MetroFocus

FULL EPISODE

MetroFocus: April 8, 2020

FAITH IN A TIME OF CRISIS, GOOD NEWS DOESN’T HAVE TO BE HARD TO FIND.

AIRED: April 08, 2020 | 0:27:47
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

WE ARE PROLIFE.

THEREFORE WE CANNOT TAKE ANY

RISK WITH ANY LIVES.

WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON THIS?

>> OBVIOUSLY THIS IS A VERY

PAINFUL MOMENT IN LIFE AND

CHURCH AND EASTER IS THE HIGHEST

HOLY DAYS FOR CHRISTIANS AND AT

THE SAME TIME THIS IS A MOMENT

OF GREAT SUFFERING.

PARTICULARLY IN OUR CITY.

TODAY THE DEATH TOLL REACHED THE

HIGHEST IN WEEKS SO WE ARE

DEALING WITH THIS SUFFERING.

THE ONLY THING I CAN SAY IS THE

PRAYER JESUS OFFERS IN JOHN 17

THE HIGH PRIESTLY PRAYER JESUS

PRAYS WE MIGHT BE AS ONE.

IT IS A GREAT SUFFERING FOR

THOSE WHO CAN'T CELEBRATE

EASTER.

AND IN MANY PARTS OF THE WORLD

YOU THINK ABOUT PLACES IN THE

AMAZON REGION, THEY DON'T --

-- YOU THINK ABOUT THOSE

SUFFERING.

I SEE THIS AS A MOMENT FOR THE

ENTIRE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY HERE

IF THE UNITED STATES AND PERHAPS

THE REST OF THE WORLD IN A WAY

WE CAN IDENTIFY WITH THE CHURCH

WHICH IS SUFFERING IN PLACES

WHERE THERE'S GREAT PERSECUTION

OR SCARITY.

>> YOU KNOW, A RECENT WALL

STREET JOURNAL ARTICLE FRAMED

THIS DEBATE GOING ON IN THE

CHURCH AS A DEBATE BETWEEN

LIBERAL CATHOLICS AND

CONSERVATIVE WITH CONSERVATIVE

CATHOLICS BEING THE ONES THAT

WANT TO REOPEN CHURCHES AND

RESUME PUBLIC MASSES AND THE

LIBERAL CATHOLICS SAYING NO WE

GOT TO KEEP THE CHURCH DOOR

CLOSED.

DO YOU ACCEPT THAT FRAMING OF

LEFT AND RIGHT?

>> NOT REALLY.

I MEAN I HEAR FROM MY FRIENDS

WHO SOME FRIENDS OF MINE ARE

VERY LIBERAL AND WANT CHURCH

OPEN AND SOME CONSERVATIVES WANT

IT CLOSE.

I THINK HOW WE SUFFER

AS CHRISTIANS, I THINK THAT ALL

OF US ARE PRIMARILY CONCERNED

WITH THE FACT SO MANY ARE

SUFFERING IN HOSPITAL AS LOAN.

-- ALONE.

AT 3:00 EACH DAY WE RING THE

BELL, WE CALL IT THE BELL OF

HOPE.

YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU RING THE BELL

THAT LONG, I HEARD SOMEONE SAY,

IT SCARE MEZ, THE POINT IS,

WELL, DEATH IS SCARY.

BUT IT'S NOT ABOUT GIVING YOU

HOPE.

THE PERSON WHO IS LIVING.

IT IS TO GIVE A PERSON HOPE WHO

IS IN THE BED BY THEMSELVES.

WHEN THEY HEAR THE BELL THEY

KNOW THEY'RE NOT BY THEMSELVES.

THEY'RE ACCOMPANIED BY OUR

PRAYERS.

FOR US IF WE CAN'T PHYSICALLY BE

PRESENT HOW CAN WE PRESENT IN

OTHER WAYS.

THAT'S WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO DO.

I THINK THAT'S WHERE MAYBE SOME

OF THE FRUSTRATION AN ANGER GETS

DISPLACED AND BECOMES A BIT OF

DIVISION.

GO BACK TO THE PRIESTLY PRAYER

OF JESUS.

HE DOES THAT AT THE LAST SUPPER.

I THINK THAT'S WHERE WE SHOULD

TAKE OUR LEAD.

