Crosscut Talks
PBS Newshour’s Fred de Sam Lazaro on the Power of Under-Told Stories

PBS Newshour’s Fred de Sam Lazaro on the Power of Under-Told Stories

February 25, 2020

In a time of newsroom layoffs, hot takes, "fake news" and intense political polarization, it can be difficult to find in-depth journalism that takes the time to explore underrepresented communities or attempt to tackle the world's toughest questions. But Fred de Sam Lazaro is someone who's been doing just that for over three decades. Lazaro is the executive director of the Under-Told Stories Project, a journalism and teaching endeavour that documents the consequences of poverty around the world and the work being done to address them. He is an award-winning journalist who's been a correspondent with the PBS Newshour since 1985. He's reported from over 70 countries on topics such as labor, sex trafficking, public health and immigration, and directed films from India and the Democratic Republic of Congo for the acclaimed documentary series, Wide Angle. For the latest episode of the Crosscut Talks Podcast, he talks with Crosscut editor-at-large Knute Berger as part of the Communiversity series hosted by Centrum, a Port Townsend-based nonprofit arts organizations.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan Talks Homelessness, Crime and Solutions

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan Talks Homelessness, Crime and Solutions

February 11, 2020

Ask anyone who has lived in Seattle for the past few years and they will tell you: The city has changed, dramatically. This is a result, in large part, of the booming economy fueled by the major tech companies based here. New jobs at these firms have brought thousands of new residents, plenty of new construction and a cost of living that has radically transformed what it means to live in the city. Challenges abound in this new version of the Emerald City, and few people agree on how to address them. But someone needs to. For the latest episode of the Crosscut Talks Podcast, we invited three city leaders tasked with doing just that to talk about Seattle's problems and some potential solutions. Mayor Jenny Durkan leads off the episode with a discussion about housing, homelessness, crime and controversial tax proposals. New Seattle City Councilmembers Andrew Lewis and Tammy Morales round out the conversation with a fresh perspective on how to fix what's broken. 

Valerie Jarrett’s Road to the White House

Valerie Jarrett’s Road to the White House

December 17, 2019

Few people know the Obamas as well as Valerie Jarrett. She first met Michelle Obama, then a young lawyer named Michelle Robinson, in 1991, while interviewing her for a job in Chicago city government. From there, Jarrett grew to be the Obamas' most trusted personal confidante -- a relationship that went all the way to the White House. Jarrett was President Barack Obama's longest-serving senior adviser. She oversaw the offices of public engagement and intergovernmental affairs and chaired the White House Council on Women and Girls. In her memoir, Finding My Voice : My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward, Jarrett shares insights from the Obama White House as well as her own powerful journey. For this episode of the Crosscut Talks podcast, we invited Jarrett to discuss that journey, from growing up in 1960s Chicago to advising the nation's first black president, with New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie.

The Little Things That Can Make a Big Difference

The Little Things That Can Make a Big Difference

December 10, 2019

There are many things going wrong in the world. And a lot of the time those things seem just too big to do anything about. Especially when it comes to climate change, people often feel helpless. What it will take to make an impact is systemic change, not individual change. But Sarah Lazarovic, an illustrator, visual journalist and columnist for YES! magazine argues that small things do make a difference, and the research shows it. In her column for YES!, a nonprofit media organization focused on solutions journalism, Lazarovic illustrates the tiny shifts in our lives that can help us feel human, find inspiration and have hope. For this episode of the Crosscut Talks podcast, we invited Lazarovic to offer her insights into some of the simple ways we can all take action. This conversation was recorded on May 4, 2019, at Seattle University as part of the Crosscut Festival.

The Case for Fixing Philanthropy and Decolonizing Wealth

The Case for Fixing Philanthropy and Decolonizing Wealth

December 6, 2019

The idea of decolonization has been with us for as long as countries have laid claim to land already rich with people and an existing history. And generally it is thought of as the giving back of that land. But there is more to decolonization than mere acreage. As Edgar Villenueva argues, "decolonizing ... is about truth and reconciliation."When it comes to philanthropy, decolonization is especially complicated. While attempting to heal communities hurt by colonization, philanthropists can actually end up doing greater harm. What is needed is a process of acknowledging the truth behind many of these philanthropic efforts and reconciling the impact of the corporate power that fuels them. For this bonus episode of the Crosscut Talks podcast, editor-at-large Knute Berger speaks with Villenueva about what it will take to do just that.A nationally-recognized expert on social justice philanthropy, Villenueva grew up in North Carolina and is an enrolled member of the Lumbee Tribe. He’s also the author of Decolonizing Wealth, a book that proposes indigenous solutions to dysfunction and inequality in philanthropy and finance. Among other roles, he serves as chair of the board of directors of Native Americans in philanthropy and is a board member of the Andrus Family Fund, a national foundation that works to improve outcomes for vulnerable youth.This conversation was recorded at the KCTS 9 studios in Seattle on Nov. 19 as part of the Crosscut Talks Live series.

