Robert Quigley, ‘Crooked Power’ podcast producer: It’s amazing how authoritarians attack the media first when they come to power. It would be an amazing series on Netflix or HBO | Politics | News

The literal translation of Crooked Power it’s “twisted power”. Or, as they would say in the corridors of Ecuadorian politics, a “crooked power”, voracious and insatiable, which destroys whatever gets in its way. One of the victims of the abuse of that authoritarian cutting power was THE UNIVERSEat the hands of Rafael Correaa populist leader behind the Socialism of the 21st centurywho governed Ecuador between 2007 and 2017.

The trial against the newspaper, which has a ruling in favor by the Inter-American Court of Human Rightsthe abuse of power and the manipulation of justice in the correista decade are pillars of the narration of Crooked Power, podcast produced by The Drag Audio Production Housewhich is part of Moody College of Communication from the University of Texas at Austin (United States). However, to link all these complex edges, César Pérez Romero, in his capacity as director, and a team of students and graduates from the University of Texas undertook an investigation and staging that took them nearly three years.

The lead producer of the podcast and professor of digital media at the University of Texas, robert quigley, was surprised when he learned the story. Even today, after listening to it on Spotify Y Manzanabelieves that there is potential to bring Crooked Power to other media platforms.

Why make a podcast about it? case The Universe?

I had César Pérez in my Journalism class at the University of Texas at Austin in the spring of 2019. We met during office hours; he told me that he had a good story to tell and that he wanted to know if it should be a book or a magazine article. After he told me about it and seeing his connection to THE UNIVERSE, I thought it would make a great podcast. As someone who knows the importance of journalism and free speech, I immediately thought his story was relevant and incredibly interesting.

Why not a video or a written report, in a more traditional format?

Because podcasts allow people to dive deeper into a story, I think more than most other formats. Crooked Power it has a runtime of almost five hours in total. It is longer, even, than a full-length movie. With a podcast we can explore much more and hear the voices of those who experienced the story firsthand.

The case of EL UNIVERSO is very complex. How long did the research and final production of the podcast take?

I didn’t realize how complex the story was until Cesar started doing research with some other students. There are so many twists and turns and legal maneuvers! César started working seriously on this work in the summer of 2019. And now we are launching it. So it was a long process!

TEXAS (05-26-2022).- César Pérez Romero, co-producer and co-director, together with Maya Fawaz, presenter and main voice of ‘Crooked Power’, during the preparation of the podcast script. Courtesy University of Texas / EL UNIVERSO Photo: Cuts

Why do you say this case is important for freedom of expression and democracy?

Authoritarian leaders around the world attack the media first when they come to power. They know that if they control the messages, they can get away with it; much more if they control the narrative. It was pretty clear to me that Rafael Correa wanted to manipulate the narrative in Ecuador and the only thing standing in his way was the press. Without a free press, the citizens of a nation can be misled and manipulated. EL UNIVERSO, firm against Correa, was an example for many others who face the same oppression.

What surprised you the most when you heard the story?

I must admit that I was unaware of what had happened in Ecuador. I’m ashamed I don’t know more. But every time I talked to César and Maya (Fawaz, who is also the narrator) about the podcast, I was amazed at how new data was emerging. Also, I was surprised by what (the persecution) meant to the Pérez family.

Had you heard before about the excesses and abuses of power of Latin American populist presidents like Correa?

I did, but only on a superficial level. This case was new to me and now I am better informed. I think part of the power of this podcast is that we’ve released it in English. People in the United States are generally not familiar with this story or how press freedoms work in Latin America, and I think it’s important that with this type of work, you can educate yourself about it. The United States is at a point in history where the media is the scapegoat for politicians with authoritarian leanings. This should be a cautionary tale.

Is the title enough? Crooked Power to describe a president like Rafael Correa?

Crooked Power It doesn’t fully sum up what happened in Ecuador or the personality of Rafael Correa, but I think the podcast explains it very well over the course of the five episodes. I think most listeners will understand what we mean by Crooked Power once they have listened to it in its entirety.

Currently, there are two chapters on the air. When will the next ones be out?

We plan to release one episode per week, on Tuesdays. So the third episode will be out on May 31; the fourth, June 7; and the fifth and final, on June 14.

Is it possible to extend this work to other multimedia platforms?

Yes, I am very interested in extending this to other platforms. I think this would be an amazing series on Netflix or HBO. I also hope that César will publish a Spanish version of the podcast at some point. If you find time, I think this story would be even more powerful in Spanish. (YO)

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Robert Quigley, ‘Crooked Power’ podcast producer: It’s amazing how authoritarians attack the media first when they come to power. It would be an amazing series on Netflix or HBO | Politics | News


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