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

He says Rochester needs to stop looking to others to save the city and marshall resources from within. Local businessman and mayoral candidate Alex White joins this edition of Need to Know to explain why he believes his vision will make a stronger Rochester.

Also on the show, a soon-to-be released data portal intends to bring transparency to the criminal justice system. It’s being called a groundbreaking tool for journalists and the public. We’ll learn how it works and what it reveals.

And we’ll take you to “Art-Fam,” a place where a Rochester artist and high school teacher helps students find their truth, own it and share it with the world.

News coverage including the youth voice, gauging the youth perspective, and digging into issues affecting our youth are of importance to WXXI and to Need to Know. Part of that coverage also means finding and reaching out to young people, in this case high school seniors, who are not only working hard to make the grade in school, but also want to make our community and our world a better place. This edition of Need to Know is the launch of our new series “Top of the Class” which will introduce viewers to these amazing young people. Greece Athena High School senior, Chima Dimgba, is the first student to be recognized in the series.

The race for Rochester mayor is a crowded one – but one candidate is hoping to differentiate himself from the pack. Alex white joins us in the studio to discuss why he believes he’s the best fit for Rochester.

Also on the show, a groundbreaking tool is being released to bring transparency to the criminal justice system. The Rochester attorney and journalist behind this work joins us to share the details.

For years Rochester resident Deborah Haber wanted to find a way to tell her parent’s story. Eventually she did, on a theatrical stage. It’s a story of one of the darkest times in world history. It’s a story of the implications of displacement for those facing persecution during the Holocaust. It’s a story of the power of a fighting spirit. And as the co-creator and producer of the musical Moses Man explains, it’s also a story that connects to our nation’s current political climate, from anti-semitic hatred to the refugee crisis. So what was once a personal story is now one that Haber wants to personalize for everyone and she’s doing it through a week-long multi arts event. Deborah Haber joins this edition of Need to Know to share more about Finding Home: Shine the Light (in Rochester March 23 - April 1).

There were rumblings she might make a run for Congress in 2016 by seeking the 25th Congressional District seat long-held by Democrat Louise Slaughter. But for now, Mayor Lovely Warren has her eyes set on another four years as the leader of the City of Rochester. And she’s got some competition. Monroe County Legislator James Sheppard, former television journalist Rachel Barnhart and businessman Alex White are all vying for the job of mayor. Is the work of her current tenure enough to pull off another victory? Mayor Lovely Warren joins this edition of Need to Know to to answer that question and more.

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.

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