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.

Georgia Ports Authority/Stephen B. Morton

President Trump said he would pause tariff escalations with China after meeting with that country’s president, Xi Jinping, at the G20 Summit.

One Georgia industry tracking the ongoing talks is shipping. The Trump administration had threatened a 25% tariff on ship-to-shore cranes that come from China. The Georgia Ports Authority is ordering six new ones at a total cost of $70 million. Its executive director and Georgia’s U.S. senators are asking the White House to rethink taxing them. That's because the cranes are just one piece of a $2.5 billion expansion at the ports that's smashing trade and revenue records.


Tricia Hersey

Your Fourth of July plans may include parades, pool parties, cookouts or the Peachtree Road Race. Tricia Hersey plans to celebrate with a nice, long nap. The founder of The Nap Ministry, Hersey is known to many as a champion of rest. Some even call her the Nap Bishop.

Hersey dreamed up The Nap Ministry while a divinity student at Emory University's Candler School of Theology. Graduate school had taken a toll on her sleep, and consequently her health, so she made the decision to rest. She joined On Second Thought in studio to preach the benefits of rest and share about her ministry, which she sees as a form of self care and social justice.  


Chris Pizzello / Invision/AP

Amid prep for Fourth of July cookouts, pool parties and parades, the On Second Thought team is also cooking up summer playlists – and this year, no playlist would be complete without "Old Town Road."


The world has six fewer North Atlantic Right Whales after a summer of loss for the endangered species. Four of the animals have died in the last week alone, and three of them were of breeding age.

The whales are Georgia's state marine mammal, and biologists are alarmed these deaths bring the species even closer to extinction. Clay George is a wildlife biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. He's among those monitoring the numbers, and he spoke with On Second Thought about the dwindling population, the role of the Georgia coast in the whales' life cycle and the origins of their name.


Old Town Road launched Atlanta artist Lil Nas X to the top of the charts for thirteen weeks making it the potential 2019 "Song of the Summer." It started on the “Hot Country” chart and was pulled by Billboard when executives decided it wasn’t country. Georgia Tech professor and music journalist Joycelyn Wilson gives her take on what makes it the arguable “song of the summer.”


National Archives

One hundred years ago, Americans were adjusting to life after a destabilizing world war. The Spanish influenza decimated communities, fears of Bolshevik-style communism ran rampant and hundreds of thousands of returning veterans were competing for jobs and housing ⁠— including African Americans confident that fighting abroad earned them the right to freedom at home. 

Throughout the summer of 1919, the war between nations gave way to a war between races. Mobs targeted and lynched black Americans. 


Sea to Shore Alliance, taken under NOAA research permit 20556

Six endangered North Atlantic right whales died in June, four of them last week alone. This brings Georgia's official state marine mammal even closer to extinction. 

Researchers estimate that just 411 North Atlantic right whales remain. Six of them dying in one month — among them, three of breeding age — is significant. 


Cox Media Group

When Lorenzo "Lo" Jelks joined WSB-TV in 1967 as the station's first black, on-air reporter, viewers didn't see him. Though they heard his voice and saw his name, actually getting on camera represented another challenge entirely – one that required a concerted effort, led by civil rights activist Lonnie King and Atlanta's NAACP. 

A new documentary from the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists chronicles that effort and the trailblazing men and women who became Atlanta's first broadcast journalists. Among those featured in Black & Reporting: The Struggle behind the Lens is Walt Elder, the first African American to report morning headline news at WSB.


The first day of July marks the beginning of the new fiscal year and when many laws take effect. The record-setting $27.5 billion state operating budget also kicks in, complete with money for a new voting system and pay raises for teachers, school staff and state employees. 

Stephen Fowler, GPB's political reporter, joined On Second Thought to talk about new laws taking effect.


(L) Georgia State Senate/ (R) ShaferforGeorgia.com

The state legislature may be in its post-session off season, but the political landscape in Georgia is far from quiet.

While the 2020 elections are over a year away, political parties are hard at work on strategies to reach Georgians who did not vote last year and maintain the energy of those who did.

Democratic Party of Georgia chair Sen. Nikema Williams and Georgia Republican Party chair David Shafer sat down with GPB News to discuss their plans to emerge victorious next November.

GPB political reporter Stephen Fowler sat down with On Second Thought host Virginia Prescott to share what that means for Georgia voters in the coming months.

    

Elaine Thompson / AP

The first day of July marks the beginning of the new fiscal year and when many laws take effect.

We are midway through a whirlwind 2019 that has been full of political news, ranging from the nationwide conversation on abortion and reproductive rights to electoral integrity to numerous visits from the two dozen or so candidates running for president.

