November, 2021

Swag is back!

One of our favorite elements of the Fifth Draft has been on hold since we left the New America offices in March of 2020—our book giveaway!

We have a backlog of incredible books from our Fellows and want to give them to you. Through December we'll be giving away multiple books each month.

Enter to win here. Happy reading!

Three questions with...
2022 Fellow Rose Eveleth

Your Fellows project, a podcast titled TESTED, will focus on the practice of gender verification testing in athletics. Was there one particular story that drew you to explore this issue?

I’ve been following this problem since 2006, when I read about how Santhi Soundarajan was stripped of her medals after a “sex verification test.” The news story I read was incredibly short, and I remember thinking, “wait, what is a ‘sex verification test’?” From there, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this issue and the many athletes who’ve been impacted by it.

During the Olympics this summer, criticism emerged around the physical, mental, and emotional strain athletes undergo in training and competition. How do you hope TESTED will inform the discourse around what we expect from our athletes going forward?

Professional athletes are already pushing themselves to the brink of human capabilities. That’s why we tune in, to see them do things that nobody has ever done before. Put on top of that the scrutiny that the media and fans put on them for everything from their relationships, to their facial expressions, to, in the case of my project, their gender, and it’s enough to break even the strongest people in the world (literally). More than one athlete has committed suicide due to gender verification policies. A lot of what TESTED is about is the idea of “fairness” and ethics (and who gets to decide), and it’s important for us to remember that these are human beings whose health and wellbeing have to come before tradition, entertainment, and the egos of those running international sporting bodies.

You’ve dedicated your career to audio production and podcasting, which is a field that's changed dramatically over the last decade. How do you think the landscape is different for audio journalism today from what it was when you first started?

I can rant about this for hours (and have, sorry to my friends) but I’ll try to keep it short. The landscape is wildly different than when I started. It’s much more difficult to break in and succeed as an independent podcast now than it was before. Hollywood now believes that podcasting is a “cheap” and “easy” way to test out IP and is thus flooding the audio world with half baked ideas that they simply want to option back to film or television. For those with huge platforms already, podcasting seems like a great additional way to make money. For those trying to push the medium forward, it is far more challenging than it once was.

Two Cents

Part 2: The Class of 2022 shares why they applied for the New America Fellowship.

To view part 1 click here.

1: I applied for a New America Fellowship for the opportunity to be a part of a community of original thinkers and creators—as well as for the deep network and the support. — Justine van der Leun, Class of 2022

2: Many of the writers I admire most have been New America fellows, and it particularly appealed to me this year, as I am in the middle of writing a book. Writing in general is very isolating, and book writing is profoundly so—and that's without a pandemic isolating everyone even further. So the chance to be part of a real community of other writers was hugely appealing, particularly now. — Janet Reitman, Class of 2022

3: I hoped to find community, intellectual exchange, and support while working on a long-term project in isolation, and I also know several people who have been Fellows and reported back glowingly! — Anna Louie Sussman, Class of 2022


Andrea Elliott's new book, Invisible Child, received a rave review from NPR. Andrea sat down to discuss her book with Slate's "Political Gabfest" podcast, the New York Times Book Review podcast, and MSNBC's "Why Is This Happening? with Chris Hayes."

Abrahm Lustgarten won the 2021 Covering Climate Now Journalism Award for Special Coverage, Series, or Issue for his work on the ProPublica/New York Times Magazine series "Where Will Everyone Go?" Abrahm also appeared on PBS News Hour to discuss President Biden's climate agenda and wrote about the economic expenses of combating climate change for the New York Times.

Sara Hendren was named a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award in nonfiction for her book What Can A Body Do?

Justine van der Leun launched a new podcast with Lemonada Media titled Believe Her, which is based on her reporting on the case of Nikki Addimando.

Bart Elmore was interviewed about his book Seed Money on the "Joe Rogan Experience" podcast.

Lauren Michele Jackson wrote about the controversy over Dave Chapelle's Netflix special for the New Yorker.

Julian Brave NoiseCat discussed recent shifts in climate change politics on a panel at the MIT Technology Review's EmTech Conference. He also appeared on the Mehdi Hassan Show on MSNBC/Peacock to discuss Indigenous Peoples' Day and what policy changes are still necessary to support indigenous populations. 

Keisha Blain's book Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019, co-authored with Ibram X. Kendi, was longlisted for the 2022 Andrew Carnegie Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction Award. Keisha also wrote about the enduring legacy of civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer's message on economic justice for TIME Magazine.

Clint Smith was interviewed about the myths of American slavery and his book How the Word is Passed by CNN.

Two Cents
New America Events

The top New America events we recommend you check out. Now.


NOV (Various Dates)

Pop-Up Magazine

This fall, our friends at Pop-Up Magazine are heading on tour. Contributors tell vivid, new, multimedia stories accompanied by illustration, animation, photography, and an original score performed onstage. Use code "NEWAMERICA" to receive $5 off your ticket! Learn more


Time Travel to 2071 with Smithsonian Researchers

Join Future Tense, AIB, and the Center for Science and the Imagination discuss the Smithosonian's FUTURES exhibition, the pieces, and the roles museums play in depicting future narratives.
Learn more

Reading this month

"I think Hanif Abdurraqib is one of the best writers writing, & his newest book is triumphant & captivating."
– Sarah Kay,
Class of 2022

Learn More

"Not sure I'd recommend this one generally but it's a fascinating slice of history, and the closing words captured something very real about war."
– Mike Giglio,
Class of 2022

Learn More

"Hard to beat Michael Lewis when it comes to style, clarity, and consequence."
– Francesca Mari,
Class of 2022

Learn More

Free Swag

Fill out the form below for a chance to win a copy of one of the five books available this month.

Please submit by COB Monday, November 15th to be considered. No requests, books will be sent randomly.

Get swag!

footer logo


We are storytellers who generate big, bold ideas that have an impact and spark new conversations about the most pressing issues of our day.

The three who put this together

Sarah Baline + Rachel Walsh + Awista Ayub

Join the Conversation

Subscribe to this newsletter

Thoughts or questions?

Privacy Policy|Email designed by Iced Coffee Please

You are receiving this email because you signed up to receive newsletters from New America. Click to update your subscription preferences or unsubscribe from all New America newsletters.