>> YOU KNOW, FATHER, YOU TOUCHED

ON IT.

THE PRIEST I SPEAK WITH, THEIR

FRUSTRATION AND SADNESS AND

ANGER IS NOT SO MUCH ABOUT THE

PUBLIC MASS OR NOT IT'S ABOUT

THE FACT THEY CAN'T ACCOMPANY

SOME OF THE PARTITIONERS IN THE

MOST DIEING MOMENTS, SICK IN THE

HOSPITAL, DIEING IN THE

HOSPITAL, A LOT OF THEM WITH ARE

ARE DIEING BY THEMSELVES WITHOUT

THE FAMILY AND WITHOUT THE

PRIEST.

HAS THAT BEEN YOUR EXPERIENCE?

>> YES IT HAS BEEN.

TALKED ABOUT IT EARLIER.

FATHER ORTIZ, AN ASSOCIATE HERE

AND HAD BECOME SICK A FEW WEEKS

AGO.

IT WAS ABSOLUTELY THE

EXPERIENCE.

I REMEMBER, YOU KNOW, TWO DAYS

BEFORE HE DIED HE FACETIMED ME

AND WE PRAYED AND I KNEW AT THAT

MOMENT AS WE WERE TALKING, HE

WAS TELLING ME WHAT HIS FINAL

WISHES WERE, AND HE SAID TO ME,

I WISH YOU COULD COME SEE ME.

AND I THOUGHT TO MYSELF AND

SOMEONE'S DIEING AND ASK YOU TO

SEE THEM, YOU GO.

SO I WENT TO SEE HIM.

AT THAT HOSPITAL HE WAS IN, I

GUESS THEY DIDN'T HAVE THE SAME

SORT OF SECURITY MEASURES SO I

WAS ABLE TO VISIT WITH HIM.

BUT THEN I LEFT THERE, I FOUND

OUT THAT SAME DAY ONE OF MY

PARISHERS HAD THE CORONAVIRUS

AND WENT TO THAT HOSPITAL AND

THEY WOULD NOT LET ME IN.

I KEPT THINKING HERE'S ONE

PERSON WHO WHEN I WENT TO SEE

HIM, I COULD SEE HIS ANGUISH AND

TWO DAYS LATER HE WAS DEAD AND

SHE WHO WAS IN THE HOSPITAL FOR

ANOTHER EIGHT DAYS, AND SHE

SUFFERED, SHE SUFFERED BY

HERSELF.

NOW THE QUESTION THEN BECOMES

WHOSE INTEREST WAS SERVED,

GOING, IS IT MY INTEREST TO BE

USEFUL, OR IS IT THEIR NEED,

THEIR SPIRITUAL NEED.

THIS IS WHERE IN THE ECONOMY,

THE MYSTERY OF SALVATION, THIS

IS HOW THINGS HAVE TO GRASP SO

WHAT ARE WE TO DO IN THE MIDST

OF THIS FRUSTRATION, WELL, THE

ONLY THING WE IT DO IS WE CAN

PRAY.

WE HAVE TO STAY AWAKE.

WE'RE IN THE GARDEN OF

GETHSEMANE AND WE'RE GOING TO

THE CROSS SO WE HAVE TO BE

FAITHFUL IN TERMS OF PRAYER.

>> AND YOU TALKED ABOUT FATHER

ORTIZ'S LAST DAYS, THE NEW YORK

TIMES HAD A PIECE ABOUT HIM, HE

WAS AN EXCEPTIONAL HUMAN BEING.

ALMOST 100 PRIESTS DIED IN

ITALY, MANY SACRIFICIALLY TO

HELP OTHERS.

HE IS THE FIRST PRIVATE TO DIE

IN THE -- PRIEST TO DIE IN THE

UNITED STATES THAT WE KNOW OF.

I WONDER IF YOU COULD TALK ABOUT

HIM.

>> A GREAT GUY FROM A FAIRLY

WEALTHY MEXICAN FAMILY.

HE CAME HERE REALLY AS A MEMBER

OF A RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY AND

BECAME A PRIEST OF THE DIOCESE

AND WAS ORDER TANED -- ORDAINED

IN 2004 AND CAME TO BROOKLYN IN

2009, MY ASSOCIATE, A REALLY

REMARKABLE GUY.

