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

For 10 years Rochester has joined communities around the country to help do one thing: put an end to a word individuals with disabilities call offensive and derogatory - the R-word - meaning “retard” or “retarded.” It’s all part of an initiative spearheaded by the Golisano Foundation called: Spread the Word to End the Word. It’s linked to a national campaign launched by Special Olympics and Best Buddies. On this edition of Need to Know, we discuss the damaging impact of a word gone wrong.

He’s been described by some as one of President Trump’s most loyal defenders. So, in the midst of what seems to be a daily whirlwind of political news out of Washington, where does Congressman Tom Reed stand on some of the issues rocking our nation? Congressman Reed of New York’s 23rd District, which includes parts of Canandaigua and Geneva, joins this edition of Need to Know.

Fears of a trade war,  confusion over immigration, and questions about what’s next in the gun debate. On this edition of Need to Know, we’ll hear what Congressman Tom Reed has to say about some of the key issues of the day.

Also on the show, just one word can dehumanize, degrade, and disempower. The impact of that word and why some in the Rochester community are working to end the use of it for good.

This week a group of Rochester teens will perform a version of Shakespeare’s "Macbeth". But, this is not your typical "Macbeth" played by your typical actors. Many of the young people involved in the play are also involved in the juvenile justice system. Their co-actors? Members of law enforcement, teachers, therapists and community advocates. It’s all run through a program called Shakespeare from the Streets out of Hillside’s Reinvesting in Youth program. On this edition of Need to Know, we learn how the program is used as an intervention for at-risk teens.

#DELETEFACEBOOK is circulating throughout the social media hemisphere. Some say, there’s a good reason for that. You may have heard about the Facebook data scandal involving Cambridge Analytica. It’s a political consulting firm that does data analysis for the electoral process. So why the uproar? A whistleblower claims data was collected by Cambridge Analytica on about 50 million Facebook users for the purpose of psychologically profiling them and then sending them pro-Trump material before he was elected.

Social media attorney Scott Malouf says using any social media tool means we’re freely giving away information about ourselves. He says there are practical things we need to think about when we download an app or take a social media quiz.

She’s been called “trailblazer,” “fearless leader,” and “staunch advocate for women’s issues.” And this week, Rochester remembers the life and influence of the late Congresswoman Louise Slaughter. In the process of reflecting on that legacy, comes another challenge, the idea of moving forward and determining who will fill the late Congresswoman’s seat and become her successor. Joining this edition of Need to Know to explain the next steps in this process is former Rochester Mayor and friend of Congresswoman Slaughter, Bill Johnson.

As Rochester celebrates the life of the late Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, the difficult question to ask is: “What’s next?” She left quite an impressive seat to fill. What filling that seat looks like on this edition of Need to Know.

There is outrage over a data scandal at Facebook. We’ll also discuss what you need to know about the big trade-off when you drink “the social media juice.”

A group of at-risk teens in Rochester say Shakespeare, yes, Shakespeare is helping them learn about choices and consequences. We’ll learn about a unique intervention to help avoid incarceration.

This week rock star Eddie Money launched the world premiere of his own musical in Rochester. It’s called “Two Tickets to Paradise: The Eddie Money Musical,” which features the famed “Money Man” himself. The star whose recording career spanned from the late ‘60s through the ‘80s recently stopped by the Need to Know studio. He explained why it was important to share his story - the good, the bad and the near-death – through the medium of a musical for all to see.

President Trump took to Twitter earlier this week to praise the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The new federal tax bill was signed into law in December of 2017. On Twitter this Sunday, the President said: “4.2 Million hard working americans have already received a large bonus and/or pay increase because of our recently passed tax cut & jobs bill....And it will only get better!”

If that’s the case, why is New York Governor Andrew Cuomo threatening to sue the federal government over the tax law? On this edition of Need to Know we’re examining the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the confusion around the new law, and what it means for New Yorkers.

It’s received praise by some and disdain by others. On this edition of Need to Know, we’re talking about the new federal tax bill and the key points you need to know about with tax season now in full swing.

Also on the show, he says his life is an open book and he wants you to know the full story. Rock star Eddie Money visits the WXXI Studios to discuss the purpose behind his new musical premiering this week in Rochester.