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

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.

Kidney disease, diabetes, cerebral palsy, genetic disorders. These are a few of the many afflictions that biomedical scientist and professor Mark Noble and his team at the University of Rochester Medical Center are most interested in navigating. But the navigation is just one part of the equation, another is making discoveries that could possibly alter the treatment of health conditions with no sufficient therapies. Noble’s work spans everything from stem cell biology and medicine to research on drug repurposing. And he says it’s all in an effort to make the world a better place.

Reducing property taxes by 50%, increasing funding for childcare and offering fiber internet for all city homes. These are just a few of the priorities for Rochester mayoral candidate Rachel Barnhart. The former journalist and New York State Assembly candidate joins former Rochester Police Chief and current Monroe County legislator James Sheppard in the race for the city’s top seat. But Barnhart says when it comes to an actual plan to turn the city around she’s the candidate with an agenda.

As of now she’s the only candidate in the race for Rochester mayor with an actual platform. That’s according to mayoral candidate Rachel Barnhart. On this edition of Need to Know, Barnhart talks problems, priorities, and plans for Rochester if elected.

It’s a serious issue that continues to be a leading news topic. And it’s the focus of yet another executive order by President Trump. On this edition of Need to Know we’ll learn the latest on cybersecurity, what you need to be aware, and how businesses and individuals can protect themselves. 

While some support President Trump’s most recent executive orders, there are others who say they are confused and fearful. In particular those impacted by the President’s actions pertaining to immigrants and refugees. The four month suspension of the US Refugee Program and the 90-day travel ban into the US from seven muslim-majority nations hit home in more ways than one for a former refugee now US citizen living in Rochester. For Akil Al-Jaysh, it was reading about the dream described by Martin Luther King Junior that gave him hope when he came to the US in 2001. But he fears that American Dream could be vanishing.