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Vermont Public Radio 2019 Murrow Entry: Podcast

A person stands in the center of one person with a microphone and another talking into it.
Elodie Reed
'Brave Little State' places our listeners' curiosity at the center of our reporting. The result is a podcast that both tackles Vermont's most complicated issues and delights in our state's quirkiness.

Brave Little State is a twice-monthly podcast from Vermont Public Radio that champions the listener. We democratize our reporting process by answering questions about Vermont that have been submitted and voted on by our audience; our final product is a sound-rich narrative podcast with a strong sense of place, public service and, when appropriate, humor.

Brave Little State
Credit Aaron Shrewsbury

We use a people-powered model that’s gained considerable traction in recent years, thanks to the pioneering work of WBEZ’s Curious City and Hearken — but we believe Brave Little State stands out among its peers for its signature sound and consistent high quality. Our story-driven, documentary-style reporting dives deep into the questions our listeners ask, surfacing unexpected nuance, diverse sources and difficult truths.

The episodes excerpted in our submission demonstrate the many ways in which intentionally, intensively engaging with our audience results in distinctive coverage and valuable explanatory reporting.

Learn more about Brave Little State and explore our archive.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Heating With Wood?

In the winter, Coco and Emmet Moseley keep their farmhouse in Lincoln cozy and warm with an antique wood stove — and Coco is wondering about the benefits and drawbacks of their heat source. In this excerpt, reporter Emily Corwin introduces us to the Moseleys and unpacks Coco's curiosity.

Find the full episode here.[January 11]

How Is Climate Change Affecting Vermont Right Now?

That's what Jack Haskell of Brattleboro wanted to know. Jack was particularly interested in approaching this topic from an environmental justice angle, so we devoted our entire episode to flooding, and Vermonters whose lives are most affected by chronic floods. In this excerpt, we meet Cheri Bishop, who has dealt with repeated inundation over the last decade.

Find the full episode here. [April 5]

Legislation Vs. Investigation: How Is Rep. Peter Welch Balancing His Work?

As Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives in January 2019, we collected listener questions for Vermont's lone member of the U.S. House: Rep. Peter Welch. This question, asked by Maya Hasegawa of Brattleboro, was the audience favorite: "Congressman, what will you do to investigate the president and to legislate, without losing the balance between the two? I think both are important."

Reporter Liam Elder-Connors decamped for Washington, D.C., to follow our congressman during a historic month (which included an unexpected government shutdown). In this selection, he shares some of his tape and brings the listener straight to Capitol Hill.

Find the full episode here. [February 1]

This episode was also accompanied by a bonus photo feature: Photos: A Day In The Life Of Congressman Peter Welch

How Can Vermonters Drive Less?

Eve Jacobs-Carnahan of Montpelier came to us with this question. Eve and her husband share a car by choice — and it isn't easy. To answer this question we spoke with planners, legislators, public officials and entrepreneurs; in this excerpt, we hear from Vermonters who have their own ideas about how the state can improve its public transit offerings. 

Find the full episode here. [December 6]

Why Does Vermont Have Such A Housing Crunch?

Peter Kerson of Norfolk, Va., was in the midst of a difficult Vermont-home search when he submitted this question. In this excerpt, we ride along with a Burlington realtor, get some national context and check in with a first-time home buyer considering an intimidating purchase.

Find the full episode here.[March 8]

What's The Origin Of Putney's Hi-Lo Biddy Road?

It what's becoming an annual tradition, we devote a summer episode to tracing the origins of some of Vermont's most perplexing road names. This excerpt features a real stumper.

Listen to the full segment here. This piece was part of our second annual history of Vermont road names: A(nother) Brief History Of Vermont Road Names.[September 6]

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