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#NPRreads: Three Stories To Bounce Around This Weekend

#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers from our newsroom share the pieces that have kept them reading, using the #NPRreads hashtag. On Fridays, we highlight some of the best stories.

This week, we bring you three items.

From digital editor Joe Ruiz:

Growing up a basketball fan in South Texas in the 90s, I followed the San Antonio Spurs, devoured SLAM magazine and watched ESPN for hours. The last two introduced me to Allen Iverson and made me one of his biggest fans.

Here was this superstar athlete, barely six feet tall, who could score at will, break the ankles of any defender and poured his heart into the game night after night.

He was one of those players you wish you could be on the blacktop, screaming "Iverson!" as you shot a fadeaway jumper. And here was this player who not only changed the way people think of the game, but unwillingly ushered in the fashion of today's NBA players.

"I just felt the NBA was just picking on me. That's all. Other guys in the league at the time dressed like me. Guys is supposed to be able to be original and dress like how they want to dress. The NBA can't dress no grown man."

This interview by Complex is wide-ranging, insightful, funny and worth your time, especially if you're a basketball fan.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go practice my crossover in my Reebok Questions.

From NPR Investigations Editor Alicia Cypress:

It's easy to just think of a glass of Chianti as a fruity and rustic sipper that tastes good with pizza or a hearty Italian meal. But this week, The New York Times gives us a glimpse at some environmental factors threatening that glass.

The ecosystem of the popular Tuscan wine region is under attack!

"And the enemy? An exploding population of voracious wild boars and deer that savor the sugary grapes and the vines' tender sprouts, but that are also part of the region's famed landscape, hunting traditions and cuisine."

As the story continues:

"The toll is estimated at $11 million to $16 million a year in lost harvest. There are also the costs of erecting and keeping up fences, which have proved controversial because of criticism that they mar the beauty of the Tuscan countryside."

This is the tale of how a community struggles to balance its beauty and traditions with an important economic source that's woven into its history, land and culture. It's also a fun reminder that the glass of wine you drink has its own story to tell.

From Executive Producer for Editorial Franchises Tracy Wahl:

For this piece, The Boston Globe reached out to Stanford sociologists to isolate income data for Boston and Eastern Massachusetts in order to show how neighborhoods in the Boston area are increasingly economically segregated. It's a great example of how journalists can join forces with academics, combining vivid descriptions with rigorous research to tell a compelling story.

The article says, "In the poorest tracts, family income is less than two-thirds of the median for the whole region. In the wealthiest, it's more than 150 percent of the median. The range for middle-class neighborhoods is 80 to 125 percent."

The article also notes that this is true for other big cities around the country. Many of us who live in major metropolitan areas like Washington D.C. sense this disparity, but the expressive writing, supported by solid data, really brought the story home. The imagery in this paragraph is a great example:

"When she's on her way to Walmart in Quincy or her cousin's house in Framingham and the kids are asleep in the back seat, she takes the long way through the region's growing number of high-end suburbs and pictures her family in one of the big houses with the sloping lawns. ... Low-income people can go an entire day without talking to someone who has a college degree or a job in a downtown office. And for the affluent, handing a credit card to the gas station attendant or grocery clerk may be their only weekend brush with blue-collar America."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

In her nearly 20 years at NPR, Tracy Wahl has established herself as a champion for innovation in the newsroom. She was among the first at NPR to embrace social media as a way to engage audiences and deepen our journalism through crowd-sourced reporting. She launched Morning Edition's first Twitter account, and led the program's early ventures into multi-platform storytelling.
Joe Ruiz