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Playlist: News Station Picks for October '10

Compiled By: PRX Curators

 Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/nshepard/295899135/sizes/m/in/photostream/">Nate Shepard</a>
Image by: Nate Shepard 
Curated Playlist

Here are October picks for news stations from PRX News Format Curator Naomi Starobin.

What Naomi listens for in news programming.

This month's picks, in deference to how much we're preoccupied with the November election, is about choices. I'm steering away from anything about elections directly (I know you've got enough content there), but more on some quirky choices people have made, the science of how people choose and the impact of their choices. I can almost hear the transition sentence when you pair these with those great election features: "...and speaking of voting and making choices...."

Running from Myself

From 826NYC | 17:51

Here's a riveting first-person piece about a young man's choice to leave behind his life of stealing. It's not a simple "I'm going to be a better person, end of story" kind of telling. It's about the struggle to live with a decision, its impact, and the residual temptations.

This comes to us from 826NYC, a nonprofit "dedicated to supporting students ages 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write."

Warning: this was done back in 2007, but holds up as a compelling and intimate piece about one person's choices.

Default-piece-image-0 For most of his high school career, Louis lived in a way that he later came to regret. This piece is his investigation into why he did what he did, what made him stop, and, most importantly, if he's really changed for good. Louis tells his story in a straight-forward and engaging manner, often using conversations and interviews conducted with various figures in his life.

Chicagoans Consider Their Road Not Taken

From Curie Youth Radio | 01:53

A sparkling little piece, mixing three people's brief stories about their life choices with a reading of Frost's poem "The Road not Taken" layered in each person's voice. It's short and sweet...with the feel of a live poetry reading.

This piece is from Curie Youth Radio, a workshop at Curie High School on Chicago's Southwest Side.

Aic_small Chicagoans recite Frost's  "The Road Not Taken" and talk about their choices, regrets, and victories.

Fallen Woman

From Eric Molinsky | 06:19

A well-produced, focused piece about how audiences react to the story in Verdi's opera, La Traviata, or The Fallen Woman. It's hard for some opera lovers to appreciate the choice of the character Violetta, to become a prostitute (with "a heart of gold" as the story goes...). This piece explores how performers square their modern sensibilities and values with her less-than-modern choice.

Reporter Eric Molinsky did this piece for Studio 360. It's infused with cuts from the arias being discussed. A good listen even for non-opera fans.

Moffo13_small When Verdi's opera La Traviata, or The Fallen Woman, premiered in 1853, audiences cried over the story of Violetta, the original hooker with a heart of gold. But as Eric Molinsky reports, in some ways it's harder and harder for modern audiences to connect with the choices La Traviata's heroine made.

I Didn't Know That (You Were a Muslim)

From Tali Singer | 02:55

This is a timely piece about a young woman (she calls herself a "white Irish girl from rural upstate New York") who makes the decision to convert from Catholicism to Islam. It's a first-person piece that unfolds nicely. It's laced with some music beds and the sound of chanting. Your listeners will hear it and understand her motivation and some of the challenges of her spiritual journey.

The piece is produced by Tali Singer, an independent producer/reporter in Massachusetts. It was produced for or the 2010 Third Coast ShortDocs Challenge.

Bethbowman_small When Beth first started college, she knew she was interested in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies. But when she began taking classes, she found she was more interested in the spirituality of Islam than its politics. Then, in 2008, this 6-foot-tall, Irish-Catholic girl from upstate New York made the decision to convert. This story is a short portrait of Beth's spiritual journey.