Virginia Prescott

Host, On Second Thought

Virginia Prescott is the Gracie Award-winning host of On Second Thought for Georgia Public Broadcasting. Before joining GPB, she was host of Word of Mouth, Writers on A New England Stage and the I-Tunes Top Ten Podcasts Civics 101 and The 10-Minute Writers Workshop on New Hampshire Public Radio. Prior to joining NHPR, she was editor, producer, and director on NPR programs On Point and Here & Now, and Director of Interactive media for New York Public Radio.

Throughout her radio career, Virginia has worked to build sustainable independent radio in the developing world and has trained journalists in post-conflict zones from Sierra Leone to the Balkans. She was a member of the Peabody Award-winning production team for Jazz from Lincoln Center with Ed Bradley and the recipient of a Loeb Fellowship at Harvard University.

Virginia loves working as a radio and podcast host, but regrets that so many good outfits go unnoticed.

Emilia Brock / GPB News

The 2019 James Beard Awards Gala takes place next week in Chicago. Among the chefs and culinary creatives being celebrated, a different kind of innovator will join. That's Atlanta-based nonprofit The Giving Kitchen, which will be accepting the James Beard Humanitarian of the Year Award for its role in providing crisis grants, resources and assistance to food service workers.

 

 


Credit: Jackie Lee Young

Upon first listen, you may not realize that the dreamy indie-pop music of Philadelphia-based Japanese Breakfast was inspired by grief.

 

Michelle Zauner, the woman behind the songs, began the project while navigating her mother's battle with cancer, and mourning her death. Both of Japanese Breakfast's albums — 2016's Psychopomp and 2017's Soft Sounds From Another Planet — were an exploration of that pain and sadness. That does not mean the albums sound morose, though.

 

 

 


A recent study by the American Lung Association shows the air along Georgia's coast and in the mountains is clean and unpolluted. But in the metro Atlanta area, residents should be wary of what they're breathing in.

National Senior Vice President of Public Policy Paul Billings spoke with On Second Thoughtabout what it means that five metro Atlanta counties received failing grades on air quality while the cities of Augusta and Savannah earned A's.

 


Ken Lund / Flickr

Following a recent visit to the border with Mexico, President Donald Trump said the United States is "full."

"Can't take you anymore," Trump said. "I'm sorry. Can't happen, so turn around. That's the way it is."

Fact checkers were quick to counter that declaration. They cited an aging and shrinking workforce, as well as America's slowing population growth, which is now at its lowest level since 1937. And cities like Atlanta and Macon are nowhere near capacity, according to Tim Keane and Josh Rogers. 


Russ Bynum / AP Photo/File

A recent study by the American Lung Association shows the air along Georgia's coast and in the mountains is clean and unpolluted. But in the metro Atlanta area, residents should be wary of what they're breathing in.

National Senior Vice President of Public Policy Paul Billings spoke with On Second Thought about what it means that five metro Atlanta counties received failing grades on air quality while the cities of Augusta and Savannah earned A's.


Understanding what southern ladies really mean has nothing to do with accents. That's what author Helen Ellis wants people who aren't from the South to understand. The author stopped by On Second Thought to talk about her new book, "Southern Lady Code." 

Ellis says the title refers to the, “technique by which, if you don't have something nice to say, you say something not-so-nice in a nice way.”  


Courtesy of Doubleday

Understanding what southern ladies are saying has nothing to do with accents. That's what author Helen Ellis wants people who aren't from the South to understand. The author stopped by On Second Thought to talk about her new book, Southern Lady Code.

Ellis says the title refers to the “technique by which, if you don't have something nice to say, you say something not-so-nice in a nice way.”  


mwanasimba / Wikimedia Commons

Global temperatures are on track to rise 3-5 degrees by the year 2100, according to the United Nations Meteorological Organization. That level of climate change is anticipated to negatively impact every aspect of human life — from health to agriculture to the economy.

The last time humans had to adapt to the changing environment on a global scale was hundreds of thousands of years ago, when homo erectus lived in Africa. An international team of geologists and anthropologists, among them Dan Deocampo of Georgia State University, has been studying that period in hopes we might learn from our ancient ancestors about surviving climate change.


Grant Blankenship / GPB

GPB’s Wild Georgia series wraps up Monday.  Our journalists have been out hiking, climbing, boating -- and reporting.  They’ve been bringing you stories about the natural beauty of the state.

Two of them stopped by On Second Thought to expand upon their findings.  Grant Blankenship explained the results of the biggest study ever of Southern coyotes.  He learned the animals have changed since migrating South, and they’re changing the food chain here also. Sophia Saliby hiked three mountains for her story and learned why they’re not just mountains.  They’re monadnocks.


