NPR

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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. 


She took her columns for Teen Vogue seriously, and now she’s taking her skills to NPR.  On Second Thought met Isabella Sarmiento Gomez,  a new NPR Kroc Fellow from Atlanta.

Each year hundreds of people hike the Appalachian Trail, which starts right here in Georgia. This year, two married writers are doing them. We followed up with them for another audio check in along their journey.


Public health is a topic that is generally overlooked until a community experiences a crisis. The CDC Foundation recently launched the second season of its podcast Contagious Conversations, which highlights the issues and innovators of public health today. On Second Thought spoke with podcast host Clair Stinson.


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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 federal emergency money has been a political football for both parties. Research from Carnegie Mellon and other sources shows how much people affected by disasters get can depend on how their districts vote.

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.


The University of Tennessee is making a big promise: Starting in 2020, the system will offer free tuition to qualifying low-income students enrolling at its Knoxville, Chattanooga and Martin campuses.

The program, called UT Promise, is the first of its kind among public universities in the South. UT Interim President Randy Boyd, a first-generation college graduate himself, is the architect of the program. Boyd joined On Second Thought from WUOT in Knoxville to explain why Tennessee is making this promise, how the university will fund it and how other Southern states could follow suit. 

 


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In 2017, thousands evacuated southeast Texas in preparation for Hurricane Harvey. As they sped down the highway away from the storm, one car drove toward it. Inside it was Russell Lewis.

Officially, Lewis is NPR's Southern Bureau chief, but he's also known as the go-to guy on NPR's "go team," which covers earthquakes, fires, flood and other disasters; both natural and man-made. Lewis is often the first member of the team on a plane and on the ground, setting up logistics, drivers, translators and supplies in places where systems have broken down, so NPR can bring those events to listeners.


It's been 100 years since a Spanish influenza epidemic killed as many as 50 million people worldwide, including 675,000 Americans. A new book on the deadly pandemic is out this week. It's called “More Deadly Than War.” The author, Kenneth C. Davis, talked with us about how the Spanish flu affected the course of World War I.

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Comedian Paula Poundstone is concerned she will have to whisper her act at the Miller Theater in Augusta Friday.

"Because of the golf," she told us in a hushed voice. 

Such a quiet routine would be a departure from Poundstone's typically boisterous commentary on NPR's weekly news quiz "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!" She's been a panelist on the show more than 200 times, but told us she holds the "Wait Wait" record for losses. 

This year's Pulitzer Prize winners and finalists were announced Tuesday. We listened back to interviews with four past and present honorees. Renee Montagne was named a 2018 finalist for her investigation examining racial disparity in maternal deaths. James Forman Jr. won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction for his book "Locking Up Our Own:  Crime and Punishment in Black America." We also revisited conversations with Alfred Uhry, who won the Pulitzer for drama in 1988, as well as Bill Dedman, who in 1989 won the prize for investigative reporting.