The Recollective’s Top Ten of 2012

It’s been a busy year for The Recollective and, in the spirit of annual countdowns posted by just about everyone on the eve of each new year, I thought it would be great to celebrate some of the group’s 2012 highlights!

Langston Hughes in 1939 (Library of Congress)

Langston Hughes in 1939 (Library of Congress)

1) Carl kicked off a year of great audio projects on February 15 with a gorgeous hour-long documentary about Langston Hughes.  Hosted by WQXR host, Terrance McKnight,  I, Too, Sing America dives into the songs, cantatas, musicals and librettos that flowed from Hughes’ pen.  You can hear Carl’s audio craftsmanship right here.

2) In April, Morning Edition aired two stories about African immigrants in China produced by our very own Nina Porzucki.  You can hear the first story here and the second story here.  Nina was able to travel to China to produce these stories thanks to support from the John Alexander Project.

3) On May 25, just one month before the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the majority of the Affordable Care Act, we launched the Health & Justice Project in collaboration with Jericho Road Family Practice and Jericho Road Ministries.  We produced an audio-documentary series exploring some of the disparities in our healthcare system as experienced by medical professionals, volunteers and patients in Buffalo, NY.  You can hear those stories here.

Share your story about healthcare in America with Health & Justice Project

Share your story about healthcare with Health & Justice Project (Screenshot from

In an effort to pair those powerful stories with strategic action, we then partnered with, a free online platform that provides easy-to-use tools for driving change.  The Health & Justice Project page on serves as a social media hub where stories can be shared along with petitions, pledges and resources about healthcare reform.  HJ&P now has over 200 members from across the country with over a dozen stories posted and more to come in 2013!

4) From May 31 – June 2 The Recollective attended the 2012 Christian Community Health Fellowship in Nashville, Tennessee.  We presented the stories recorded in Buffalo and interviewed medical professionals from around the country about the healthcare challenges facing their communities.  We produced four stories from those interviews with the help of Hans Glick who returned to Buffalo and continues to produce great stories like this one:


5) Whitney went back to school and furthered her formal food education after receiving a scholarship from Good Food Jobs to study Vermont’s local food systems.  She went to Sterling College where she learned all kinds of cool things about Vermont’s local food system and even learned how to butcher a pig!  You can check out the audio slideshow she produced for a Good Food Jobs gathering right here.

Chat piles in Treece, Kansas

Chat piles in Treece, Kansas

6) In June, Chaela and Nina received a grant from the Kansas Humanities Council to produce a documentary project about Treece, Kansas.   Treece was a heavy supplier of lead and zinc ore during the World War I and World War II.  After the 1970s, ore production declined rapidly along with the population, turning the once thriving city into an environmental ghost town.  In 2010 Treece was bought out by the Environmental Protection Agency due to the enormous amount of lead pollution.  To hear this story stay tuned to Kansas Public Radio in 2013.

7) We spent part of our summer at the 4th & 1 Summer Football Camps in Mt.

Screen shot from Cowbird

“I play football in memory of my father.” (Screen shot from

Pleasant, Texas and East Lansing, Michigan.  A couple of the stories we recorded from Mt. Pleasant appeared on Cowbird and our audio postcard from East Lansing appeared on Huffington Post

8) This October,  Chaela and her sister Zannah, went to Santa Ana del Valle, Mexico where they produced this lovely piece on the the tradition of rug making in the small town just east of Oaxaca.  You can check out the story and maybe purchase one of the beautifully intricate rugs on the website for Traditions Cafe & World Folk Art.

9) On November 19 we produced two stories for Narratively, a recently launched digital magazine focusing on quirky, idiosyncratic and untold tales of New York City. We went behind the scenes at New York City’s fine dining establishments to find out what waiters, waitresses and bartenders think about their patrons — grilling a trio of restaurant staffers about what it’s really like waiting tables and tending bar. Janine, Jacob and Jenna (not their real names) spill the beans about horny customers, picky eaters and bad tippers.  Both stories were featured on Digg, Gothamist and the New York Magazine Blog!

National launch of StoryCorps' Military Voices Initiative at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.

Jeremy preparing for the national launch of StoryCorps’ Military Voices Initiative at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. (photo courtesy of José Castillo)

10) In December, yours truly coordinated the national launch event for StoryCorps’ Military Voices Initiative.  The initiative was launched to record and preserve the stories of post-9/11 service members, veterans and their families.  You can learn more about MVI on the StoryCorps website.

We’d like to thank our friends, families, clients and organizational partners for supporting us and making our second year a busy and productive one.  We can’t wait to share more stories with you in 2013.
Happy New Year!

3 thoughts on “The Recollective’s Top Ten of 2012

  1. Wow, that’s an impressive list and a nice write-up. Keep up the great work, you guys. I’m really looking forward to the Treece stories, in particular! …ldw

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