Category Archives: ME-Radio/Podcast

Reporting from Africa

While I was traveling abroad in Dar Es Slaam, Tanzania, I produced a number of print and multimedia pieces. I produced a radio story on my own, highlighting the efforts of one family to take care of AIDS orphans in their community. I also produced video for Current TV about the reaction of people in Dar Es Salaam to the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States.

Additionally, I wrote two stories for U.S.-based newspapers. The first story is a profile of Mark Green, a former congressman in Wisconsin who ran unsuccessfully for governor back in 2006. After losing the gubernatorial race and ending his congressional career, Green thought that his career working for the government could be over. But after the ambassador to Tanzania was forced to resign his post, Green took over (somewhat quietly) until Barack Obama took office this year. Green is continuing his work in Africa, signing on to work for Malaria No More, a D.C.-based organization that works to combat, well, malaria.

Second is a story I did about Tommy Thompson’s charitable work for the Global Network for NTDs, working as a public advocate for the organization and the greater cause of combating neglected tropical diseases. These diseases include things like ringworm, hookworm and elefantiasis- all parasitic diseases that are unheard of in the developed world. If you want to learn more about these diseases that impact over a billion people around the world (but cost less than 50 cents to treat).


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The Daily Cardinal

The following are some select stories from my time at The Daily Cardinal. You can also find all of my stories here. (Of course, all stories © The Daily Cardinal)

While at the Cardinal, I also Co-Created and Co-Produced CardinalCast, a weekly podcast covering the latest news and events. Here is one example of our CardinalCast podcast.
Doyle, Cieslewicz lead chorus of anti-tobacco feeling at ‘Smokeout’
By: Mike Ewing /The Daily Cardinal – November 17, 2006
As part of its 30th annual “Great American Smokeout,” the American Cancer Society honored Gov. Jim Doyle and 15 other lawmakers, doctors and leaders from Wisconsin for their continuing efforts to promote tobacco control and awareness Thursday.

In his first public appearance since celebrating his re-election, Doyle said in his acceptance speech that he would love to sign a statewide smoking ban. “To me this is an issue of how quickly we are going to move in the clear direction that history is moving, and the quicker we can move in that direction, the more lives we’re going to save, and the more kids we’re going to allow to grow up in a way that they have good, strong, healthy lives,” Doyle said.

The awards ceremony, taking place in the drawing room of the Governor’s Mansion, began with the playing of an old Flintstones cartoon. A black and white Fred and Barney leaned up against their home, watching Wilma and Betty do all the chores while discussing the finer points of Winston cigarettes.

“Winston tastes good, like cigarettes should,” Fred Flintstone sang, taking a puff from his long, black and white cigarette.

Careen Wild, director of Development at the UW Comprehensive Cancer Center said that the Flintstones cartoon illustrated how far those fighting against tobacco use have come.

“America now has more former smokers than current smokers and with per capita smoking at its lowest level since World War II, lung cancer rates are finally starting to slip,” she said.

The American Cancer Society honored Doyle for his public fight against tobacco use. This fight began while he was attorney general of Wisconsin in 1998, when he helped prosecute a $206 billion dollar suit against tobacco companies.

Since then, Doyle signed a bill banning smoking in all state office buildings and established a “Tobacco-free Wisconsin” campaign. The campaign aims to prevent young smokers from starting and to convince current smokers to quit.

Other lawmakers, including Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, were honored for similar efforts, including Madison’s smoking ban, enacted in the summer of 2005, to combat smoking. Milwaukee Ald. Joe Davis was honored for his efforts to pass legislation banning smoking in all public places in Milwaukee.

“We want to make sure that we move forward to promote the health of everybody to give the new generation the opportunity to grow up with some hope,” Davis said.

State reps. urge governor to investigate incarceration
By: Mike Ewing /The Daily Cardinal – December 7, 2005
Wisconsin’s designation as the ’Worst Place in the Nation to be Black’ by an online newspaper prompted members of the Wisconsin state Legislature to formally ask Gov. Jim Doyle Tuesday to form a task force to address the issue.

The article was published in The Black Commentator on July 14, 2005, granting Wisconsin the title based on the disproportionate incarceration of blacks in the state. Comparing the percentage of the black population in prison to the percentage of the white population in prison, it found blacks in Wisconsin went to prison ’at a rate 11.6 times higher than whites.’

While this proportion is equal to the proportion in Iowa, the article said Wisconsin was worse because a greater percentage of the black community was in prison. ’Just over four percent of black Wisconsin, including the very old and the very young of both sexes, are behind bars,’ it said.

Pamela Oliver, chair of the UW-Madison Sociology Department, studied the difference in incarceration rates and said Wisconsin became worse than other states when the disparity ’kept rising in the late 80s while other places leveled off.’

According to Oliver, the escalation in the disparity resulted from the war on drugs. While the use rates are similar between blacks and whites, Oliver said the difference emerges when blacks are disproportionately sentenced to prison for drug crimes. ’The disparity ratio of going to prison for a drug charge for 18-to-19-year-olds was basically 70 to one,’ she said.

This article spurred action amongst legislators when state Rep. Spencer Black, D-Madison, received it from one of his constituents. Black said it inspired him to approach state Rep. Tamara Grigsby, D-Milwaukee, about co-authoring a letter to Doyle requesting a task force be formed to investigate the issue.

