Aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico

I’m at the Puerto Rican Family Institute in the Manhattan neighborhood of Chelsea with Taina Delamar, a second-generation Puerto Rican and New York City. She is an actor, an activist, a poet, and a singer. It has been a stressful time for her as her grandmother in Vieques, her aunt in Farjado, and cousins in Carolina have all been affected by the hurricane.

“I have only heard from them once. We heard that they were ok from one of their neighbors who had to drive from the town they were in to San Juan to get a signal. They still haven’t gotten any power. We are supposed to hear from them again this week. Their neighbors are supposed to drive again to where there is a signal but it’s already been 12 days. Still no signal, so we are waiting to hear that they are still ok.”

Almost a month later, 1.2 million customers of the island’s 3.4 million residents, are still without electricity, according to a report by the economic research firm Rhodium Group. Taina says her family is still waiting for electricity to come back on.

Puerto Rican Family Institute, Inc.

“We just know right now that there isn’t any power. And then this morning, I read that the town has been officially declared a disaster zone by Trump. My grandmother’s and my cousins’ towns. There is still no power.”

Many lawmakers have criticized the Trump Administration for its handling of Puerto Rico’s recovery effort. According to a recent poll by the Associated Press, just 32 percent approve of how Trump is handling disaster relief in Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands.

“People haven’t eaten and drunk much in 12 days. This includes babies and the elderly. So, we don’t know what to believe. I am more inclined to believe my people who are actually on the Island more than what the media says. Especially since I have a degree in media & arts and I know how things really run. I don’t believe the media. I do my own research. I don’t believe this President either. So, obviously, I have my own opinions about that.”

Singer and actress Jennifer Lopez pledged $1 million toward hurricane relief efforts. Many celebrities, organizations, and just everyday people have come forward to help Puerto Rico. Delamar, says that desperation is driving people to do terrible things and worries what could happen if it goes on much longer.

“I am hearing horrific stories of people getting robed, people getting stabbed. A little girl, a little seven-year-old girl is in the hospital now because there was a breaking entry into somebody’s house. It was this guy’s friend who broke into his house, stole his money. He had $8,000 in cash probably because he was trying to prepare. So, he took it out from the bank. They assaulted his daughter, a seven-year-old daughter with gun on her head. She got fourteen stitches now she is in comma. People are going crazy when you don’t eat and don’t have food to eat and water to drink, you go crazy.”

Another New York resident Inmaculada Gattas-Vincenty, who also has family in Puerto Rico, sees the US government’s response more favorably.

Puerto Rican Family Institute, Inc.

“They thought they were just going to die inside the home, but nothing happened to them. They are still alive, they are thankful. Very thankful for everything that’s happing right now because the humanitarian and all the people who are coming to aid, FEMA, federal government, American Red Cross, NYPD. the coastguard, and FDNY. Their presence means a lot to our people in Puerto Rico. It means a lot to the people in the north-eastern side of the island. There is still lot more to be done in center of the island and western side of the island.”

Delamar also worries about the long-term consequences for the island.

“It’s a Caribbean Country so you need water and umm I have been hearing that the 80% of the agriculture is destroyed. I am just thinking long term how it is going to affect everything.

Hurricane Maria wiped out $780 million dollars in crop value in Puerto Rico according to a New York Times report. This value represents almost 80% of yearly agricultural yield. It could take at least a year for the farming industry to replant the tress and start to grow again.

Electricity infrastructure has been damaged very badly by the hurricane, and it could take years to rebuild.

Almost 12% of population moved out of the Island between 2004 and 2016. Given the weak economic conditions and this hurricane disaster, it will not be surprising if people move out at even a faster rate this year and for the foreseeable future.

Podcast Pitch

This podcasts interviews interesting and inspiring women about their career journeys. In this podcast, powerful women of all kind will have the chance to tell their story with their work. This can be a woman who is artistic (sings, paints, dances etc.) or someone who is more athletic and has made her life around a sport. It will take listeners through various voices and performances. I would like the interviewees to share the small parts that are fascinating on their own without focusing on their whole career. New York City is full of hidden talents!

I am still in the works of contacting different individuals to interview and be in a setting with good natural sounds, making it pleasant for the listener. Most likely, I will be interviewing Diandra Persaud, an upcoming, talented musician, in her studio.

Class Agenda – Wednesday, Oct. 24

Announcements

Believe it or not, we’re now entering the home stretch of the semester. There are only six and a half weeks left. This means that the structure of the course is going to change a bit, becoming extremely hands-on and a lot less lecture-based. So there will be more classes that will be cancelled so we can do one-on-one script edits, and more classes that are devoted to in-class production, and one or two guest lectures.

Upcoming due dates:

Script for podcast #1 due Monday, November 6

Podcast episode #1 due Wednesday, November 15

Script for podcast episode #2 due Wednesday, November 29

Podcast episode #2 due Monday, December 11 (last class)


Finish reviewing pitches


Discussion: Principles of Longer-Form Storytelling

Exposition

Rising Action

Climax

Falling Action

Resolution

 

 

Narrative arc – in an episodic format, there are often mini arcs within each episode and longer arcs that unfold over a whole series

Things to keep in mind:

Character development

Motivation

How are these principles the same/different in journalistic storytelling?

Final Podcast Pitch

For my podcast, I’d like to do a series about dating in New York. I think it would be relatable, and potentially funny, to capture people of New York telling stories about different experiences they’ve had while dating around in New York. To separate the series into episodes, I think I would lump together stories with a common theme. For example, “Episode One: My most awkward date moment”… Episode Two: Best Exit/Escape …. Etc. etc (The episode names are just examples- will probably have a list of questions to ask interviewees, at which point I can choose final topics depending on best answers… Suggestions welcome!

