You may have seen my name around these parts lately — I’m the new senior producer for The Drag, which means I’m working with all our amazing student teams to make some really cool stuff for all of you.
I started at The Drag in mid-January, and I’ve spent the past two months catching up on everything around here. It’s been hour after hour of Zoom meetings, piles of paperwork, hundreds of emails, dozens of questions, a few notebooks full of meeting notes and more cups of coffee than I want to admit — but now that I’m up to speed, I can’t wait to tell you what we’re up to.
First off, “Crooked Power,” our upcoming podcast about the conflict between the former president of Ecuador and the country’s biggest newspapers, is really taking shape. Cesar Perez, Maya Fawaz and I are knee-deep in script writing and editing for the podcast, and let me just tell you, this story is WILD. Authoritarian presidents, propaganda, protests, threats, determined journalists, government corruption … you don’t want to miss it.
I’ve also been working with Sara Schleede on her upcoming podcast, “35,” which explores stories of community and culture along Interstate 35 in Texas. Let me give you a sneak peek: The first episode is about giant muffler men — y’know, those big waving guys you see on the side of the road — and just reading through the script felt like going on a road trip back in time.
Then there’s Ashley Miznazi and Kenny Jones, who I’m constantly in awe of. They’re working hard to bring you a longform podcast about the serial bombings that sent fear and grief spiraling across Austin in 2018. They’ve been interviewing some of the people closest to the tragedy and are approaching the story with such sensitivity, kindness and grace.
I’m also thrilled about a new (currently untitled) podcast from Faith Castle and David West, both UT seniors who are officers in the UT chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists. They’re working on a podcast about the Black experience on America’s college campuses. We’re grateful to have Tyler Campbell, motivational speaker and the son of legendary Longhorn football player Earl Campbell, working with Faith and David to shape the podcast and tell these important stories.
We’ve got plenty more in the works, too, and you’ll hear from me about those new projects soon. In the meantime, none of these podcasts would exist without these amazing students. They’re taking on longform podcasts while still juggling classes, campus publications and organizations, internships, jobs, family life, friendships, relationships — and oh yeah, they’re doing it all in the middle of a pandemic, which makes it all twice as difficult. Many of our student staffers (and our non-student staffers as well) had to live without power and water for a week in February when the winter storm hit Texas — and once everyone defrosted, they picked up right where they left off and got to work.
We wouldn’t be able to hire fantastic students like Cesar, Maya, Sara, Ashley, Kenny, Faith and David — as well as our other incredible staffers at The Drag — without support. Your donations are what keep The Drag afloat. Even $5 makes a difference, but it takes hours, weeks, months and years to put together a high-quality podcast that will top the charts. We’re proud to pay our student staffers, and every penny you donate to The Drag ensures that we’ll be able to keep doing so, giving students valuable experience they won’t get on any other college campus in the country. So consider supporting our students today by making a one-time or recurring donation to The Drag.