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A News, Society and Culture podcast featuring Jonathan Hirsch
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Episodes of Telescope

From Neon Hum Media and L.A. Taco, this is Smoke Screen: The Sellout, a podcast about a politician dogged by allegations of corruption, harassment and pathological pettiness. It’s about the residents who fought gentrification even as their neig
It sometimes feels like we’re living in a time warp. Like we just went into lockdown. But it’s been four months – and the whole world is different now than it was then. After 50 episodes of Telescope, we’re checking back in with five people we
Eleven-year-old Emerson Weber has something of a hobby: she loves to write letters. And one day, she decided to write one to the person who makes her hobby possible -- her mailman. And, to her surprise, that gesture went much, much further than
Caitlin Doughty wants you to reconsider your relationship with death. She’s a funeral director and “Death Positivity” advocate in Los Angeles. And she believes that facing your own mortality can be transformative, even in the middle of a pandem
Science journalist Ed Yong covers the pandemic for The Atlantic. But he also saw it coming, writing a story two years ago predicting the issues that we’re seeing now in the U.S. He reflected on hindsight compared to what he sees now and how thi
As the pandemic shuttered stages across the country, playwright Qui Nguyen wanted to give schools a little bit of hope. He took his popular play, She Kills Monsters, and adapted it for video conferencing, with all new cues and ideas. The Univer
Something about these long hot days just feels off when there isn’t a baseball game on in the background. Games are about to start up again, but without any fans or most of the stadium staff. Today, we hear from a Dodger Stadium employee who ha
American democracy is complicated, especially when it comes to voting. Sam Levine is a journalist covering voter rights at The Guardian. As the 2020 election approaches, Sam will help us understand what is going right and what is going wrong as
Derrick Sanderlin was well-acquainted with the San Jose police department – he volunteered his time to train police on implicit bias. Then, he found himself at a protest where that very same police department was indiscriminately firing rubber
As COVID settled over college campuses, most schools moved students’ education entirely online. It was a necessary move, designed to prevent the spread of the virus. But American college tuition now costs tens – if not hundreds – of thousands o
Teaching high school during a pandemic has been near impossible. Educators are in crisis mode. One English teacher in Flint, Michigan, has spent the last few months trying to teach remotely and worrying about her students. Students who have los
When stay-at-home orders hit, daycares and preschools across the country had to figure out new protocols. Some shut down. Some laid off staff. Some reopened to serve essential workers with new safety measures. We look at two early childhood edu
Dr. Laurie Santos is something of an expert at being happy. Her class “Psychology and the Good Life” became the most popular class at Yale University. She also hosts a podcast called “The Happiness Lab,” where she talks about counting blessings
Now that many of us are in isolation, we have to use technology to communicate with each other. But that technology isn’t always built with everyone in mind. On today’s episode, we talk about what the transition to virtual learning -- and to qu
For many of us, our weekly trip to the grocery store is the most dangerous outing of the week. The place we’re most likely to be exposed to coronavirus. Today on Telescope, we spend some time with two people who are spending forty hours a week
Today is Juneteenth. It’s a holiday that marks the end of slavery in America, and for many it represents a second day of independence. As the mass protests against police brutality and systemic racism continue across the country, journalist Sol
Social media’s role during this moment -- as we face two pandemics in the name of COVID and racism -- is cyclical. It’s both impacting and being impacted by the various tragedies that have unfolded over the last few months. To dig deeper into t
Two activists share their journeys of leading anti-racism protests in response to the killing of George Floyd. KC Short -- an Army veteran based near San Diego -- quickly learned the ins and outs of organizing protests. Melina Abdullah, a longt
Zach Stafford rose like a comet through the media, going from Huffington Post blogger to Editor-In-Chief of The Advocate magazine in just a few short years. As a Black gay man, Zach’s identity has driven him to fight the systemic problems in ou
Jonathan Hirsch and Seth Fischer tell the stories of their fathers. How their robust intellects fell to late-life mental illnesses. And how living in an elder-care facility made them especially vulnerable to the coronavirus. Host & Executive P
Olympic fencers Ysaora Thibus and Race Imboden were set to compete in the most important matches of their careers at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. But when the coronavirus postponed the Games until July 2021, the couple had to scrap t
As we all prepare for summer, we’re trying to decide what is safe and what isn’t safe to do. Joel Stein has been reporting on wealth disparities, risk analysis, and whether or not we trust experts to tell us what to do next. And according to hi
Live sports is one of the many things that’s halted during the pandemic. But recently ESPN the got rights to air South Korean baseball games. Dan Kurtz, a superfan, explains why the KBO is worth watching -- and why it holds a special place in h
During the coronavirus pandemic, most non-essential business have taken a hit. But there are always exceptions. And Todd Thornbury’s hot tub business in Southern California happens to be one of the more fascinating ones. Host & Executive Produ
When Sam Sanders isn’t hosting NPR's "It’s Been A Minute," he’s watching TV and movies, reading books, and doing research for interviews with high profile celebrities. In quarantine, all of it has gotten to be a bit much. It’s made him realize
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