Best of Slow Journalism: Home of the Brave


On 14th November, American writer and radio producer Scott Carrier posted a message on his Facebook page:

I came to Copenhagen to speak at the CPH:DOX International Film Festival… I was supposed to return home this morning, but instead I’m going to rent a car and drive south to Greece, meeting refugees along the way, asking them: “Why did you leave home? Where do you want to go? What’s it been like along the way?”

I think we need to hear these stories.

As ever, Carrier was driven by curiosity. There’s a story he recounts on the podcast Tape about how he was listening to the radio one day, thought “I could do that”, and promptly hitch-hiked to NPR in Washington DC from his home in Utah, interviewing everybody who picked him up, hoping the resulting story would land him a job. It worked. He became a regular contributor to This American Life, but his main focus now is his listener funded Home of the Brave podcast. Working independently seems to suit his impulsiveness – soon after the earthquake in Nepal he flew out there to ask questions and hear people’s stories.

His impromptu drive through Europe led to a series of short podcasts called The Refugee Trail. He’s a gifted writer, but in these episodes the focus is on the refugees’ stories, which are varied, illuminating, heartbreaking and occasionally unexpected. In one interview, a couple (second photo from top) tell Carrier and his colleague Camilla Madsen about how they fled Afghanistan after the woman’s family forced her to marry another man. They’re refugees because of their love, they say.

Carrier was right. We need to hear these stories.

All episodes of Home of the Brave are available here. The Refugee Trail starts on episode 25.

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