WHAT STANDS OUT IS HE IDENTIFIED

WITH PAUL PEOPLE, WHETHER -- ALL

PEOPLE.

WHETHER A SPANISH

OR ENGLISH SPEAKER.

HE WAS DEDICATED AND ZEALOUS.

HE WAS ONLY FIRE WITH THE LOVE

OF THE LORD.

I WILL SAY HE WAS SCARED TO DIE

LIKE ANYBODY WOULD BE SCARED TO

DIE IN THIS MOMENT.

BUT HE HAD CONFIDENCE IN GOD'S

LOVE AND MERCY AND WHAT HE

WANTED TO MAKE SURE IS THAT HE

WOULD STAY FAITHFUL TO THE END

AND I BELIEVE HE WAS.

AND SO NOW I BELIEVE HE IS IN

GLORY.

>> WELL MONSIGNOR, HERE WE ARE,

IT'S HOLY WEEK, AS YOU SAID, THE

MOST IMPORTANT WEEK OF THE

CHRISTIAN CALENDAR.

AND IT HAPPENS TO COINCIDE WITH

THE SURGE OF THIS PANDEMIC HERE,

AT LEAST IN NEW YORK, IN THE

TRI-STATE AREA, SO CLEARLY IT'S

NOT GOING TO GET PUBLIC

GATHERINGS ON EASTER SUNDAY.

WHAT CAN THE CHURCH DO TO MAKE

SURE THAT THE FAITHFUL, THAT

THEIR EXPERIENCE OF THE DEATH

AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST

IS NOT DIMINISHED FOR THEM THIS

YEAR.

>> YEAH.

WELL, SO, ONE THING IS THAT

BECAUSE WE HAVE TO SOCIALLY

DISTANCE DOES NOT MEAN WE HAVE

TO BE SPIRITUALLY REMOVED FROM

ONE ANOTHER.

YOU KNOW.

WE HAVE TO WALK WITH ONE ANOTHER

AND WE DO THAT BY OUR PRAYER AND

WE CAN DO THAT IN OUR PRAYER BY

THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY.

AS I MENTIONED, WE SPOKE TO MANY

PEOPLE BY FACETIME IN THOSE LAST

DAYS SO THAT IS SOMETHING TO

KEEP IN MIND, TECHNOLOGY SHOULD

ENABLE COMMUNION.

WE HAVE TO PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER.

AND THE FACT IS, WHILE WE MAY

NOT BE ABLE TO GO TO CHURCH DOES

NOT MEAN WE'RE AB SOLVED FROM

CELEBRATING THESE HOLY DAYS SO

HOW WE CAN CELEBRATE IT IS TO

READ THE READINGS, READ THE

PASSION OF OUR LORD, TO JOURNEY

WITH OUR LORD IN A MYSTICAL WAY,

USING OUR IMAGINATION, PERHAPS

JOINING MASSES VIA LIVE

STREAMING OR BY TELEVISION.

SO WE CAN TRY TO BE IN COMMUNION

PRESENT TO EACH OF THOSE

EXPERIENCES.

SO, THERE ARE MANY WAYS IN WHICH

WE AS INDIVIDUALS CAN TAKE

ADVANTAGE OF WHAT IS BEING

OFFERED ELECTRONICALLY BY

CHURCHES THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY,

BECAUSE WE HAVE THE USE OF

TECHNOLOGY BUT ALSO THEN TO

REALIZE THAT WE'RE IN COMMUNION

BECAUSE OF OUR PRAYER WITH ONE

ANOTHER.

YOU KNOW, WHEN I'M CELEBRATING

THE MASS ON TV AND YOU'RE

SITTING IN YOUR HOME IN

PROSPECT HEIGHTS, YOU KNOW, YOU

ARE PRESENT TO THAT UCHRIST

CELEBRATION, THE PRESENCE OF THE

CROSS IS FROENT YOU IN THAT

MOMENT.

A PERSON WHILE WATCHING FROM

TELEVISION CAN BE VERY PRESENT.

BUT IT REALLY IS AN ACT OF THE

WILL.

THAT'S WHAT PEOPLE ARE PULLED TO

DO.

IS TO MAKE THIS ACT OF THE WILL.

