WXXI AM News

Hélène Biandudi Hofer

Need to Know Host

Hélène Biandudi Hofer is host and producer of WXXI TV's Need to Know, an award-winning, half-hour weekly news and public affairs program. Hélène joined the station in September 2010 as the host of All Things Considered.

Before moving to Rochester, Hélène worked at the CBS Primetime show 48 Hours Mystery in New York City. While at CBS she contributed to several documentary specials for the network including the tragedy at Virginia Tech, the tribute to news icon Walter Cronkite, the inauguration of Barack Obama and the CBS/VOGUE Fashion’s Night Out program.

Hélène is a graduate of New York University’s Broadcast Journalism program. After graduation, she returned to her hometown, Columbus, Ohio, where she worked as an associate producer for WBNS-TV.

Ways to Connect

Lovely Warren says she never runs from a fight. On this edition of Need to Know we’ll hear how she plans to seek a re-election victory in a battle she anticipates will be a tough one - the battle for Rochester Mayor.

Also on the show, in the midst of weeks of anti-semitic rhetoric a Rochester woman shines a light and draws a deep connection between the Holocaust and the refugee crisis of today and she’s doing it through art. And our region happens to be home to some pretty brilliant young people. Don’t miss the launch of our new series Top of the Class. You’ll get to meet high school seniors making a lasting imprint. 

Watch Need to Know with host Hélène Biandudi Hofer Thursdays at 8pm on WXXI-TV, Channel 21.1 and Cable 11 or 1221.

There’s some debate over America’s favorite pastimes, but dining out, is holding its own next to football and binge-watching TV shows. Helene Biandudi Hofer recently visited a restaurant in Rochester hoping to solve any debate over where to eat. As she learned this isn’t just any restaurant, but a place where dreams and a mean dish of jerk chicken are being made every day.

For some, traveling throughout Rochester using anything but a car is unthinkable. For others, it’s a necessity, a way of life or a hope. According to national surveys and studies, including one from the Brookings Institution, people want more walkable cities in the US. In addition, Brookings found more than half of millennials surveyed want to live places where they don’t need access to a car.

Examining transportation and mobility issues is the focus of a film series called Rochester Street Films. The first event in the series this year takes place on March 15 with a focus on: “Moving Beyond the Automobile.” On this edition of Need to Know, leaders from the non-profit Reconnect Rochester (producer of Rochester Street Films) and filmmakers involved in the educational movie series discuss their short films and the work needed to create a community connecting all people through a robust transportation network.

In the media world, journalists aim to cover the news, not become news. They work to gain trust and access to key sources and stories, not become barred and banned from voices the public needs to hear from. Restricting media outlets from access to politicians, law enforcement agents, education leaders and others is an ongoing problem for journalists, including those in the Rochester region. On this edition of Need to Know, Rochester journalists and news directors dig into the access issue beyond the headlines as of late.

Barring access for some reporters to the White House isn’t new and it isn’t just a national media issue. On this edition of Need to Know local journalists and news directors explain how restricting access in the Rochester region ultimately impacts transparency and much more.

Have you ever tried getting around Rochester without a car? Three local filmmakers bring you into their world to get a glimpse of what it’s like to move beyond the automobile.

It was semi-retired renowned film critic and writer, Jack Garner, who said: “I’ve been on top of Mount Everest. I’ve flown around Big Ben with Peter Pan...and I’ve stormed the beaches of Normandy in Saving Private Ryan.” Garner says movies have the power to transport us to places we never imagined we could see or visit. And he says the key to a worthwhile journey for the movie-watcher is all about originality of ideas in the film. With the Academy Awards right around the corner, Jack Garner joins this segment of Need to Know to share his thoughts on the nominated films this year and the ones you must-see before Oscar night on Sunday, February 26.

There’s a growing trend in American schools: uniforms. For a number of public school students gone are the days of picking out your favorite outfits or feverishly searching for something to wear to school. This move has its share of critics and supporters. On this edition of Need to Know, WXXI’s Sasha-Ann Simons looks into area dress code changes and how they’re being received by kids and families.

When it comes to teen pregnancy, the US ranks substantially higher than other industrialized Western countries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the US has about 24 births per 1-thousand girls. The teen birth rate in Rochester is about 1.6 times the national rate and 2.5 times the rate in New York State. That’s according to the City of Rochester. But this is a story where the narrative is slowly changing. On this segment of Need to Know we examine where things stand now with Rochester’s historically high pregnancy rate, the risk factors, the link between teen pregnancy and poverty, and the innovative approaches being used to teach teens about pregnancy prevention.

Teen birth rates in the City of Rochester continue to hover above the national average. But those rates are also on the decline. On this edition of Need to Know you'll learn about the pregnancy-poverty connection and local innovative approaches working to change these stats.

Also on the show, there’s an increase in public schools around the country requiring school uniforms. But does this dress code help or hinder students? WXXI’s Sasha-Ann Simons explores what has become debate on school uniforms.

And one of the entertainment events of the year wouldn’t be complete without a little commentary from renowned former film critic Jack Garner. He’s talking Oscars and the movies you must see before the big night.

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