We’ve been ecstatic to see that our initial call for submissions has brought in a flurry of news pitches and story ideas from readers! The environment (especially food and agriculture-related stories) and unemployment seem to be at the forefront of topics that concern our audience, and we received some interesting suggestions outside those areas. We’ve rounded up some of the pitches we found particularly interesting below. Which of these would you most like to hear more about on Need to Know? Leave your vote in the comments!
Political rhetoric around the world:
With the recent introduction of “Mama Grizzlies,” I am curious about the rhetoric used in other cultures. Around the world, when people want to be taken seriously as leaders of their countries, what allusions, references, or metaphors do they apply? Do other countries pay attention to these kinds of descriptions — do they impact the perception of that leader across cultures? How personal do campaigns become in other countries? For example, when a woman wants to be a political leader in Australia would she want to be considered separate from her role within her family, would she make that demand at the same time she makes direct allusions to her role within her family, and what are the expectations of the people? – Jessica Curall
Artifical sweeteners and the food industry:
My idea is to interview Professor Carolyn de La Pena, UCDavis, PhD, regarding her new book about how the chemical industry took over the food industry; Americans’ love affair with artificial sweetners. I read the galleys, and it is a fascinating read and important information.
I would like to see a story on long-term self-employed who are now struggling in the new economy, but are not reflected in any of the unemployment numbers. When they don’t work, they don’t get unemployment. But they are not counted anywhere.
What are the actual unemployment numbers when this group are counted? Is there any process for tracking them? How do they affect the economy? – Karen Laukkonen
Several wrote in to ask us to cover the potential threat of a newly proposed highway on wildlife in the Serengeti:
The President of Tanzania is determined to move forward with a plan to build a Serengeti Highway that will cut right through the migration corridor used now used by millions of wildebeest and zebra to search for water and green pasture land. This Great Migration is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a natural wonder of the world. Conservation groups and scientists have argued strongly against this proposed highway which will likely destroy the migration, the tourist livelihood on which the villages depend as well as the entire ecosystem of the Serengeti. We can only imagine the butterfly impact on the rest of the world, resulting from the loss of this vital ecosystem. – Sheila Wasserman
You need to do a show regarding healthcare and specifically the cost incurred by people in the last two months of their lives. Often times patients and families are totally unrealistic and afraid of death. Therefore huge costs are incurred to keep an 88 year old dad with end stage lung and heart disease alive. – Jana Bruenjes Gaffney