TO JOURNEY WITH CHRIST NOW THESE

DAYS THROUGH THE EXPERIENCE OF

HOLY THURSDAY AND THE LAST

SUPPER AND THROUGH THE CROSS ON

GOOD FRIDAY, TO THE TUNE ON HOLY

SATURDAY, AND ULTIMATELY TO THE

RESURRECTION

ON SUNDAY.

AND THE QUEEN SAID SOMETHING

BEAUTIFUL.

SHE SPOKE ABOUT THIS MOMENT OF

SUFFERING AND HOW IT SEEMS TO

ECLIPSE OUR ABILITY TO SEE, BUT

WE KNOW THERE'S A TOMORROW,

THAT'S HOUR

THAT'S OUR HOPE.

THERE WILL BE A HOPE FOR

TOMORROW FOR THOSE WHO HAVE DIED

AND A TOMORROW FOR THOSE WHO

HAVE LOST SOMEBODY.

>> MONSIGNOR HOW DO YOU HOPE

THIS EXPERIENCE WILL TRANSFORM

ALL OF US ONCE THIS VIRUS IS

DEFEATED, SPIRITUALLY?

>> THIS HAS BEEN A SPIRITUAL

FAST, FOR PRIEST AND PEOPLE, FOR

THE PEOPLE, THEY CAN'T COME TO

MASS, AND MAYBE WE CAN TAKE THE

UECHRIST AND OUR CELEBRATION FOR

IT FOR GRANTED.

ONLY WHEN IT'S WITHDRAWN DO WE

KNOW HOW IMPORTANT IT IS IN OUR

LIFE.

WHEN SOMEONE DIES AND WE CAN'T

GO TO A FUNERAL.

WHEN A MARRIAGE IS POSTPONED.

WHEN BABIES ARE TO BE BAPTIZED

AND ARE NOT.

ONLY NOW DO WE RECOGNIZE THE

IMPORTANCE OF THIS MOMENT IN OUR

LIFE.

SO HOPEFULLY THIS FAST CAN

CONCENTRATE OUR ENERGY TO KNOW

WHAT IT IS THAT GOD HAS GIVEN

US, THE BEAUTY OF WHAT GOD HAS

GIVEN US AND PERHAPS WE CAN LIVE

FOR ME I CAN TELL YOU AND I KNOW

FOR EVERY PRIEST WHO IS

CELEBRATING EACH DAY, WE

CELEBRATE BY OURSELVES.

YOU KNOW, YOU RECOGNIZE HOW WE

ARE SUSTAINED BY THE

CONGREGATION IN FRONT OF US.

THE PRAYERS OF THOSE WHO COME TO

MASS WHO ARE PRAYING WITH US,

THEY SUSTAIN US.

IN SOME SENSE THAT'S LACKING

WHEN YOU LOOK OUT IN AN EMPTY

CHURCH BUT IF WE USE OUR

IMAGINATION AND KNOW TRULY THE

ANGELS, THE SAINTS, THE WHOLE

COMMUNION OF THE CHURCH IS

PRESENT WHEN WE CELEBRATE THE

UCHRIS T BECAUSE THAT'S A MOMENT

WE'RE ON CALVARY WITH OUR LORD.

I'M REMINDED OF THIS IN THIS

MOMENT.

>> ALL RIGHT, FATHER, WE'LL HAVE

TO END IT THERE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING

US.

IT'S BECOME A PLEASURE YOUR TO

TALK TO YOU.

>> THANKS AND HAPPY EASTER.

♪♪

>>> HI, I'M JENNA FLANNIGAN OF

"METROFOCUS", IT MAY BE HARD FOR

A MEMBER BUT FOR MANY PEOPLE,

MYSELF INCLUDED, THE NEWS CYCLE

BECAME EMOTIONALLY TAXING, THAT

WAS BEFORE THE COVID-19

PANDEMIC.

IT BLEEDS IT LEADS.

THAT'S A COMMONALITY IN NEWS

ROOM AS CROSS THE COUNTRY WHERE

LIGHTER STORIES ARE RELEGATED TO

THE END OF THE NEWS CYCLE,

MAKING IT EASIER TO GET LOST ON

THE ONSLAUGHT OF BAD NEWS.

