When Sarah Koenig released the first episode of her podcast Serial, she was hoping to attract 300,000 listeners over the course of the season. By week six, the podcast had reached five million downloads.
At the end of its second season, Serial has attained more than 217 million downloads. Sarah Koenig, the host and co-creator of the podcast, visited Northwestern Thursday evening as a part of the Contemporary Thought Speaker Series. During a 90-minute speech and Q&A in Ryan Auditorium, Koenig talked about her background, how she structures Serial and what it’s like being at the center of podcast (and pop) culture.
Before Serial, Koenig spent 12 years working at This American Life, the weekly radio program hosted by well-known journalist Ira Glass. At some point, she and her editor, Julie Snyder, had the idea of creating a spin-off podcast. Calling it “This Week,” they wanted to make a show ...
Cody Keenan, Northwestern University Class of 2002 and Director of Speechwriting for President Obama, sat down with the Humans of Northwestern team a few weeks back. Copied below is a transcript of this interview.
Humans of Northwestern: What are some of your favorite memories from Northwestern?
Cody Keenan: 2000. Parents Weekend. We beat Michigan 54 to 51. There was almost 1200 yards of total offense at the end and Sports Illustrated called it one of the Top 10 College Football Games of the 2000s. That place was totally jammed because it was parents’ weekend. I had my sister with me and we got to storm the field afterward, which is the only time I ever got to storm in 4 years. That day really springs to mind. A lot of my other best memories involved Sigma Chi and the brothers, 3 of whom are coming to my Bachelor Party next weekend even though we ...
Standing in front of a Buffett Institute banner on the stage of the McCormick Foundation Center Forum, Karl Eikenberry opened his talk with a joke about the weather. Before the talk, he even had time to get a purple snow cone from a Wildcat Welcome pop-up at the Rock.
From the glowing accolades and introductions preceding the talk, some would have never known that Eikenberry, the former American ambassador to Afghanistan and retired Army lieutenant general, has been the subject of intense controversy following his appointment as the new executive director of the Buffett Institute.
Students and faculty were critical of Eikenberry’s ability to lead the Buffett Institute, citing his lack of a Ph.D. and his ties to the military, as well as comments he made in 2014 about using the humanities ...
Sarah Koenig, co-creator of the popular storytelling podcast Serial, will return to Chicago Thursday, not to her alma mater the University of Chicago, but to speak at Northwestern as part of the Contemporary Thought Speaker Series. NBN talked to Koenig over the phone before her visit about the process of creating Serial, what advice she has for student journalists and how often people ask if Adnan really did it.
NBN: You didn’t study journalism in college, but when you were just starting out as a journalist, what would you have thought of being a public figure from a podcast, and of audio journalism?
Sarah Koenig: Well, I wouldn’t have thought about it because I didn’t know it existed, because when I was young it did not. Like there was no such thing as a podcast.
And I didn’t even really know what public radio was growing up. I mean, we were ...
Northwestern Community Development Corps hosted an event with poet and activist Kevin Coval, spoken word poet and rapper Noname and several artists from Young Chicago Authors (YCA) at Fisk Hall.
Coval, founder of Louder than a Bomb: the Chicago Youth Poetry Festival, introduced each artist. He has been working with up-and-coming rappers, poets, and hip-hop artists in Chicago for 20 years . He believes Chicago is going through “a music and cultural renaissance.”
“If you’ve been in Chicago for the past 20 or 30 years, you know that Chicago culture makes global culture,” Coval said. “Over the years, I’ve seen Chicago do what Chicago does worst, which is keep working people segregated, keep us in isolation from one another so we don’t form solidarities to take the city ourselves.”
Coval has brought young artists together from the North, West and South Sides to collaborate in their art. Several of those artists ...
Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel comes at you with his sword and nearly misses slicing off your arm. You retaliate by thrusting your sword toward him and making contact with his shoulder and he starts to bleed. The blood makes him hungry however, and he charges at you again while a crowd gathers at The Bean to watch.
According to a Facebook event called “I Challenge Rahm Emanuel to a Sword Fight.” over 1,400 people would attend this duel, including several Northwestern students.
NBN talked to Laurie Schiller, who has been the fencing coach at Northwestern for 38 years (although he is due to retire after the 2015-16 season) as well as the co-captain of the club fencing team, Jeremy Kaish, to see exactly how this fight would go down.
Schiller said that the best way to attack the mayor would likely be to attack with a straight thrust going right through his chest. He also said this would ...
In the beginning of April, McCormick junior Marc Gyongyosi traveled to one of the biggest conferences in the computing industry, the Graphics Processing Unit Technology Conference. The conference covers innovation from self-driving cars to robots to GPU gaming.
Unlike most students at the conference, however, Gyongyosi was not just a bystander. He went with Kellogg student Justin Saeheng to present about the company they co-founded, Intelligent Flying Machines (IFM).
The two, in short, have created small drones that can fly without any controllers. While this feat by itself has been developed in the past, nobody cracked the code in creating autonomous drones that can operate indoors until Gyongyosi and Saeheng began development.
