WXXI AM News

Evan Dawson

Connections Host

Evan Dawson joined WXXI in January 2014 after working at 13WHAM-TV, where he served as morning news anchor. He was hired as a reporter for 13WHAM-TV in 2003 before being promoted to anchor in 2007.

Evan is also the author of Summer in a Glass: The Coming Age of Winemaking in the Finger Lakes and is the managing editor/Finger Lakes editor for the New York Cork Report, a web site that offers independent news, reviews, and commentary about the New York wine industry.

He has written freelance articles on topics including politics, wine, travel, and Major League Baseball.

Ways to Connect

Weekend Connections is a collection of some of the most noteworthy moments from the week on Connections with Evan Dawson. This episode includes conversations about:

  • A local professor's trip to Iraqi Kurdistan and how she views oil as a human rights issue;
  • The dangers and realities of human trafficking;
  • SNAP and food options for people living in poverty;
  • The value of art.

The New York Times set off a kind of firestorm with a front-page story on food stamps, or SNAP benefits. The story pushed the claim that soft drinks are the number one purchase for households that use SNAP. It turns out that the Times did a rather loose job at interpreting the data, and critics say the article became a vehicle to malign Americans in poverty.

So we start there: what did the article get right, and what did it get wrong? And then we discuss the best ways to promote access to healthy food for everyone. Our guests:

  • Mitch Gruber, chief program officer for Foodlink
  • Mike Bulger, healthy communities coordinator for the Healthi Kids program at Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency  
  • Leverett Copeland, SNAP recipient and healthy living ambassador

Republicans are rapidly preparing to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Donald Trump said this week that it would be replaced with a program that would cover all Americans at a lower cost. Assuming this is impossible, there are significant questions about what the replacement for the ACA will be.

Our panel discusses what they know, what they don't, and what they think the big questions are regarding the next iteration of American health care. WXXI health reporter and producer Karen Shakerdge helps lead the discussion, along with our panel:

  • Dr. David Topa, pediatrician at Pittsford Pediatric Associates
  • Andrew Graupman, archaeologist concerned about losing health insurance
  • Dr. Brendan O'Connor, primary care physician at Unity Family Medicine at Chili Center

NPR

First hour: Laying out the questions that are still unanswered as the GOP moves to repeal the Affordable Care Act

Second hour: Understanding SNAP and promoting access to healthy food

Last May, RIT journalism professor Andrea Hickerson spent two weeks in Iraqi Kurdistan as part of a human rights delegation. This week, she published an op-ed explaining how that trip enhanced her view of the role of oil.

Specifically, Hickerson says the trip has offered perspective on Donald Trump's choice of Rex Tillerson to lead the State Department. Tillerson is the CEO of ExxonMobile, a company that Hickerson says "has abdicated and exploited villages in Iraqi Kurdistan." Trump himself said of Tillerson, at a D.C. dinner last night, "He's led this charmed life. He goes into a country, takes the oil."

We talk to Hickerson about what she saw on the ground, and how she feels the news media can better cover this issue.

The Community Design Center is launching its 2017 Reshaping Rochester Series, with a call for more civic engagement.  The new season of events is titled "Our City, Ourselves: Loving Where We Live."

The first event focuses on how to bring the arts to where they're needed most, to revitalize neighborhoods. We talk about how the arts are impacting Rochester neighborhoods, and we look at a successful endeavor in another city. Our guests:

  • Maria Furgiuele, interim executive director for the Community Design Center of Rochester
  • Helen Hogan, marketing and communications specialist
  • Gina Renzi, executive director of The Rotunda, and director of the 40th Street Artist-in-Residence Program

Andrea Hickerson

First hour: How art can revitalize neighborhoods

Second hour: An RIT professor's lessons from a trip to Iraqi Kurdistan

Did BuzzFeed make a mistake by publishing the entire dossier of unverified links between Donald Trump and Russia? Editor-in-chief Ben Smith says no; he errs on the side of sunlight, and he views BuzzFeed as part of a new kind of media paradigm. But traditional journalists have said it was a reckless decision, a mistake.

Our panel debates the decision, and the future of disseminating information. In studio:

  • Tianna Manon, editor-in-chief of Open Mic Rochester
  • David Riley, former government reporter for the Democrat & Chronicle
  • Jack Rosenberry, journalism professor at St. John Fisher College
  • Jim Memmott, journalist with the Democrat & Chronicle and professor at the University of Rochester

Human trafficking is real, and it's here in Rochester. How can we spot red flags and potential victims? Our panel discusses misconceptions and realities regarding human trafficking. How does it start? Who is targeted?

We also preview local events -- including the "Human Trafficking: A Rochester Problem Too" conference at St. John Fisher College -- and discuss an acclaimed novel called Little Peach. The author, Peggy Kern, will be part of a panel discussion in Rochester that will include representatives from Hillside Family of Agencies, Bivona Child Advocacy Center, and the Center for Youth. Our guests:

  • Jennifer Wolfley, human trafficking victim, founder and director of outreach services for the Paperbag Ladies, and criminal justice professor at RIT
  • Celia McIntosh, chair of the Rochester Regional Coalition Against Human Trafficking (RRCAHT)
  • Tanya Conley, supervising attorney at Legal Aid Attorney for the Child Program
  • Mary Whittier, founding executive director of Bivona Child Advocacy Center
  • Peggy Kern, author of the young adult novel, Little Peach

First hour: The misconceptions and realities surrounding human trafficking in Rochester

Second hour: Debating BuzzFeed's decision to publish the Trump/Russia dossier

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