SO IN 2017 MUSICIAN, ACTOR, FILM

MAKER AND WRITER, DAVID BYRNE,

TALKING HEADS, DECIDED TO CREATE

A GOOD NEWS HUB CALLED "REASONS

TO BE CHEERFUL" AND JOINING ME

NOW TO TALK ABOUT THIS

NON-PROFIT EDITORIAL PROJECT IS

THE CO-EDITOR OF THE SITE, WILL,

WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

>> SO FIRST OFF, TELL ME A

LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE ORIGIN

STORY OF "REASONS TO BE

CHEERFUL" AND WHY IT WAS CREATED

IN THE FIRST PLACE.

>> SURE, YES, AS YOU MENTIONED

DAVID BYRNE, HE ACTUALLY KIND OF

CREATED THE SITE HIMSELF A

COUPLE YEARS AGO.

HE SORT OF MADE A SITE LIKE

ANYBODY ELSE WOULD, PUT IT ON

THE INTERNET AND STARTED WRITING

ABOUT THINGS THAT MADE HIM FEEL

BETTER THAT HE SAW IN THE NEWS.

HE DID THAT FOR ABOUT AOR AND AT

SOME POINT DECIDED HE WANTED TO

MAKE THIS WEBSITE MORE OF AN

ONLINE MAGAZINE FOR THE GENERAL

READER SO HE HIRED ME AND

ANOTHER EDITOR CHRISTINE McLAREN

AND BASICALLY TASKED US WITH

RESIGNING THE SITE AND TURNING

IT INTO A PUBLICATION.

WE HIRED A WEB DESIGNER.

WE DID A NEW DESIGN.

HIRED FREELANCE WRITERS.

WE PUT SOCIAL MEDIA UP AND WE

TURNED IT INTO WHAT IT IS TODAY,

WE RELAUNCHED THE SITE LAST

AUGUST AND IT IS WHAT YOU SEE

TODAY.

>> YEAH YOUR TIMING COULDN'T

HAVE BEEN MORE PERFECT IN TERMS

OF NEED FOR GOOD NEWS.

ONE THING I THOUGHT WAS

INTERESTING, THERE'S A FOCUS ON

SOMETHING YOU GUYS CALL

SOLUTIONS JOURNALISM.

I WONDER IF YOU COULD TALK ABOUT

WHAT THAT IS AND PERHAPS IN

JUXTAPOSITION SO MANY OF US GET

ALERTS ABOUT ON OUR PHONE

CONSTANTLY.

>> YEAH, SOLUTIONS JOURNALISM IS

SOMETHING YOU DON'T SEE A LOT OF

AND I THINK IS OFTEN

MISUNDERSTOOD.

BASICALLY WHAT SOLUTIONS

JOURNALISM IS BEYOND TANGIBLE

PROGRESS SO WE CAN LEARN ABOUT

PROBLEM THAT'S ARE BEING SOLVED

AND HOW THEY'RE BEING SOLVED SO

THAT OTHERS CAN THEN PERHAPS

LOOK AT THOSE SOLUTIONS AND PLY

APPLY THEM ELSEWHERE.

REPLICATE THEM IN THEIR

COMMUNITIES, THAT SORT OF THING.

I THINK OFTEN IT'S JUST KIND OF

GOOD NEWS, THINGS THAT ARE

HAPPENING THAT SHOULD MAKE YOU

HAPPY AND THAT IS DEFINITELY

SOMETHING WE STRUGGLE WITH A

LITTLE BIT, BECAUSE YOU KNOW,

OUR FOUNDER IS AN ARTIST.

OUR WEBSITE HAS A GOOFY NAME.

SO WE AT THE VERY BEGINNING MADE

A COMMITMENT TO MAKE

SURE ALL OF THE JOURNALISMS ARE

ACTUAL SOLUTIONS IMPLEMENTED

SHOWING MEASURABLE SUCCESS.

THAT'S WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO DO.

>> OF COURSE, AND ONE OF THE

OTHER THINGS I JUST WANTED TO

ASK ABOUT, BECAUSE I'VE GONE

THROUGH AND READ SOME REALLY

IN-DEPTH AS YOU WERE SAYING,

WRITTEN STORIES, IS THAT PART OF

WHAT I SEE, AT LEAST, WORKING IN

MORE TRADITIONAL NEWS MEDIA IS

THAT THERE'S A HEAVY, HEAVY

FOCUS ON TRYING TO COMBAT

MISINFORMATION AND IN SOME CASES

SOME MIGHT SAY PROPAGANDA WITH

AS MUCH POSITIVE FACTS, NOT

POSITIVE FACT BECAUSE AS MANY

CORRECT FACTS AS POSSIBLE SO IT

CREATES A LITTLE BIT OF A

TENSION THAT YOU DON'T

NECESSARILY GET WHEN YOU ARE

READING "REASONS TO BE

CHEERFUL".

