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A listener pinned down by the earthquake 6000 miles away: NPR

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All things considered listener Canice Flanagan points to Melissa Block’s report of an earthquake in China in 2008 as a story that had a dramatic effect on her.



AILSA CHANG, HOST:

With this program marking 50 years on the air today, listeners have shared moments they have heard here that have stayed with them.

AUDIE CORNISH, GUEST:

For Canice Flanagan of San Francisco, one such moment was in May 2008.

CANICE FLANAGAN: I remember hearing this and telling my boss, you won’t believe what I just heard on the radio.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

MELISSA BLOCK: What’s going on? The whole building is shaking. The whole building is shaking.

FLANAGAN: In the midst of an otherwise fairly ordinary interview, suddenly, that earthquake struck.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

BLOCK: Oh, my God. We are in the midst of an earthquake. The top of the church is falling down.

FLANAGAN: You’re like, the building is shaking, God (laughter).

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

BLOCK: The ground shakes under our feet and all the people run out into the street.

CHANG: Host Melissa Block was sent to Chengdu, China, to report. And while recording an interview, she found herself capturing a major tragedy: an earthquake that killed over 69,000 people in Sichuan province. Canice Flanagan still can’t get the account of that first moment out of her mind.

FLANAGAN: Listening to Melissa Block talk about questions about business, the environment, how the ground changes are moving, the building is moving, the church across the street is falling. The step by step of what he was observing was compelling.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

BLOCK: While we’re here, the birds fly. The ground undulates beneath my feet.

FLANAGAN: I’ve lived in San Francisco all my life. I’ve been in earthquakes. I was in Loma Prieta. And the ability to stay focused and measured was simply astounding. However, many years later, I still tell people, have you heard that report on NPR?

CORNISH: Listener Canice Flanagan and the story she will never forget about her 26 years of listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED – Melissa Block’s reportage in the middle of an earthquake in Chengdu, China.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE “VARIATION OF THE THEME OF DON VOEGLI ON THE THEME ALL THINGS CONSIDERED”)

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