Can this project clean up millions of tons of ocean plastic?

About 9 million tons of plastic are dumped into the world’s oceans every year — enough to fill a football stadium 23 miles high. But a project dubbed the Ocean Cleanup aims to eliminate it with a method that researchers are testing in the North Sea.

This report aired on PBS NewsHour Weekend on August 14, 2016.

Producer/Writer: Saskia de Melker
Associate Producer: Melanie Saltzman
Camera:  Saskia de Melker and Melanie Saltzman
Editor: Judith Wolff
Correspondent: Saskia de Melker

Native community in Louisiana relocates as land washes away

This report aired on PBS NewsHour Weekend on July 30, 2016.

Isle de Jean Charles in Louisiana has lost 98 percent of its land to coastal erosion caused by sinking land and exacerbated by rising seas and increased storm surges. The tribal community that lives there will be the first to receive federal tax dollars to help them relocate in response to climate change.

Producer/Writer: Saskia de Melker
Associate Producer: Melanie Saltzman
Camera:  Saskia de Melker and Melanie Saltzman
Editor: Steve Thompson
Correspondent: Hari Sreenivasan

 

Why thousands of students are seeing Broadway smash ‘Hamilton’

This report aired on PBS NewsHour Weekend on May 8, 2016

This spring, 20,000 public high school students from low-income neighborhoods in New York City will get the opportunity to see “Hamilton,” the Broadway smash hit nominated this week for a record 16 Tony Awards. Students can see the show as part of a new classroom curriculum designed around the show to encourage creativity and foster student interest in history.

Producer/Writer: Saskia de Melker
Associate Producer: Saskia de Melker
Camera:  Saskia de Melker and Melanie Saltzman
Editor: Judith Wolff
Correspondent: Saskia de Melker

 

Rethinking wages for tipped workers

This report aired on PBS NewsHour Weekend on March 26, 2016.

Due to low federal minimum wages for tipped workers, many grapple with poverty rates. Seven states, however, pay tipped workers full minimum wage before tips. And with minimum-wage hikes looming, some restaurants are pioneering no-tipping policies, eliminating gratuities in favor of higher hourly wages for workers.

Producer: Saskia de Melker
Associate Producer: Melanie Saltzman
Camera:  Saskia de Melker and Melanie Saltzman
Editor: David Kreger
Correspondent: Alison Stewart

The opioid epidemic’s toll on pregnant women and their babies

The risk for overdose from opioid painkillers and heroin among women, including pregnant women, has skyrocketed, which means a growing number of babies are born dependent on opioids. NewsHour Weekend Special correspondent Alison Stewart reports on the challenges for pregnant women struggling with addiction.

This report aired on PBS NewsHour Weekend on January 9, 2016.

Producer/Writer: Saskia de Melker
Associate Producer: Melanie Saltzman
Camera:  Saskia de Melker and Melanie Saltzman
Editor: Judith Wolff
Correspondent: Alison Stewart

Why is New York City cracking down on Airbnb?

This report aired on PBS NewsHour Weekend on August 1, 2015.

Short-term housing rental industry giant Airbnb now lists more than 1 million rooms available in 192 countries. The platform’s largest market is in New York City, with more than 25,000 listings per night, but it’s also where the debate over how to regulate short-term rentals is the most contentious. In light of a new report by the NY Attorney General that says nearly three-quarters of Airbnb’s listings in the city are technically illegal, the city is cracking down.

Producer/Writer: Saskia de Melker
Correspondent: Hari Sreenivasan
Camera:  Saskia de Melker and Sam Weber
Editor: David Kreger

The case for starting sex ed in kindergarten

This story was published on PBS NewsHour on May 27, 2015.

Spring Fever class discussion
Teacher Janneke van den Heuvel leads her 8-year old students in a group discussion during Spring Fever week in the Netherlands. NewsHour photo by Saskia de Melker

“Who here has been in love?” Anniek Pheifer asks a crowd of Dutch elementary school students.

It’s a Spring morning in Utrecht, and the St. Jan de Doper elementary school gym is decked in heart-shaped balloons and streamers. Pheifer and Pepijn Gunneweg are hosts of a kids television program in the Netherlands, and they’re performing a song about having a crush.

Kids giggle at the question. Hands — little and bigger — shoot up.

Welcome to “Spring Fever” week in primary schools across the Netherlands, the week of focused sex ed classes… for 4-year olds.

Of course, it’s not just for 4-year-olds. Eight-year-olds learn about self-image and gender stereotypes. 11-year-olds discuss sexual orientation and contraceptive options. But in the Netherlands, the approach, known as “comprehensive sex education,” starts as early as age 4….read the full story at PBS NewsHour