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On Spec Podcast

44 EpisodesProduced by On Spec PodcastWebsite

A long form documentary podcast produced by independent journalists from the field, bringing stories from across the globe. See for privacy and opt-out information.

44 Episodes | 2019 - 2022

Collaboration / Mohammad, undocumented in Amsterdam (with The Europeans)

July 25th, 2022


The Europeans podcast brings you a look at life as an undocumented migrant in Amsterdam.  Co-produced by Katz Laslo and Mohammad Bah, the story is also narrated by Mohammad, who is originally from Guinea, about his life …

Keeping the Colorado Q&A

July 12th, 2022


Host Nadene Ghouri talks with Alisa Reznick about her latest episode for On Spec.  For "Keeping the Colorado," Reznick traveled on the Colorado River …

Keeping the Colorado

July 3rd, 2022


The Colorado River runs through seven US states and crosses into Mexico, helping sustain 40 million people living along it’s banks and far beyond. …

Meeting My Surrogate

June 26th, 2022


Guest Host Nadene Ghouri takes us with her as she visits the Ukrainian woman who was the surrogate mother for her child.  Nadene explains what the experience has taught her about the bond between mother and child, and …

A Nation’s Two Sides Q&A

June 18th, 2022


Host Nadene Ghouri talks with Oscar Durand, the producer of On Spec's latest episode, "A Nation’s Two Sides." Durand talks about what it was like growing up in Peru, and the kind of class divisions highlighted in the …

A Nation’s Two Sides

June 12th, 2022


Peru has long struggled with political, cultural, racial, and economic divides, a source of tension that propelled the leftist former schoolteacher …

When a Frozen Conflict Wakes Up Q&A

June 5th, 2022


Host Nadene Ghouri talks with French-Armenian journalist Astrig Agopian, about her recent reporting for On Spec's episode "When a Frozen Conflict Wakes Up."  The episode brought listeners to the Armenia-Azerbaijan …

Tribe and Prejudice Q&A

May 22nd, 2022


Host Nadene Ghouri talks with Angel Bwalya Kasabo and Lewis Yuyi about On Spec's latest episode, which introduces us to families in Zambia trying to move past the stereotypes surrounding their tribal identities in the …

Tribe and Prejudice

May 7th, 2022


Tribal identities continue to play a role in social and political rifts  in many parts of the world, even erupting into outright conflict. In the …

When a Frozen Conflict Wakes Up

April 23rd, 2022


For several decades now, the region of Nagorno-Karabakh has been a source of tension between Armenia and Azerbaijan, occasionally resulting in a real …

Spy on the Mediterranean Q&A

April 17th, 2022


Host Nadene Ghouri and journalist Bartholomäus von Laffert talk about On Spec's latest episode, which tells the story of how activists working to …

Spy on the Mediterranean

April 9th, 2022


Europe is prosecuting human rights activists that help save lives in the Mediterranean Sea, where thousands of migrants and refugees have drowned as …

Surrogacy, War, and Survival in Ukraine

March 27th, 2022


Guest Host Nadene Ghouri tells the story of how her search for a surrogate mother for her child brought her to Ukraine, and how she found herself …

Crossing borders, both real and Imagined

March 19th, 2022


In Season Four, we bring you stories from six countries.  Next, we take a personal look at the Ukraine refugee crisis.

Fortress Europe is a House of Cards

March 5th, 2022


The French town of Calais is at the heart of a massive security infrastructure program meant to keep refugees and migrants from crossing the English Channel into the United Kingdom. Over the past 20 years, French and …

Pandemic Treatments that Paralyze

June 5th, 2021


In Africa, herbal treatments are used to heal viruses in the absence of  modern medicine, but disinformation about these treatments and how they  can cure COVID-19 is having a deadly impact. Government officials and …

The Death of Hong Kong

May 1st, 2021


Hong Kong protesters were on the streets for more than a year to fight for their freedom of expression after China announced laws to further curb …

Combating Climate Change

April 17th, 2021


Some of the world’s most active climate deniers reside in the United States. Arkansas suffers from flooding and is one of the conservative red states …

Collaboration / Objectivity in the Times of Fake News (with Suno India)

April 11th, 2021


Suno India speaks with journalists Prachi Pinglay and Kunal Shankar, who produced On Spec's Season 3, Episode 4 - Love in Times of Hate.  They discuss what the impact of fake news has been on India, and what it was like …

Love in Times of Hate

April 3rd, 2021


The Modi government has an agenda to make India a Hindu nation, and they have tapped into old prejudices and disinformation to brainwash influential …

Breaking Up a Family

March 20th, 2021


Since the elections in Brazil that brought Jair Bolsonaro to power,  Brazilian journalists Giovana Fleck and Carol Grune have been hearing …

Russia’s Rainbow Divide

March 6th, 2021


Putin’s Russia is a homophobic country. The state media spouts anti-gay rhetoric and creates fake news, Parliament passes laws that curtail LGBTQ activism, and hate crimes are on the rise. But in bigger cities, there …

The Last Bus to Europe

February 20th, 2021


Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees in the world, but they are facing a brutal backlash from Turkish society. In February 2020, during the onset of the pandemic, the Turkish government misinformed refugees that …

Season Three: Disinformation Teaser

February 18th, 2021


Get ready for Season Three: Disinformation!  On Spec takes a deep dive into the global abyss of fake news, bringing you the story of how the scourge of disinformation is effecting ordinary people in seven different …

Collaboration / Inside Iran's Holiest Shrine

February 3rd, 2021


Scott Gurian, an American journalist and the voice behind Far From Home podcast, transports us to Mashad, Iran, inside a pilgrimage site where he and …

OnSpec/08 - My Phoenix

January 11th, 2021


Phoenix is one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., an example of urbanization shaped by generations of immigrants. An Arizona native, …

Collaboration / Foreign Correspondence

November 1st, 2020


In this collaboration with Foreign Correspondence podcast, On Spec host  Fariba Nawa gives a raw, intimate interview to Jake Spring about her …

OnSpec/Pandemic • Through Children’s Eyes

September 12th, 2020


What has quarantine been like for children during the pandemic? Are they finding their creative little selves and building stronger family ties? Or turning into online zombies and losing their social skills? Or are they …

Collaboration / Feminism in the Age of COVID-19 (with Continuum Collective)

August 16th, 2020


In this collaboration with the Continuum Collective, we are exploring the rise in gender-based violence during the pandemic and what can be done …

OnSpec/Pandemic • Surviving as a Woman

August 8th, 2020


With  families in lockdown, and social services unavailable, experts say  domestic violence is increasing, and being ignored during the  coronavirus …

OnSpec/Pandemic • Rediscovering Our Kitchens

July 7th, 2020


You probably know someone who has discovered their inner chef in the last few months.  In New York, photographer Jackson Krule discovered he was a …

OnSpec/Pandemic • Mental Health and the Pandemic

June 2nd, 2020


How is being on lock down effecting our mental health, and how are mental health professionals trying to continue to provide help when they cannot meet someone in person? On Spec intern and journalist Kasper Dilmaghani …

OnSpec/Pandemic • Prisons and the Pandemic

May 1st, 2020


What if you don't have control over your own self-isolation? More than two million people are in prisons in the US, which has the highest …

OnSpec/Pandemic • Alone but not Lonely

April 21st, 2020


Whether you live across the street, or across the Atlantic, for many of us social distancing now means you cannot meet in person. Your family, your …

OnSpec/Pandemic • Face to Face with the Virus

April 13th, 2020


What's it like to have COVID19 in Turkey?  Hilaneh Mahmoudi, a freelance photographer in Istanbul, spent weeks trying to not catch it, but one day …

On Spec/Pandemic - Faith and the Pandemic

March 31st, 2020


You might think you're further away from the world, but in many ways the pandemic is bringing us together.

We begin with the religious, those who …

OnSpec/07 - Treasure Hunters

March 15th, 2020


Journalist Margaux Benn ventures to the remote province of Nimroz, Afghanistan and follows the tracks of ancient artefacts, from the desert …

OnSpec/06 - Rupi’s Journey

February 2nd, 2020


Oscar Durand brings you the story of a Bolivian street musician in Istanbul, who like the rest of us, wonders where the years have gone and what he …

OnSpec/05 - The ISIS Conundrum

January 4th, 2020


As the world grapples with how to serve justice to thousands of foreign ISIS affiliates captured in Syria and Iraq, Australian journalist Tessa Fox travels to northeast Syria to meet the Australians accused of being …

OnSpec/04 - The Badlands - Pakistan's Tribal Areas

December 7th, 2019


Umar Farooq reports on how Pakistan’s tribal areas, once proud of their fierce independence, are ready to join Pakistan proper, and how youth there …

OnSpec/03 - Truffle Terror: The Iraqis Risking Their Lives in Pursuit of a Desert Delicacy

November 17th, 2019


Pesha Magid travels to Anbar to bring you the story of how, and why, locals are risking kidnapping by ISIS to hunt for desert truffles. A  rare but beloved delicacy in Iraq, this was the best year for them since the …

OnSpec/02 - Salty Showers, Arab Spring Flowers

October 26th, 2019


As protesters once again take to the streets of Baghdad, we take a step back to examine whether climate change has a hand in the political crisis in …

OnSpec/01 - Journalism on Trial

October 5th, 2019


What's behind the crackdown on journalism in Turkey, and how are local journalists continuing to report? Özge Sebzeci, a Turkish photojournalist, takes us inside Turkey in an era when the country leads the world in …

OnSpec/00 - Launch

September 16th, 2019


Meet the On Spec team, the philosophy behind our project, and what to look forward to in Season Zero.

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