While maintaining the civility and fairness that are the hallmarks of public radio, OTM tackles sticky issues with a frankness and transparency that has built trust with listeners and led to more than a tripling of its audience in five years.
Since OTM was re-launched in 2001, it has been one of NPR's fastest growing programs, heard on more than 300 public radio stations. It has won Edward R. Murrow Awards for feature reporting and investigative reporting, the National Press Club's Arthur Rowse Award for Press Criticism and a Peabody Award for its body of work.
November 24, 2017
Science fiction has always been an outlet for our greatest anxieties. This week, we delve into how the genre is exploring the reality of climate change. Plus: new words to describe the indescribable.
1. Jeff VanderMeer [@jeffvandermeer], author of the Southern Reach Trilogy and Borne, on writing about the relationships between people and nature.
2. Claire Vaye Watkins [@clairevaye] talks about Gold Fame Citrus, her work of speculative fiction in which an enormous sand dune threatens to engulf the southwest.
3. Kim Stanley Robinson discusses his latest work, New York 2140. The seas have risen 50 feet and lower Manhattan is submerged. And yet, there's hope.
4. British writer Robert Macfarlane [@RobGMacfarlane] on new language for our changing world.
Throughout the show: listeners offer their own new vocabulary for the Anthropocene era. Many thanks to everyone who left us voice memos!
November 21, 2017
If you find yourself fuming at the Thanksgiving table this week when the conversation turns political, rather than losing your cool in front of your friends and family, consider pausing and taking a deep breath. According to Robert Wright, author of Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment, so much of the tribalism and animosity that fuels our political moment could be mitigated if more Americans adopted mindfulness techniques. In this podcast extra, Brooke speaks with Wright about how living a mindful life can make us savvier, saner news consumers and help us avoid outrage fatigue.
November 17, 2017
As allegations of sexual misconduct continue to dominate the news, a look at how we are dealing with high-profile offenders and who is being ignored. Plus, a critical reexamination of Bill Clinton's reputation, the difficulty of processing good art made by bad people, and how to brace ourselves for the potential backlash.
3. Sarah Smarsh [@Sarah_Smarsh], writer and reporter, on the sexual harassment accusations that won't make the news, especially those of the working poor.
November 14, 2017
New York Magazine writer Rebecca Traister says that every new revelation about sexual harassment confirms what women have always known. In her most recent article she asks "as stories about abuse, assault, and complicity come flooding out, how do we think about the culprits in our lives? Including, sometimes, ourselves."
Brooke spoke with Rebecca on Tuesday; it was a long and impassioned interview, a shorter version of which will be in this week's show (a full hour about the "#metoo" moment), but in the meantime, here is a *lightly* edited version of their conversation.
November 10, 2017
Another massive data leak has cast scrutiny on the world of the ultra-wealthy, but some doubt whether much will change. A look inside the Paradise Papers and at the secretive industry of "wealth management" that makes sure the wealthy remain rich and hidden. Also, in the wake of the shuttering of Gothamist and DNAinfo, how journalism is contending with its "billionaire problem," and a look at the recent standoff between Disney and journalists. Finally, the story of how a Syrian man's journey to the West found him experiencing America's Wild West in Sweden.
1. Marina Walker Guevara [@MarinaWalkerG], Deputy Director at The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, on how the group reported the Paradise Papers.
4. Bob [@bobosphere] on the recent showdown between Disney, the LA Times and a collection of film journalists.
November 8, 2017
It's now a year since Election Day 2016, and a year since we gathered in our office the day after Election Day to figure out what exactly had happened. The mood was tense, and our Executive Producer Katya Rogers seized the opportunity to offer listeners some ultra transparency, documenting a moment when Brooke and Bob were at their most doubting. The result: a raw podcast extra, in which the hosts argued about what had gone down and how the show should cover the Trump administration.
Flash forward to this summer, when Bob and Brooke re-listened to their November conversation and then turned on the mics to reflect on their thoughts and speculations from eight months earlier.
Both conversations are collected here for this weeks podcast extra.
November 3, 2017
Following the announcement of the first indictments in Robert Mueller's special investigation, the media were scrambling to put together the pieces...or else ignoring the news completely. How to make sense of the details, and the silences, in Mueller's first public release and in some of the media's apparent apathy. Also, how the NPR newsroom responded when one of its own was brought down for sexual harassment. And a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner talks about unredacting the bestseller he wrote behind bars and what he's learned about America's opaque military and justice systems.
1. Bob looks at how Rupert Murdoch's media empire spins all things Trump. And Sarah Ellison [@sarahlellison], special correspondent for Vanity Fair, helps to explain the mogul's long game.
3. David Folkenflik [@davidfolkenflik], NPR's media correspondent, about how the network handled the accusations against, and eventual resignation of, NPR's head of news, Michael Oreskes.
5. Mohamedou Ould Slahi, author of Guantanamo Diary, about the unredacting process and what he took away from his nightmarish experience behind bars.
October 31, 2017
Speaking this week on Fox News, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly warned against the removal of Confederate monuments on the grounds that it would erase important history. But the statues in question have never been about preserving a neutral version of history but rather about perpetuating a series of narratives and myths about slavery and the Civil War. Earlier this year we spoke to Malcolm Suber, historian and co-founder of the group Take 'Em Down NOLA, about the significance of removing monuments to white supremacy. And we spoke to Bryan Stevenson, director of the Equal Justice Initiative, about his work documenting the thousands of lynchings that took place in the South from 1877 to 1950, and the significance of remember and reckoning with the realities of our shameful past.
October 27, 2017
Since the news about Harvey Weinstein’s sexual predations, allegations have surfaced against other powerful men. We look back at the early days in the fight against sexual harassment with the woman who coined the term. Plus: journalist Matt Taibbi examines the life, death and legacy of Eric Garner; and the release of new JFK files brings the mother of all conspiracy theories back into the spotlight.
1. Lin Farley, author of The Sexual Shakedown: The Sexual Harassment of Women On the Job, talks about the term she coined in the mid-70s: 'sexual harassment'.
3. Ron Rosenbaum [@RonRosenbaum1] talks about his long-time interest in the JFK assassination and how the conspiracy theories changed "the landscape of the American mind."
4. Sara Fishko [@FishkoFiles] reports on how TV anchors used the new medium to cover the JFK assassination, the president's funeral, and the attack on Lee Harvey Oswald in real time.
October 25, 2017
The days are getting shorter, the leaves are changing and Halloween is on its way. And with these annual rites comes another yearly tradition: the coming of the clowns. Last year at this time, to believe the reporting, the country was overrun with so-called “evil clowns,” terrorizing communities across the United States. At the time, Bob spoke with Benjamin Radford, author of Bad Clowns and a research fellow with the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry about our historic and cultural relationship with clown sightings. With clowns again making their resurgence, we’re sharing that interview as this week's podcast extra.