>> YEAH I MEAN, I THINK, IN A

WAY ONE THING WE'RE TRYING TO DO

IS FOSTER WHAT WE SEE AS A MORE

ACCURATE PERCEPTION OF THE

WORLD.

SO RIGHT NOW WE'RE LIVING IN A

TIME WHERE PEOPLE ARE CONSUMING

NEWS PRETTY MUCH ALL THE TIME.

ESPECIALLY IN THE LAST FEW

WEEKS, BASICALLY YOU CAN'T STOP

READING ABOUT EVERYTHING.

BUT IN A WAY I THINK OUR THEORY

IS THAT THE MORE NEWS YOU

CONSUME DOES NOT EQUAL THE MORE

INFORMED THAT YOU ARE.

SOMETIMES CONSUMING CONSTANT

AMOUNTS OF INFORMATION CAN

ACTUALLY SORT OF WARP YOUR

PERCEPTION OF WHAT'S GOING ON,

ESPECIALLY IF THAT INFORMATION

IS ALL ABOUT THE PROBLEMS AND

ALL ABOUT, YOU KNOW, JUST THINGS

FALLING APART, WHEN IN FACT

THERE'S ACTUAL WILL YOU A LOT OF

REALLY AMAZING SOLUTIONS

DEVELOPING IN THE WORLD THAT

PEOPLE DON'T HEAR ABOUT.

FOR INSTANCE, COUPLE WEEKS AGO

WE RAN A STORY ABOUT HOW THE

MEDIA RESPONDED TO THE EBOLA

CRISIS A FEW YEARS AGO.

REALLY WHAT THEY FOCUSED ON WAS

ALL THESE COUNTRIES, MOSTLY IN

AFRICA, THAT WERE KIND OF BEING

CONSUMED BY THIS CRISIS AND

EVERYTHING WAS GOING WRONG WHEN

IN FACT THERE WERE SEVERAL

COUNTRIES IF AFRICA THAT HAD

REALLY CONTAINED THE VIRUS,

DEPARTMENT WITH THE PROBLEM

CONSTRUCTIVELY AND FOUND

SOLUTIONS IT TO IT, BUT THOSE

WEREN'T CONSIDERED THE SEXY

STORIES SO IF YOU READ THE NEWS

ABOUT IT ALL YOU WOULD SEE IS

EVERYTHING IS GOING WRONG IN

FACT THAT WAS AN INACCURATE

PERCEPTION.

OUR GOAL IS TO BALANCE OUT THAT

PERCEPTION AND AMPLIFY THE

SOLUTIONS SO PEOPLE COULD HAVE A

MORE ACCURATE PICTURE OF THE

WORLD.

>> I'M SPEAKING WITH THE

CO-EDITOR OF THE NON-PROFIT

EDITORIAL PROJECT

THEIR WEBSITE YOU CAN FIND

ONLINE.

I WANT TO PIVOT AND TALK ABOUT

THE WAY THE SITE IS SET UP.

BECAUSE IT'S NOT JUST LIKE A

HODGE PODGE OF STORIES THAT ARE

CONSTRUCTIVE OR POSITIVE, ET

CETERA, IT'S ACTUALLY BROKEN

DOWN WITH SOME VERY CLEAR

INTENTION.

I WAS WONDERING IF YOU COULD

TELL ME ABOUT SOME OF THE

CATEGORIES THESE STORIES ARE

BROKE NEON

-- BROKAW

BROKEN INTO AND WHY THOSE

CATEGORIES EXIST.

