3 Clips Re-Air: Drilled: Rigorous Audio Journalism (ft. Amy Westervelt)

3 Clips Re-Air:  Drilled:  Rigorous Audio Journalism (ft. Amy Westervelt)
3 Clips Re-Air: Drilled: Rigorous Audio Journalism (ft. Amy Westervelt)

Nov 23 2023 | 00:41:17

Episode November 23, 2023 00:41:17

Hosted By

Stuart Barefoot

Show Notes

As we continue to work on new Audience episodes, here's an episode from one of our other shows, 3 Clips. It first aired on September 6, 2021, was hosted by Jay acunzo and was produced/ edited by Cherie Turner


Amy Westervelt is a print and audio journalist and environmentalist; she founded the podcast network Critical Frequency, which raises up important but often overlooked voices; and she is the executive producer and host of the critically acclaimed show Drilled.

The through line here is that Amy has an enduring interest in telling stories that are getting covered up, and doing the hard work of figuring out what’s really going on.
Jay and Amy discuss the rigorous and thorough process involved in creating a show like Drilled, which focuses on stories that investigate propaganda in the fossil fuel industry. And they get into why audio is a powerful medium for the stories Amy chooses to cover on the podcast.
Visit 3clipspodcast.com for all episodes of the show. 

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Speaker A: Hey Stuart, here we're on the home stretch of season three, and while we get those episodes wrapped up, here's an old episode from our three Clips archive. Back when Jay Acunzo was hosting the show, he had journalist Amy Westervelt on to talk about her show drilled. Jay will set it all up in the episode, but as I went back and listened to it, I noticed how Jay and Amy hit on a theme that I touch a lot on audience episodes. When is audio the right medium to tell a certain story? They get all into it in this episode. It first aired in September of 2021 and was produced by Cherie Turner. So enjoy this. And of course, all three clips episodes are available anywhere they stream podcasts also, stay tuned to this feed because we'll be back to publishing new episodes next week. [00:00:51] Speaker B: What do you think audio's role is in changing the story around an important topic? I'm asking you, the listener, this is not something pulled from our interview. I'm really hoping you can think about this. What is our role as podcasters in taking a subject and helping disseminate some kind of information that changes people, changes perspectives, makes the world better? Where do we fit in the media landscape? I remember starting my career in sports journalism when I wanted to be a sports columnist and I'd work for all these tiny Connecticut newspapers on the shore of the state where I grew up. A lot of these papers served a very valuable purpose, not only to their readers, but to the larger ecosystem in media. For example, a story that was really important or profound, or just wildly entertaining and interesting, published in a local paper could be found later being published in a statewide paper. That's how they sourced some of their stories. Likewise, that state Paper was often a feeder for ideas into a national paper, which might have then fed the national TV news. I think that is a great role that some podcasts might play in changing the narrative, in changing perspectives, in changing behavior and making this world better. And the show we profile today does that exceptionally well. They are in the business of behavior change, and to do that, it's an incredibly rigorous endeavor, insanely well reported. Lots and lots of work goes into this show, and we just learned so much about the approach to journalism, the approach to research, the approach to wading into a difficult story, finding meaningful things to say despite the noise, and then helping surface that to an audience both in and around the show. It's a great episode to listen to if you just appreciate the craft of reporting, if you yourself are trying to get better as a reporter, or if you feel that your show can contribute to a better world. [00:02:42] Speaker C: I want to know how to do the things you do. A thing, a two or three that only comes from you. [00:03:00] Speaker B: Welcome to Three Clips, an original series from Castos. I'm your host, Jaya Kunzo. I'm an author, a speaker, the host of the podcast Unthinkable, and also this fine program where podcasters take us inside their best work a few pieces at a time. Today we'll talk to Amy Westervelt of Drilled. Amy is a wonderful journalist, and she's going to reveal some of her technique and process and some of the existential and philosophical stuff, too. She is really, really forthcoming about her process. It's a great episode, a little bit of context about who Amy is. First, she's written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian and other outlets. And among other accolades, she won an Edward R. Murrow Award for her series on the impacts of the Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada. Amy founded the podcast Network Critical Frequency, which was named Adweek's 2019 Podcast Network of the Year, and she has experience producing, hosting and reporting on this show and more. And as for her podcast, Drilled, it's like a true crimeesque podcast that investigates stories around fossil fuel propaganda. The show fits within the broader area of discussions about climate change. Drilled