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Obscured

Obscured

Author: Kouvenda Media

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Obscured tells stories that unfold largely out of the public eye. Journalists Emily Previti and Stephanie Marudas cover critical issues that don’t get much attention in the media, reveal how these issues are complex and overshadowed and aim to cultivate understanding and explore potential solutions.

Obscured is produced by Kouvenda Media and mixed by Brad Linder.

The podcast features:

• Original limited series that dive deep into an obscured issue
• Conversational interview episodes with policy professionals, researchers
and journalists
• Revisiting past reporting and finding out what has happened since
• Community-focused panel discussions

Obscured's first season features a range of issues including the right to intellectual freedom in prison, harm reduction, compensation for people who were wrongfully convicted and a limited series about the stories of law enforcement trauma survivors. Through deep-dive reporting and conversational interview episodes, listeners will hear insights from law enforcement, trauma survivors, formerly incarcerated individuals, healthcare providers, attorneys, policy professionals, advocates, journalists and researchers about the path forward and navigating obstacles along the way.

Obscured's limited series, From Words to Weapons, drops October 18th.

Sign up for Obscured's newsletter:
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Learn more about how you can become a supporter of Obscured:
https://www.kouvendamedia.com/support/
24 Episodes
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We’re excited to share Woke AF Daily on our feed with Danielle Moodie powered by DCP Entertainment. The podcast explores the current political climate while waking people up to their power.  As part of our From Words to Weapons series rollout, we were guests on Woke AF Daily.  Special thanks to Woke AF Daily for having us on the show to talk about From Words to Weapons, our reporting and why policy matters.  This episode of Obscured features our conversation with Danielle.   Be sure to check out Woke AF Daily wherever you get your podcasts: https://pod.link/1499863303  
From Words to Weapons Episode 14 is the final episode in the series.   It features a wrap-up conversation between Emily Previti and Stephanie Marudas.   They discuss the series and reporting developments since the start of the series.   Our deepest thanks to everyone who’s been listening! And if you have a moment, we'd greatly appreciate you sharing Obscured with others who might be interested and/or by leaving a review on a podcast platform to help the show grow.   Thank You!   
We’re excited to share Archival Ecologies with you!   It’s an original audio series created and hosted by Jayme Collins, who’s a postdoctoral scholar at Princeton University’s High Meadows Environmental Institute. Archival Ecologies is produced by Blue Lab — an environmental media and storytelling group at Princeton led by Professor Allison Carruth.  Kouvenda Media partnered with Blue Lab on multiple projects, including working with Jayme and her team on Archival Ecologies.   Archival Ecologies investigates how fires, floods, mold blooms and other ecological events are affecting cultural collections and the artifacts and memories they preserve. As climate change leads to more extreme weather events, the interactions between archives and the environments where they reside are becoming increasingly frequent and fraught.  During the 2021 summer heatwave in the Pacific Northwest, the historic town of Lytton, BC and nearby First Nations reserves suffered a catastrophic wildfire that took local archives, museums and cultural collections with it. In this first season, the podcast tells the stories of those collections and the communities who have stewarded them.   Through the voices of those cultural stewards and knowledge keepers and the objects that have been lost (or salvaged), Archival Ecologies explores the interwoven histories and geographies of the region and the larger intersections between climate change, cultural preservation and recovery.  Listen to Archival Ecologies and other @bluelab.princeton productions at bluelab.princeton.edu and wherever you listen to podcasts.   Links of interest:  https://bluelab.allisoncarruth.com/projects/stories/archival-ecologies/   
From Words to Weapons Episode 13 features a panel discussion about supporting survivors of violence.   The conversation focuses on how policy takes shape to support survivors of violence, how the definition of crime versus violence can affect whether someone qualifies for support, and the impact of the Victims of Crime Act or VOCA. The discussion also touches on various challenges including funding cuts and how violence often goes underreported as well as policy solutions.  The panel discussion was hosted by the Women of Fels at the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government and presented in partnership with the Anti-Violence Partnership of Philadelphia, Morgan State University's Department of Nursing and Obscured.   