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Say That Again? Podcast eP. 56

How Our Accents Can Divide and Unite Us

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Can the way we speak be a source of unity instead of division? Two journalists share their stories.

We all judge others on how they sound: their accent, their pronunciation, their use of slang. Some of us have been criticized for these things ourselves, mocked because we sound different from those around us.

The way we speak can be a source of division. But it doesn’t have to be.

In this episode of Let’s Find Common Ground, we speak with Jessica Mendoza and Jingnan Peng of The Christian Science Monitor. They host the Monitor’s new podcast Say That Again?, which explores how we sound, how we listen, and how we can come to better understand each other.

Both hosts and guests on this show were once newcomers to the US. We hear some personal stories of how their own voices have affected their experience, and how listening differently can help us all find common ground.

Our show includes several extracts from Say That Again?, including a man who was turned down for a job because of his accent, and two women whose use of Black English – often derided by outsiders – has become a source of pride both professionally and personally.

Jessica Mendoza

Jess is a reporter and podcast producer for The Christian Science Monitor. She’s produced and hosted podcasts about the legacy of racism in Tulsa, Oklahoma; the challenges and resilience of women in the pandemic; and the ways that accent and language shape identity. Her work includes helping to develop the Monitor’s long-term multimedia strategy and collaborating with other Monitor reporters and editors to engage audiences beyond written stories.

Jess started at the Monitor in 2015 as an intern at the Boston office, where she worked her way from the web team to the National News desk. She worked two years as the Monitor’s West Coast correspondent out of Los Angeles before coming to Washington, D.C., to cover politics on Capitol Hill and beyond.

Previously, Jess was a radio DJ for a top 40 station and sideline reporter for a pro basketball league in the Philippines, where she’s from. She holds a bachelor’s in communication from Ateneo de Manila University and a master’s in journalism from Northeastern University.

Jingnan Peng

Jingnan Peng is a reporter and multimedia producer for The Christian Science Monitor. He mainly shoots and edits videos, with a focus on disability, culture and politics. He previously covered breaking news for Agence France-Presse (AFP) and reported on technology and culture for Quartz. Say That Again? is his first podcast.

A Beijing native, Jing studied literature as an undergraduate at Yale and went on to complete a Master’s degree at Columbia Journalism School. Outside of work, he likes learning languages, watching films, and performing improv comedy (he has a gig at Boston’s Improv Asylum).

Want to hear more? Check out our podcast page to see all the discussions!

Journalist Mónica Guzmán

Healing Conversations Across Dangerous Divides

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Is it possible to find common ground with anyone? A liberal daughter of a conservative family shares her story.

Journalist Mónica Guzmán is the loving liberal daughter of Mexican immigrants who strongly support Donald Trump. We hear her personal story of how Mónica set out to understand what divides America and discovered ways to overcome divisions that hurt our relationships and society.

In this episode of “Let’s Find Common Ground,” we discuss ways to use our own sense of curiosity to have cross-partisan conversations with colleagues, friends, and family.

Mónica Guzmán is the author of the new book I Never Thought Of It That Way. She serves as an advisor to the depolarization organization, Braver Angels. Our interview shows listeners how to cross boundaries and find common ground with anyone.

Read the Episode Transcript

Ep 54 – Healing Conversations Across Dangerous Divides

Mónica Guzmán

Mónica Guzmán is Director of Digital and Storytelling at Braver Angels, a nonprofit working to depolarize America; host of the Crosscut interview series Northwest Newsmakers; and author of I Never Thought Of It That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times.

She was a 2019 fellow at the Henry M. Jackson Foundation, where she studied social and political division, and a 2016 fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, where she studied how journalists can better meet the needs of a participatory public.

Before committing to the project of helping people understand each other across the political divide, Mónica cofounded the award-winning Seattle newsletter The Evergrey and led a national network of groundbreaking local newsletters as VP of Local for WhereBy.Us.

Want to hear more? Check out our podcast page to see all the discussions!

How Problem Solvers Caucus Attacks Gridlock in Congress

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Is Congress as dysfunctional as it seems? Hear from two legislators in this candid conversation.

From the outside, Congress appears broken. Bills get bogged down in partisan fights, leaders openly smear each other, and animosity between members is at an all-time high. But our guests on today’s show demonstrate that if you look a little closer, you’ll find a group of dedicated politicians working together across the aisle to craft workable legislation and get things done.

Republican Congressman Don Bacon represents Nebraska’s 2nd District. Democrat Kurt Schrader represents Oregon’s 5th District. Each man is a member of the congressional Problem Solvers Caucus, a group equally split between Democrats and Republicans who are committed to finding common ground on key issues facing the U.S.

In this surprisingly candid conversation listeners get a peek behind the curtain at what’s really going on in Congress, how the infrastructure bill was passed into law, and the harmful effect the media has on Americans’ view of politics. On this episode of “Let’s Find Common Ground.”

Read the Episode Transcript

Ep 49 – How Problem Solvers Caucus Attacks Gridlock in Congress

Don Bacon

Growing up and working on a farm in Illinois, Congressman Don Bacon learned first-hand how the value of hard work and commitment contributes to the success of a small business. He moved from the family farm to attend Northern Illinois University, from which he graduated with a Bachelors of Political Science in 1984, the same year he married Angie, the love of his life. They have three sons, one daughter, and six grandchildren. One year later, he began his military career by joining the U.S. Air Force and serving nearly 30 years, ultimately retiring as a Brigadier General.

During his career in the Air Force, Congressman Bacon specialized in electronic warfare, intelligence, and reconnaissance. His career highlights include two tours as a Wing Commander, at Ramstein Airbase in Germany and Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue, Nebraska; group command at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona; squadron command in Arizona, and expeditionary squadron command in Iraq. In total, Rep. Bacon served 16 assignments including four deployments in the Middle East to include Iraq in 2007 to 2008 during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.

