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AMERICAN MOSAIC - Electronic Games for Women / Newport Jazz Festival / Jesse Owens - 2004-08-06

Broadcast: August 6, 2004


Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC, in VOA Special English.


This is Doug Johnson. On our show this week:

Girls and video games.

Music from the Newport Jazz Festival.

And a question about Jesse Owens, the black Olympian who competed in Nazi Germany.

Females and Video Games

Americans bought two hundred forty million computer and video games last year. All those electronic games added up to seven thousand million dollars in sales. Most of the game designers are male. Not surprisingly, so are most of the players. But as Bob Doughty reports, the industry says it wants to get more females interested and involved in its games.

BOB DOUGHTY: Next month, the first National Women’s Game Conference will be held in Austin, Texas. The conference is for anyone interested in the video and computer game industry. Discussions will examine the part that women play in the industry and the job situation for them. Conference goers will also discuss how games present women. The event is being produced by an industry group called the Game Initiative.

The Entertainment Software Association says thirty-nine percent of players are women. The average age of all players is twenty-nine. But experts say females enjoy different kinds of games than males do. Males generally like computer games with competition and some kind of violence. Females generally like games with cooperation and social interaction.

One series of games that many girls and women do like to play is The Sims. Sims are simulated people. Players guide groups of these electronic people through different situations and decide what they will do. There are game titles like The Sims House Party and The Sims Hot Date.

The company that produces them, Electronic Arts, says at least fifty percent of the players are women. A spokeswoman says the games are about building relationships, so they appeal to females. They must appeal to lots of players: The Sims is the best-selling computer game of all time.

Jesse Owens

DOUG JOHNSON: Our VOA listener question this week comes from Borno State, Nigeria. Adamu S. Onakpa asks about the life of American athlete Jesse Owens.

Jesse Owens may be in the thoughts of some American athletes this summer. Those athletes are preparing for the summer Olympic Games that begin next week in Athens, Greece. Jesse Owens competed in the summer Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany in nineteen-thirty-six.

Adolph Hitler was the leader of Germany at that time. He and his Nazi party believed that white people were the best race of people on Earth. They believed that other races were almost less than human, especially those with dark skin.

Jesse Owens was a black American. He said that he was not thinking about Hitler or the Nazis during the week he competed in four track and field events in Berlin. He became the fastest runner in the world.

Jesse Owens won the highest award – the Gold Medal -- in all four Olympic competitions he entered. He equaled the fastest time ever run in the one-hundred meter race. He set new Olympic records in the long jump and the two-hundred meter race. And he helped set a new world record for the four-hundred meter relay race as part of a four-man team. He was the first American in the history of the Olympic track and field events to win four Gold Medals in a single Olympics.

Jesse Owens returned to the United States a hero. But he struggled financially all his life. Later, in a book about his life, Jesse Owens wrote about the beliefs that had helped him gain athletic success. He wrote that people have a chance to succeed if they believe they can do it and really try. He said a person would probably fail without that belief.

Many other athletes also believe in themselves, and will try to become Olympic champions this month in Greece. In a few weeks, we will see if they succeed.

For more information about the life of Jesse Owens, listen to the Special English program “People In America” broadcast on Sunday.

Newport Jazz Festival

DOUG JOHNSON: The Newport Jazz Festival is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year. A party on August twelfth in Newport, Rhode Island, will honor many of the artists presented by the jazz festival over the years. And a special CD has been released. It is called “Happy Birthday Newport! Fifty Swinging Years.” Gwen Outen has more.

GWEN OUTEN: The Newport Jazz Festival was the first jazz festival in America. It presented live jazz performances outdoors during the summer in Newport, Rhode Island.

The first Newport Jazz Festival in nineteen-fifty-four was a huge success. Experts say it was one of the most important events in the history of jazz. In the past fifty years, the festival has presented some of the greatest American musicians. They include Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and John Coltrane.

The CD “Happy Birthday Newport!” has twenty-seven songs recorded by famous jazz musicians. Here is Louis Armstrong and His All Stars performing “Tin Roof Blues.” It was recorded at Newport in nineteen-fifty-six.


The CD “Happy Birthday Newport!” also includes a small booklet. It has photographs of the jazz artists and notes about the songs and performers. George Wein [pronounced ween] wrote the booklet. He started the Newport Jazz Festival and continues to produce it.

Ella Fitzgerald was one of the performers at the first Newport Jazz Festival. Here she sings “I’ve Got a Crush on You.”


George Wein says there are now probably one-thousand jazz festivals around the world. He says this year’s Newport Jazz Festival is honoring John Coltrane. The saxophonist died in nineteen-sixty-seven. We leave you with the John Coltrane Quartet performing “My Favorite Things.”


DOUG JOHNSON: This is Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed AMERICAN MOSAIC. Join us again next week for VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.

Our program was written by Shelley Gollust and Nancy Steinbach. Paul Thompson was the producer. And our engineer was Jim Sleeman.