The moderator for the discussion is Natasha Danielá de Lima McGlynn, executive director of the Anti-Violence Partnership of Philadelphia. The panelists are Adara Combs, who is the Victim Advocate in Philadelphia and a former prosecutor in the district attorney’s office; Jahlee Hatchett, who is chair of the Citizens Police Oversight Commission or CPOC in Philadelphia, where he was previously a prosecutor and currently an attorney specializing in employment, civil rights and municipal liability cases; and Maija Anderson, who is Chair of the Department of Nursing at Morgan State University and also works as a forensic nurse and sexual assault nurse examiner.  Our FWTW series focused on Maija Anderson’s work in Episode 7 and her efforts to develop a protocol for caring for survivors of law enforcement trauma. Episode 5 in the series also focused on accountability and the Citizens Police Oversight Commission or CPOC, which Jahlee Hatchett chairs.    Our special thanks to Natasha Danielá de Lima McGlynn, Nicole Mahia, Adara Combs, Jahlee Hatchett, Maija Anderson, Colleen Bonner, the Women of Fels and the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government for making this panel discussion possible. And to the Independence Public Media Foundation.   Links of interest:  https://www.fels.upenn.edu/  https://avpphila.org/  https://www.phila.gov/departments/office-of-the-victim-advocate/  https://www.phila.gov/departments/citizens-police-oversight-commission/  https://www.morgan.edu/schp/nursing  Have Nurses Turned a Blind Eye? (Anderson, Maija and Bailey, Mary; American Journal of Nursing)  Developing a Model of Forensic Care To Victims of Police Violence (Anderson, Maija and Callari-Robinson, Jacqueline; NNVAWI Conference)     
We’re excited to share On Being Biracial with you!  On Being Biracial is about biracial experiences and identities in the United States and features more than thirty guests.   The show is co-hosted by Daralyse Lyons and Malcolm Burnley, who are biracial journalists based in Philadelphia. Obscured’s Emily Previti worked with Daralyse and Malcolm on this podcast.  On Being Biracial is available where you get your podcasts or at onbeingbiracial.com      
From Words to Weapons Episode 12 features a panel discussion about compensation and care for people who’ve been wrongfully convicted.   Our series covered this topic in the third episode about Chester Hollman III and the politics of wrongful conviction. If you haven’t heard it, we recommend listening to that episode as well.  Obscured partnered with the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice and Witness to Innocence to hold the panel with support from the Independence Public Media Foundation.  The panelists are Pennsylvania Speaker of the House Joanna McClinton; Chester Hollman III, an exoneree who spent nearly three decades in prison for a murder he didn’t commit; and Herman Lindsey, who was wrongfully convicted and exonerated and now is executive director of Witness to Innocence.   Marissa Bluestine, who’s an assistant director at the Quattrone Center, moderated the conversation and the center’s executive director John Holloway introduced the panel.  Links of interest:  https://penncareylaw.cventevents.com/event/0e6dbc47-9ecc-4b09-9331-9e5da0e790b5/summary    
From Words to Weapons Episode 11 features Part 2 of a panel discussion about harm reduction in the context of interactions with law enforcement and solutions that could better promote community well-being and help mitigate mistrust.   Obscured partnered with the National Nurse-Led Care Consortium and the Pennsylvania Action Coalition to hold the discussion with support from the Independence Public Media Foundation.   On this episode, Part 2, we’re going to hear a conversation moderated by Obscured’s Stephanie Marudas and Namaijah Faison of the Pennsylvania Action Coalition and National Nurse-Led Care Consortium.   As we heard on the previous episode, the three panelists are: Talitha Smith, Chad Bruckner and Laurie Corbin.  Talitha Smith is a nurse navigator with RIvER, which stands for Rethinking Incarceration and Empowering Recovery. It’s a clinic within the Allegheny Health Network’s Center for Inclusion Health -- the same clinic we heard about in episode 8 of our series with Talitha’s colleague Divya Venkat. In addition to her work at the RIvER clinic, Talitha is an adjunct professor at Carlow University and works as a local travel nurse.  Chad Bruckner is a retired police detective and spent his career in policing in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. He now heads a private investigation firm and is a coach and recovery specialist. Chad reflects on his policing experience in his book, The Holy Trinity of Successful and Healthy Police Organizations: Improving Leadership, Culture and Wellness.  Laurie Corbin is Managing Director for Community Engagement at Public Health Management Corporation or PHMC. She oversees a range of programs that provide social services prevention, intervention, treatment and education to at-risk individuals and their families. Laurie explains how these programs focus on diversion from incarceration and advance release from incarceration, treatment readiness and recovery support for people who are justice-involved.  Links of Interest:  https://www.paactioncoalition.org/news/item/789-event-recap-harm-reduction-in-the-context-of-interactions-with-law-enforcement.html 
