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Mia Lobel Posts

Empire on Blood

All seven episodes of this epic, true-crime narrative dropped on March 28. We held the top spot on itunes for a week. Listen to the entire series at

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Winner: 2016 Gracie Award for Best Public Radio Documentary

So happy to report that the Alliance for Women in Media honored America Abroad Media‘s “Understanding Islamic Feminism” with a Gracie Award. HUGE thanks to an amazing team of reporters around the world who made this show happen: Cheryl Brumley, Shara Morris, Jake Warga,Tennessee Watson, and Kimberly Adams. And of course Rob Sachs. Plus the incredible women and organizations we profiled in the program including Nadia P Manzoor, Sisters In Islam, Musawah, Women’s Mosque of America and others.

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How Drones are Reshaping the World

The attack drone developed at KAIST in South Korea. An early prototype that one day might fight drones from North Korea.
The attack drone developed at KAIST in South Korea. An early prototype that one day might fight drones from North Korea.

Close to a million drones may be sold this holiday season. And in five years, the global market is expected to reach a billion dollars. There are drones for everything: real estate and construction, package delivery, journalism, search and rescue. They’re used to deliver humanitarian aid to the world’s most challenged regions and to find and kill the worlds most wanted terrorists without putting US soldiers’ lives at risk.

In this hour-long program, we look at how drones are revolutionizing the skies, and how this technology has so quickly moved from science fiction to ubiquitous reality

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Winner: Third Coast Award for Best News Feature

IMG_4607I’m beyond thrilled to announce that my colleagues and I were awarded a 2015 Third Coast/Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Best News Feature. This is like a Sundance Award for audio and it’s something I’ve been working towards for a long time – the fulfillment of a major career goal. Here’s my speech, given at the ChiArts High School on Oct 26 in front of a room full of radio makers whom I greatly admire:

First I want to thank Axel Kronholm, the reporter for this story. He can’t be here because he’s back in Burma, reporting on the upcoming election there. He wrote this short note:

If I could have been there, I would have taken the opportunity to encourage the other journalists and editors in the room to do more stories about the Rohingya. I think it’s a topic we really need to cling on to. Because it’s a dark and slippery slope if we start accepting this discrimination as a state of normalcy that “just is”. It’s not acceptable.

The election I’m about to cover in Burma on November 8th is organized under the slogan “free and fair”. The Rohingya, however, are not allowed to take part and vote or run as candidates. That’s nothing other than an apartheid system.

Axel is amazing. And so deserving of this honor. I’m grateful to the whole team at America Abroad for giving us an opportunity to share important stories like this one, and especially to my colleague, Rob Sachs, for his endless patience, calm, and good humor.

And finally, just on a personal note, I came to my first Third Coast in 2003, just a couple years out of journalism school, and I was so impressed and excitedabout everything that went on there (even though I had an audio Doctor session with Ira Glass and he ripped my story to shreds) But above all, I felt like I had found my people. And I sat at the awards ceremony, completely awed by the brilliant work and amazing talent in that room – I decided – I want to do that – I want to make that – I want to win that.

So 12 years later – I’m honored and humbled and so freakin’ excited to have my name on this amazing award. Thank you!

And here’s the story for which we won the award. Tough stuff to hear.

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Poaching and Terrorism: The Race to Protect Wildlife and National Security

The illicit wildlife trade is now worth up to 20 billion dollars a year. That’s double what it was just a few years ago — worth far more than the weapons trade and approaching the rate of human smuggling. This has attracted the attention of Al Shabaab, Boko Haram, the Lord’s Resistance Army, and other terrorist groups, African militias, and Asian criminal syndicates — all looking to capitalize on this high-value, low-risk venture. And it flies in the face of US officials and law enforcement who, since 9/11, have been doing everything in their power to cut off revenue to the world’s terrorists. In this hour-long program, we look at poaching — once a conservation issue, but now a full-blown threat to national security.

We travel to Uganda, a key stop along the supply chain where high-level corruption is making it easier for terrorist groups to get illegal wildlife products to market. We’ll visit China — the number one market for ivory — where new policies may help curb the people’s demand. In the United States, we learn what lawmakers and law enforcement are doing to cut off terrorists’ newest revenue stream and to crack down on the surprisingly large illegal wildlife market in the West. And we travel to Kenyawhere NGO’s are helping train former poachers to protect wildlife, and to get community support to do the same.

Plus we learn how this issue has brought together an unlikely coalition: wildlife and conservation groups, anti-terrorist and law enforcement agencies, politicians on both sides of the aisle, sports stars, and Hollywood celebrities.

Featured guests include:


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Countering Violent Extremism: An International Town Hall

Recent terrorist attacks on Western soil, including the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris and the shooting in Garland, Texas, have galvanized people on both sides of the Atlantic to take stronger action to counter violent extremism in Muslim communities.

To discuss how the US and Europe are addressing the unprecedented recruitment effort by the Islamic State, while preserving civil liberties and trust with Muslim communities, America Abroad teamed up with NPR Berlin for a live town hall event, bringing together audiences at WHYY in Philadelphia and the German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin, Germany. This international town hall is featured in this month’s episode of America Abroad Radio.

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Understanding Islamic Feminism

Many things need to happen in the Middle East to bring stability to the region. But one of the most important is elevating the role of women. In this hour-long program we’ll visit Egypt, where we learn how one of the world’s most influential centers of Islamic study is squaring its teachings with the changing status of women. In Morocco, we’ll go to a courthouse where recent changes to Muslim family law are making it easier for women. And in the United States, we’ll learn how one progressive Muslim feminist is expressing herself and her religion in a surprising way – with comedy.

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Saving Innocence: The Global Fight to End Child Marriage

Every year, 15 million girls are forced into marriage, many of them before they turn 15. This month, America Abroad travels to Tanzania, Ethiopia, Nepal, and Pakistan to talk to individuals and organizations working to change laws and change minds about child marriage. We also talk to Mabel van Oranje, the founder of Girls Not Brides, who aims to end child marriage in one generation.

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