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Dan Grech on why WLRN is doing the Canoe Project

Mon, Apr 16, 2012

Canoe Project




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BY ASHLEY LOPEZ

WLRN Miami Herald

WLRN’s Arianna Prothero interviewed Dan Grech, the station’s news director and Under the Sun’s co-creator, this morning about the impetus for the Canoe Project.

Dan talks with Arianna about being approached by a contributor to WLRN for the story and what this story means this story means to our community.

You can read Arianna’s Q&A with Dan below:

Ari: Dan, what exactly is the canoe project?

Dan: One of our favorite contributors to WLRN, [Terence Cantarella] came to us with a crazy idea. He said, “I want to circumnavigate the Miami-Dade canal system in a canoe.”

Our first response was “You’re insane.” Our second response was, “That is a fantastic idea and we’re going to put the whole news operation behind you.”

Ari: How exactly did you find Terence Cantarella?

Dan: Well, Terence by day, is a delivery truck driver through Miami-Dade country. He submitted to us a story from his Fedex route about a woman who sold him water on a street corner in Hialeah. That piece was so popular with our audience we decided to invite him to come back. He told us a sad story about adopting a stray pitbull.  Bailey was a fighting dog, a pitbull, but when he crawled out under parked car in little Haiti last year, he didn’t look very tough, he looked like he had enough.

Ari: Aren’t you a little concerned we might lose him? For his safety?

Dan: The only person who’s not concerned is [Terence] himself, who, as the father of newborn twins, says that compared to raising two infants at once this is going to be a piece of cake.

Ari: What will this teach us about who we are and where we live?

Dan: WLRN-Miami Herald news is all about evoking sense of place and getting the audience involved in telling the story of our community. The canoe project hits on both of those.

We’re on a frontier, at the edge of the country. Terence Cantarella will be exploring waterways that have been ignored and part of cultural tradition that we don’t know very well. This is an opportunity to see what does South Florida look like from our canals?

Ari: Dan, how are you going to beat this one?

Dan: We need help of you–our audience. We want to make adventure storytelling a part of what we do here. We’re going to create an opportunity for all of you in our audience to submit ideas for adventures that you would like to do in an around South Florida anywhere from Palm Beach to the Keys and then we’re going to have our audience vote.

The way you can submit your ideas is at the Miami Herald Public Insight Network and we’ll figure out who our next Terence Cantarella will be.

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