Gyongyosi and Saeheng, the CEO and COO respectively, founded the company in the fall after researching breakthroughs in drone technology and noticing a trend in a particularly challenging part of already complicated technology. The two say they made a great match: Gyongyosi built flying things in his basement ...
The 2017 Dance Marathon primary beneficiary will be Gigi’s Playhouse, which, according to a press release from NUDM, “provides free therapeutic programming and support to individuals with Down syndrome.”
The charity operates in the United States and Mexico and has served over 25,000 people. According to the Gigi’s Playhouse website, ”All programs aim to maximize self-confidence and empower individuals to achieve their greatest potential.”
The money raised by DM will support the charity’s speech and language program, which aids participants in reading and math. It will also help fund a pilot program called Mobile Playhouse which will attempt to make Gigi’s Playhouse more accessible to underserved communities.
“More than 400,000 people in the U.S. have Down syndrome, and we are beyond excited that NUDM has the opportunity to help improve the lives of these incredibly inspiring people,” Ian Pappas, NUDM 2017 Executive Co-Chair said in the press release.
This year’s Hero Program ...
Broadcast journalist and Libertarian pundit John Stossel spoke on Tuesday night as the Northwestern University College Republicans spring speaker. His discussion focused on why a strong economy protects an individual’s rights better than a strong government. He was joined in Leverone Hall by about 100 attendees, ranging from Northwestern students to Chicagoland Libertarians.
While the title of the event was “Freedom and its Enemies,” Stossel said that as a young reporter, “I was an enemy of freedom without realizing it.”
He explained this, saying that when he was young as he looked into the unfairness of capitalism, he felt the government’s job should be to protect people. He won Emmys for producing work exposing businesses he felt cheated people.
“I had this world vision of government making the world better, and what’s the alternative?” said Stossel. “I was woefully ignorant.”
However, after years of reporting on the topic and being exposed to different viewpoints ...
Should U.S. universities remove race-based affirmative action from their admissions procedures? This was the topic Northwestern students debated on Monday night in the Buffett Institute for an event that was co-sponsored by the Northwestern University Political Union and the Northwestern University Asian Pacific American Coalition.
The affirmative side’s opening statement, delivered by Weinberg freshman Jose Trejos, argued that people can game the system when it comes to affirmative action. He argued that affirmative action was biased towards upper class minorities, focuses on issues that don’t necessarily help minority students, and allows for less-qualified students to get into top universities.
“Affirmative action’s primary purpose was to create more colorful admissions pamphlets,” Trejos said. Trejos also specified that he was not against all types of affirmative action. In fact, they felt that affirmative action in terms of income would do enough to support minority groups.
The negative side agreed that there were problems with the way affirmative action ...
Warning: this article contains the mention of astronaut ice cream, a matrix and a lot of science. Proceed at your own risk.
Space Ice, a team of researchers from McCormick's Dunand Research Group, is dedicated to manufacturing products for space as well as perfecting manufacturing techniques for astronauts, recently obtained a grant from NASA for collaboration with University of Illinois Urbana Champaign and Bradley University. The grant will be used for the study of freeze-casting, a common technique for creating materials in outer space, to make pretty much anything ranging from cocoa tablets to fuel cells.
The project is sponsored through NASA’s Office of Education, whose goals was to have undergraduate students work on science that is relevant to NASA while providing a platform to train students in the real world.
The project consists of a collaboration between the three universities, with three different subteams: an engineering team, a science team and a journalism team, which is in ...
Northwestern, the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN) and Exelon Corporation, a Fortune 150 energy company, announced an initial five-year research partnership on Monday, May 16. The partnership will be focused on clean energy innovations.
With Exelon’s market expertise and Northwestern’s research capabilities, the partnership sets up a streamlined process of bringing innovations and technology from the lab to commercial use.
“At Exelon, identifying technologies that are about to emerge and then capitalizing on them – rather than reacting to them – is at the core of our mission and strategy to better serve customers,” Exelon spokesperson Paul Adams said. “Our partnership with Northwestern University is a key part of this strategy and will help us identify and develop innovations that will help us improve the reliability of the power grid and advance the transition to clean energy.”
Michael Wasielewski, ISEN’s executive director, said the first project is partnering to design and build an energy efficient house ...
The idea for a company called NoteShark formed in the entrepreneurial arm of the Institute for Student Business Education, almost a year and a half ago when Medill then-freshman Derrick Lee found himself in a class that expected him to read more than 200 pages a night.
Wishing he had both an idea for a business pursuit and a way to manage all his work, Lee found a way the two could be in sync. With his friend McCormick then-freshman Wyatt Cook, the two formed NoteShark, a user-friendly, student-centric site that allows Northwestern students to buy and sell notes for difficult classes.
“I think people recognize but don’t address that a lot of student groups like Greek organizations or professional groups have drop boxes of material that they share with each other,” Lee said. “But there’s a lot of people that don’t have access to those kinds of things, so we want to give more access to ...