Tuesday, May 26, 2015

'Oil To Die For'

For the third year in a row, North Dakota ranks as the most deadly place to work in America and its oilfields are nearly seven times more dangerous than elsewhere in the U.S. “Oil To Die For,” a new interactive documentary from Black Gold Boom, examines how Dustin Bergsing died of hydrocarbon poisoning at a North Dakota well site just days before his 22nd birthday. He was engaged to be married and the father of an infant. The interactive examines the circumstances surrounding Bergsing’s death, including accusations by a Marathon Oil whistleblower who says his safety warnings were ignored by company bosses. “Oil To Die For” is compatible with all devices, including Apple and Android mobile phones and tablets. Experience it now.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

PBS stations to air 'Black Gold Boom'

Some Native American tribes have banned fracking on tribal lands. With vast deposits of oil underneath its borders, Three Affiliated Tribes is at a crossroads. Should the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation in western North Dakota drill for black gold or outlaw oil exploration on its land? Tribal member Marty Young Bear worries about environmental effects. Meanwhile, local leaders rush to form a tribal-owned oil company with the motto “Sovereignty by the Barrel.” “Black Gold Boom,” aired May 18 on Prairie Public in North Dakota. The documentary airs on other PBS stations later this year.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Sounds of Silents

Silent film may be a thing of the past, but scoring music to flickering screen classics isn't. This documentary focuses on three Minneapolis bands who are intrigued, perhaps even obsessed, by silents.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Night with the Projectionist

A night inside the projectionist's room at the Trylon Microcinema in Minneapolis.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Other Boomtown Hamm

Billionaire oilman Harold Hamm has made a name for himself in the Bakken. As CEO of Continental Resources, his company is the biggest oil producer in western North Dakota. But he’s not the only Hamm in town. A man named Phil Hamm lived in Williston before the boom came to town. He stills lives there today. In this interview I produced for Prairie Public and Marketplace, it’s clear he’s got something to say about the changes the boom has brought.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Stuffed Shirts v. Blue Collars

Peo­ple who hate it, call it “pol­lu­tion.” Peo­ple who love it, call it “rollin’ coal.” We’re talk­ing about the plumes of black smoke that come pour­ing out of some diesel pick­ups. These pickup truck own­ers are retro­fitting their rigs to allow for un­burnt diesel fuel to spew from a tailpipe or ver­ti­cal stack dur­ing a fast ac­cel­er­a­tion. When smoke pours from a pipe or stack, the un­burnt diesel is thick and black. An in­ter­view with Mark Pyatt of Killer Diesel Per­for­mance about the young men and women who love to roll coal in oil coun­try.

This story aired on Prairie Public and Marketplace.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

'Redneck Innovation is the Best Innovation'

People like to see stuff get wrecked. Which is why demolition derbies are popular attractions at county fairs. A county fair in the Midwest is offering a new twist on this staple of Americana. Instead of a demo derby featuring old cars, one county fair in Minnesota is sponsoring a smash-up derby featuring riding lawn mowers. Here's my story, which aired on NPR's Only a Game, on a lawnmower demo derby.