to being in more touch with many of you.

Tech that Matters: This smartphone-attached lens screens for skin cancer

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I finally got to post the first piece from my new Tech that Matters column on Friday, which profiles a company called Skin Analytics that has created a great, pretty affordable device that screens for skin cancer. Since 97% of people diagnosed with skin cancer at stage 1 survive, this could be huge.

Skin Analytics’ device in action. Photo Credit: Skin Analytics / YouTube

Skin Analytics’ device in action. Photo Credit: Skin Analytics / YouTube

As always, let me know what you think, including if you know of other people working in this field that I should talk to. Hope you’re all well!

Tech that matters

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I know that it’s been quite a while since I posted. This year I’ve been working hard at developing Geektime, where I am now managing editor. To get a sense of my writing over the last year, you can simply visit my author page.

In an effort to report on technology that has a real impact beyond selfie apps, I am launching a bi-monthly column called Tech that Matters. Here, “We want to interview companies, teams, and individuals that are doing just that: creating technology that impacts large amounts of people in profound ways. Whether it’s medical technology, social entrepreneurship in low-income communities, or mass transit systems like the Hyperloop, we want to increase the amount of coverage that impactful, meaningful solutions get in tech media.”

Man who just went through brain surgery. Photo Credit: Kevin Stanchfield / Flickr

Man who just went through brain surgery. Photo Credit: Kevin Stanchfield / Flickr

The response so far has been amazing: Lots of great individuals and companies have gotten in contact with us. If you know of anyone or any company doing important work that needs to be written about, please have them email me at laura@geektime.com.