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A headshot of Trisha Mukherjee

Trisha Mukherjee

New Voices '22

Tell us about yourself:

I’m a writer and audio journalist who loves to create work on immigration, women’s rights, abortion, the environment, travel, and adventure. I am interested in international stories, specifically from South Asia and Latin America. Currently, I’m a producer at iHeartMedia where I get to work on some pretty cool shows like Partition and A Tradition of Violence. 

I live in New York City, where I spend my free time riding my bike through the five boroughs, finding the best dollar pizza shops, and conversing with strangers. In my dream world, I would be traveling for the majority of the year, climbing mountains in the Himalayas where my dad is from, practicing my Spanish in Bolivia or Perú, and documenting the conversations and revelations and stories I encounter in my journal or with a microphone. I love wild ideas and adventures-- for example, when I was 18, my friend and I bought two bicycles from a pawn shop in Portland and rode them down to San Francisco. One fun fact about me is that I have perfect pitch so I can tell you what note an instrument or a car horn or a lawnmower is playing.

A piece of yours or project (in any medium) that you'd like to share.

The piece I am most proud of making is We Are All Manorama’s Mothers. This episode was part of the passion project my friend Benjamin and I created during the pandemic lockdowns, a podcast called People • Place • Power about how people around the world who society often sees as powerless are bringing about change in their own communities and beyond. This particular episode is about the indigenous women of Manipur, a state in Northeast India. These incredible women are resisting the Indian government’s martial law, which has been in effect for decades, and allows the Indian army to harm and kill civilians without reason or consequence. All of this information is kept hidden by the government, and I hope the episode is enlightening if you choose to listen!

My most recent written piece is about an environmental advocate named Frederick Tutman. Usually environmental advocates sue polluters, but for Frederick it was the other way around: he was sued by a polluting business, hit with a strategic lawsuit against public participation, ironically known as a SLAPP. This story, in addition to honoring Frederick and his work, is about how advocates are bullied in more ways than we can imagine.

What draws you to storytelling?

I just finished reading Min Jin Lee’s book Pachinko, and besides making me shed a few tears, it reminded me of the wonder of storytelling. Just like other multi-generational narratives-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s literature, for example, or Jhumpa Lahiri’s-- Pachinko was a reminder that each person, each object, each moment has a long and rich and very real history. Everything is the composition of so many stories, and thinking about this makes me feel small in a good way, in a way I try to intentionally feel every day. I think this idea, that we are all made up of stories as much as we are made up of atoms and molecules, pushes me to learn other peoples’ stories, not as a way to understand them (because understanding someone fully is impossible, I think), but as a way to celebrate the enormity and serendipity of everything that happened in the past to make them who they are.

What excites you the most about being a New Voices Scholar?

Going into radio after college wasn’t the most typical post-graduate route-- far from it. Other than one or two friends, I didn’t really know anyone who worked in audio (or even journalism) to make a living. I am so grateful to be a New Voices Scholar because it gave me a community of brilliant and talented audio producers who share the same curiosities and aspirations, as well as an amazing mentor, Nadia Reiman, who has already taught me so much about audio (and life).

What’s playing on your radio/audio streaming service right now?

I’m really enjoying the podcast Not Lost, hosted by Brendan Francis Newnam. Brendan brings us to different cities with the goal of attending a dinner party in each place to learn about the city beyond the surface level. I love reading and listening to anything travel related and this show does a wonderful job of using scene tape, music, research, humor, and humility to transport you anywhere from México City to Las Vegas. I would love to make a show like this one day.

What’s the most underrated tool (technical or not) that you use in your creative process?

One of the joys of being in the radio world is to be a part of the NYC Radio listserv. It’s a great way to learn about equipment, hear about opportunities, and get show recommendations. It’s also a great source of entertainment from time to time-- you’ll understand if you’re on the listserv. Through it, I’ve gotten to work on some really cool projects and also learned that the audio community is composed of truly genuine, humble, and caring people.

What is something you want to see more of in the industry?

In general, I wish the industry could be less profit-driven and more focused on elevating important, highly-reported shows, especially those featuring people of color and people from the Global South. These are such critical voices with so much insight that the industry is missing out on. I get that celebrity talk shows can be entertaining and generate lots of revenue, but big media companies should realize that they play a crucial role in changing the landscape of whose voices get heard.

Who/What are your radio/audio inspirations and why?

Misha Euceph and her work on Hello, Nature is ground-breaking and adventurous. Saleem Reshamwala, who is an awesome person, and his work on the travel podcast Far Flung. Hrishikesh Hirway and his work on Song Exploder, which has taught me so much about music. My friend and mentor Otis Gray for his sonorous voice and his storytelling magic on his show Sleepy and beyond. Not a very original answer, but Jad Abumrad and his creativity and perseverance in creating RadioLab when a lot of the first reactions were to the tune of “this is too weird.”

Anything else you'd like to add?

Thank you for spending some time on this page with my story, I’d love to be in touch! Feel free to send me book recommendations, long distance hiking/cycling routes, travel suggestions, job offers ;), etc. 

Follow Trisha on LinkedIn or her website