Whew, February was quite a month. It felt like time to do a bit of an update, so here I am.
On Feb. 4 I took the subway out to Midwood High School in Brooklyn to judge a middle school debate tournament. It. Was. Awesome. It never would have occurred to me to do something like this, but I get emails from New York Cares with volunteering suggestions and this one just really piqued my interest. So I got up bright and early on a Saturday and spent most of it watching some extremely bright and well-spoken 6th, 7th and 8th graders argue about the Cuban embargo. (One of the rules for being a judge - which I learned during the volunteer training that morning - is to "pretend you don't know anything about the subject" in order to be as neutral as possible in your judging. Let's just say this topic made that pretty easy for me.) I had a great time and was really encouraged by how clever, animated and maybe most of all kind all of the kids were. I'm looking forward to judging again soon.
That same day, while I was taking a break between debate rounds, I got a notification that a story I'd been working on for months had finally gone live. The Future of Empathy-Building Tech launched at The Establishment and I could not be happier to finally have that thing out in the world! I had a great time reporting, writing and even editing that story, and it's the start of what I hope will be a long-running passion project of writing about empathy.
On Feb. 28 I sent out the latest edition of my On Empathy newsletter. This time I shared a short Q&A with Sue Schardt, a radio journalist and head of AIR, a network of audio storytellers. We talked about empathy's role in journalism, and why that's not necessarily at odds with "objectivity." (If you'd like to subscribe to the newsletter, which comes out twice a month, you can do so at the link above!)
I also did a lot of work in February, the fruits of which I'll be able to share a bit later in the spring.
I thought I'd share a few recommendations today as well:
First, podcasts! Now that I walk to and from work every day, I've been listening to a lot of podcasts (and audiobooks, but mostly podcasts). My favorites (in no particular order) are:
I guess this is where I out myself as a supernerd, if that wasn't already extremely clear :)
And some great pieces I've read recently:
When Things Go Missing by Kathryn Schulz in The New Yorker - This piece seriously ripped me up and then put me back together again. Kathryn Schulz is one of the best writers alive right now, in my opinion. This is a bit different from most of what I've read by her, but just as beautifully-written.
This good reminder from Popular Science that "juicing" isn't actually that good for you and the real key to health (for most people) is that boring old refrain: "everything in moderation!"
This pretty nuanced look at how Trump Supporters in Iowa are feeling about the president so far, in The Washington Post.
That's it from me, for now. I'll be back here before another month has gone by!