December 2009

Happy holidays, everyone! ‘Tis the season for “best-of” shows. We just learned that Ingrid Lobet’s profile of Vicki Ponce, an electronic waste recycler in Mexico, is included in the Best of Public Radio 2009 special that is airing on noncommercial stations around the country this month. The three-hour show, intended as a fundraiser for public radio stations, is hosted by NPR’s Robert Siegel and Ari Shapiro and features segments from shows on NPR, American Public Media and Public Radio International. Ingrid’s profile, which first aired on Marketplace as part of Homelands’ WORKING series, is in the second hour. (For a tragic postscript, please see our December 11 post about the murder of Marco Antonio Armendáriz, who helped Vicki and her co-workers stand up to local officials.)

On December 30, WBEZ Chicago’s Worldview program will rebroadcast an interview with Homelands co-founder Alan Weisman. Alan talks about his New York Times bestseller The World Without Us, which asks what would happen to our embattled planet if human beings were suddenly to disappear. The World Without Us was named TIME magazine’s nonfiction book of the year in 2007 and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. It has been translated into more that 30 languages.

Congratulations Ingrid and Alan!


P.S. We’ve had some trouble with our PayPal donation button in the last couple of weeks, but it’s now fixed. Apologies for the inconvenience. There’s still a week to make your tax-deductible donation in 2009!


In October we reported on the murder of Marco Antonio Armendáriz Vega, a self-taught lawyer who had spent years defending the poor and powerless in northern Mexico’s Sonora state. Marcos (as he was known) was shot in his home in Agua Prieta at point blank range. Our colleague Ingrid Lobet, who met Marcos while reporting a profile of e-waste recycler Vicki Ponce for the WORKING series, has been in touch with his friends and family and tells us that no progress has been made in the investigation. The case has been handed from the local police to the ministerio publico, which is like the district attorney’s office. Meanwhile, Marcos’ daughter Paty is taking over her father’s practice, and another daughter is considering leaving law school to help. We wish them success and safety.