July 1 is when the record-setting $27.5 billion state operating budget kicks in, complete with money for a new voting system and pay raises for teachers, school staff and state employees.

Courtesy of Abby Drue

It's been 50 years since the Stonewall Uprising began in New York City. In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, police raided The Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in Greenwich Village. While accounts vary of what exactly sparked the rebellion and violent clash, what resulted was a series of protests and demonstrations — which led to the first Pride Parade in 1970.

But Stonewall, when it happened, had little effect on gay life in the South. It was another raid, a little more than a month later, that sparked outrage and galvanized Atlanta's LGBT communities. On Aug. 5, 1969, police raided a screening of Andy Warhol's Lonesome Cowboys at Ansley Mall Mini-Cinema. 


U.S. lawmakers are still debating the merits of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement.

Mexico was the first country to ratify the proposed NAFTA replacement, and Canada is expected to follow suit.

A group of University of Georgia professors estimates that the state would lose nearly $900 million if the USMCA is adopted.

On Second Thought heard from Jeffrey Dorfman, one of the co-authors of the University of Georgia report.


Public Domain

Last week, Mexico became the first country to ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. Canada is expected to follow suit in short course.

In The United States, however, not all American lawmakers are convinced the USMCA would be a better deal than the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. Democrats have threatened to block it, and a few key Republicans are withholding support unless the administration makes some concessions on tariffs.


Jeremy Jacobs, Curator Emeritus National Museum of Natural History

In 2008, G. Wayne Clough became the 12th secretary of the Smithsonian. The Douglas native and Georgia Tech president emeritus was the first Southerner to hold the position.

When Clough retired from his post, he decided to write about his birthplace of South Georgia. At the same time, he dove into the Smithsonian's vast collections, searching for artifacts from the region. He shares what he found in his memoir Things New and Strange: A Southerner's Journey through the Smithsonian Collections.


Suzanne Jackson has lived a creative life. She's known for her visual art - but is also a poet, dancer, writer, radio host and has a master's in theatrical set design from Yale University.

Telfair Museums in Savannah is revealing a 50-year retrospective of Jackson's work. It's called, "Suzanne Jackson: Five Decades." The exhibition will begin showing this Friday. Jackson spoke with On Second Thought about her life, work and how art has always been a part of it all.

 


Rosser Shymanski / GPB

For the past three decades, Rosser Shymanski has played a critical role in almost every program you've watched on Georgia Public Broadcasting. Shymanski, GPB's television production manager, retires Friday after 31 years with the organization. He will say "Aloha" to his colleagues Friday with his final "Hawaiian Shirt Friday," a tradition that has become a mainstay of GPB, just like Shymanski himself.

But before Shymanski worked behind the scenes and won the hearts of his colleagues at GPB, viewers around Atlanta knew and loved him as DeAundra Peek – a character he created and portrayed for The American Music Show on People TV, a public access channel, from 1987 to 2004. The full collection is now archived at Emory University's Rose Library.


David Kaminsky

Suzanne Jackson has lived a creative life. She's known for her visual art - but is also a poet, dancer, writer, radio host and has a master's in theatrical set design from Yale University.

 

Telfair Museums in Savannah is revealing a 50-year retrospective of Jackson's work. It's called, "Suzanne Jackson: Five Decades." The exhibition will begin showing this Friday. Jackson spoke with On Second Thought about her life, work and how art has always been a part of it all.

 

SanjibLemar / Wikimedia Commons

In many American neighborhoods, it's illegal to build anything other than a single-family home on most lots zoned for residential properties. Take Sandy Springs for example: 85% of the Atlanta suburb's residential land allows for only detached, single-family homes. Some people want to change that, and regional leaders are passing laws to increase density. Others want things to stay exactly as they are: One family. One house. One yard.


Elizabeth Karmel/AP Images

While the particulars, origin stories and claims to be the barbecue capital of world may vary, Jim Auchmutey has found one thing we can agree on: Barbecue has a Southern accent. 

The veteran journalist and smoked meat sherpa recently wrote a new book — Smokelore: A Short History of Barbecue in America. Auchmutey stopped by On Second Thought to give a taste on what to expect from the history of barbecue.


On most residentially-zoned lots in American neighborhoods, it is illegal to build anything other than a single-family home. In Sandy Springs, 85% of the residential land allows for only detached, single-family homes. As Savannah updates its historic zoning laws for a modern world, residents of a newer city aren’t all ready for change.

