Reporter/producer Samara Freemark joined the Public Insight Network after four years at Radio Diaries in New York City, where she spent her time helping ordinary people tell their extraordinary stories for NPR. In the process, she developed an unshakeable belief in the beauty and power of personal narrative.
Before Radio Diaries Samara worked as an environmental reporter, a posting that took her to sinking islands, Superfund sites, and literal snakepits – Burmese pythons, to be exact. She also churned out copy and tape in the newsroom of WUOM Ann Arbor. Before settling on a career in radio she tried out policy research, community organizing, and urban planning before deciding she preferred soundwaves to spreadsheets.
Even for those who didn't personally know the victims, Friday's shooting in Newtown, Conn., was gut-wrenching. It seemed we all needed to find a way to mourn, to reflect and to share in our collective grief.
American troops are returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan only to wait in line, joining a growing queue of veterans seeking compensation -- payments and other support -- from the Department of Veterans Affairs for service-related disabilities.
Across the country, local VA offices are struggling to process the backlog of more than 800,000 disability benefits claims. It can take months -- sometimes more than a year -- for veterans to find out how much, if at all, they'll be compensated for health issues related to their service.
Many of the men who train at the Spartan Academy are combat veterans, recently returned from Iraq or Afghanistan. Some have been diagnosed with PTSD. Most are readjusting to civilian life after war. At the gym, they've found a place to work through both.
Kyle Dubay came home from three tours in Iraq frustrated, angry and isolated. He found his release, in part, at a mixed martial arts gym in Tempe, Ariz. That's where he also found Amanda. Theirs is a story of love, distance and dedication.
When Rachelle Ankney revealed herself to her conservative family as a "progressive, pro-LGBTQ, earth-loving anti-poverty community organizer," she was most worried about what her grandma would say. Turns out, Thelma VanDine had a story to share, too.