From Words to Weapons Episode 10 features Part 1 of a panel discussion about harm reduction in the context of interactions with law enforcement and solutions that could better promote community well-being and help mitigate mistrust.   Obscured partnered with the National Nurse-Led Care Consortium and the Pennsylvania Action Coalition to hold the discussion with support from the Independence Public Media Foundation.   On this episode, Part 1, we’re going to hear presentations from each of the panelists. And then on Part 2, we’ll hear a moderated discussion among the panelists.   The first presentation we’ll hear is from Talitha Smith. Talitha is a nurse navigator with RIvER, which stands for Rethinking Incarceration and Empowering Recovery. It’s a clinic within the Allegheny Health Network’s Center for Inclusion Health -- the same clinic we heard about in episode 8 of our series with Talitha’s colleague Divya Venkat. In addition to her work at the RIvER clinic, Talitha is an adjunct professor at Carlow University and works as a local travel nurse.  The second presentation is from Chad Bruckner. Chad is a retired police detective and spent his career in policing in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. He now heads a private investigation firm and is a coach and recovery specialist. Chad reflects on his policing experience in his book, The Holy Trinity of Successful and Healthy Police Organizations: Improving Leadership, Culture and Wellness.  The final presentation is from Laurie Corbin. Laurie is Managing Director for Community Engagement at Public Health Management Corporation or PHMC. She oversees a range of programs that provide social services prevention, intervention, treatment and education to at-risk individuals and their families. Laurie explains how these programs focus on diversion from incarceration and advance release from incarceration, treatment readiness and recovery support for people who are justice-involved.  Links of Interest:  https://www.paactioncoalition.org/news/item/789-event-recap-harm-reduction-in-the-context-of-interactions-with-law-enforcement.html 
From Words to Weapons Episode 9 focuses on the parole system and mass incarceration in the United States.   Emily Previti and Stephanie Marudas talk with Chicago-based journalist Ben Austen. He’s written a new book, Correction: Parole, Prison and the Possibility of Change.  Ben also is the author of High-Risers: Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing and the co-host of a podcast called Some of My Best Friends Are.   Links of Interest:   https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250758811/correction  https://www.pushkin.fm/hosts/ben-austen       
We’re excited to share How We Survive with you! How We Survive is a podcast from Marketplace that explores solutions to the climate crisis. This season, host Amy Scott investigates how people are adapting to the water crisis in the American West. The Colorado River feeds us and powers our lives by irrigating millions of acres of farmland, supporting 30 Tribal Nations and providing drinking water to forty million people. Cities from Denver to Los Angeles couldn’t exist without it.   With the ongoing megadrought, we’re using more water than the river has to give and private investors have discovered a financial windfall in buying water rights. As Western states fundamentally rethink how water is divided up and used, others ask who is cashing in on climate change.  We're sharing episode 1 of the podcast's current season, The Worth of Water.   Buckeye, Arizona, is a small city with dreams of becoming “the next Phoenix.” It’s one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. In the past few decades, its population has ballooned more than twentyfold, and the city plans to add more than 100,000 new homes in coming years. The only catch? Growth requires water. And Buckeye doesn’t have enough. So what’s a small city with big dreams to do? Part of the answer lies in one scrubby acre of land way out in the desert that’s owned by a group of investors. How We Survive is available wherever you get your podcasts: https://pod.link/1586892518   
We’re excited to share Bad Watchdog with you!  It’s produced by the Project on Government Oversight or POGO.  Season 1 of Bad Watchdog tells the story of what happens when the person tasked with investigating one of the nation’s powerful agencies decides to look the other way.  In episode 1, host Maren Machles takes us back to January 6, 2021, to the insurrection at the United States Capitol.  How did a peaceful transfer of power turn into the first breach of the U.S. Capitol in over two centuries? We may never have all the answers, thanks to the Department of Homeland Security watchdog’s failure to alert Congress for months about deleted Secret Service text messages.  What’s more, that watchdog refused a request to help recover the texts, and even halted an internal Secret Service investigation into their deletion.  Government watchdogs, called inspectors general, are supposed to hold powerful actors accountable. When they don’t do their jobs, the effects can be disastrous. Investigators at the Project On Government Oversight examine DHS watchdog Joseph Cuffari’s initial response to the missing Secret Service text messages and explore his abrupt change of course after a former White House aide gave shocking testimony about then-President Trump’s actions on January 6th.  Maren Machles - Host Nick Schwellenbach - Guest Liz Hempowicz - Guest Gordon Heddell – Guest For more information about Bad Watchdog and POGO:   https://www.pogo.org/podcasts/bad-watchdog  The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that investigates and exposes waste, corruption, abuse of power, and when the government fails to serve the public or silences those who report wrongdoing.  And to listen to more episodes:   https://pod.link/1665650370 Resources: House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the Capitol, 6/28/2022 Hearing DHS Watchdog Failed to Sound Alarm For Months on Secret Service's Purged Jan. 6 Texts (POGO) DHS inspector general tells Secret Service to stop investigating potentially missing texts (CNN) Homeland Security watchdog halted plan to recover Secret Service texts, records show (Washington Post) DHS Watchdog Nixed Alert to Congress About Purged January 6 Texts, New Docs Show (POGO) Strengthening Government Watchdogs (POGO)  Independence of Inspectors General is Essential (POGO)  