Grigsby agreed, saying the root causes of disproportionate incarceration needs to be investigated. ’It’s way too simplistic to say that certain groups commit more crimes,’ she said. ’It’s about police practices and criminal practices that contribute to it.’

The letter authored by the two representatives and containing the signatures of 16 other members of the legislature will be delivered to the governor’s office Tuesday. The letter claims a task force is necessary because the disparity causes bad publicity and directly relates to the other disparities faced by the black community.

According to Black, the task force could help solve the problem. ’We have to look at the social causes, but we also have to evaluate fairly whether the criminal justice code and the criminal justice system impact disproportionately on African-Americans,’ he said.

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To the Best of Our Knowledge

As the culmination of my intern duties at To the Best of Our Knowledge (WPR) I produced an entire hour, from concept to questions to production, all by myself. The title is “Life as Entertainment” and it explores how the border continues to blur between our everyday lives, the Internet, and the entertainment industry.

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Show Description:
The entertainment industry is eliminating the gap between real life and fantasy. Popular television shows like Big Brother turn ordinary life into an engaging drama. Virtual worlds like Second Life give users a chance to recreate themselves with the click of a button. But how real is reality entertainment. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge we’ll explore the gray area where real life meets entertainment.


Nick Hitchon is one of the participants in Michael Apted’s Seven Up series of documentaries that checks in on the lives of ordinary people every seven years. Hitchon is now a 49 year old engineering professor at the University of Wisconsin. He talks with Anne Strainchamps about the project and the effect it has had on his life. We also hear clips from the Apted series.


Emily Gould became an Internet celebrity for her writing on Gawker, a popular New York City blog. She talks with Anne Strainchamps about the far more revealing writing she did about her personal life at another site, her personal blog – Heartbreak Soup. Gould has written about her blog experience for the New York Times Magazine. Also, Tom Bollestorff is an anthropologist at UC Irvine and author of “Coming of Age in Second Life.” He describes what virtual on-line worlds like “Second Life” are and how they work.


Laurie Oullette is a media scholar at the University of Minnesota and co-author of “Better Living through Reality TV.” She tells Steve Paulson how reality TV manipulates the lives of its participants. But we watch it anyway: she got hooked on reality TV the first season it started. Also, Bill Wasik is a senior editor at Harper’s magazine. He tells Jim Fleming about the craze he started – flash mobs – seemingly random gatherings of complete strangers doing something out of the ordinary.

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WPR News Pieces

The following stories were produced during my internship at the Wisconsin Public Radio News department:

Madison Street Newspaper

Whoever said the age of the newspaper is over didn’t tell that to the staff of Street Pulse in Madison. The paper is one of many so-called “street newspapers” that are emerging across the country. It’s called a street newspaper because the streets are where nearly half of its staff lives. Mike Ewing profiles the newspaper, and the reporters that are trying to make homelessness front-page news again…
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Organic Farms Flood Woes

Nearly a quarter of Wisconsin’s organic farms are located in the southwestern counties declared Disaster Areas by Governor Doyle. And many owners of those farms are saying that outdated insurance policies are making it difficult for them to recover from the damage. Mike Ewing reports…
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Young Entrepreneurs Brand State Pride

While many Wisconsin residents don Cheeseheads in order to show their pride for the dairy state, it isn’t exactly causal apparel. But a new brand started by two UW-Madison students is proving to be a popular alternative. Mike Ewing reports…
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Activists Call for Impeachment Over Alleged Human Rights Abuses

Between now and Wednesday afternoon, protesters are bringing the alleged torture and mistreatment of prisoners at Guatanamo Bay to Madison’s State Street. Mike Ewing reports…
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Seasonal Residents Spur Concerns, Debate

The arrival of summer also means the arrival of new Wisconsin residents, as people flee crowded urban areas for wide-open spaces. Mike Ewing reports…
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UW Student Grants Delayed Due to Budget Uncertainty

Low-income college students asking for financial aid from Wisconsin after Wednesday (6/27/07) will have to wait for a compromise on the state’s budget to get an answer. Mike Ewing reports…
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Police Step Up Patrols to Curb Memorial Day Speeding

If you’re driving on an Interstate in southern Wisconsin today (5/24), you may want to slow down and buckle your seat belt. Police are heavily patrolling major highways in that part of the state. Mike Ewing reports…
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Ethanol Plant Will Make Fuel for Both People and Cars

An alternative-energy plant in Jefferson is not only going to provide ethanol, but also will double as a fish farm. Mike Ewing reports…
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Wisconsin Uses Tax Incentives to Attract Filmmakers

While Wisconsin has enjoyed a few starring roles in major motion pictures, advocates want it called back more often. A group that’s acting as the state’s agent just recently reopened its doors. Mike Ewing reports…
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Infected Swine Euthanized

Officials at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture announced today that two herds of pigs infected with the pseudorabies virus have been destroyed. The disease was first detected back on April 1st and was tracked to two different farms in Clark County. Mike Ewing reports…
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State Funds Save Programs for Homeless Youth

The state department of Health and Family services says there’s $200,000 in one-time grants, going out to programs that reach out to runaway and homeless kids. Mike Ewing reports…
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