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The Atlas Obscura Podcast is a celebration of the world's hidden wonders. Every day, a 15-minute episode takes listeners to someplace strange, incredible, or wondrous around the world and introduces them to the people and history which make it special.
I helped launch this show in 2021 and continued to work on it as a producer for more than two years. Over the course of my time on the team, I originally reported and lead-produced more than 90 episodes, averaging one per week. As a founding member of the team, I also took my role as a creative leader seriously. Between March and August 2021, I created production processes, oversaw onboarding and training systems, and trained and managed Atlas Obscura contributors in my role as an interim senior producer. I also piloted new show formats, developed and led monthly episode critiques, and led discussions about craft and the creative direction of the show.
January 2021 - March 2023
I pitched, reported, and wrote this story as one of my first contributions to Atlas Obscura. It includes three voices, significant historical and cultural context, and a news peg... all in 16 minutes!
DESCRIPTION: Built by indigenous people thousands of years ago, the Newark Earthworks are part cathedral, part cemetery, and part astronomical observatory. But today, this ancient ceremonial site is part of a golf course in Ohio.
Beechey Island Graves
I worked with Atlas Obscura's host, Dylan Thuras, to produce this two-part series incorporating archival tape, old field recordings, and an original interview. I crafted the outline, drafted first drafts of the script for both episodes, and worked closely with Dylan to make changes, fact check, and put the writing in his voice. I'm proud of how this piece artfully braids two timelines several hundred years apart, and how we crafted a structure that highlights the mirror between the past and present. These episodes also aired on 99 Percent Invisible.
DESCRIPTION: In this two-part series, we venture towards frozen graves tied to an infamous Arctic expedition. We follow two groups of adventurers, separated by more than 170 years, and play witness to the disasters that befell them all.
I worked with my colleague Manolo Morales to simultaneously co-report this episode from either side of the U.S.-Mexico border. The finished piece uses our field reporting as a base to tell the story of one place from two different perspectives, in two different languages. This episode also aired on "The World" from PRX.
DESCRIPTION: Every Sunday, there’s a binational church service at Friendship Park, which straddles the U.S.-Mexico border. We sent two reporters to attend the church service — one on the U.S. side and one in Mexico — to learn more about how changes to the U.S. border have affected the park and the community.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Telling stories about "the world's hidden wonders" over zoom was often a challenge! I pitched stories that allowed me to report in the field as often as I could, but when that wasn't possible, I focused my energy on finding the perfect source to speak to a place and give personal stakes to the story. I was excited to get to speak with Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka — Uganda's first wildlife veterinary officer — for this story.
DESCRIPTION: A national park in Southwest Uganda is home to nearly half the world’s population of endangered mountain gorillas. They and the local community rely on each other to survive.
World's Oldest Edible Ham
As part of my job, I had the opportunity to work with Atlas Obscura's incredible team of print reporters and help them adapt their work to audio. Sometimes, this involved taking on the role of a hybrid editor-supervising producer: setting and enforcing deadlines while also chipping in as a creative partner, teaching, and providing feedback. Other times, like in the case of this episode, I produced two-ways featuring Atlas Obscura staff and partnered with them to shape the interview around their reporting, culminating in a non-narrated, lively discussion around their work.
DESCRIPTION: Atlas Obscura’s resident food and death reporter Sam O’Brien takes us to Smithfield, Virginia, where we meet a 120-year-old ham, and the people who love it.
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