Hannah Doksansky
July 14, 2016

Hey y’all, Hannah here.

If you have had a conversation with me in the last few years, you know that I am nearing obsession with podcasts. A couple weeks ago I was listening to the NPR politics podcast and they did a segment called “The one thing we can’t let go of this week.” With Sam and I spending so much time in the car together, we are often exchanging our favorite episodes that we simply can’t stop thinking about.

We decided to compile a list of our favorite podcast episodes of all time to share some of the stories that have changed the way we see the world. Let us know what you think!

1. Radio Lab: Mau Mau (Hannah & Sam)

“Just down the road from a pub in rural Hanslope Park, England is a massive building — the secret archives of the biggest empire the world has ever known. This is the story of a few documents that tumbled out and offered a glimpse of histories waiting to be rewritten.”

Sam and I first heard this on the way to Orlando and we have to bring it up anytime public records are in the news (also whenever Sam goes on one of her frequent anti-imperial rants).

2. The Moth:  Parties, Plans & Police (Hannah)

“A son plans the party of a lifetime for his mother, a cancer patient seeks out the men who have shaped his identity, and a little boy visits his Lieutenant father at the police station.”

Stories about dying that are actually heartwarming stories of family. Plus The West Wing theme song makes a cameo, so it simply cannot be bad.

3. On Being: James Doty – The Magic Shop of the Brain (Sam)

“Brain surgeon James Doty is on the cutting edge of our knowledge of the brain and the heart: how they talk to each other; what compassion means in the body and in action; and how we can reshape our lives and perhaps our species through the scientific and human understanding we are now gaining. In the summer of 1968, in the throes of a hardscrabble, perilous childhood, he wandered into a magic shop and met a woman named Ruth who taught him what she called “another kind of magic” that freed him from being a victim of the circumstances of his life, and that he now investigates through science.”

For days when you feel like humanity is inherently evil.

4. On Being: Michelle Alexander -Who We Want to Become: Beyond the New Jim Crow (Sam)

“The civil rights lawyer Michelle Alexander is one of the people who is waking us up to history we don’t remember, and structures most of us can’t fathom intending to create. She calls the punitive culture that has emerged the “new Jim Crow,” and is making it visible in the name of a fierce hope and belief in our collective capacity to engender the transformation to which this moment is calling.”

Hugely important interview at this time, in this world.

5. Radio Lab: I don’t have to answer that (Hannah)

“Roosevelt, Kennedy, Eisenhower … they all got a pass. But today we peer back at the moment when poking into the private lives of political figures became standard practice.”

A girl-power and journo nerd mashup.

6. More Perfect: The imperfect plaintiffs (Hannah & Sam)

“Last week, the court decided one of this term’s blockbuster cases — a case that could affect the future of affirmative action in this country. The plaintiff was Abigail Fisher, a white woman, who said she was rejected from the University of Texas because the university unfairly considered race as one of many factors when evaluating applicants. And while Fisher’s claims were the focus of the case, the story behind how she ended up in front of the Supreme Court is a lot more complicated.”

For the one supreme court case he lost, he’s won ten more in small areas shutting down affirmative action programs. Ed Bloom is something else.

7. The Foreign Desk: Eritrea and the Mediterranean crisis (Sam)

“Almost a quarter of the migrants who cross the Mediterranean come from Eritrea. Monocle’s executive editor Steve Bloomfield chairs a powerful discussion with Martin Plaut from the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, Feruz Werede, an Eritrean human rights activist and author James Montague, on this tiny nation, its dictator and those who dare to leave.”

We need to talk about Eritrea more.

8. Diary of a bad year: A war correspondent’s dilemma (Sam)

“In 2011, Kelly McEvers started to see things in slow motion. She cried unpredictably. She was NPR’s correspondent in the Middle East, at the time of the Arab uprisings. Colleagues and friends were being kidnapped. Some were getting killed. But still, she went toward the story. The next year, 2012, was the deadliest on record for journalists worldwide. It was a huge hit to the “tribe” of foreign correspondents of which Kelly is a part. Kelly began to wonder, “Why do otherwise intelligent people risk their lives when they don’t have to?”

 Her quest for answers leads us to understand the sacrifices made by reporters and their families, and the sometimes dangerous allure of the job. “

Heartbreakingly genius.

9. This American Life: Secret Identity (Sam)

“A bank robber on an undercover mission. A teenage girl with the powers of a tiger. A vigilante seeking vengeance in Ciudad Juarez. All have secret identities. But not all of them chose those identities for themselves.”

In defense of our secret identities.

10. Reply All: Raising the bar (Hannah)

“Leslie Miley went from being a college dropout to Twitter’s only black engineer in a leadership position. So why did he quit?”

Why assembling a team with diverse backgrounds is the hard route, but the best one. All because of Ketchup.

Have suggestions to add to the list? Email hannah.doksansky@gmail.com