explores topics like climate denial, the history of fossil fuel propaganda, and the most recent seaSon, which follows a decades long case between Chevron and Indigenous groups in the Ecuadorian Amazon. And that is the season that we've pulled our content from today to dissect it with Amy. Amy is the host, producer and reporter together with her team. But before we dissect her show, let's first meet the wonderful Amy Westervelt. It's a privilege to talk to you because you've done and seen a lot. What still makes you really happy when making a show? [00:04:48] Speaker C: I think the thing I love is I get to talk to a lot of people that don't get interviewed a lot, and they're always so excited about the work that they're doing. So I like that part. I enjoy hearing people talk about things that they're super passionate about, and I really like finding these stories that really only work well in audio or work particularly well in audio. For some reason. I enjoy that kind of aspect of it because I still do print stuff, too. So it's fun for me to think through is this a better story for audio or print? And why? And then think about how to actually leverage audio to make it a good audio story. [00:05:42] Speaker B: What are the components of a story where you think, oh, this actually is a better audio story than another medium? [00:05:47] Speaker C: Often the way someone talks about something, and especially the emotion that comes through in people's voices, I think the Exxon story is a really good example where that story had been written and I was blown away by it, but it just wasn't sinking into people's minds that much. And I thought, I wonder if hearing the scientists actually tell these stories would be more compelling. And I think it was because you hear, like, there was one guy that I interviewed who had been on one of Exxon's really early climate research projects in the 70s as kind of like a young and optimistic recent PhD grad. And he was talking about sort of how he felt watching them 20 years later sort of deny all of the science that they had done together way back when. And he's talking about how he's like, it was really scary. It was really scary to watch, like, tHe, you know, the amount of money and time that they were spending to tell this very different story. And he had said that in other interviews before, but, like, you could hear the catch in his voice and, like, I was in a room with him and was like, oh, my God, he's starting to tear up. This is terrible. So I think that, to me, was a good example of a story where doing an audio version of that story actually helped it sink into people's brains more. [00:07:30] Speaker B: I'd love if you could touch on running a network. So when you're building the network and you're kind of in network creation or leadership mode for critical frequency, talk to me about how you identify and start to work with voices that you'd love to work with and give a platform to. And also how you make sure that it's not just you and your team's existing network or one halo out. Because I know a lot of folks in podcasting, I know you're the same way just from looking at your body of work. Want to amplify new voices as well. [00:07:58] Speaker C: That's right, yeah. [00:07:59] Speaker B: How do you identify these people, bring them into the fray and ensure it's a diverse array of voices? [00:08:02] Speaker C: Yeah. I look for people whose voice I don't think is being heard in the industry or whose perspective I think we need more of. Can we drill into that? [00:08:17] Speaker B: Like, when you say you look for people, how do you find them? [00:08:21] Speaker C: Usually I sometimes will look for people who are already doing audio, but I do often look for people who maybe have written an essay that I really think gives a viewpoint that we're not seeing. Or a lot of times I'll listen to people who are being interviewed on other podcasts as guests and think, like, I wonder if that person would be interested in hosting a show or making a show or whatever. I also look for reporters who've done really interesting investigative work and who maybe are not going to be the host or the script writer or whatever, but who can help to build the body of information that maybe a story would be based on. I feel like we do a lot of investigative reporting shows, so our approaches may be slightly different than some others because there are quite a few people that we work with who you don't necessarily hear from directly, but their perspective is very much integrated into the work. So that happens, too. And actually, sometimes I look for folks, even just on social media, that I'm like, oh, this person has an interesting viewpoint. [00:09:57] Speaker B: Let's get into the clips. I'd love to start dissecting the show that you host with drilled. We're going to pull everything from the first episode of season five. [00:10:07] Speaker C: Yeah, that's like become newsy again all of a sudden. [00:10:09] Speaker B: So, yes, I know, sadly, because it's titled Lockdown, it's become newsy again. [00:10:14] Speaker C: Yes. [00:10:15] Speaker B: Oh, boy. Well, this clip comes about a minute and a half into that episode, and we've just been introduced to someone named Houstino Piaguahe, and he's the president of the Seiko Pi Nation in the Amazon in Ecuador. And there are fewer than 750 members left. They're under very serious threat by COVID-19 and you've told us that they're seeking refuge in the Amazon, but that they may not be able to find clean water. And we come into this clip right in the middle, just as Houstino is speaking Spanish. And then you translate for us. So let's go to the clip. [00:10:52] Speaker D: This is a video of Houstino on YouTube. He's standing on a bridge over a huge rushing river, and he's saying, this river, the Aguarico River. Long ago, when they were exploring for petroleum, the oil companies dumped thousands of barrels of oil into it. They dumped toxic water into this river. He means wastewater from oil and gas drilling into this river that for thousands of years nourished us. [00:11:28] Speaker C: Jose Testigo de Comoacido victima nostrahente sang muerto de cancer Siang Muerto de Permedades non podido alimentar Seville. [00:11:42] Speaker D: I am a witness to how our people have been victimized. They have died of cancer. They have died of disease. They have not been able to eat well. And that continues today in Latin America. Ecuador is seeing one of the world's. [00:11:56] Speaker C: Worst coronavirus outbreaks, with possibly thousands dead. [00:11:59] Speaker D: But that on top of various ongoing health issues, Ecuador has been a global hotspot. During the COVID-19 pandemic, some Seikopai elders have already died from the disease. To access clean water and avoid further contact with the virus, Hostino and his tribe have been venturing further and further into their ancestral lands deep in the Amazon. But those lands are surrounded on all sides by oil fields, and because they've. [00:12:27] Speaker B: Been drilled, is presented as a series. And so the intention is for you to listen to it in order. And you've done so much reporting at this point, I'm sure. But now that places such tremendous weight on not only the first episode, but the first few minutes of that episode. How do you approach that with your team? [00:12:45] Speaker C: Oh, man. It's a very long and arduous process. So I am a hardcore over reporter on every story. I'm always like, we need more tape. We need more of this. We need more of that. So that makes it extra hard when we try to get into storyboarding. But basically, I mostly collect everything before we even start outlining the season. And then I will get on a call right now with our editor and one of our, like, our story editor, Rekha Murthy, and we'll kind of all sort of initially just talk them through the story so that they can tell me what piques their interest. Because oftentimes, by that point, I'm so far down the rabbit hole that I have no perspective left at all. And then I will make sort of a visual storyboard. Right now, I've been using this tool called Miro. I don't know if you know that. [00:13:51] Speaker B: No, I always love knowing what I love it. [00:13:54] Speaker C: It's like a digital representation of a wall that you're putting sticky notes on. So what I'll do is start putting things on sticky notes that are just like beats or moments, and it's all still just in one big jumble. And then we'll start sort of talking through where there are themes and where there might be a narrative arc in this season, there are a couple of characters who provide quite a bit of the narrative motion through the story, and it's a case that's been going on for 30 plus yeArs. So it's something that we can follow kind of chronologically in a way that's not always the case with the stories that we tackle. So sometimes it's more of a docuseries approach versus one narrative arc. Yeah. [00:14:54] Speaker B: Do you rely on an existing story structure, whether developed by you and your team or the classics like the Joseph Campbell Heroes Journey? Is there existing kind of void of content as you go to report or go to storyboard? Do you already have this outline of a structure you're trying to fill in any way, or is a lot of it felt and iterated on? [00:15:15] Speaker C: Yeah, I really like, I don't know if you've seen that super famous Kurt Vonnegut video where he talks about with. [00:15:24] Speaker B: The board and he's drawing. [00:15:26] Speaker C: Yeah, I often will watch that before I start reporting a new story just to kind of have in the back of my mind, like, okay, but I often just sort of start doing the reporting and then see what type of story it fits into versus starting with the story structure and then trying to find a story that fits into it. [00:15:53] Speaker B: With this episode and the clip we just heard, the stakes are immediately clear, but you convey them through a single individual rather than sort of like what could seem like grander stakes, which is the news story. And you do later play a clip from a news anchor talking about something similar. Why did you start with the individual point of view and then move to the global perspective? [00:16:16] Speaker C: I find that hearing something from one person just makes a story more immediately human and intimate for listeners. And I wanted to start the story with an Indigenous person in Ecuador because I feel like these people have been, because of the way this case has progressed, the Indigenous people in Ecuador are often left out of the story. It's become all about the American lawyer and what Chevron has done to him or this payment that Chevron owes to people in the Amazon. But the people in the Amazon have become this sort of faceless, amorphous blob. So I wanted there to be specific people that listeners could hear from and hopefully identify with and humanize a bit. Yeah. [00:17:22] Speaker B: Let'S head to the next clip. So we actually just want to move ahead in the same episode. It's going to follow what we just heard where you visited Houstino. We're going to visit somebody else 3000 miles away. We're going to learn about a person named Steven Donsinger. So you mentioned before there's some characters that kind of provide some narrative through line to this series. And Stephen, at least in this episode, begins to in your head you're already certain as a listener, this person matters. We're going to visit him during quarantine in Manhattan. And this is the first thing that we hear from. [00:17:56] Speaker E: Can you give me 1 minute? [00:17:58] Speaker C: Yeah, go for it. [00:18:00] Speaker D: Donziger is talking to me from his two bedroom apartment in Manhattan. We spent May and June talking every weekend by Zoom, him, me, and my co reporter on this season, Karen Savage. [00:18:11] Speaker C: Hi, Karen. Hey, how are you? I'm good. [00:18:14] Speaker D: How are you? [00:18:16] Speaker C: I'm good. Back in Boston. [00:18:18] Speaker E: Can you hear me? [00:18:19] Speaker C: Yep. [00:18:20] Speaker E: Sorry about that. [00:18:21] Speaker D: He liked to leave the video on and would spend the majority of our time kind of hanging his head out the window trying to get fresh air and sunshine. He's got all the clean water he needs, but sun and air are hard to come by. [00:18:35] Speaker E: Everyone goes outside, even with the pandemic. I mean, with a face mask in New York right now, and they go walking or get exercise or walk in the park, but I can't do that. [00:18:44] Speaker D: While we were all calling quarantine lockdown this year, Donziger has literally been on lockdown. He's been on house arrest for over a year. At this point, to leave his apartment, he has to submit a request to the court 48 hours in advance and then provide documentation of where he's gone. We'll find out why and what that has to do with a river in the Amazon after this quick break. [00:19:08] Speaker B: Episode one. I mentioned before, there's such important roles that episode one, in the early moments must play in the whole series. But among those things, it establishes a certain tone. And you even hear at the end of that clip that sort of Twilight Zone like music where it's a little ominous and brooding and there's something happening, and I'm not quite sure. I'm a little uncomfortable and anxious about it. Know, immediately in the series, Amy, I feel tense. And what I noticed about this experience is when we played Clip two, some of that tension was relieved. And even just like, drawing the parallel between, I'm in a place that I've never personally visited to, I'm in Manhattan, felt like, oh, I can relax a little bit. Was that a conscious thing or why make that stark contrast between Hostino and Steven? [00:19:56] Speaker C: Yeah, I mean, that's why it was a very conscious choice to use the tape of Stephen being like, I got to go to the bathroom. Hold on. Because I was like, okay, we need a little bit of levity in this to sort, know, give people that break. And the reason I wanted to draw the connection between the two was just lot. Again, a lot of the media coverage of this case has really focused on Stephen in lockdown. And I wanted to make sure that people understood that the Ecuadorians are also still suffering with no access to clean water, and they're now doing that in the middle of a pandemic. [00:20:36] Speaker B: What's happened between you and your team and Stephen? Leading up to the first moments, we actually hear from them. What's the interaction or research been like? [00:20:44] Speaker C: So actually, we spent a lot of time over many, many weekends talking to, like, one of the things that kind of comes out by the end of this series is that everyone is kind of playing an angle here, and we kind of come back to the people who are most sort of screwed over by this whole process are the folks in Ecuador who still don't have access to clean water. But I wanted to make that sort of an arc, too, where in the first few episodes, you're super on Stephen's side, and you're like, this poor guy has been so victimized by the system. And that is true. And then you start to learn some details about him where you're like, this is not as black and white as I thought, but we definitely had some back and forth with him where he is someone who is very good at media and he likes to control the story. And there are high stakes here for him. He just got found guilty of this criminal contempt charge, and he might be getting sent to jail after being on house arrest for two years. That's super crazy. And I'm sure that all of us would do whatever we could to avoid that situation at this point. He has been bankrupted by this case. He has lost his law license, so he has no means of really supporting himself. His house has several liens on it from Chevron. He has definitely, whatever shady things he may or may not have done, I think he's paid several prices for it. But we also didn't want to just tell this guy's good, these guys are bad kind of story, because also, kind of underlying all of this is, I kind of came to this conclusion of, like, why do we need this guy to be a super moral white savior? I think that we need to get out of that mindset. [00:22:58] Speaker B: I mean, it's reality. Nobody bad is purely bad. Nobody good is purely good. [00:23:04] Speaker C: Exactly. [00:23:05] Speaker B: When you're trying to do things that are reported based on reality, inevitably someone's lifetime or moment in time fit into your runtime, forces you to make trade offs. [00:23:17] Speaker C: That's right. [00:23:18] Speaker B: How much discussion goes on about developing what people in production, quite frankly, can refer to as characters? Yes. To try and hold true to reality, but recognizing it's not. [00:23:30] Speaker C: Yeah, it's a really weird thing, especially as someone who came from a print journalism background. I still feel weird saying character about a source, right? Even though that is definitely. It's like, oh, there's a clear, central character and whatever. It's like, well, he's a real person, and this story might have actual impact on his life. Honestly, the thing I try to do is make everybody mad know in this moment, we had this one moment where our fact checker was calling up Donziger and the lead attorney for Chevron in the same week and got screamed at by both of them. And I was like, well, we did our job. [00:24:26] Speaker B: Equal opportunity agitators. [00:24:28] Speaker C: I'm kind of like, this is a very gray area stoRy, and both sides are trying to present their version of a narrative in which they are 100% right and the other person is 100% wrong. And we're just sort of, like, trying to stick to. And in this case, we had tens of thousands of primary documents, so court documents, just a lot of material. Again, this is like one of those stories that people have reported on at various points in time, but I don't think anyone has taken the time to look at all of it together and really piece together how the last 30 years have gone. We were really meticulous about, okay, well, you're saying this, but the court record says this. How do you reconcile those things? And of course, people who want the narrative to be a certain way will often get mad about that. But both sides have, like, since the thing has come out, have said that they felt like it was very fair and very comprehensive, and we didn't try to do the like, oh, equal sides. This side says that and that side says this or whatever. But when there was a situation where they were saying kind of polar opposite things, we went to the sort of primary sources to figure out what had happened. Here's. [00:26:08] Speaker B: Let's move on to the final. The final clip. So this clip comes at the very end of the episode. We've already heard why Stephen has been under house arrest, and it's the very last audio that we hear before the credits. [00:26:26] Speaker D: So we know how Donziger wound up with an ankle bracelet under house arrest in his Manhattan apartment. But you might still be wondering why. Why would an oil company, as Donziger alleges, go to this much trouble to shut him down? On our next episode, we're going to get into all of that and how the heck this all happened. This is a story with a lot of different sides, and sometimes even people who seem like they'd be on the same team don't see eye to eye in any way at all. Ultimately, after reading thousands and thousands of pages of court documents and spending dozens of hours talking to people involved in the case, I think I probably agree most with this guy. Am I unmuted okay, yeah, that's Alec Baldwin. Somehow he wound up involved in this case, too. [00:27:17] Speaker E: There's only one issue that needs to be discussed here, and that is what is the right thing to do on behalf of the Ecuadorian people. [00:27:24] Speaker D: Of course, not everyone agrees on what exactly the right thing to do for the Ecuadorians is either to try to suss all of that out. We'll head back to Ecuador and back in time all the way to the 1960s, come back for that. [00:27:41] Speaker C: No one expects Alec Baldwin. [00:27:44] Speaker B: No one ever expects Alec Baldwin. Especially when you're reporting about crimes and climate. [00:27:51] Speaker C: Yeah, he's obsessed with this. Like, he shows up at every press conference. He's obsessed. I have a feeling that he might be thinking about making a movie about Steven's story. [00:28:04] Speaker B: Interesting. [00:28:05] Speaker C: Yeah. [00:28:06] Speaker B: Well, that brings me. There's a very tactical question. Then there's me trying not to just celebrate and also complain about what you just did. Because I was like, I'm already in. So let me start there because that's my want. I'm Sicilian. So when you're born Sicilian, your blood runs to your shoulder, creates a chip that you carry with you in your shoulder forever. Damn, that last moment was good. I just felt like I was so reeled in. Like, I already know there's some stakes throughout the episode, but then you're sort of opening some more loops that you're going to close later. And so there's these important but very topical questions. Right. It's like, oh, these are all absolutely questions that I could either have anticipated having or make total sense because I already have them. And then from out of left field, it's like in a wrestling match, it's like from the rafters comes Alec Baldwin flying in with the Tomahawk Slam. So, yeah, I have no question. I was just. How dare you do that? [00:29:00] Speaker C: I know. I was like, oh, this is so good. Well, and also it's like we have barely any tape with him. So I was like, how can I use this in a way that's useful? But people aren't thinking that we're going to be hearing from Alec Baldwin throughout the series. [00:29:16] Speaker B: Yeah, well, at that poinT, if the person is gold and you have a little tape, you become a French chef. Right. I'm going to use every part of the frog. And I got to. [00:29:24] Speaker C: That's why you have clearing his throat. [00:29:33] Speaker B: Here's the real question that might teach somebody something and not just be my therapy session. When you reach out to Alec Baldwin, this applies to every subject. But what are you saying to him? That he's like, absolutely, I'll speak to. [00:29:47] Speaker C: He's actually, like I said, he's obsessed with this case, and he just thinks it's, like, such a huge injustice, what's happening both to Stephen and to the Ecuadorians, that he is pretty happy to talk to anybody about it. So he could give us, like, five minutes. But he was like, I'll give you what. Yeah, it depends on. And I knew that about him ahead of time, that he is a huge advocate for Stephen and the Ecuadorians, and he's been part of their kind of press push and whatever, too. But there was another person in this series that was not like that. He's a documentary filmmaker, Joe Berlinger, who made a film about this case maybe ten years ago, and, I mean, just got put through the wringer. The lawyers for Chevron subpoenaed his outtakes, and he fought that on First Amendment grounds, and he ended up losing that case. And they dragged his name through the mud and were like, he's not a documentarian, he's a propagandist. And he lost probably a million dollars in legal fees a year of his life. It affected his ability to work on other projects after that. So he has never talked to anybody about this story since all that happened. And I emailed him every month for, like, eight months and finally got him to agree to talk to me about this case because I was like, I have no interest in tackling the question of whether you are or aren't a real journalist. We're not going to get into that. I just want to understand. And he was like, he was one of the best interviews that we did on this because he followed them around in Ecuador for, like, two years while all of this stuff was going on, and they were building the case for the Ecuadorians. And then he had this crazy experience where Chevron's lawyers really went after. Yeah. [00:32:03] Speaker B: When you're following up that much, how does the message change? You know, I get this all the time as primarily a business podcaster. It's like trying to sell me on something. It's just following up, just following up. Just want to check in. [00:32:15] Speaker C: Well, he never gave me, like, a hard no. He sort of, like, after the first couple of emails, he was like, everyone's telling me not to do this. My wife is like, don't you dare do that interview. And my lawyer is like, don't even think about it. But I kind of feel like, fuck them. Why should I not talk about this? And he didn't mean fuck his wife and his lawyer, but, like, fuck Chevron, because he was being, know why? Open up this can of worms. You've already been through this whole ordeal with Chevron. Do you really want to poke the bear and invite more drama into your life from this case? It's in the past. Leave it in the past kind of thing. [00:32:59] Speaker B: Can I ask a question? When that's the backdrop, it feels like maybe holding a burden of hand. Right? It's like, can't be too tight, can't be too loose. Exactly. When there's this hesitation and they finally commit to it, I'm sure there's a fear that maybe they would bail eventually. Like, maybe you don't have sustained time with them. So what are you trying to establish or get in the first interview knowing there might not be a second? [00:33:21] Speaker C: Yes. And in this case, there wasn't. I mean, we did one three hour interview. [00:33:26] Speaker B: Oh, wow. [00:33:26] Speaker C: Yeah. I go in kind of knowing exactly. In an ideal world, I would want him to say about this story and then figuring out, okay, what can I ask to get him onto that stuff? So, in this case, I wanted to know what kinds of tactics the lawyers used to sort of harass and intimidate him, because it wasn't just that they subpoenaed this stuff. It was like they put a Pi on him. They had people following his children. I mean, it was insane. And then I wanted to get a sense from him about the relationship between Stephen and the primary lawyer in Ecuador, Pablo Fahardo, because I had talked to him in Ecuador, and he often kind of gets erased in all of the media coverage that focuses on Donziger as well. And he and Donziger actually had a massive falling out at some point. And so I wanted to hear from Berlinger what the dynamic kind of was between the two of them. By the time we finally talked, we had emailed back and forth a bunch, and I think he felt very comfortable kind of getting into stuff. And I told him, too. I was like, look, if there's anything that you say that you're worried might get you into legal trouble, you can tell me. Oh, actually, we can't use that, or I need to restate something or whatever. So I think that that made him. And I don't always do that, but it was sort of like he wasn't going to talk to us if we couldn't offer that kind of. And in his case, it really felt like, well, this guy has had pretty serious personal loss related to talking about this case. So. Yeah. [00:35:31] Speaker B: Final question. A lot of shows are without premise and they sort of don't have a point to them. And self expression is wonderful. But if you're looking for an audience and you're looking to change that audience or help that audience, you need a point to the show. You need a premise. And so a lot of it comes back to how you're planning this out and what you're thinking about changing in the world with this specific show. If people consume, whether it's the whole show or season five, what do you want to be different for the listener when they're done? [00:36:01] Speaker C: I really try to help people understand kind of how power works in the US and how disinformation works and sort of how to spot it, because I think if more people understand that, then they might be less taken in by certain narratives that the industry tries to tell. In this particular season. One thing I had in the back of my mind know there's a really persistent idea in the US that at some point the oil companies will sit at the table and negotiate in good faith and come up with a climate policy that actually works. And I think what you see in this case is like, look, even when they lost a lawsuit, they didn't accept that. They fought for 30 years and have probably spent as much as they owed on that settlement to bury this lawsuit, to bury this lawyer. They've taken the Ecuadorian government to International Arbitration Court and they've been relentless about it. There was a moment in this case where one of the lawyers for Chevron said, we're going to fight this till hell freezes over, and then we'll duke it out in hell. So that's their approach, and it's their approach on climate regulation, too. So this idea that at a certain point, they're just going to sort of surrender, it's never going to happen. So, yeah, I wanted to kind of show that reality in this season so. [00:37:39] Speaker B: That the listener can do what I. [00:37:42] Speaker C: Think, so that the listener can maybe disabuse themselves of the fantasy that there's some kind of bipartisan compromise that includes oil companies on climate and push know policies that actually will get at the problem. [00:38:00] Speaker B: Awesome. Thanks for bringing this up. A tick for the end. Amy, this was fantastic. Thank you so, so much. I had a blast, and I know our listener will, too, to say thank you. We'd like to place a small donation. We usually place it in your name to nokidhungry.org. [00:38:15] Speaker C: Oh, that's great. [00:38:16] Speaker B: Is there a climate foundation you'd like us to place it into instead? [00:38:19] Speaker C: No, that's fine. Nokidhungry. [00:38:21] Speaker B: Okay, cool. [00:38:22] Speaker C: Yeah. [00:38:22] Speaker B: So for nokidhungry.org, we'll place a small donation in your name as well. Thanks for coming on the show. Thanks for the work you do. [00:38:28] Speaker C: Yeah, thank you so much. This was fun. [00:38:35] Speaker B: Thank you so much for listening. This episode was produced by Cherie Turner with original theme music by Cardboard Rocket Ship. You can learn more about my projects, including my free newsletter, my books, and my course for podcasters@jacunzo.com. Three Clips is a Castos original series. Castos is a software company that serves podcasters, and specifically, they believe that podcasts are about going deeper with your audience and the ideas they care about. So Castos provides a number of tools to host and distribute your show, but also they specialize in helping people create private podcasts. Some common use cases include marketers who work internally, internal communicators for their teams, or creators who want to go deeper, whether it's behind a paywall or just a subscription event, to get more content from a show they already love. So you can check out those tools and more from castos@castos.com. That's castos.com. All these links are in your show notes. And now our bonus segment, where every episode we ask the guest for a podcast they'd recommend that isn't at the top of the charts. It's a show they'd like to show some love to. We call this segment play it forward. [00:39:47] Speaker C: All right, my pick is a show called Threshold, and it is another environmentally themed show. They focus more on environment than climate, which is a subtle distinction, but it's sort of a little bit more immediate. And they also tell kind of narrative stories in each season, and their focus is like, there's no bad guys and no good guys. So you can probably tell why I like it because you almost shift perspective in the show as you're listening from person to person on different sides of an issue. I think it's really well done. The production quality is great, the reporting is great, and I think that their approach is just super interesting. And I'm a big fan of nuance and people getting comfortable with gray areas. I think they do a good job of that. And again, the name of the show is threshold. [00:40:48] Speaker B: All right, that's it for this episode. I'm Jay Acunzo, and as always, I believe a podcast success is not about who arrives, it's about who stays. We're so obsessed with reach that we forget it's all built on resonance. It's about who stays. So thank you so much for staying with me, and I'll talk to you every Monday with a brand new episode of the show. See ya.

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