Articles by Nonogirl

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For 35 years, La Raza Centro Legal has been serving the Bay Area's immigrant communities with legal services, a community empowerment and advocacy program, and a day labor program.

LRCL works with the community to make long term social change, while making sure that needs are met today. "When we model love but we challenge the injustice, were building a much stronger and richer society today," says executive director Ana Maria Loya. "Were not waiting for it someday in the future. Were living it moment by moment."  

Collaboration: LRCL asked me to interview their clients and collaborate with photographer/videographer Theo Rigby to create this promotional video. Staff collected photographs of the organization in action and musicians Los Nadies and Francisco Herrera donated their music for the score.

Formats Available : Quicktime (.mov), Flash Video (.flv)

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The segment is a profile on an undocumented worker who immigrated from  the Yucatan. She talks about the challenges she had surviving in Mexico (even though her family owned land) as well as the challenges to finding work in the U.S.

Jill Shenker at La Raza Centro Legal helped me fine tune the pitch and contacted “Catalina” all while Jill was on her holiday vacation. She also spent over an hour translating the recorded interview with “Catalina.” ¡Muchas gracias Jill!

During my script edit, I learned that a study shows that listeners feel that a reporter is biased when they pronounce foreign words as a native speaker would. So while I’ve been working hard to get rid of a gringa accent, I was asked to re-gringa-fy myself for this read. Thankfully, I didn’t have to say “Tijuana” drunken fratboy style (“Ti-ah-wanna,” ) and I could pronounce La Raza Centro Legal with the emphasis on the ‘gal and not the le’. Still, I found the study interesting. I wonder if that’s why the mispronunciation of Cesar Chavez proliferates.

Broadcast History:
Justice Talking
KRUA Anchorage, Alaska
WAMC Northeast Public Radio
kuow Puget Sound

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Image by Favianna Rodriguez

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It’s silly what will motivate me to pitch a story. This time, it was because I wanted to get Inkwork’s new book, Visions of Peace and Justice, a full color book with over 400 reproductions of political posters, for free. And of course I put in more labor than what I would have paid for the book!

But in proucing the piece, I met Lincoln Cushing an Doug Minkler, two key players in the Bay Area’s political poster circle.The SF Print Collective supported the story by supplying a very nice person to wheatpaste for me to gather that beautiful ambiance. I also finally met Favianna Rodriguez, an art crush of mine. This woman is powerful and she’s under 30!

A couple of interesting things happened in producing this piece. The first was when I spoke with Dee Dee Workman with SF Beautiful. I thought for sure she’d have some negative things  to say about political wheatpasters. But instead, she agreed with folks like the SF Print Collective and Rodriguez: the real problem is with corporate advertisers! The second was finding out that in fact, groups like SF Beautiful believe that those corporate posters are illegal!

Hopefully, I’ll have a print story on this topic soon.

Broadcast History:
KALW’s Artery
WAMC

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At first, the assignment seemed overwhelming: four sites, 100 families, and many talented artists who were all a part of 100 Families Oakland, an arts program designed to bring together neighbors and families in Oakland. I wasn’t sure how to narrow down my focus, but as I started my pre-interviews, the story fell in to place.

I focused on the East Oakland project site, Jautan Stancil’s family, and artist Adalia Moncada. They provided me with wonderful scenes including the creation of a conceptual installation with life-sized plaster-of-Paris sculptures and the acceptance of a new participant who had just come out of juvenile detention.

Community members have a lot of enthusiasm for this program and the California College of Arts has launched a second round in Oakland with exploration into San Francisco’s Bayview District.

Broadcast History:
KALW’s Artery
KVRM (Nevada City)
KZSC (Santa Cruz)

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This story offered me great experience in hard news reporting. I learned how to use the public information departments of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the CDC, and universities, all of whom were very helpful, even calling me late in the night. And I learned about some great APA mental health agencies like RAMS in San Francisco, NAAPIMHA, and Asian Community Mental Health Services.

I also gained good experience in finding an interviewee and vetting. It’s a hard one: how do you find someone who survived an attempted suicide when one of the problems is a taboo about having mental illness in the first place? All I can say is thank you for house parties where I found the person who tied this segment together after we agreed to alter her voice.

I know that this is an important story and I’m glad that I received the assignment.

Broadcast History:
KQED’s Pacific Time
WAMC’s 51% (A show on Northeast Pubic Radio addressing women’s issues)

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World Savvy is a group I learned about through my work at the Arts Commission. They have a program where they engage young people in global issues through the arts around a theme. This year’s theme was on immigration and identity. I scouted around to figure where the story was in this and decided I needed to focus on one of the partnering arts organizations.

Zaccho Youth Company still had a field trip with World Savvy and they were developing their performances, so there were still many sounds to collect. I went to their rehearsals, trailed them on their field trip to the Day Laborer Center, and was impressed with the strong interpretive and verbal skills the kids demonstrated. Too bad I was out of town during their performance!

Broadcast History: KALW’s Artery

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OK, I begged to be able to produce this story. KALW wanted to make sure that my first experience working with them went well and they worried that the Thanksgiving holiday did not allow enough time for me to produce a perfect completed piece. I asked them to let me do it on spec and it worked out!

I learned so much through piecing this segment together. Once again, I was advised to write my lede first so that the story keeps focus. I also learned finding the larger context for the piece.

There is one daring moment at the end of the segment. John Wilner, the director of the film festival felt that it got a little weird. He described it as "three ‘ degrees’ of recursive, self-referential media post-modernism — there’s the story, my reaction to the way the story would sound [which is quoted in the story itself], and then your comment in the story about my being worried about your using the quote. That’s probably a first for radio, and possibly any other medium…

But my editor was really excited about it and I think it breaks the fourth wall. What do you think?

Broadcast History: KALW’s Artery

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Description: Rene Yañez curates an AMAZING Day of the Dead show at Somarts each year. He has taken a traditional Mexican tradition of celebrating our deceased and expanded it to reflect the way many cultures deal with death and many interpretations of what death and dying is.

Latino USA was hesitant to accept my pitch about a VISUAL art show. How would I SHOW the exhibit on radio? But with co-curator, Rio Yañez offering tours to youth, I was able to weave his descriptions with my interviews and ambience from the gallery opening.

Broadcast History: Latino USA

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Description: This was an excercise in re-purposing! I was able to sell two stories off of only one set of interviews. This version features Cynthia Tom and Kana Tanaka.

My editor asked me to try to produce the piece narration-less and thankfully the co-curator, Rio Yañez guided youth through a tour of the exhibit. This served as my vehicle for narration .

Another challenge was to discover a way to talk about VISUAL art through  audio. Evesdropping on some of the opening night discussions helped with that.

Broadcast History: Pacific Time

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Description: Latino USA did a call to their producers for sound snapshots of Latino laborers for their Labor Day show. In light of the immigration debate, they wanted to show the range of work that Latinos do. They attracted stories representing a graffiti artist/gallery owner, a housing lawyer, a business man, a teacher, a domestic worker, a filmmaker, and mine, on composer Guillermo Galindo.

I saw the crazy contraption he built with his Meet the Composer grant and I thought it would make for a fun, sound-rich
story. It just so happens that he was going to work to perform live at KFJC during their record swap. I wanted to show that although artists look like they’re having a lot of fun, they are also very hard workers and Guillermo helped bring that point home.

Broadcast History: Latino
USA
on September 1, 2006

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