Weekend Edition Sunday

Conceived as a cross between a Sunday newspaper and CBS' Sunday Morning with Charles KuraltWeekend Edition Sunday features interviews with newsmakers, artists, scientists, politicians, musicians, writers, theologians and historians. The program has covered news events from Nelson Mandela's 1990 release from a South African prison to the capture of Saddam Hussein.

Weekend Edition Sunday debuted on January 18, 1987, with host Susan Stamberg. Two years later, Liane Hansen took over the host chair, a position she held for 22 years. In that time, Hansen interviewed movers and shakers in politics, science, business and the arts. Her reporting travels took her from the slums of Cairo to the iron mines of Michigan's Upper Peninsula; from the oyster beds on the bayou in Houma, La., to Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park; and from the kitchens of Colonial Williamsburg, Va., to the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. In the fall of 2011, NPR National Desk Reporter Audie Cornish began hosting the show.

Every week listeners tune in to hear a unique blend of news, features and the regularly scheduled puzzle segment with Puzzlemaster Will Shortz, the crossword puzzle editor of The New York Times.

Weekend Edition Sunday is heard on NPR Member stations across the United States and around the globe via NPR Worldwide. The conversation between the audience and the program staff continues throughout the social media world.

Law enforcement is working to detect and prevent radical Islam in the U.S. NPR's Rachel Martin presents different perspectives on what prevention looks like.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The TV show, based on Eddie Huang's memoir, retains some of the book's raw sensibility, but as he tells it, it's been a fight to keep his life's story from becoming a "cornstarch sitcom."

Eddie Huang is a is a renaissance man with a string of careers: lawyer, TV host, restaurateur and author. His raw, funny and sometimes extremely profane memoir, Fresh Off the Boat, came out two years ago. It's a brutally honest story about his life as an Asian-American kid, reconciling two cultures.

That book is now an ABC sitcom, also called Fresh off the Boat. The show has retained at least some of that raw sensibility, but getting a story so nuanced and intense onto network television was very difficult for Huang.

"The network tried to turn Fresh Off the Boat into a cornstarch sitcom, and me into a mascot for America. I hated that," Huang wrote for New York Magazine. "This show isn't about me, nor is it about Asian America. The network won't take that gamble right now."

An extended version of that article appears on Vulture.com.

But in the end, he tells NPR's Rachel Martin, Huang feels reconciled with the show. "As a milestone, as a kind of quarter-mile mark ... it gave me hope and promise for how much further we can go," he says.

"It takes a lot of chutzpah to launch a network comedy with a pilot addressing the word 'chink,' yet it works because it's the safest bet the studio could have made."

Fresh Off the Boat premieres on Feb. 4.


Interview Highlights

On the difficulty of taking a sensitive subject to network TV

We all knew it was going to be tough, it's going to be a fight. But ... if we go on cable somewhere — whether it's HBO, AMC — we're preaching to the choir. These people, they've already seen The Wire, they've already seen Breaking Bad, and a lot of these things have been said to people that understand it. But there's a real challenge, and there's a real benefit, to saying this to people on a platform that usually does not allow these voices to be heard.

On not being a writer for the sitcom

That was the hardest one to swallow, and I held off signing my contract all the way until they were shooting the pilot. But my lawyer told me, 'If you don't sign, man, you're never coming back from this, and all the work we've done is for nothing.

On a time he wouldn't compromise with the network

There was a day when I went in the writers' room — and it was always contentious when I went in the writers' room ... They were trying to portray the Asian work ethic. Telling young Eddie, 'You know, your grandfather worked so hard. He used to castrate hogs with a stick.' And I was like, 'Wait a second, who came up with the idea that my grandfather castrates hogs with a stick?' They were like, 'It's funny! It's Asian! You guys slaughter pigs and it's savage!' This is yellow peril. I was like, 'My grandfather sold buns on the street. ... We stand for something. My family, they need to be respected.'

