No Praise, No Blame, Just So

In 1996, two nuns were murdered in a convent in Maine by a mentally ill man who stopped taking his medication. The murders were brutal and senseless.

Twelve years later, Salt Radio student Jessica Alpert wanted to talk — in-depth — with the surviving nuns about the incident, faith, and forgiveness.

But how do you do that? How do you say to someone “I’d like to interview you about a traumatic, horrendous event from your past”?  On this Saltcast, Jessica offers a few great suggestions for approaching people who’ve experienced trauma and we listen to her story “No Praise, No Blame, Just So.”

By the way, Jessica’s piece was a finalist in the 2009 awards competition sponsored by the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma.

Cheers, Rob


  1. 7 Responses to “No Praise, No Blame, Just So”

  2. By katie on Jun 18, 2009

    This was a beautiful piece. Jessica did a fantastic job. I love that she used the zen quote “No Praise, No Blame, Just So” as the title, and I love that the nuns pulled inspiration from that expression. I’m also very impressed that although this community is, by its nature, cloistered, that this piece points to the incredible open-mindedness and acceptance that these people brought to this terrible event.

    The Saltcast is one of my favorite podcasts. Keep up the great work!

  3. By Rob on Jun 19, 2009

    Thanks Katie. Glad you liked it. What other podcasts do you recommend? — Rob

  4. By katie on Jun 19, 2009

    Oh gosh, Radiolab Radiolab Radiolab. The Moth, Hearing Voices, Spark from CBC, Wiretap from CBC–although that’s not yet a podcast, I suppose–This American Life. Transom has a great podcast, as well as the Third Coast International Audio Festival.

    Do you have any recommendations, Rob?

  5. By Rob on Jun 19, 2009

    Katie — you nailed it. That’s what I subscribe to as well. Although, I would also add for your consideration:

    “Hmmmmm… Krulwich on Science” The Nature Stories podcast.
    Youthcast at PRX.
    Third Coast podcast.
    Sound Opinions from WBEZ — a show about rock ‘n’ roll.
    Radio Diaries
    American Radio Works.



  6. By Andrea on Jul 10, 2009

    I would love to listen to these pieces over my computer as I work–are these only available in podcasts?
    Thank you

  7. By robert on Jul 10, 2009

    Hi Andrea,

    At this point, Salt isn’t podcasting its pieces. However, you can find nearly all of the pieces produced by Salt students at our PRX account:

    Hope that helps. Thanks for listening.


  8. By Kerry on Aug 10, 2009

    I love this piece. Really nice work. The tone of the piece is reverential. So though there is little nat sound, I felt a connection to that place, the quiet slowness of it. Impressive.

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