John Poole

John W. Poole is a multimedia producer for NPR. He makes documentary films and multimedia presentations for the web and digital platforms, extending the reach and power of traditional photojournalism with moving pictures and sound.

In 2007, Poole came to NPR to help develop a visual media strategy, combining the organization's audio storytelling strength with still and motion photography. His work has led to two national Emmy nominations for the NPR Music series 'Project Song' and one for an investigative series on traumatic brain injury.

Over his 15-year career, Poole has covered a range of subjects, including national elections in South Africa and the United States, the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and their aftermath, the effects of global climate change, and conservation issues in Peru and Namibia.

Poole was part of a small team of visual journalists who developed the documentary video department at The Washington Post in 1998. That work was recognized with the first-ever Edward R. Murrow award for multimedia journalism in 2004.His work on a feature story about violinist Joshua Bell contributed to a Pulitzer Prize in 2008.

The White House News Photographers Association has honored Poole with more than 20 awards for his work, including the 2005 Video Editor of the Year. His film, "The Sheriff of Gay Washington," produced for The Washington Post, screened in festivals across the country and was optioned by HBO Documentary Films in 2006.

For most of human history, we had a lot of bad ideas about how we were getting sick. We also had plenty of bad ideas about how to prevent it, like bloodletting, drilling large holes in the head and drinking arsenic.

We really only started to figure out how to effectively fight infectious disease about 200 years ago, when, inspired by milkmaids, a doctor named Edward Jenner decided to take a closer look at a promising folk remedy - the surprising details we'll leave for the video.

Ten thousand years ago, at the dawn of the agricultural revolution, many of our worst infectious diseases didn't exist.

Here's what changed.

Humans get along pretty well with most microbes. Which is lucky, because there are a lot more of them in the world than there are of us. We couldn't even live without many of them. But a few hundred have evolved, and are still evolving, to exploit our bodies in ways that can make us really sick. These are the microbes we call germs. Think plague, flu, HIV, SARS, Ebola, Zika, measles.

This is a series is about where germs come from. In this first of three episodes, we see what our early encounters with germs may have been like — and how germs first got the upper hand.

The world's girls are healthier than ever. They live longer and more of them are going to school than at any time in history.

But most of them face discrimination simply because they are girls. The discrimination happens at every point in their lives.

In some cases, it starts even before they're born, when parents decide to abort a pregnancy if the fetus is female.

Why do we humans like to play so much? Play sports, play tag, play the stock market, play duck, duck, goose? We love it all. And we're not the only ones. Dogs, cats, bears, even birds seem to like to play. What are we all doing? Is there a point to it all?

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