Learning to Live With Climate Change

Learning to Live With Climate Change

December 3, 2019

The impacts of climate change are already here. From record-breaking hurricanes to fires and floods, some communities are already in crisis. People living on the coast are especially vulnerable. A number of tribal villages in Alaska and Washington state, for instance, have either already relocated or may soon need to. Millions are calling for policy solutions that will reduce emissions and prevent the most egregious effects of climate change. But in the meantime, adaptation is a must. For this episode of the Crosscut Talks podcast, we invited climate scientist Amy Snover and a climate adaptation specialist Michael Chang to discuss this new normal and the strategies we can learn from Native communities on the front lines. This episode was recorded at the KCTS 9 studios in Seattle on Oct. 24 as part of the Crosscut Talks Live series.

The Making of The Rising

The Making of The Rising

November 29, 2019

As the impacts of climate change become more apparent, communities along the coast are facing difficult decisions. Two of those communities, the coastal villages of Queets and Taholah, are currently developing plans to relocate. These are ancestral homes to the Quinault tribe, but they've become unsustainable, in part due to rising sea levels. Crosscut video producer Sarah Hoffman and science and environment editor Ted Alvarez have spent more than a year in the presence of the tribal members contemplating the move. The resulting documentary, The Rising, premieres this weekend on KCTS 9. The aim of the film is to present this story from the perspective of the people living it. The key, say the journalists, is to show up, get out of the way and listen. For this bonus episode of the Crosscut Talks podcast, we invited Hoffman and Alvarez to talk about how they went about doing that. This conversation was recorded at the KCTS9 studios in Seattle on Oct. 24 as part of the Crosscut Talks Live series.

What Really Happened During the Battle in Seattle

What Really Happened During the Battle in Seattle

November 26, 2019
The WTO protests in November 1999 put Seattle on the map in a way that grunge and tech never could. The World Trade Organization had planned a meeting in the city to discuss trade agreements for the new millennium, but then tens of thousands of protestors filled the streets. For days, activists overwhelmed the event and the city's police force, which responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. The protesters were there to condemn corporate power and the potential impacts of free trade on human rights and the environment. And while the WTO ultimately continued its work, the protest had a big effect on Seattle and the world. It influenced similar movements to come, like Occupy Wall Street. And it impacted how we think and talk about capitalism, globalism and economic equity. Now, on the 20th anniversary of the so-called "Battle in Seattle," we invited a panel of local leaders to the Crosscut Talks podcast to discuss what happened in Seattle in 1999 and what it means to our world today. The episode begins with former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper and activist John Sellers, who are later joined by activist Nikkita Oliver and Nowell Coquillard, director of the Washington State China Relations Council. The conversation was recorded at KCTS9 studios in Seattle on November 19, 2019, as part of the Crosscut Talks Live series.
How to Make Big Tech More Diverse

How to Make Big Tech More Diverse

November 19, 2019

Big tech has a diversity problem. Some communities of color and women still represent a disproportionately small percentage of all employees at major tech companies. In 2017, for instance, African Americans made up just three percent of the workforce at Facebook, Amazon, Google and Twitter. And women represent jut a quarter of all workers in STEM fields. Changing that takes more than just asking companies to do better. It also means creating more access to education and training. For the latest episode of Crosscut Talks, we gathered a panel of industry experts and diversity advocates to talk about what that access could look like. This conversation was recorded on May 4, 2019, at Seattle University as part of the Crosscut Festival.

Making Sense of Climate Change Through Art

Making Sense of Climate Change Through Art

November 12, 2019

Climate change is impacting our planet, and it's also impacting us — our emotions, our psychology and our worldview. And now, it's a concept that artists and curators are tackling too. The art they create and select helps translate and explore some of these impacts and underscores the connection between art and the environment. For this episode of the Crosscut Talks podcast, we invited four artists and curators to discuss the work they do and the role they play in a climate-changing world. Taking part in the talk are mixed-media installation artist RYAN! Feddersen, art historian and curator Barbara Matilsky, sound artist Judy Twedt and conceptual artist Chris Jordan. This episode was recorded at Seattle University on May 4, 2019 as part of the Crosscut Festival. During the panel we displayed some of the art work under discussion. To see this work, go to the episode page.