From Words to Weapons Episode 8 delves into health care for returning citizens with Dr. Divya Venkat about how law enforcement trauma shows up in her patients and implementing a harm reduction care model.   Divya is a physician and works for the Allegheny Health Network’s Center for Inclusion Health. Divya has treated both incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals and shares her perspective with us.   She’s the co-founder and co-director of RIvER, a health care delivery program in Pittsburgh for people after being incarcerated.   As part of our conversation, Divya talks about how she and her colleagues navigate patient mistrust in institutions across the board, including the medical field.   Links of Interest:   https://nihcm.org/assets/articles/NIHCM-CIH-RIvER-Venkat.pdf  https://www.ahn.org/services/medicine/center-for-inclusion-health     
From Words to Weapons Episode 7 focuses on Maija Anderson’s story and her push to develop a treatment protocol for people after a law enforcement encounter.    Maija has been working on developing a protocol for more than 20 years, with mixed success and support.  Through Maija’s story and talking to other researchers and reformers for this episode, Emily Previti reports and shows the obstacles – and potential path forward– to establishing support for law enforcement trauma survivors comparable to what’s long been provided for survivors of other forms of trauma.    Links of interest:    Have Nurses Turned a Blind Eye? (Anderson, Maija and Bailey, Mary; American Journal of Nursing)   Latent Class Profiles of Police Violence Exposure in 4 US Cities and Their Associations with Anticipation of Police Violence and Mental Health Outcomes (Leslie Salas-Hernández, et. Al; Journal of Urban Health)  Developing a Model of Forensic Care To Victims of Police Violence (Anderson, Maija and Callari-Robinson, Jacqueline; NNVAWI Conference)  Police in the ED Medical Provider Toolkit (Working Group on Policing and Patient Rights, Georgetown University Health-Justice Alliance)   
From Words to Weapons Episode 6 focuses on how county jails treat people with mental health conditions.   Emily Previti and Stephanie Marudas talk with Pennsylvania-based journalist Brett Sholtis, who investigated this issue in Pennsylvania, about what that looks like and obstacles he’s faced during his reporting.  Brett investigated interactions between corrections officers and inmates with mental health conditions; specifically, how tasers, restraints and other types of force are utilized within county jails.  The conversation also delves into how the lack of transparency can prevent accountability and public understanding of these issues.   Links of interest:  https://www.witf.org/news/mental-health-behind-bars/ 
On Episode 5 of the From Words to Weapons series, Hector Rivera shares his experiences of surviving police brutality and seeking accountability. His experiences point to the lack of an effective, uniform structure for police accountability in the United States. Instead, solutions – and outcomes – vary from city to city. And experts on law enforcement oversight say it almost has to be that way.   In context of Hector’s story, Emily Previti breaks down what police oversight currently looks like in Philadelphia where she lives. Just a heads-up: on this episode, we're really getting into the weeds about this topic that's so often obscured.  Links of interest: https://www.phila.gov/2023-09-13-cpocs-release-of-the-pbi-report-part-2/  https://ccrjustice.org/home/what-we-do/our-cases/daniels-et-al-v-city-new-york   https://www.aclupa.org/en/cases/bailey-et-al-v-city-philadelphia-et-al
From Words to Weapons Episode 4 delves into community trauma interventions with Arturo Zinny. The conversation explores what takeaways there might be for people working to address law enforcement trauma and navigating relationships among institutions and communities with lived experience. There’s a small network of researchers and policy makers, around the United States, who are thinking about how to support people who’ve experienced traumatic encounters with law enforcement.   To better understand what that might entail, Emily Previti and Stephanie Marudas have been talking to public health practitioners who’ve done adjacent work, hoping to learn about any models that might be analogous and provide more context about these sorts of interventions.  On this episode, Emily and Stephanie speak with Philadelphia-based public health researcher Arturo Zinny. Arturo is Executive Director of Drexel University’s Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice where he previously served as director of Healing Hurt People, which helps individuals cope with community violence. He’s also a Stoneleigh Foundation fellow and is researching how evidence-based, trauma-informed practices affect the mental health of youth survivors of violence.   Links of interest:   https://drexel.edu/dornsife/academics/faculty/Arturo-Zinny/#:~:text=Bio,Dornsife%20School%20of%20Public%20Health   https://drexel.edu/cnsj/#:~:text=The%20Center%20for%20Nonviolence%20and,to%20sustaining%20careers%2C%20and%20through  https://drexel.edu/cnsj/healing-hurt-people/overview/ 