>> SURE, THOSE CATEGORIES

EXISTED BEFORE I CAME AROUND, I

THINK THE REASON HE DID THAT WAS

BECAUSE IT DOES SEEM LIKE OUR

SOCIETY IS IN A LOT OF WAYS KIND

OF DIVIDED INTO THESE DIFFERENT

PLACES WHERE THERE'S EDUCATION,

THERE'S HEALTH, THERE'S URBAN

AND TRANSPORTATION ISSUES,

THERE'S CIVIC ENGAGEMENT, WHICH

IS SORT OF LIKE JUSTICE ISSUES

AND HOW PEOPLE GET INVOLVED IN

THEIR COMMUNITIES.

SO WE'RE REALLY OPEN TO KIND OF

STORIES ABOUT EVERY KIND OF

TOPIC YOU COULD THINK OF.

IN THE END THERE'S EIGHT

CATEGORIES IN THE END THAT

ENCOMPASS PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING

AND WE DO LOOK TO OUR READERS TO

SEND US IDEAS.

I WOULDN'T SAY READERS END UP

WRITING STORIES FOR US BECAUSE

WE DO HAVE A STAFF OF

FREELANCERS WHO WRITE FOR US,

BUT AT THE SAME TIME WE GET TONS

OF STORY IDEAS FROM PEOPLE IN

THE COMMUNITIES SAYING HEY THIS

IS A SOLUTION I'VE SEEN AND

WE'VE FREQUENTLY ENDED UP

REPORTING ON THOSE SOLUTIONS.

WE'D LIKE TO SEE OURSELVES AS

KIND OF A CONNECTOR BETWEEN

DIFFERENT PEOPLE AND DIFFERENT

ORGANIZATIONS SO THAT THEY CAN

SHARE I'D IDEAS.

BECAUSE I REALLY THINK THAT ONE

THE BENEFITS OF WHAT WE'RE DOING

IS THAT THERE ARE SOLUTIONS OUT

THERE BUT FREQUENTLY THEY DON'T

END UP GETTING SORT OF

REPLICATED OR SCALED BECAUSE

THEY DON'T GET HEARD ABOUT.

>> WELL IT'S INTERESTING BECAUSE

YOU DID TALK ABOUT HOW YOUR SITE

HAD WRITTEN ABOUT THE EBOLA

OUTBREAK AND YOU ALSO, I MEAN,

YOU ARE STILL CURRENT AFFAIRS

BECAUSE YOU HAVE ALSO WRITTEN

ABOUT THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC AND

I'M WONDERING HOW YOU ARE ABLE

TO DO THAT AND STAY TRUE TO YOUR

MISSION.

>> WELL IT'S INTERESTING.

SO THIS HAS BEEN AN INTERESTING

TIME FOR US, RIGHT, BECAUSE A

LOT OF THE TIMES IT SEEMS LIKE

VERY LITTLE IS GOING RIGHT BUT

AT THE SAME TIME I THINK THIS IS

A MOMENT IN A WAY NEED TO BE

MORE RELEVANT THAN EVER BECAUSE

THERE'S A LOT OF SOLUTIONS OUT

THERE.

WEEK AGO WE WROTE ABOUT HOW

TAIWAN HANDLED THE EPIDEMIC AND

IT WAS IN PART ABOUT, YOU KNOW,

HOW THEY IDENTIFIED THE PROBLEM

EARLY, THEY HAD SCREENED PEOPLE

RIGHT AWAY,

--

OVER THE COURSE OFFED MANY YEARS

THEY HAD CREATED A DEMOCRATIC

SYSTEM THAT IS VERY FOCUSED ON

SOLUTIONS AND PRAGMATICISM AND

DELIVERING RESULTS FOR THE

PEOPLE.

RIGHT.

SO, LIKE, HERE IN THE U.S. WE

TEND TO GET VERY SENTIMENTAL

ABOUT DEMOCRACY AND WE THINK

ABOUT THE HISTORY AND PAGEANTRY,

AND THEY SAY DEMOCRACY IS NOT

DELIVERING FOR THE PEOPLE THAN

IT'S NOT WORKING, AND SO THEY

HAVE KIND OF REALLY MADE THAT

THE CORE OF THEIR VALUE SYSTEM

THERE AND, YOU KNOW, WHEN

THERE'S A VIRUS RAVAGEDING YOUR

COUNTRY THAT COULD COME IN

HANDY.

>> OF COURSE.

NOW WE'VE TALKED A LITTLE BIT

ABOUT DAVID BYRNE AND HIS

FOUNDING OF THIS NON-PROFIT

WEBSITE AND OF COURSE HIS

INVOLVEMENT IN IT BUT I JUST

WANT TO SAY HE'S NOT JUST, LIKE,

YOU KNOW, A KIND, OLD BEN

FACTOR.

HE'S ACTIVELY INVOLVED.

I'VE READ SEVERAL PIECES HE HAS

WRITTEN.

IT'S NOT JUST AN EDITORIAL

PIECE.

SOMETIMES IT IS.

HE'S ACTUALLY WRITTEN NEW

STORIES CORRECT.

>> OH, SURE.

DAVID FROM THE BEGINNING WAS

VERY CLEAR HE DID NOT WANT THIS

PROJECT TO BE ABOUT HIM.

HE IS THE FOUNDER AND HE STARTED

IT AND HE HAS TURNED OVER THE

DAY-TO-DAY EDITORIAL PROCESS TO

CHRISTINA AND I.

BUT AT THE SAME TIME HE REMAINS

DEEPLY INVOLVED AND HE WOULDN'T

HAVE IT ANY OTHER WAY.

HE'S DOING EVERYTHING FROM

WRITING STORIES, TO, YOU KNOW,

HE COMES TO THE EDITORIAL

MEETING EVERY WEEK WHERE WE COME

UP WITH IDEAS AND TALK ABOUT

WHAT WE CAN DO.

WE SOMETIMES JOKE HE IS OUR IN

IN-HOUSE HEAD LINELINE WRITER

BECAUSE HE WRITES BETTER

HEADLINES THAN ANYBODY.

VERY HELPFUL.

MANY HEADLINES ON THE WEBSITE

WERE WRITTEN BY DAVID.

SO HE'S BEEN VERY INVOLVED.

AT THE SAME TIME I THINK HE

REALIZES HE IS NOT A JOURNALIST.

HE'S AN ARTIST AND A MUSICIAN SO

HE HAS DEFERRED TO US MANY TIMES

ON QUESTIONS OF JOURNALISTIC

RIGOR, INTEGRITY, IDEAS, ALL

THAT SORT OF THING.

BUT, YEAH, HE'S DEEPLY PART OF

THE PROCESS.

>> NOW WE'RE COMING UP ON THE

END OF OUR TIME BUT I DO WANT TO

ASK YOU ABOUT THE TYPES OF

WRITER THAT'S YOU ARE LOOKING

FOR.

I ASK THAT BECAUSE I READ THIS

REALLY FASCINATING PIECE THAT

WAS WRITTEN BY A FORMERLY

INCARCERATED MAN WHO WAS TALKING

ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF A LIBERAL

ARTS EDUCATION, VIS-A-VIS THE

BAR PRISON INITIATIVE.

AND SO, HOW BROAD OF A NET ARE

YOU CASTING WHEN YOU LOOK FOR

PEOPLE TO TELL THESE NARRATIVES.

>> YEAH THAT WAS A GREAT STORY.

HE, SO THAT WAS AS A MENTIONED,

THIS WAS A YOUNG MAN WHO WAS IN

PRISON.

WHILE IN PRISON HE WENT THROUGH

AN EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM AND ENDED

UP GETTING HIS COLLEGE DEGREE

AND WROTE AN ARTICLE ABOUT IT.

WE GENERALLY, I WOULDN'T SAY

PERSONAL ESSAYS ARE WHAT WE DO.

MOST OF OUR STORIES ARE IMPORTED

BUT MOST POWERFUL PIECES HAVE

BEEN PERSONAL ESSAYS SO IF

THERE'S SOMEBODY OUT THERE WITH

A STORY TO TELL, ESPECIALLY IF

IT'S A STORY ABOUT POSITIVE

CHANGE OR HOW THEY SOLVED A

PROBLEM THAT'S SOMETHING WE'RE

ALWAYS INTERESTED IN AND WE HOPE

THEY WOULD CONTACT US.

>> WELL, LISTEN, WILL DOY

COEDITOR OF "REASONS TO BE

CHEERFUL" A GREAT NON-PROFIT

WEBSITE, EDITORIAL PROJECT.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING

US.

QUICKLY WHERE CAN PEOPLE FIND

YOU ONLINE?

>> REASONSTOBECHEERFUL.WORLD.

>> EXACTLY, SIMPLE GOOGLE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING ME

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