R.I.P. Studs Terkel

studs terkelOne of the greatest radio voices of all time, pioneering storyteller Louis “Studs” Terkel died today. He was 96. What he gave to journalism and radio storytelling has everything to do with my addiction to podcasts, public radio and journalism of the people for the people and to the people.

It goes without saying that Terkel’s unique traveling interview style, best illustrated on 1963’s “This Train” is the model for great audio and visual storytelling of today. While riding the train from Chicago to the civil rights march in Washington D.C., Terkel gathered the voices of anger, joy and ultimately optimism from people of all ages making that historic trip. Just listen to part one of “This Train” below and, suddenly, you won’t think This American Life is the most revolutionary program to hit radio.

Studs was a Chicago guy but his stories had a purely American bent, touching on difficult matters of importance and celebrating life coast to coast. I’m sorry that he will not be around to see Barack Obama become president, although he discussed as much with a Huffington Post scribe in the days before his passing. I’m also sad that the Cubs couldn’t pull it out this year for Terkel and other Cubs fans who’ve waited the better part of 100 years to see a championship.

Studs Terkel was an activist until his dying days, playing a prominent role challenging AT&T’s corroboration in releasing records to the National Security Agency in 2006.

I hope to locate the full audio of this amazing piece to post later. For now, here’s the first 50 minutes of “This Train.”

Video and more below:

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Obama Facebook App Targets Your Friends in Battleground States

Obama Facebook App, Swing States, and Your Friends

Barack Obama’s 21-month-long presidential campaign got off to a lively start, owing much to students who used Facebook — among other social networks — to raise awareness and build a coalition. The McCain campaign (as well as every other campaign) struggled but all fell short in attempts to embrace and embolden the millions of social media loving youth to their advantage.

It was easy for Obama. At an early campaign rally, he went on and on about the Students for Barack Obama group on Facebook and how it helped get his campaign off to a running start. This was in Los Angeles in February 2007 and I was there shooting video:

Last week, Obama’s online team went live with an integration of MyBarackObama.com and Facebook via Facebook Connect.

facebook notification election vote obama campaign appTonight I was welcomed to Facebook with a notification asking me whether or not I had voted yet. The greeting came from the Obama app which I had installed months ago. In Facebook — as in much of the online world — Obama beats McCain in a landslide. Messages from campaigns on online networks *could* get annoying if frequent, but in Obama’s case, frequency was not necessary for the messaging to be effective. Facebook users are more aware of social media etiquette than most. Perhaps that’s why they’re so quick to call out the bullshitters and fear-mongers — as much of the online media world is at this point in the campaign (see my previous post).

How has the Obama campaign used social networks and leveraged social media so wisely, even getting up and running on Facebook Connect a month before its official launch? Obama discovered the power of Facebook early on in his campaign and, well, he’s got Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes working on his online strategy team.

See also: Obama Dominates Content Sharing as Election Approaches at Mashable.