Founded last spring to provide an unbiased view on the war in Iraq and fill the gaps in the media’s coverage, Swarthmore’s War News Radio (WNR) is about to start a new season. The team is prepping for the start of their fall production by moving into a new studio and preparing new recruits.
Following its successful first semester, the program received money from the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility and the President’s Office to continue broadcasting over the summer. Seven students stayed, including founding member Eva Barboni ’07. They were joined by new producer Marty Goldensohn, a veteran journalist known for his work with New York public radio.
“The summer was a huge success. We did one show a week and produced some great stories: including a piece about Iraqi tourism, a piece about the effectiveness of terrorism, and an interview with an Iraqi artist,” Barboni said in an email.
The program is currently on break for a month, preparing to move into their new space in Lodge 6. Previously the group had taken over a corner of the SCCS media lounge to produce the show. They are also busy training newcomers. The History department’s Marge Murphy created two new classes this semester solely for students participating in WNR, Intro to Radio Broadcasting (Ling 17) and War News Radio (Hist 27).
They are also trying to extend the program outside of Swarthmore. There are currently a few “correspondents” at Bard College, and they are hoping to garner some more from other schools. “It will be somewhat more difficult to get people involved outside Swat, but once they are trained in radio production it will function like any other radio show with correspondents,” explained Barboni.
As the number of people working on the program grows, so does the number listening. According to Barboni, by the end of the summer their site had about 100 unique visitors per day. The show is listed in podcast directories, including iTunes, and is linked to by other blogs. They will also be broadcasting on Swarthmore’s WSRN this year, and are hoping to reach other radio stations as well.
Barboni noted that they have had an excellent response to the program: besides being featured in the Philadelphia City Paper last month, “we’ve gotten a lot of emails from listeners across the world, including some in Iraq. The feedback has generally been very positive, but we have also gotten some constructive criticism. Both people in favor of and against the war have praised our objective and in-depth coverage.”
More information about War News Radio and links to their shows can be found at their website http://www.warnewsradio.org.