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Thursday, August 23, 2012

On today’s show: David Sirota discusses his recent piece for Harper’s about how the shrinking number of newspapers has affected the survivors. We’ll take a look at some of the more unusual meetings in history, from the time Groucho Marx sat down with T.S. Eliot to the famous Nixon-Elvis summit! We’ll discuss the craft of writing crime fiction. Plus, our latest Underreported segment is about the resurgence of sectarian tensions—and violence—in Northern Ireland. And on Backstory, an examination of why the NYPD’s controversial “Demographics Unit” has not led to a single terrorism investigation.

“The Only Game in Town”

David Sirota, contributing writer for Harper’s, talks about his article “The Only Game in Town.” He argues that after so many newspapers have gone out of business, the lack of competition means the newspapers left in some markets to have unprecedented influence—but they're not chasing scoops in the same way, they're cutting back on investigative journalism and legal vetting, and they end up supporting the business agenda of their owners. “The Only Game in Town” appears in the September issue of Harper’s magazine.

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A Circle of 101 remarkable Meetings

Craig Brown gives an account of a daisy chain of 101 fascinating true encounters, including Martha Graham meeting Madonna, Igor Stravinsky meeting Walt Disney, Marilyn Monroe meeting Nikita Khrushchev, President Richard Nixon meeting Elvis Presley, Cecil Beaton meeting Mick Jagger, and Groucho Marx meeting T. S. Eliot. Hello Goodbye Hello: A Circle of 101 remarkable Meetings shows how the celebrated and gifted got along famously or disastrously or indifferently with one another.

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Crime Fiction Academy

Jonathan Santlofer, Director at the Crime Fiction Academy, and Lawrence Block, author and Crime Fiction Academy Master Class Instructor, talk about the academy, a program at the Center for Fiction that’s dedicated to crime writing in all its forms. Jonathan Santlofer is the author of five bestselling novels, including Anatomy of Fear and The Killing Art. Lawrence Block has been writing award-winning mystery and suspense fiction for half a century, and his most recent novel is A Drop of the Hard Stuff.

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Backstory: No Terrorism Leads From Controversial NYPD Demographics Unit

For more than a year we’ve known about the New York Police Department’s controversial Demographics Unit, which in conjunction with the CIA has conducted surveillance of Muslim communities in the New York metro area. This week, we learned that in its six years of existence the unit has failed to produce a single lead or generate a terrorism investigation. Associated Press reporters Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo, who were part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning team that broke the story of the Demographics Unit, give us an update.

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Undereported: Troubles in Northern Ireland

Roughly 14 years have passed since the signing of the Good Friday peace accord, which ended decades of bloody conflict in Northern Ireland. But that doesn’t mean the area is free of conflict, tensions and even violence. Jamie Smyth of the Financial Times talks about the situation. His recent article is called "A Peace to Protect."

 


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