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Sound engineer Daniel Wihler working on one of my podcasts

For a while I’ve been wanting to highlight the work of the studio technicians who, frankly, make my podcasts sound way better than they would if I had to do them alone. They ensure that my narration is the best it can be by setting up the mic, monitoring the levels, and finessing all the transitions between me and my audio from the field. They know the right spots to fade in music or ambient sound, and they’re great at finding sound effects, too. And when a feature is too long, they give sensible advice about what to cut. On top of that, they’re fun to work with!

So a big thank you to the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation’s Daniel Wihler, Jakob Stoller and Ivan Steiner!

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Successful sabbatical

Telling visitors about the resident cheetahs during feeding time

I let this blog slide in favor of another one I set up for foreign adventures, most recently, a volunteer stint at Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia. My employer, the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, generously sponsored me.

It was an amazing month caring for orphaned cheetahs that raise awareness for their wild counterparts, who struggle with drought, habitat encroachment and human-wildlife conflict. When I wasn’t up to my elbows in dirty work, I also served as a copywriter and editor.

You can read about my experience at On the Road with Susan.

What a wild week, especially the past 24 hours! First off, a behind-the-scenes shot…

… and the final product:

Then suddenly it was November 8th, which meant working in the middle of the night:

Which was fun, especially taking people for a virtual tour of the election party hosted by the US Embassy in Bern:

 

Less fun was having the party wind down without an official result. US Ambassador to Switzerland Suzi Levine thanked everyone for coming — and especially for voting, regardless of for whom. (She herself got a few write-in votes on the event’s mock ballot sheets!)

 

The election was called around the time that everyone was clearing out. I interviewed a couple that had been rooting for Hillary Clinton, and I was impressed with how calmly they spoke of President-Elect Donald Trump, despite their dismay.

 

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For me, the highlight of the day was the collaboration with great colleagues both at SWI swissinfo.ch as well as those I met in the event’s media corner. Pleasure working with you all!

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Scene from the ultimate summer

This summer was too amazing for blog posts! Outside of working hours, I swam as often as I possibly could. Altogether I made it into Bern’s Aare River about 40 times — including a record 14-consecutive-day streak.

Now it’s a different kind of cool. Perfect for a little more online time.

 

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On a recent trip, I embarrassed my travel companion after I flagged down a flight attendant.

“You know, I produced some of your in-flight entertainment,” I told her, and pointed to my screen. She managed to look interested — even impressed — but in truth she was probably more concerned about making sure everybody got their dinner on time!

The entertainment in question was The Swiss Connection, which SWI swissinfo.ch produces for SWISS International Air Lines. (There’s Swissness for you.)

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The current batch includes my tales of cheeky street musicians (Bern’s Buskers’ Festival) and a jolly band of wandering woodsmen (An Architectural Tour). The selections come from swissinfo’s weekly program, and they change every few months.

So next time you travel with SWISS, I hope you’ll check it out! I know I will, and I might even elbow a fellow passenger and say, “Guess what? If you like podcasts … ”

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Geranium city

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In Bern you know spring has sprung once the Graniummärit (geranium market) takes over the Bundesplatz. This year marks the 60th edition. As you can see, it’s not just geraniums on offer, but they are the dominant flower. And they’ve got the biggest pots this year…

Swiss researcher Katherine Leonard with emperor penguins near Breid Bay, Antarctica. For an upcoming EPFL project as part of ACE, she will study Southern Ocean salinity. (©Olivier Pierre )

Swiss researcher Katherine Leonard with emperor penguins near Breid Bay, Antarctica. For an upcoming EPFL project as part of ACE, she will study Southern Ocean salinity. (© Olivier Pierre )

Following the launch of the Swiss Polar Institute (SPI), Switzerland now has a voice in global polar policy. Its first project is a three-month Antarctic expedition involving researchers from around the world.

“The SPI will make it possible for Switzerand to be on a par with other countries,” remarked climatologist Thomas Stocker, referring to the fact that many other nations have polar institutes. He also cited the importance of polar research.

“The poles are probably the most vulnerable regions when it comes to anthropogenic climate change, which is happening in front of our eyes in the Arctic, and somewhat less so in Antarctica,” said Stocker, professor of climate and environmental physics at the University of Bern.

Based at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), the SPI is a consortium of the EPFL, the University of Bern, federal technology institute ETH Zurich, and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research.

To mark the launch, SPI is organising a major project: the Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition (ACE). I got a sneak peek.

With a budget of €3 million (CHF3.3 million), the three-month project will be the first scientific expedition to fully sail around the southernmost continent. You can read the whole story on swissinfo.ch.