Contact: Caitlin Graf, The Nation, press [at] thenation.com, 212-209-5400
In the US when we talk about poverty, people on the margins are talked about but rarely have the opportunity to tell their own story. On Going for Broke, Suarez, who himself faced economic instability in recent years, hears from people who have lost jobs, lost their homes, and sometimes lost the narrative thread of their lives. But with those hardships, they’ve gained valuable insights into the problems facing millions of people in this country. We will hear about the struggles they’ve been through, and the solutions they want to see become reality—solutions that come from lived experience rather than conventional experts. Listen to the trailer here and read Suarez’s introductory essay, “Poverty Can Happen to Anyone.”
“I am really excited to bring the work of storytellers supported by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project to new audiences,” said Suarez. “And given what the country, and the world, have been going through in 2020 and 2021, the timing couldn’t be better for asking hard questions about the social safety net, how Americans look out for each other, and the challenge of economic security in precarious times. Audio is the perfect medium for presenting listeners with a pair of shoes, and the invitation to walk a mile, or more. The Nation is a great partner for this series, bringing us to readers who will listen to one chapter, and listen to them all.”
“Going for Broke is audio storytelling at its finest, and most necessary: Our economy is not working for a lot of us, and on this podcast we hear directly from the people too often left out of mainstream news coverage,” added Nation multimedia editor Frank Reynolds. “Ray is the perfect guide through these troubled waters, and we’re thrilled to be continuing our long history of working with the great folks at EHRP to bring stories of economic hardship to our audiences.”
“These gripping, authentic enlightening first-person accounts are a must-listen, as are some of the inventive solutions these episodes provide,” said EHRP Executive Director Alissa Quart. “The podcast is the culmination of years of work by our organization’s writers.”
Episode one, “Lori Yearwood: Sleepless on the Streets,” the first of two episodes out today, takes us deep inside her experience of sleeplessness during the two years she experienced homelessness, where trauma and sleep deprivation start to merge. Yearwood, now a housing reporter for EHRP, recounts how receiving a blanket from a stranger back when she was homeless was such a gift of kindness in a sea of callousness it helped her remember there was such a thing as love in the world. In the episode’s solutions segment, she discusses sleeplessness among unhoused people and the importance of understanding and addressing trauma.
In episode two, “A Veteran Journalist Finds Himself the Center of the Story,” Going for Broke host Ray Suarez tells the shocking story of how his illustrious career in journalism fell apart in middle age. A former host of NPR’s Talk of the Nation and chief national correspondent of PBS NewsHour, Suarez discusses building his journalism career in predominantly white newsrooms and ultimately losing his job and health insurance, while facing down cancer and subsequent medical debt. Explaining the crisis facing older workers, he offers insights into how to fix this uniquely American condition. He also speaks to the impact of the ageism, racism, and paternalism built into the DNA of our newsrooms, along with the broader precariousness of the media industry.
Future episodes will explore life on the front lines of the pandemic, the administrative burden of accessing social services, the crisis of affordable housing, and the faulty American concept of rugged individualism. They will also address solutions to class blindness and intolerance, rethinking our social safety nets, fixing our broken housing market, and looking at the closest model the US has for universal health care.
Going for Broke is the latest addition to The Nation’s growing catalogue of politically charged podcasts and limited-term explanatory series exploring the most crucial issues facing America today. Our previous successful forays into podcasting include The Nation’s flagship weekly news program, Start Making Sense with host Jon Wiener, and Edge of Sports, hosted by sports editor Dave Zirin. The Nation has also produced several smart limited-run podcasts, including, in partnership with WNYC Studios, the inaugural seasons of United States of Anxiety and There Goes the Neighborhood with host Kai Wright; Next Left, where politics gets personal with the next generation of progressive politicians, activists, and change makers talking to national affairs correspondent John Nichols; More Than Enough, a frank discussion about Universal Basic Income and the ways in which people’s lives—and our country and politics—would be transformed if people had their needs adequately covered, with host Mia Birdsong; and System Check, with cohosts Melissa Harris-Perry and Dorian Warren. Together, these Nation podcasts offer a distinctive understanding of news and politics and people with a focus on “bottom-up” storytelling, and an eye to the stories you won’t hear anywhere else.
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ABOUT: Ray Suarez is a host of the podcast Going for Broke With Ray Suarez, a project of The Nation magazine and the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. He is also a host of the radio and podcast series WorldAffairs, heard on KQED San Francisco and public radio stations around the country, and a Washington reporter for Euronews.
Suarez joined the PBS NewsHour in 1999 and was a senior correspondent for public television’s national news program until 2013. He hosted NPR’s Talk of the Nation from 1993 to 1999. Suarez is the author of three books, including Latino Americans: The 500 Year Legacy That Shaped a Nation (Penguin, 2013). His next work, on immigration, political, demographic, and cultural change, will appear in 2023.
Founded by abolitionists in 1865, The Nation has chronicled the breadth and depth of political and cultural life, from the debut of the telegraph to the rise of Twitter, serving as a critical, independent, and progressive voice in American journalism.
The Economic Hardship Reporting Project, a nonprofit founded in 2012 by labor writer Barbara Ehrenreich, supports quality journalism about inequality, enlisting independent reporters to create narratives around economic hardship, in order to change systems that perpetuate it.