Congressman Bacon’s military decorations include the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, two Bronze Stars, two Legion of Merits, five Meritorious Service Medals, and the Aerial Achievement Medal. Additionally, he was selected as Europe’s top Air Force Wing Commander for his time at Ramstein Airbase, as well as recognized as a distinguished graduate of the Air Command and Staff College, Navigator-Electronic Warfare School, and Officer Intelligence School. Further, Congressman Bacon has earned two Masters Degrees, from the University of Phoenix in Arizona and the National War College in Washington D.C.

Upon his retirement from the Air Force in 2014, Congressman Bacon served as the military advisor to Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01), where he specialized in military affairs focusing on Offutt Air Force Base and the Nebraska National Guard. He also was an Assistant Professor at Bellevue University where he taught Undergraduate Leadership along with American Vision and Values (The Kirkpatrick Signature Series), until his 2016 election to Congress, representing Nebraska’s Second Congressional District.

Presently, Congressman Bacon serves on two committees within the House of Representatives: the House Armed Services Committee, and the House Agricultural Committee.

Kurt Schrader

Congressman Kurt Schrader is currently serving his seventh term in the United States House of Representatives. He represents Oregon’s 5th Congressional District, which includes all of Marion, Polk, Lincoln and Tillamook Counties as well as the bulk of Clackamas and small portions of Multnomah and Benton Counties. Before being elected to Congress, Schrader, a farmer and veterinarian for more than thirty years, established and managed the Clackamas County Veterinary Clinic in Oregon City and operated his farm where he grew and sold organic fruit and vegetables.

In 1996, Congressman Schrader was elected to the Oregon State House of Representatives. There he served as a member of the Joint Ways & Means Committee. Schrader was one of five legislators asked by their peers to guide Oregon through the budget crisis of 2001-2002. Schrader was elected to the Oregon State Senate in 2003 and was immediately appointed to chair the Joint Ways & Means Committee. He continued to serve in that capacity until he was elected to U.S. Congress in 2008.

Congressman Schrader attended Cornell University where he received his BA in Government in 1973. He received his veterinary degree from the University of Illinois in 1977.

Congressman Schrader currently serves as a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce (E&C), which oversees a wide portfolio of issues ranging from health care to the environment. Prior to joining E&C, Congressman Schrader served on the House Committee on Agriculture, where he served on the Farm Bill Conference Committee that successfully passed a five-year farm bill, the House Committee on Small Business and House Budget Committee. In the 117th Congress, Congressman Schrader serves on the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, the Subcommittee on Energy, and the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.

Schrader is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, New Democrat Coalition, and the only bipartisan working group in the House, the Problem Solvers Caucus.

Want to hear more? Check out our podcast page to see all the discussions!

What Good Looks Like: A Common Ground Story

In these uncertain times, there’s no better time to reflect on the signs of hope and progress that have come from our Common Ground Committee forums. This look back at some memorable moments with our inspiring panelists and audience members offers a reminder that there is a way through our challenges – and that it’s our job to shine a light on that path by seeking light, not heat.

Chris Wallace and Maggie Haberman on the Value of a Common Ground Committee Event

Our Co-Founder and CEO Bruce Bond talks with our Finding Common Ground on Facts, Fake News & the Media forum panelists Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday and Maggie Haberman of the New York Times about the value of modeling civil, real-time conversation on difficult topics.

 

 

Community Takeaway: Jonathan Ferziger

Jonathan Ferziger attended our Finding Common Ground on Facts, Fake News & The Media forum on February 25, 2020, at Columbia University School of Journalism featuring New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman and Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace on the role we all play in moving forward through today’s explosive era of modern journalism.

Jonathan liked the event’s goal of enriching civil discourse, and his views were shaken up in a positive way by seeing two prominent journalists from news outlets representing very different perspectives interact as friendly colleagues.

Jonathan Ferziger on what he took away from our Finding Common Ground on Facts, Fake News & The Media forum:

 

 

Community Takeaway: Susan Doubilet

Susan Doubilet attended our Finding Common Ground on Facts, Fake News & The Media forum on February 25, 2020, at Columbia University School of Journalism featuring New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman and Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace on the role we all play in moving forward through today’s explosive era of modern journalism.

Susan was inspired by the event’s fairness and civility, and by these two top political journalists’ commitment to getting the facts right rather than focusing on opinions.

Susan Doubilet on what she took away from our Finding Common Ground on Facts, Fake News & The Media forum:

 

 

Community Takeaway: Reed Alexander

Reed Alexander attended our Finding Common Ground on Facts, Fake News & The Media forum on February 25, 2020, at Columbia University School of Journalism featuring New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman and Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace on the role we all play in moving forward through today’s explosive era of modern journalism.

Reed, a journalism student at Columbia, was inspired to see two powerhouse journalists from outlets many consider to be at opposite ends of the political spectrum agree on so many key points; showing that it is possible to find common ground, even in a fractious media landscape.

Reed Alexander on what he took away from our Finding Common Ground on Facts, Fake News & The Media forum:

 

 

Community Takeaway: Zoe Chiriseri

Zoe Chiriseri attended our Finding Common Ground on Facts, Fake News & The Media forum on February 25, 2020 at Columbia University School of Journalism featuring New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman and Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace on the role we all play in moving forward through today’s explosive era of modern journalism.

In a time when viewers are used to seeing polarization and extreme opinions, Zoe was interested to watch two journalists from very different outlets find strong common ground on the central tenets of news reporting – objectivity, and reporting facts as they are.

 Zoe Chiriseri on what she took away from our Finding Common Ground on Facts, Fake News & The Media forum: