About Heat and Light

This six-episode limited series podcast is hosted by award-winning journalist Phillip Martin, who remembers the heat and light of 1968. The episodes cover:

  • The student occupation of Columbia University, with Stefan Bradley of Loyola Marymount University and Michael Kazin of Georgetown University, who himself participated in the student uprisings of 1968.
  • How a feminist protest of the 1968 Miss America pageant stoked conservative anxieties about the loss of family values, with Natasha Zaretsky of Southern Illinois University.
  • The significance of the first interracial kiss on American television – between two crew members of the Starship Enterprise — with Matt Delmont of Arizona State University.
  • A deeply personal discussion about race in the North — framed around Detroit and the impact of the 1968 Kerner Commission Report with Jeffrey Horner of Wayne State University, a Detroit native like host Phillip Martin.
  • The “mother of all demos” that unveiled to the world the first mouse, and heralded the start of Silicon Valley, with Margaret O’Mara of the University of Washington.
  • How the Vietnam War cost the Protestant left its political clout — and how conservative politicians built symbiotic relationships with the burgeoning evangelical right — with Jill Gill of Boise State University.

See also: Resources for media

About The Conversation US

The Conversation is an independent, nonprofit publisher of commentary and analysis, authored by academics and edited by journalists for the general public. Our mission is “to promote truthful information and strengthen journalism by unlocking the rich diversity of academic knowledge and expertise for audiences across America.” Launched in October 2014, The Conversation has, to date, worked with over 5,000 scholars from more than 630 American colleges and universities.

About the production team

Host: Phillip Martin

Philip MartinIn 1968, Phillip was a sixth-grader in Detroit’s inner city.  He is now a senior investigative reporter for WGBH news, Boston’s local NPR. On WGBH­-TV, he is a regular panelist for “Basic Black” and is a senior fellow with the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism. Phillip is executive producer for Lifted Veils Productions, a nonprofit journalism project dedicated to exploring issues that divide and unite society.

Phillip has worked as a supervising senior editor for NPR and was NPR’s first national race-relations correspondent, from 1998 to 2001. In 1995, in his role as a senior producer, he helped create the international news program “The World,” in collaboration with the BBC. He has received various journalism honors, including a 2017 Best Investigative Reporting award from the Society of Professional Journalists and a 2014 national Edward R. Murrow Award for investigative journalism.

Producer: Maria Murriel

Maria MurrielMaria finished sixth grade in 2001. She is now a journalist, writer and audio producer who’s covered immigration across the Western Hemisphere for most of her career. She reported on immigration and extremist politics for the international news program “The World,” and was the first digital editor at WLRN, South Florida’s public radio station.

She launched that station’s first podcast, and since then she’s produced podcasts for the global design firm IDEO, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and she edits the artificial intelligence show “Talking Machines.” Maria also reports on criminal justice and the cannabis industry as a freelancer, and she is an adjunct at CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Associate Producer: Jonathan Gang

Jonathan GangDespite it being 20 years before his birth, Jonathan is convinced that the best concert of all time was performed on April 5th, 1968, by James Brown. While not busy with podcast production, he works as an editorial researcher at The Conversation US. He is is a recent graduate of Boston University with a master’s degree in journalism. His work has appeared in print, on the air and online in the Boston Herald, Public Radio International, WGBH, The Denver Post, the Boulder Daily Camera and the Colorado Springs Independent.

Executive Producer: Maria Balinska

Maria BalinskaMaria’s first political memory is of the Chicago convention of 1968. She is the editor and co-CEO of The Conversation US. An award-winning journalist, Maria spent the bulk of her career at BBC Radio in London as researcher, producer and then for 10 years as editor of the World Current Affairs Radio team. After a Nieman fellowship at Harvard, she launched Latitude News, a digital platform that introduced new ways of covering world affairs for American audiences. She is also the author of “The Bagel: The Surprising History of a Modest Bread” (Yale University Press, 2008).   


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Heat and Light