From Words to Weapons Episode 3 focuses on Chester Hollman III, who spent nearly three decades in prison for a murder he didn’t commit, and the broader political fight over state-administered compensation for people who've been wrongfully convicted. A few years ago, Chester was the subject of a Netflix documentary; this episode picks up where that story left off. We talk with Chester about how he’s managing his mental health after being exonerated and now helping others rebuild their lives after prison. Through Chester’s post-incarceration story, we also unpack efforts and obstacles to support exonerees legislatively (fruitless thus far in Pennsylvania, among just a dozen states without wrongful conviction compensation laws) and politically (the Pa. GOP’s quest to oust Philly’s progressive district attorney was peaking while Chester was engaging with us for this podcast).    Links of interest:   The Exoneree Health and Life Experiences (ExHaLE) study: Trauma exposure and mental health among wrongly convicted individuals.   Race and Wrongful Convictions in the United States  Pennsylvania State House Bill 1470  Exonerated Justice ordinance and resolution before Philadelphia City Council  Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner impeachment:   Commonwealth Court  State Supreme Court    The Prosecution: Wrong Place, Wrong Time (Netflix’s The Innocence Files, ep. 7)  Report of the Advisory Committee on Wrongful Convictions (Pennsylvania Joint State Government Commission, 2011) 
From Words to Weapons Episode 2 focuses on barriers to law enforcement accountability with Joanna Schwartz. Law enforcement accountability in the United States is complex and challenging, especially when it comes to trying to sue the police.    On this episode, Emily Previti and Stephanie Marudas turn to UCLA Law Professor Joanna Schwartz, a leading expert on police misconduct litigation in the United States and the author of the 2023 book Shielded: How the Police Became Untouchable.   Joanna discusses various barriers to law enforcement accountability based on her experience suing the police on behalf of clients and her extensive research.   The conversation covers issues including qualified immunity, plausible claims and public access laws, as well as emerging laws, policies and alternative models for law enforcement accountability.   Links of interest:  https://www.joannaschwartz.net/shielded-how-the-police-became-untouchable https://law.ucla.edu/faculty/faculty-profiles/joanna-c-schwartz 
In Episode 1 of the From Words to Weapons series, we begin with Jimmy Warren's story. It's the first time he's talking publicly about his gun case that made national headlines in 2016 when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court overturned his conviction, ruling that police hadn't had reasonable suspicion to stop him in the first place. That decision attracted attention because it established running from police doesn’t necessarily justify a police pursuit, doesn’t automatically mean someone’s guilty and could seem like the logical thing to do given generational trauma over law enforcement – in communities of color, in particular. And that police need to consider that when evaluating whether a pursuit is legally justified. The thing is, no one ever heard from Jimmy. He wasn’t interviewed by any reporters. The lawyer who handled his newsworthy appeal case never even met him, despite efforts to find him. It’s like the case had a life of its own without him. In this episode, we hear about his story and the pervasiveness of law enforcement trauma and its effects. Links to research mentioned in this episode:   Latent Class Profiles of Police Violence Exposure in 4 US Cities and Their Associations with Anticipation of Police Violence and Mental Health Outcomes (Leslie Salas-Hernández, et. al)  The ACLU of Massachusetts' Stop and Frisk report 
Fatal law enforcement encounters have understandably – and deservedly – captured our attention. But the tens of thousands of Americans who survive trauma inflicted by law enforcement every year are often overlooked. They go without the kind of support our systems offer to survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and other forms of trauma. If survivors of other traumas often turn first to police, where are survivors of law enforcement trauma supposed to go? Not to mention, law enforcement often plays a significant role in survivor support beyond that (such as by funding other services and advising providers & policymakers).  On this episode, Emily and Stephanie preview Obscured’s first limited series, From Words to Weapons, which is launching October 25th. They explain why this topic is the focus of their inaugural series and share highlights of interviews with law enforcement professionals, trauma survivors, healthcare providers, attorneys, social workers, journalists and researchers.    Links of interest mentioned in this episode:   No Justice for All: Pennsylvania’s unequal access to adequate public defense  https://whyy.org/series/no-justice-for-all-pennsylvanias-unequal-access-to-adequate-public-defense/  At the Core of Care  https://pod.link/1472225878   
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