An estimated one million people thronged to Atlanta for the 2019 Super Bowl. When the opposing teams and visiting fans returned home, a series of murals depicting Atlanta's civil rights and social justice journey stayed behind. 

Among the 11 artists who painted murals for the WonderRoot "Off The Wall" initiative surrounding the big game is renowned artist Gilbert Young. His iconic, 40-year old image, "He Ain't Heavy" is now installed in huge scale on the side of Capitol Gateway Apartments in Atlanta. 

Courtesy of Gilbert Young/Facebook

An estimated one million people thronged to Atlanta for the 2019 Super Bowl. When the opposing teams and visiting fans returned home, a series of murals depicting Atlanta's civil rights and social justice journey stayed behind. 

Among the 11 artists who painted murals for the WonderRoot "Off The Wall" initiative surrounding the big game is renowned artist Gilbert Young. His iconic, 40-year old image "He Ain't Heavy" is now installed in huge scale on the side of Capitol Gateway Apartments in Atlanta. 


Credit: Yana Yatsuk

Atlanta's own Black Lips is a band that keeps audiences on their toes, literally — which you'd know if you've ever landed in the mosh pit at one of their shows — and figuratively, given that the latest it-bag line from Gucci is named after band member Zumi Rosow. 

For 20 years, founding members Cole Alexander and Jared Swilley have been making unruly garage rock, rockabilly records, and sometimes, they can sound like old country crooners. They are currently on a short U.S. tour, but will return to Atlanta just in time to hit the stage on the first day of the 2019 Shaky Knees Music Festival, which begins Friday, May 3.


Wikimedia Commons

The Peabody Awards announced winners in radio and podcasting this week, among them Type Investigations and Reveal for their "Monumental Lies" episode. After filing 175 open records requests to track public spending on Confederate memorials and organizations, reporters Brian Palmer and Seth Freed Wessler found that more than $40 million in state and federal funds have been spent on the maintenance and expansion of such monuments and sites over the past decade.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been more than 200,000 opioid-related deaths in the United States over the last two decades. Georgia has some of the nation's hardest-hit counties. White users have largely been the face of the epidemic, but the problem affects every demographic.


Jessica Gurell / GPB

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been more than 200,000 opioid-related deaths in the United States over the last two decades. Georgia has some of the nation's hardest-hit counties. White users have largely been the face of the epidemic, but the problem affects every demographic.


Leighton Rowell / GPB

Town and gown tensions are high at the University of Georgia as the end of the school year nears. Amid national conversations about the historical role of U.S. colleges and universities in slavery, community leaders and a group of faculty are calling on UGA to do more to address its own slave past.

But in a letter to the editor of UGA's student newspaperThe Red & Black, UGA President Jere Morehead said the university had "carefully considered all aspects" of a memorial constructed in 2018 to recognize and honor the legacy of individuals who were enslaved in Athens during the 19th Century.


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Chadwick Boseman, Oprah Winfrey and Spike Lee are all graduates of historically black colleges and universities. For more than a century, HBCUs provided the foundation for countless dynamic and influential leaders. Now, some academic finance experts predict that a quarter of those schools could be gone within 20 years.


Mike Stewart / AP

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Chadwick Boseman, Oprah Winfrey and Spike Lee are all graduates of historically black colleges and universities. For more than a century, HBCUs provided the foundation for countless dynamic and influential leaders. Now, some academic finance experts predict that a quarter of those schools could be gone within 20 years.


Emily Jones / GPB News

From the mountains to the coast to the forest, Georgia is a beautiful place for spending time outdoors.  GPB journalists are celebrating that splendor with Wild Georgia, a series of in-depth reports airing this month during Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

Ross Terrell and Emily Jones are among those working on the series, and they stopped by On Second Thought to take their stories a little deeper.  Ross talked about Atlanta’s lush tree canopy, and Emily explained how sharks sense the world around them.


From the mountains to the coast to the forest, Georgia is a beautiful place for spending time outdoors.  GPB journalists are celebrating that splendor with Wild Georgia, a series of in-depth reports airing this month during Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

Ross Terrell and Emily Jones are among those working on the series, and they stopped by On Second Thought to take their stories a little deeper.  Ross talked about Atlanta’s lush tree canopy, and Emily explained how sharks sense the world around them.

 


Credit: Jeff Forney

With a curled lip and a graveled voice, Atlanta-based band The Coathangers will tell you what they think. Their gritty garage music incorporates influences that range from early punk to the golden oldies of rock 'n' roll. And yet, their lyrics are undeniably modern. The trio's new album, The Devil You Know, features songs that address current social issues like drug addiction and gun control.

