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

Walt Disney. Women of the Maassia tribe. Models. Children. Landscapes. There seems to be no shortage of people, moments, and memories captured by legendary Kodak photographer Neil Montanus. The man whose images have been seen and celebrated by millions around the world is now celebrating a rebirth of sorts in his career….at age 90. Just before his special exhibition, Neil Montanus joins this edition of Need to Know with his son Jim Montanus – a fellow photographer and owner of Montanus Gallery.

There’s a movement taking place across the country and it’s spreading throughout the world. It’s an EcoDistrict movement. This may be a little known term for many, but if it’s successful in Rochester, the local effort could serve as a model throughout our region and the state. But what is an EcoDistrict, why do we need it and how can it really regenerate urban areas such as Rochester?

If they’re successful they can create jobs, serve as an answer to unmet needs in the market and bring about social change. In cities, they’re also a key factor for growth both in population and income. So what’s happening now in the City of Rochester to make the landscape appealing for urban entrepreneurs and is it working? In this Need to Know segment we’ll hear from Ebony Miller Wesley, Interim Director of RIT’s Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Heidi Zimmer-Meyer, President of Rochester Downtown Development Corporation (The Commissary).

The City of Rochester is in the midst of a transformation and one demographic could be a game-changer in reshaping the regional economy. The story of the urban entrepreneur on this edition of Need to Know.

Speaking of transformation, there’s a belief that city renewal begins in neighborhoods. Turns out a downtown neighborhood in Rochester is the first in the state to serve as a model for social, economic and ecological innovation. That’s later on the show.

And he’s photographed everyone from Walt Disney to Gerald Ford. His images have been seen and revered by millions around the globe. A local legendary Kodak photographer joins us before his special exhibition in Rochester. 

On the next Need to Know, could urban entrepreneurship help reshape the city of Rochester?  We’ll learn about the multi-layered impact of urbanpreneurs on our community and if they can help revive economic growth.

Also on the show, his photographs have been seen by millions around the world. We’ll meet with a legendary Rochester photographer just before a special exhibition.

Need to Know airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV

There are places in our country where no violent felony cases have gone to trial in five years. There are also places where poor defendants are incarcerated up to seven times more often than non-poor defendants for the same type of drug crimes. These are all findings from a soon-to-be-released online data portal that compares how the criminal justice system is working and performing in counties throughout the U.S. It was created by Rochester-based nonprofit Measures for Justice. Amy Bach the Founder and Executive Director of joins this edition of Need to Know.

Some say “third time’s a charm” and mayoral candidate Alex White hopes there’s some truth to that saying. The Green Party candidate is on his third run for mayor of Rochester. Why? Because he says things in the city are not getting better. From issues of poverty and minimum wage to public safety and tax breaks, White says he has a vision that will bring change to some of the city’s long-standing issues if he’s elected. Alex White joins this edition of Need to Know to talk about what makes him stand out among the pack of contenders in this year’s race. 

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.

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