Commonwealth Journal

WUMB's Weekly Public Affairs Program

Program Topics & Guests

Upcoming Episodes

Undocumented and Undaunted

Guest: Angy Rivera

Estimates say there are 11 million undocumented people in America today. At 24, Angy Rivera came out as one of them. Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks to Angy about a documentary that follows her experience, Don't Tell Anyone (No Le Digas a Nadie).

Current Season

A First Lady's Second Love

Guest: Susan Quinn

One came from wealth and privilege, the other from poverty. One was the niece of one president and the wife of another, the other was a reporter for the Associated Press. Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks with author Susan Quinn about the unlikely romance between First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena "Hick" Hickock, subject of the new book Eleanor and Hick.

Power Up

Guest: David Cash

We'd all like to live in a utopian future where jobs are plentiful and pollution is nonexistent. But is that future coming? Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks with dean of the McCormack Graduate School about clean energy, the economy, and the tough choices ahead.

A Look Inside Chinese Orphanages

Guest: Leslie Wang

Since the 1990's, tens of thousands of babies and children have been adopted from China into Western families. Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks with sociologist Leslie Wang about what life is like for Chinese children in state-run orphanages, and the complex relationship between the Chinese government and American nonprofits.

Our Urban Future

Guest: Ken Reardon

Most Americans live in cities, and that's not changing any time soon. But cities have to do more than house people. Residents need jobs, transportation, sanitation, education, and entertainment. Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks with urban planner Ken Reardon about how Boston can retain its character while planning for the future.

Boston's Hip Hop Heritage

Guest: Pacey Foster

Description: In the mid-1980's, DJ Magnus Johnstone played music from Boston's up and coming hip-hop artists, before they made it big. Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks with Pacey Foster, who is preserving the legacy of Boston hip-hop.

For the Birds

Guest: Neil Hayward

Birder Neil Hayward didn't mean to break any records - but after a full year chasing after some of the rarest birds in North America, he wound up spotting a whopping 749 birds in one very Big Year. Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks with Hayward about his new book, Lost Among the Birds.

Out of Office

Guest: Randy Albelda

Americans have some of the fewest vacation days and longest hours of workers in industrialized nations. For many workers, paid time off to care for a new baby or an aging parent is a pipe dream. Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks with economist Randy Albelda about why Americans have so little paid time off.

Air Date: 9/4/16

The State of Transgender Rights in Massachusetts

Guest: Mason Dunn

This is the year that politicians and journalists focused new attention to the transgender rights movement. While North Carolina and other states consider so-called "bathroom bills," Massachusetts' legislature is considering furthering anti trans discrimination laws. Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks to educator and activist Mason Dunn, executive director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, about the political scene, the law, and the trans community.

Air Date: 6/26/16

Gender Equality in Tech

Guests: Banu Ozkazanc-Pan and Tom Hopcroft

Jobs in technology are a major part of Massachusetts' economy. But women don't always have the easiest paths to successful careers in tech. Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks with Management Professor Banu Ozkazanc-Pan and MassTLC President and CEO Tom Hopcroft about gender and the tech sector.

Air Date: 6/19/16

The Women Who Rocked NASA

Guest: Nathalia Holt

You know about the NASA astronauts who left Earth's orbit and finally took the first steps on the moon. But what do you know about the women who got them there? Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks with Nathalia Holt, author of Rocket Girls: The Women who Propelled Us from Missiles to the Moon to Mars, about the human "computers" who made NASA's space program possible.

Air Date: 6/12/16

Congressman Seth Moulton 

Guest: Seth Moulton

Congressman Seth Moulton is in his first term representing Massachusetts' 6th district. He talks with host Anna Fisher-Pinkert about issues ranging from healthcare for veterans and education to foreign policy and the presidential election.

Air Date: 6/5/16

Immigration and the Bay State

Guest: Eduardo Siqueira

Professor of Community Development and Planning Eduardo Siqueira talks with host Anna Fisher-Pinkert about immigration in Boston and beyond. Who are Boston’s immigrants? And how do local and national policies affect their lives here in the city? 

Air Date: 5/15/16

Young Writers, Fresh Voices

Guest: Deanna Elliot

The Marble Collection publishes the Massachusetts High School Magazine of the Arts, a platform for young writers and artists to express their creativity. Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert speaks with The Marble Collection's founder, Deanna Elliot, and two young writers whose works have been published in the latest edition of the magazine.

