Fiery Twitter threads and endless news notifications never capture the full story. Each week on The Assignment, host Audie Cornish pulls listeners out of their digital echo chambers to hear from the people who live the headlines. From the sex work economy to the battle over what’s taught in classrooms, no topic is off the table. Listen to The Assignment every Thursday.
What is it like to survive a violent police encounter? As the world processes the beating and death of Tyre Nichols, we hear from two men whose encounters with police changed their lives: Leon Ford is an author, speaker, and co-founder of The Hear Foundation. He was shot by Pittsburgh police in 2012 after being pulled over for a traffic stop. And Tim Alexander is a lawyer, politician, and former Detective Captain for the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office. He was “shot at, assaulted, and falsely arrested because of misidentification” by police officers in Newark in May 1985.
The pandemic, along with the rise of streaming services, shifted the way we experience movies. Theater ticket sales are still down, and many folks prefer to watch from the comfort of their own home. Is staying home bad for the movies? Will studios simply bombard us with sequels and superhero movies to get us back? We hear from Franklin Leonard, founder of The Black List, about the state of cinema and the cultural necessity of going to the movies. And he tries to convince a very reluctant Audie Cornish to go back to the movie theater.
In the last few years, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have traded their broken relationship with the UK press system for the celebrity industrial complex of the US. This week on The Assignment, Audie turns to two insiders from each media ecosystem to discuss how the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are using the press to reshape their narrative. We hear from Los Angeles Times culture critic Mary McNamara and Newsweek’s Chief Royal Correspondent Jack Royston.
Millions of people are now disabled because of a long Covid, leading to what some are calling a “mass disabling event.” In this episode, Audie speaks with Dr. Monica Verduzco-Gutierrez, who has been diagnosing and treating patients with long Covid, to unpack this new terminology. Audie also hears from Imani Barbarin, a disability advocate, and Alexis Misko, who is struggling with long Covid, about what it means to be disabled in the United States and discusses whether long Covid could change the way we think about disability.
Happy New Year! We’re still on our holiday break but wanted to take a moment to reflect and set some new goals. In this episode, Audie listens to your voicemails, feedback, and ideas for future assignments. Thank you for being part of this community, and we can’t wait to keep the conversation going. We are reading all your assignments – so please keep them coming. You can leave us a message in a voicemail at 202-854-8802. Or record a voice memo on your phone and email that to us: email@example.com
The Assignment is taking a short, holiday break. We’ll return with new episodes in January. Today, we invite you into a warm, gracious conversation between CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Late Show host Stephen Colbert. It’s from Anderson’s podcast All There Is, a deeply personal exploration of loss and grief and finding community. Download the entire season of All There Is wherever you get your podcasts.
The debate among journalists over how to regain the public’s trust is increasingly centered around the idea of objectivity. In this episode, Audie turns the spotlight on herself and the media. She invites journalists to help her reckon with the idea of objectivity: what it is? Does it still work? And, what’s the way forward for both the press and the public? You’ll hear from Jelani Cobb, Dean of Columbia Journalism School; Margaret Sullivan, former media columnist at the Washington Post, and Maggie Haberman, reporter for The New York Times.
Protests following the murder of George Floyd in 2020 set the stage for people across the country to demand change within the criminal justice system. Calls to “defund the police” gained mainstream attention and paved the way for the election of “progressive prosecutors.” But more than two years later, the momentum for the movement has slowed down and some of these prosecutors are facing backlash and, in some cases, even recall efforts. This week, we hear from Sarah George, Chittenden County Sta...Show morete’s Attorney in Vermont and Jose Garza, District Attorney for Travis County Texas, about how their offices are adjusting without the support of a strong protest movement and increasing headlines about rising crime.
After Roe v. Wade legalized abortion 50 years ago, abortion clinics and providers saw waves of violence, protests and lawsuits. Recently, a new group of healthcare providers has come under attack— the doctors providing gender affirming care for transgender kids. With politicians passing anti-trans bills, states blocking medical care altogether, and hospitals and doctors now facing vitriol and threats, is this care on the line for trans kids? In this episode, Audie speaks with two gender affirming care providers to discuss the negative attention they’ve faced and understand the lifesaving care at risk.
In the early days of the pandemic, OnlyFans made headlines as both celebrities and regular people made large sums of money selling sexually explicit content on the site. In this episode, Audie hears from the people who have made OnlyFans their career. What do their days look like? How do they make their money? And do they see a future for themselves on OnlyFans?