On seeing a commercial for the show during the Michigan-Ohio State football game

I lost it. I was watching the game on TiVo, and I'm there on the massage chair, totally relaxed, and the logo comes across, and I was just like, 'Oh, my God. This is happening.' When you see it in the context of the Ohio State-Michigan game, a game you grew up watching the day after Thanksgiving, it's really insane. The only other time I can remember feeling, like, 'Whoa, I'm part of America,' was when Obama got elected.

Why he's taken his criticism of the show public

I want to encourage criticism. I really encourage it. And I think I'm pretty clear in the article telling people you have to come, you have to talk about this, because the article, the conversation, Asians coming out — when the voices are heard, they have to adjust. Because it's a business and they're trying to sell to these markets. And when the markets are explicit about what they want and how they want to be represented and not represented, the studio and network will acquiesce. They're not on a mission to not represent us. They just don't know how to.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

CSIT-In-3 students Daniel Diaz (left) and Brian De Anda map out options for ...
A unique class of college students from California's Salinas Valley — many the children of farmworkers and immigrants — is working toward careers in major tech companies.

About an hour south of Silicon Valley in a classroom at Hartnell Community College, Daniel Diaz and Brian De Anda stand at a whiteboard mapping out ideas on how to reduce the size of a mobile app their team is building.

This isn't a class, and the app they're building — an informational guide for a drug rehab center — isn't even a school project. But this is what it takes to have a chance at an elite summer internship, says Daniel Diaz.

"What you are taught at school is not enough," Diaz says, "especially in today's competitive society. I think you need to do some more outside learning."

So these students are working on other apps, doing hackathons and learning additional programming languages outside of class. They're doing it because there's a thought — perhaps a reality — that hangs over them: They're underdogs.

"Given the region [the program] is in, it's majorly farmworkers," says Elias Ramirez, who is also on the team. "So given that, you don't think that many bright students can come from here."

They're all part of the inaugural class of CSIT-In-3 (computer science and information technology in 3 years), an intensive, accelerated computer science degree program targeted at students from the agricultural Salinas Valley.

They're about halfway through the three-year program. They've done much of their coursework at the community college and will soon be doing the majority at Cal State Monterey Bay, where they'll ultimately earn their degree.

Pitching Diversity To Silicon Valley

"We're going to bring a population that's not fully represented in Silicon Valley right now," says Joe Welch, one of the program's co-founders.

Welch is referring to diversity numbers that some major tech companies released last year showing that when it comes to U.S.-based tech workers, the number of Hispanics or blacks doesn't even come close to 5 percent. Women fair better, but still less than 20 percent.

In the CSIT-In-3 program, 90 percent of the students are Latino, and nearly half are women.

"If they don't do anything to change the hiring processes that they've historically done, they'll be very challenged to get those historic trend lines to change at all, whether for women or unrepresented minorities," Welch says.

So Welch and his co-founder have been pitching to Silicon Valley companies to become partners. The program will send its best students and the tech companies will give them internships.

It's proving a hard sell to companies that have longstanding relationships with top-tier schools, like nearby Stanford and UC Berkeley. They've made some inroads, though.

Serving A Wider Community

At a networking event in the ballroom of Cal State Monterey Bay, Welch watches as the students mingle with representatives from local companies and a few from Silicon Valley, including Google, Twitter and Salesforce.

About 10 students gather around Pat Patterson's table for Salesforce, a global cloud computing company.

Patterson's interest in this program goes beyond this networking event: He also taught a course in the program this past semester. He says he's optimistic about CSIT-In-3 for its potential to quickly get graduates into the workforce and diversify the industry.

"If your employees are almost a monoculture, they are going to be building products and taking into accounts the needs of that monoculture," Patterson says. "So by having more diversity in tech we can actually build better products that serve the need of the wider community."

And as students like Ramirez will tell you, they also bring grit. When his parents first came to the U.S. from Mexico, they worked in the fields before moving on to better jobs. That hard work has inspired him.

"The idea that there might be someone better than me is what actually might keep me competitive," Ramirez says.

So far, the CSIT-In-3 students are getting interviews, and one of the 28 students has secured an internship with Apple.

Copyright 2015 KAZU-FM. To see more, visit http://www.kazu.org/.