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
Kevin Sturtevant and Steve Geishecker became dads when they adopted their newborn daughter Gabriella just over a year ago. They're part of a national trend: more and more same-sex couples are raising children. These days, an estimated one in five LGBT couples has a child under the age of 18. Sturtevant and Geishecker, of Silver Spring, Md., have been together for nearly 20 yea...
WAMU 88.5
Next week, the U.S. Senate is scheduled to turn its attention to a major effort to overhaul the nation's immigration system. Some of the people helping shape this year's debate would barely be old enough to vote — if they were citizens. Raymond Jose came to Maryland from the Philippines 13 years ago, when he was just 9 years old. "I found out about my immigration sta...
WAMU 88.5
In the early 1990s, John Wilson was chairman of the D.C. Council, and one of the most powerful, and most popular, men in D.C. politics. Wilson was considering a bid for mayor, and if he had run, political observers say he would very likely have been elected. But John Wilson was also a man with a secret — one he had been struggling with for decades. His death 20 years ago, on May 19,...
WAMU 88.5
The streets of the nation's capital are filled with motorcycles every Memorial Day weekend, as Vietnam veterans participate in the Rolling Thunder ride to honor fallen soldiers. But there's also a smaller group that rides each year, ending at the African American Civil War Memorial. These are members of the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle club. About 1,500 rode in from around th...
WAMU 88.5
Pioneering journalist and author Haynes Johnson has died. He launched his journalism career writing about the Civil Rights movement in Selma, Ala. That reporting won him the Pulitzer Prize in 1966. Three years later, legendary editor Ben Bradlee recruited him to the Washington Post, where he worked until 1994, pioneering a new style of political reporting. Johnso...
WAMU 88.5
What makes a person happy? Regardless what the experts say, it's often something very simple: a good laugh, a good deed, or just a good dinner. Memories like this can stick around for decades — a freeze-frame, where, sometimes just for the blink of an eye, everything seems perfect. Using WAMU 88.5's Public Insight Netw...
WAMU 88.5
Doctors and nurses at the University of Maryland's Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore see more than 8,000 severely injured patients each year. These are people who've been in bad car crashes, suffered gunshot wounds, or taken a serious fall. They arrive for treatment at a place that was the first of its kind when it opened more than 50 years ago. To this day, it's thought to be among th...
WAMU 88.5
For more than a decade, China has been the top country for international adoptions to the United States. Since 1999, American families have adopted more than 60,000 Chinese babies and toddlers. But that's all changing, as China has tightened adoption rules in the past few years. Lisa Reff, of Bethesda, traveled to China in 2002, to adopt her first daughter, Sarah, who was then...
WAMU 88.5
In the early '80s, Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant were changing. Thousands of refugees from the civil war in El Salvador were pouring into these neighborhoods in the middle of Washington, D.C. But because of Cold War politics, the U.S. government didn't recognize Salvadorans as refugees, and without legal status they lacked access to basic services. Now, decades later, an organiz...
WAMU 88.5
Decades ago, curbside recycling was only available in a few cities, but now it's the norm across much of the country. And some environmentalists now think curbside composting is the next big thing in waste disposal. On the West Coast, a number of cities already ask residents to separate food scraps from other trash, to be diverted from the landfill and composted into nutrient-rich soil. ...
WAMU 88.5
People with developmental disabilities, like autism or Down syndrome, are much more likely to come into contact with law enforcement than the general population — up to seven times more likely. Those interactions can sometimes have tragic results, as was the case recently when a young man in Frederick, Md. died while Sheriff's deputies tried to remove him from a movie theater. There...
WAMU 88.5
Even though our local housing market is picking up, many homeowners are still living with the effects of the recession and housing crisis. And increasingly, scam artists are seeking to turn a profit from those homeowners' desperation, especially targeting people who don't speak English as a native language, such as Luis and Margarita Garcia, immigrants who moved to Montgomery County f...
WAMU 88.5
Becoming a foster parent — and welcoming a child you barely know into your family — can be a major leap of faith. But some foster parents make an even greater leap, taking in children who are refugees: kids from war-torn regions, many suffering from trauma. Across the United States, there are currently about 700 refugee foster kids. Many have come from camps for displaced ...
WAMU 88.5
A months-long mystery in Accomack County, Virginia is coming to a close. Police are charging two Eastern Shore residents in a spree of more than 70 arsons across the county since November, and one of those charged is a former firefighter. The arsonists have stumped law enforcement, fire after fire, burning vacant buildings just steps from occupied homes and businesses, then di...
WAMU 88.5
A woman has been charged in connection with the latest of more than 70 arsons on Virginia's Eastern Shore. State police spokeswoman Corinne Geller told the Associated Press that 40-year-old Tonya S. Bundick was arrested shortly after midnight Monday near a vacant residence in the town of Melfa that had been set on fire. The fire was reported at 11:40 p.m. last night. ...
WAMU 88.5
National Cathedral Dean Gary Hall has been an outspoken national voice for tighter gun control, ever since the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. in December. In an Easter sermon yesterday Hall reminded those in attendance of the suffering gun violence has caused in recent months. Gary Hall took the reigns at the National Cathedral in October. Just months later, the Newtown, Co...
WAMU 88.5
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray wants to make the District the greenest city in the country in the next 20 years, and last month he released a blueprint to get there. The plan, called Sustainable D.C., runs more than 120 pages, was 17 months in the making, and involved hundreds of District residents in dozens of meetings. ...
WAMU 88.5
D.C. has one of the highest HIV rates in the nation, with nearly 3 percent of residents infected with the virus. But some organizations that help HIV-positive people are struggling to redesign their operations as the Affordable Care Act takes full effect next year. They say while health reform is in many ways good news for people living with HIV, the law could also have some unintende...
WAMU 88.5
Underground railroad conductor Harriet Tubman passed away 100 years ago Sunday. In her honor, dozens of women gathered on the National Mall for a moving tribute — walking in Tubman's honor. It's part of a national movement to improve women's health and fitness. A few years ago, Morgan Dixon's life was in a rut — she was overworked and not taking care of herself. A visit to...
WAMU 88.5
The usually orderly courtrooms at D.C. Superior Court were a bit chaotic on Saturday, as high school students donned judges' robes and filled the jury box. The teenagers were judges, juries, and lawyers for the day's mock trials. This is the 14th year the court has held this youth law fair — brainchild of Judge Melvin Wright. "Most kids only know about the court syst...