Air Date: 5/8/16

An Advocate for Peace

Guest: Padraig O'Malley

Padraig O'Malley has played a role in peacemaking in Northern Ireland, South Africa, and Iraq. His approach, inspired by Alcoholics Anonymous, is to bring together people from divided societies to help each other live differently. A new documentary about O'Malley's life, titled The Peacemaker, has its New England debut on April 28 at the Brattle Theatre. Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks to O'Malley about his work advocating for peace around the world.

Air Date: 5/1/16

Digging into Boston's Past

Guest: Joe Bagley

Amost everywhere you look in Boston, there's history just beneath the surface. Archaeological digs in Boston have turned up everything from bowling balls to fish hooks - and each one has a story. Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks with Joe Bagley, Boston's city archaeologist, about his new book A History of Boston in 50 Artifacts, and a new dig on the site of Malcolm X's childhood home.

Air Date: 4/24/16

Life After Prison in Beyond the Wall

Guest: Bestor Cram

For men who have spent years in the prison system, it isn't easy to start over on the outside. A new documentary, Beyond the Wall, explores the lives of formerly incarcerated men living in Lowell and Lawrence. Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks with director Bestor Cram about his new film, which debuts as part of the Boston International Film Festival on May 1st at the Somerville Theatre.

Air Date: 4/17/16

When I'm 67: American Retirement at Risk

Guest: Christian Weller

Retirement should be a time to kick back and relax - but for more and more Americans, retirement is a time of financial stress and uncertainty. Politicians and policy experts are at odds about how to make a financially secure retirement possible for all Americans. Professor Christian Weller joins host Anna Fisher-Pinkert and shares insight from his book Retirement on the Rocks: Why Americans Can't Get Ahead and How New Savings Policies Can Help

Air Date: 4/10/16

The Aura of War

Guest: Minoo Emami

Artist Minoo Emami survived the Iran-Iraq war, and her art is inspired by the long-term impacts of that conflict, and of violent conflicts around the world. Working with other Iranian women artists, Emami transforms prosthetic limbs into beautiful objects. Emami joins host Anna Fisher-Pinkert for a conversation about art, war, and memory.

Air Date: 4/3/16

Is Boston a Resilient City?

Guest: Atyia Martin

In 2015, Mayor Walsh joined the 100 Resilient Cities Program, and appointed Atyia Martin as the city’s first ever Chief Resilience Officer. Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks with Martin about her mission to make Boston a more resilient city by making it more socially, economically, and racially inclusive.

Air Date: 3/27/16

Addiction, Recovery, and the Opioid Crisis

Guest: Bill Carlo

More than 1,000 people died from opioid overdoses in 2014, and those numbers are rising. Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert speaks with Bill Carlo, director of UMass Boston’s Addictions Counselor Education Program, about the opioid addiction crisis in Massachusetts.
Air Date: 3/20/16

Are We Teaching Science Wrong?

Guest: Arthur Eisenkraft

Jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are predicted to grow exponentially in the next 20 years. Are our schools ready to teach kids what they need to know to be successful in STEM? Education expert Arthur Eisenkraft joins host Anna Fisher-Pinkert for a conversation about curiosity, creativity, and accountability in science education. Listen Now!
Air Date: 3/13/16

Stormy Weather Ahead

Guest: Ellen Douglas

Seas are rising. The planet is warming. Experts say that the threat of extreme weather will increase exponentially in the decades to come. Could a Sandy-like superstorm happen here in Boston? And if that storm hits, will Boston be prepared? Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks with scientist Ellen Douglas about climate change and Boston's future. Listen Now!

Air Date: 3/6/16

2016 Election

Guest: Mo Cunningham

On the eve of the Iowa caucus, host Anna Fisher-Pinkert speaks with Mo Cunningham, professor of political science at UMass Boston, about national, state, and local politics. Are voters getting "bamboozled" by outsider candidates? Are the pollsters pulling a fast one on the public? Cunningham gets to the heart of the matter on Commonwealth JournalListen Now!

Air date: 1/31/16

iTunes logo and text that says

Download Commonwealth Journal Programs on iTunes

Commonwealth Journal's shows are available on iTunes the day after they air. Read More