We asked two members of The Coathangers, Meredith Franco and Julia Kugel, to add to our Georgia Playlist of songs written or performed by a Georgian. Their picks? "Frankenstein" by Subsonics and "Bad Kids" by Black Lips.


Women in Georgia are more likely to die from pregnancy-related and associated complications than in Uzbekistan. The state allocated $2 million to help reduce that number in this year's health budget.

On Second Thought spoke with Wanda Irving, whose daughter, Shalon, died after giving birth in metro Atlanta, and Breanna Lipscomb, U.S. maternal health campaign manager for The Center For Reproductive Rights, about efforts to improve maternal health outcomes in Georgia and across the nation.


Vadim Ghirda / AP Images

Dacre Stoker tells On Second Thought "Dracula" derives from old folk tales and superstitions. For decades, Stoker has been piecing together clues about what moved his great grand-uncle, Bram Stoker to write Dracula.


Courtesy of SIRUM / Good Pill Pharmacy

From waiting rooms across the country to the floor of the U.S. Capitol, healthcare is one of the biggest issues for American voters.

One of the main challenges in Georgia is access to doctors and pharmacies alike, especially in rural parts of the state. And then there's cost of care. According to the Commonwealth Fund, a quarter of Americans report not filling prescriptions they cannot afford.


Casimir Pulaski was born in Poland in 1745. After proving his military mastery in independence struggles across Europe, Pulaski moved to Boston in 1777. He formed the colonists' first legion on horseback, became Brigadier General and saved George Washington's retreating troops at Brandywine. Pulaski was later mortally wounded, and died, amid the 1779 Siege of Savannah. But for centuries, his final resting place remained a mystery.

Earlier this month, the Smithsonian Channel revealed not only that the "father of the American cavalry" was indeed buried in Savannah – but also that Pulaski may biologically been intersex. Both breakthroughs came after decades of research by a team based in Georgia with help from colleagues across the United States, Poland and Canada.


(AP Photo/Library of Congress)

Casimir Pulaski was born in Poland in 1745. After proving his military mastery in independence struggles across Europe, Pulaski moved to Boston in 1777. He formed the colonists' first legion on horseback, became Brigadier General and saved George Washington's retreating troops at Brandywine. Pulaski was later mortally wounded, and died, amid the 1779 Siege of Savannah. But for centuries, his final resting place remained a mystery.

Earlier this month, the Smithsonian Channel revealed not only that the "father of the American cavalry" was indeed buried in Savannah – but also that Pulaski may biologically have been intersex. Both breakthroughs came after decades of research by a team based in Georgia with help from colleagues across the United States, Poland and Canada.


Courtesy of Neon

Long before Aretha Franklin became known as "The Queen of Soul," she was singing gospel in her father's church. A new documentary called "Amazing Grace" highlights the recording of her 1972 Grammy-Award winning album of the same name over two nights at a church in south Los Angeles. That footage has never been released publicly — until now. 

Alan Elliott directed the film and spoke with On Second Thought host Virginia Prescott about the delays in releasing the documentary. Producer Tirrell Whittley also joined the conversation. 


COURTESY YALE LAW SCHOOL/HENRY HOLT AND CO.

Eunice Hunton Carter was New York's first African-American assistant district attorney. The Atlanta native was the granddaughter of slaves, and now her grandson, Stephen Carter, is bringing her story to light. 

Invisible: The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down America's Most Powerful Mobster tells the story of Eunice, the black woman and prosecutor who helped take down Charles "Lucky" Luciano. Eunice was born in Atlanta during a time when race riots were on the rise in the city. Her family eventually moved to Brooklyn in 1906. By 1936, Eunice found evidence linking organized crime to Luciano. On Second Thought host Virginia Prescott spoke with Eunice's grandson Stephen about his family's history. 


Emory University

Images are powerful. It was cell phone video and stills of unarmed black men and women being killed over the past several years that launched inquiries into use of force by police and sparked the Black Lives Matter movement. It's what inspired visual and performance artist and scholar Fahamu Pecou for his new exhibit showing at the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University.


As peak tornado season bears down on the Southeast, On Second Thought is looking at who gets aid after disasters. A recent NPR investigation found that federal emergency has been a political football played by both parties. Research from Carnegie Mellon and other sources shows that how much people affected by disasters get depennds on how your district votes.

Robert Benincasa is a producer for NPR Investigations. He researched and reported on the thousands of disaster buyouts Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA didn't want people to see.


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