From whatsapp rumours to castrati singers

Plus: a coal mining massacre in 1920s Illinois

Fake News

Episode: “2019 Recap” | Podcast: What's Crap On WhatsApp? | 5m02s

Factchecking show inspired by and largely distributed on the social messaging app Whatsapp. It’s made in South Africa, where Whatsapp is ubiquitous for sending text messages and voice notes as well as accessing and sharing other content. This podcast seeks to debunk misleading stories that are spreading on the platform. As well as being distributed via RSS to podcast apps it is available as a Whatsapp voice note so journalists can reach readers in the place where they are seeing the false information. This recap covers health (apricot seeds don’t kill cancer cells), politics and education (5m02s)


Strike Breakers

Episode: “Herrin Massacre” | Podcast: Criminal | 26m51s

Disturbing yet compelling tale of a massacre in southern Illinois in 1922. The town of Herrin was dominated by coal mining and the mineworkers’ union held sway. When a new industrialist imported workers to keep mining during a major strike, local people turned violent and a mass killing took place. This is an extraordinary story about labour relations and human savagery, made all the more gripping here by the inclusion of archive interviews with residents who not only remember what took place during those dark days, but still think the killing was justified (26m51s)


Subtle Knife

Episode: “Alessandro Moreschi And The Blessed Knife" | Podcast: Noise in the Groove: The Origin of Sound Recording | 22m01s

Exploration of the history and legacy of castrati singers. For 350 years, this practice of castrating young male singers before puberty produced a highly prized strand of music and musicianship. Only two recordings of such a singer exist, though, made by the last Sistine castrato Alessandro Moreschi in 1902 and 1904. His records allow us a brief and partial glimpse of what the host here calls a “horrible and beautiful lost world of sound, made possible through horrific acts of mutilation on innocent children”. Moreschi’s version of the Bach/Gounod Ave Maria, played here, is spine chilling (22m01s)

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