On Second Thought explored the broader implications of the debate over ordinances in Sandy Springs with New York Times’ Writer Emily Badger and Evelyn Andrews of Reporter Newspapers.


Atlanta has one of the highest eviction rates in the country. According to Apartment List, the city ranks third in the nation — with a nearly 6% rise in evictions between 2015 and 2017. 

Earlier this month, On Second Thought spoke with Brooke Gladstone about a reporting series NPR's On The Media created with the Eviction Lab at Princeton. Our conversationon the series called, "The Scarlet E: Unmasking America's Eviction Crisis" garnered a lot of feedback from listeners so we decided to do a follow up, while getting a landlord's perspective.  

 


Brandon Chew / NPR

Atlanta has one of the highest eviction rates in the country. According to Apartment List, the city ranks third in the nation — with a nearly 6% rise in evictions between 2015 and 2017. 

Earlier this month, On Second Thought spoke with Brooke Gladstone about a reporting series NPR's On The Media created with the Eviction Lab at Princeton. Our conversation on the series called, "The Scarlet E: Unmasking America's Eviction Crisis" garnered a lot of feedback from listeners so we decided to do a follow up, while getting a landlords perspective.  


Jack Of All Trades, Master Of Success

Jun 24, 2019

The idiom, "jack of all trades, master of none," has been a long standing driver of specialization. Success coaches have long preached the idea that specialization is the key to a prosperous career. Zigzaggers and late bloomers should take note that the numbers suggest otherwise.

David Epstein, author of Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World came to speak with On Second Thought about the advantages of being a generalist. Meet the author at 7 p.m. at Manuel's Tavern, 602 North Highland Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30307. 


Neighbors are still missing their newly retired mailman.

Floyd Martin was a beloved mail carrier who worked the same route in Marietta for nearly 35 years. So beloved, in fact, that when he retired a few weeks ago, the community he served so well started a GoFundMe page to send him to Hawaii. Delta Air Lines pitched in too — providing airfare. 

 

Jennifer Brett

Neighbors are still missing their newly retired mailman.

Floyd Martin was a beloved mail carrier who worked the same route in Marietta for nearly 35 years. So beloved, in fact, that when he retired a few weeks ago, the community he served so well started a GoFundMe page to send him to Hawaii. Delta Air Lines pitched in too — providing airfare. 

Known as "Mister Floyd" to his Marietta residents, Floyd Martin joined On Second Thought in the studio to reflect on his life and career with the postal service.


Stavrialena Gontzou / Unsplash.com

Celebrations continue across the country as the LGBTQ community celebrates Pride Month.

President Bill Clinton declared June as “Gay & Lesbian Pride Month” in 2000. The designation commemorated the Stonewall Riots in Lower Manhattan in June of 1969. Nine years later, President Barack Obama included bisexual and transgender people — the “B” and “T” of LGBT.

Nowadays, rainbow flags are in front yards, tourism posters, along with sponsorship banners and ad campaigns. With brands like Campbell’s Soup, Apple, and Taylor Swift feeling comfortable aligning themselves with Pride, On Second Thought sat down with Georgian members of the LGBTQ community for a conversation about the history of Pride and how corporate commodification has changed the event over time.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

June 20 marks World Refugee Day. The United Nations defines refugees as people forced to flee their native countries "because of persecution, war or violence." On Second Thought covered a variety of aspects of the refugee experience in Georgia. 


© Maira Kalman, courtesy of Julie Saul Gallery, New York.

Maira Kalman is perhaps best known by adults for the now iconic "New Yorkistan" and other covers for The New Yorker, or a dozen books including And the Pursuit of Happiness and The Principles of Uncertainty. Kids, on the other hand, know her better for the 18 picture books she's written and illustrated.

Kalman's picture books for children are the inspiration for an exhibition opening this week at the High Museum of Art. It's called The Pursuit of Everything. One of her books, Max Makes a Millionis also being adapted for the stage. Kalman is in town for the play's world premiere at the Alliance Theatre and the exhibition's opening this weekend, but first, she joined On Second Thought from New York.


Leighton Rowell / GPB

In 2007, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez government effectively shut down RCTV, the nation's most influential private cable channel. The decision sparked protests across the country. Atlanta's Venezuelan community demonstrated locally, too.

Isabella Gomez Sarmiento, who was 10 at the time, attended with her parents and learned from them to value freedom of expression and an unfettered press.

The recent Georgia State University graduate now exercises those rights as a columnist for Teen Vogue. This fall, she joins NPR as a recipient of the prestigious Kroc Fellowship. First, she joined On Second Thought for a conversation about journalism and the future of the industry. 


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