Jacob Fenston | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 Contributors

Jacob Fenston

Senior News Editor for Special Projects

Fenston is WAMU's Senior News Editor for Special Projects. He came to the station after a year in the Show Me State, covering issues of health, wealth and poverty in rural Missouri. He also worked as a freelance public radio reporter in D.C., and in a previous life was a stage manager for a theater company in Portland, Oregon. While in Oregon, Fenston started producing radio as a volunteer at community radio station KBOO. He is a native of California, and has a masters in journalism from U.C. Berkeley.


Articles Written by Jacob Fenston

WAMU 88.5
Until just a few years ago, D.C.'s juvenile justice system was known for overcrowding and violence. But after reforms in 2009, the number of kids making repeated trips through juvenile detention is on the decline. D.C. locks up around 1,000 young people each year. For much of his life, a young man named Marquis was one of them. Marquis, who asked to use only his first name...
WAMU 88.5
The Latino population is booming in Virginia — it's doubled in the past decade or so — and it's growing especially quickly in the D.C. suburbs. This change is part of what has turned Virginia purple on electoral maps. In the Commonwealth, and nationwide, 70 percent of Latinos voted Democrat last year. This November's gubernatorial race is the first big election since then,...
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Fifty years ago, as the civil rights movement was gaining momentum, the nation was also witnessing a racist backlash. While hundreds of thousands peacefully rallied for the March on Washington in 1963, there was a tiny counter protest by the American Nazi Party, based in Arlington, Va. The party's leader had no more than a few hundred followers during his lifetime, but he has had a la...
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Five years after the March on Washington, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave what would be his last Sunday sermon at the National Cathedral in D.C. "Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution" was the title of King's very last Sunday sermon. "Racial injustice is still the black man's burden and the white man's shame. It is an unhappy truth that racism is a way of lif...
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Events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington continue today and through the week. Yesterday's rally on the National Mall drew hundreds of thousands of people, to reflect on the accomplishments and unfinished business of the past half-century. In August 1963, Francis Collins worked at an office just up 14th Street from the National Mall. "Du...
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While tens of thousands gathered on the National Mall today for the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, supporters of D.C. statehood held a smaller side-rally. They say equal representation in Congress is a civil rights issue. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District's non-voting representative in Congress, put it this way: "The District of Columbia is the city to come t...
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Some of the thousands of people rallying near the Lincoln Memorial this morning were also there 50 years ago, at the 1963 March on Washington. Others who will be at the rally today weren't born until decades later, but say the messages of that day still resonate. China Green is a senior at Friendship Collegiate Academy in Northeast D.C., where she's helped organize a group of ...
WAMU 88.5
Each year, thousands of Americans travel to China to adopt children — it is by far the biggest country for international adoptions. That's in part because for years, adopting from China was easier than adopting from other countries, especially for single mothers. Now, China has tightened its adoption policies, but there are still many children in the D.C. area who grew up as America...
WAMU 88.5
Max Gold has been a fan of aviation since he was just five or six years old. It started because he spent so much time on planes. "I had doctors all around the U.S.," Gold says. He was flying all over the country to treat the rare vascular condition that confined him to a wheel chair. "The amount of time I spent on a plane it just all caught up to me," he says....
WAMU 88.5
When Kevin Sturtevant and Steve Geishecker started dating almost twenty years ago, they didn't think becoming parents was in the cards for them, as a same-sex couple. Now, they've just celebrated their daughter's first birthday. Nationwide, it's much more common for gay couples to take on parenting roles these days — an estimated one in five LGBT couples is raising a child. Jacob Fe...
WAMU 88.5
It's officially Beer Week in D.C., and local brewers are working together to create unusual one-time brews to celebrate. One of them is called Exquisite Corpse. Sam Fitz, of Columbia Heights bar and restaurant Meridian Pint, explains the name: "It's based off a surrealist game, where artists would take different quadrants of a canvass."...
WAMU 88.5
President Obama may have already left for vacation, but that didn't stop a few hundred protestors from rallying on Pennsylvania Avenue Saturday. Some local Egyptian Americans in Washington want Obama to take a more active role in Egypt. Some protesters had signs reading, "Free Egypt Now." Others had photos of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. Bu...
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He was at the top of his career, one of the most powerful men in D.C. politics, poised for what would have very possibly been a successful bid to become mayor. But John A. Wilson had a secret - he'd been struggling with depression much of his life. Twenty years ago this month, the chairman of the D.C. Council took his own life, hanging himself in the basement of his Southwest home. Ja...
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Ambulances and helicopters bring more than 8,000 severely injured patients to the Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore each year. The center was the first of its kind when it opened more than fifty years ago, and it's thought to be among the best in the nation. Doctors and nurses get used to using their gut instincts to make quick life-or-death decisions about each patient. Jacob Fenston ...
WAMU 88.5
Earlier this month, two local infants died of heat stroke, after being accidentally left in cars — one in Baltimore County, the other in Arlington. It's a parent's worst nightmare, but each year, this happens dozens of times across the country. One Virginia mother has made it her mission to prevent these tragic deaths. In March 2007, Lyn Balfour's son Bryce was 9 months old....
WAMU 88.5
You're probably familiar with the idea of food deserts — areas with little access to fresh and healthy things to eat. In one such local desert, there is a new green oasis sprouting: a 3.5-acre farm in the middle of a sea of apartment buildings. Its 9 a.m. on Saturday, and dozens of volunteers are fanning out across the Autumn Woods Apartment complex in Bladensburg, Md. Volun...
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President Dwight Eisenhower’s interstate freeway system gave birth to the Capital Beltway in the 1960s, but there were also two additional inner freeway loops planned that would have paved over some of the oldest and most vibrant neighborhoods in the District. Those plans spurred huge protests in the 1960s, and inspired a whole generation of activists. One of those activists...
WAMU 88.5
The U.S. military is one of the most diverse institutions in the country today, but it wasn't always so. In 1940, as the United States geared up for World War II, African Americans comprised only 1 percent of military personnel, though they made up 10 percent of the general population. Joseph Hairston was part of a generation that would change that. Enlisting in 1940, he wou...
WAMU 88.5
There's not usually a skate ramp on the National Mall. But this weekend, a temporary one in front of the National Museum of American History hosted skating demonstrations and panel discussions. The event was to celebrate the expansion of the museum's new skateboard collection. Rodney Mullen is sometimes called the godfather of street skating. But when he started at age 10, ...
WAMU 88.5
On June 26, 2009, the D.C. area was sweltering through a summer heat wave. But a cold front was heading east across the country. The National Weather Service issued a severe storm watch for that afternoon. Kelly Murray was at a swim team pasta dinner, with five of her six young daughters. As it started to rain, they packed into the family minivan. Murray's husband, Joh...