WXXI AM News

Megan Mack

Connections Producer

Megan Mack the producer of Connections with Evan Dawson and Unleashed: The Pet Show. She joined the WXXI News team from WHEC-TV, where she produced newscasts and The Olympic Zone, and from the University of Rochester, where she served as an assistant director of public relations. Her background extends to television sports and entertainment, and to communications and social media management for non-profits.

Megan earned her B.S. in Television-Radio-Film from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and her B.A. in Italian Language, Literature, and Culture from the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University. She is also a graduate of The Second City’s Conservatory program.

Ways to Connect

Weekend Connections is a collection of some of the most noteworthy moments from the week on Connections with Evan Dawson. This episode includes conversations about:

  • Black Lives Matter and sanctuary counties, with Monroe County Sheriff-elect Todd Baxter;
  • Sexual harassment and abuse in the context of women's history;
  • The medical benefits of birth control, and the Trump administration's efforts to allow employers to deny coverage;
  • R.E.M.'s Automatic for the People, and the impact of "Everybody Hurts."

What are your thoughts on charter schools? That question garners many different answers, and it is one of the most polarizing subjects we can discuss on the program. This hour, we preview a documentary called Backpack Full of Cash. It will be screened at The Little Theatre on November 30, and it explores how different cities have privatized their schools, and the impact that move had on their public schools.

This hour, we discuss the costs and benefits of charter schools, the impact on public school funding, and how to create schools that work well for all students. Our guests:

We discuss a difficult, often grim, but vital issue this hour: when people with disabilities are murdered by their caregivers or family members. According to the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, more than 400 people with a disability were murdered by a family member or caregiver in the last five years. In court, perpetrators often receive lighter sentences, and when these crimes are covered in the media, they are frequently described as "mercy killings."

Disability rights advocates are calling for change. They say when the justice system and the media handle murders of this nature in these ways, they dehumanize victims. We discuss the impact on the disability community with our guests:

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich is the author of many books, and she coined the phrase "Well behaved women seldom make history." She's a feminist historian who is the 300th Anniversary University Professor at Harvard University, where she teaches courses in American history and women’s studies.

Thatcher Ulrich is in Rochester for an event titled “Curiosities: History in Odd Things” at the University of Rochester's Rush Rhees Library. But first, she's our guest on Connections.

There's a new sheriff in town. Todd Baxter won a resounding victory over longtime incumbent Patrick O'Flynn in Monroe County. Sheriff-elect Baxter joins us to talk about his priorities going forward. 

First hour: Monroe County Sheriff-elect Todd Baxter

Second hour: Author and historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

The Trump administration's proposed tax plan would eliminate the federal historical tax credit, and this has many local preservationists concerned about the future of saving historic buildings in our area.

We discuss what eliminating the tax credit could mean for those properties. In studio:

  • Larry Francer, associate director of preservation for the Landmark Society of Western NY
  • Daniel Mackay, deputy commissioner for historical preservation at the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
  • Dan McEneny, public outreach coordinator for the New York State Division for Historic Preservation
  • Patrick Dutton, local developer focused on Downtown Rochester

A family doctor in Washington, D.C. recently wrote a piece for the Federalist entitled "Stop Denying Science, Birth Control Isn't Necessary for Women's Health." The piece has led to backlash among the medical community, with doctors saying there is well-established evidence of the benefits of birth control as medication.

We discuss the science with one of the most outspoken women's health advocates in the country, Dr. Jen Gunter, along with two local doctors. Our guests:

  • Dr. Jen Gunter, M.D., San Francisco Bay area OB/GYN
  • Dr. Tara Gellasch, M.D., chief of medicine at United Memorial Medical Center
  • Dr. Sarah Betstadt, M.D., associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Rochester Medical Center

First hour: The benefits of birth control as medication

Second hour: The possible impacts of eliminating the federal historic tax credit

What can hospitals learn from the airline industry? Pilot and author John Nance says they can improve their quality of care and reduce medical mistakes if they adapt safety measures designed for airlines. He joins us in studio to explain how it would work.

  • John Nance, author of Why Hospitals Should Fly, and a lawyer, pilot, veteran, and ABC News analyst
  • Amie Kulak, director of quality and education for Rochester Regional Healthcare Association
  • Nancy Tinsley, president of Rochester General Hospital

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