OHA Annual Meeting: Spotlight on Keynote Speaker John Biewen

John Biewen will be the keynote speaker at the Friday luncheon on October 10.  Biewen directs the audio program at the Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) at Duke University.

Since 1983, Biewen’s public radio reporting and documentary work have taken him to forty states and to Europe, Japan, and India. He worked as a reporter with Minnesota Public Radio, then with NPR News, for which he covered the Rocky Mountain West. For eight years he produced one-hour specials as a correspondent with the public radio documentary unit, American RadioWorks.

At CDS since 2006, Biewen continues to make radio for national and global audiences. Recent projects include Little War on the Prairie, a one-hour documentary about the 1862 U.S.-Dakota War for This American Life; Travels with Mike, a series retracing John Steinbeck’s 1960 Travels with Charley journey, which aired on Studio 360 and the BBC World Service; Nuevo South, exploring the cultural response to Latino immigration in Siler City, NC; and the five-hour series for Public Radio International, Five Farms: Stories of American Farm Families.

Past projects that were grounded in oral history include Korea: The Unfinished War; The Hospice Experiment, a look at three key founders of the hospice movement; Days of Infamy: December 7 and 9/11; and Oh Freedom Over Me, the story of Mississippi’s Freedom Summer.

Biewen’s work has received many honors, including two Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Awards for outstanding coverage of the disadvantaged, the Scripps Howard National Journalism Award, and the Third Coast International Audio Festival’s Radio Impact Award.

He teaches undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education students at CDS. With co-editor Alexa Dilworth, Biewen edited the book, Reality Radio: Telling True Stories in Sound, which was published in 2010 by The University of North Carolina Press.

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