Suswana Podcast Series Pitch

Name of Podcast: We Are Possible

Objective: To spotlight members of the South Asian community who are paving their own path. They can be writers, singers, entrepreneurs, anyone who is taking a “less conventional” route and redefining what success means for us. The purpose is to tell the hidden stories of our community in order to inspire other South Asian-Americans but also to educate the non South Asian listeners on our culture and the specific issues we face.

Target Demographic: Both South Asian-Americans and of other ethnicities and backgrounds between the age of 16-28. It would be more powerful to have a significant percentage of non-South Asian listeners because while the inspiration impact will be greater on the community, the education impact will occur more with the non-South Asian population.

Host: Suswana Chowdhury – Female, 21, Bengali-American, Entrepreneur

Format of Podcast: One guest per episode, 30-40 minute conversation where the first half focuses on their personal story and the second half focuses on the bigger picture and we discuss aspects of the South Asian culture and issues relevant to the guest.

Guests: 

Mahfuzal Islam – co-founder of food stand Jhal NYC, Bengali-American

Atif Ateeq – Founder of HYFN and Muslim/Halal-Haram hats, Pakistani-American

PITCH IDEA EPISODE ONE

This series would be based on real events with fictional elements to it. I was involved in a story where it felt like I was in the middle of things. It’s a complicated love story that has its twists and turns, that my friend and I had to experience hearing from the two sides. It would follow the three main people that are involved and the ups and downs of those relationships. Without spoiling anything there is a “before” and “after” phase, that would allow me to split this into two episodes. I don’t really have a name for it yet, but its a work in progress. It does come to a conclusion, that you will find out when you tune in.

Sethard’s Spooky Sandwich Shop Pitch

GENERAL PITCH (sorry for yelling):

This fictionalized horror anthology begins and ends in a sandwich shop, where many mysterious things have begun happening. Guests come in for a bite to eat but instead get drafted by the head chef to tell them a story, lest they get fed to the monster in the basement. As such, it’ll be an episodic series where each episode can stand on its own without the need for a backstory or continuity. The only recurring characters are the narrator, the head chef, and Sethard.

Genre(s): Fiction, Horror, Comedy

Speaking roles per episode: 5

EPISODE 1 PITCH:

(I’m less sorry for yelling this time.)

This first episode shall act as an introduction to the series and main character(s), so as such it shall tell the tale of how the Sethard made it to the sandwich shop. We actually don’t know if he just works there or owns the place, moving on.

At 15 minutes per episode, I figured I’d have to break up the chunks of time into dramatic sequences, so this is a very rough outline of the format the show shall follow.

00:00 Introductory Music

00:15 Welcome To Sethard’s Spooky Sandwich Shop

00:30 Summary of today’s episode

(“Today’s special is…”)

00:50 Music Fade into Story

01:00 The Setup – Sethard reads from the local news, like                actual, real life, not-made-up New York news

04:00 The inciting incident – Introduction of new
customers  for the day

05:30- 9:00 Story mode building up to, wait for it

10:00 Climax

12:00 Resolution

14:00 Thank listeners for tuning in, plug my social media, give a VERY BRIEF wrap of the next episode, and throw my deuces up.

 

Podcast Series Pitch: New York Underworlds

As I was reporting and writing the script for my piece on the Brooklyn Paranormal Society for the previous assignment, I, with the guidance of Professor Johnson, realized that it would be better served as part of my final podcast rather than as a radio news piece.  The interactions and experiences I had with people at BKPS were strange, interesting, exciting, and I felt like I had sort of been privy to some special little world. It compelled me to wonder what other weird groups were out there? And so, for this podcast series, I intend to explore more groups that exists on the weird fringes of New York City, like BKPS.

I had no previous knowledge of Meetup.com until I realized at the Brooklyn Paranormal Society meetup, that it was a thing, and that this website is where the Brooklyn Paranormal Society was formed and operates.  And so, for the final podcast assignment, I am proposing to use Meetup.com to find, and profile other obscure, weird, or disturbing New York underworlds or subcultures.  Preliminary ideas so far include New York Conspiracy Theorists, “Cuddle Party New York,” “New York Satanists” and others…

 

 

Final Podcast Pitch

For my podcast, the series will be titled “Movie Recap Madness”. This podcast will take a comedic approach and provide hilarious recaps of blockbuster films. In Episode One, I could provide a comedic recap of the DC Extended Universe(Man of Steel, Batman V Superman, Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman) in build up to the Justice League film. Or I could provide a comedic recap for Star Wars in build up for The Last Jedi. I can also provide parody commercials to use in between recaps. I think this would be a fun concept to approach for film fanatics or people behind on the latest films looking for a quick recap.

Podcast pitch: fiction

The pitch:

My podcast will be called “Fantasy or dreams.” This podcast will contain short fiction stories based on my dreams. Each story will take listeners into a fictional world that will focus on a certain philosophy of life and examine numerous hypothetical ideas “What if…?” In the first episode, I will introduce a fiction story “Robot.” It’s about technology’s influences on our world. What may happen with us in the future, if…? The following episode will be called “Moon catcher” a fiction story about a woman who got stuck on her 3333rd reincarnation. Its pivots are karma, past, numerology… and of course reincarnation. In the third episode, “Quest for a Sirin” the focus will be on a hypothetical meaning of creativity, particularly art, shadows and reading the signs that surround us daily.