Terrascope Radio Documentary Wins National Award

Terrascope, Office of Experiential Learning

MIT students’ personal account of desert farming in New Mexico earns top honors from college broadcasting association.

An audio documentary produced by nine freshmen has received a 2016 Student Production Award from College Broadcasters, Inc. (CBI). Their piece, “Rebeldes: A Journey Through New Mexican Agriculture,” took first place in the Audio Documentary/Public Affairs category at the National Student Electronic Media Convention in Philadelphia.                                                                             

The students created the documentary as part of Terrascope Radio, a class offered by the Terrascope freshman learning community. Each year, a cohort of Terrascope freshmen explore a complex problem focused on issues of sustainability and the environment. This particular cohort focused on food security and ways to feed the world’s population over the next century.

The documentary is an engaging and informative look at farmers in a desert landscape, and at how their individual farming styles reflect their personal values. It explores modern industrial farming, centuries-old collective water-distribution organizations, ancient Navajo corn customs, and semi-urban organic farming. First broadcast on WMBR, the piece was then distributed nationwide by the Pacifica Radio Network on its popular “Sprouts” program.

"It’s a fantastic audio story,” says Terrascope Lecturer Ari Epstein, who co-created the class in collaboration with MIT's Comparative Media Studies/Writing. “It’s fun to listen to and creatively made, and it really gives you a sense of the deep, personal connection these farmers have to the work they do. It’s wonderful for the students to have received this national recognition for the high quality of their work..."

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