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

Harvey Weinstein's fall has reignited conversations about abuse of power, and how men in power tend to be protected in various ways.

We discuss a range of related issues: how employment agreements can impact victims; what recourse victims have; how to change the culture of protection for predators. Our guests:

Can Rochester lure Amazon? What's the best way to improve city schools? Those are just some of the questions facing the next City Council, and we sit down with three more of the candidates:

First hour: Candidates for Rochester City Council, part 7

Second hour: The fall of Harvey Weinstein, and abuse of power in the workplace

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:

  • Access to water in South Sudan, with former Lost Boy, Salva Dut;
  • The value of settlement houses; 
  • How climate change can impact human health and nutrition;
  • How domestic violence impacts victims and families.

The movie It broke box office records for late summer, which means two things: Stephen King remains popular, and clowns remain horrifying. Okay, that second part is probably unfair, but Pennywise the Dancing Clown has cast a frightening figure in the film.

So why are we so afraid of clowns? It didn't start with the book version of It, which dropped in the mid-1980s. In facts, it goes way back in literature. But modern-day clowns want to make the case that we don't have to be afraid. We explore the history of our fears and the reality of this offbeat profession. Our guests:

  • Roscoe the Court Jester
  • Richard Hughson, member of Flower City Vaudeville
  • Sky Sands, comedian
  • Abby DeVuyst, librarian, improviser, and actor

Sometimes we hear generalizations about how city schools stack up to suburban schools. Things like, “the suburbs have more amenities.” Those might include arts, computer labs, performance spaces, athletic equipment, music. Are those generalizations fair, and will the facilities modernization bring the city schools more in line with other local districts? Or are those generalizations off base?

The Facilities Modernization Program is charged with updating and modernizing schools in the Rochester City School District. We find out what that means, and how tens of millions of dollars are being spent. Our guests:

  • Allen Williams, chair of the Rochester Joint Schools Construction Board
  • Michael Schmidt, vice chair of the Rochester Joint Schools Construction Board
  • Travis Miller, manager of the Business Opportunities Program for Savin Engineers

First hour: RCSD's Facilities Modernization Program

Second hour: The movie It, and perceptions of clowns

Reports of domestic violence in Monroe County are down for the sixth year in a row, but the rates are still higher than the state average. While there’s value in studying statistics when it comes to this issue, each report of intimate partner violence reflects how the life of someone in our community has been impacted by trauma. Victims of domestic violence suffer from visible and hidden burdens, and often find it challenging to seek help.

A new organization hopes to change that. We discuss how the HEAL Collaborative brings together social services and legal entities in our area to assist victims and their families. We also hear from survivors of domestic violence, who share their stories and discuss their road to recovery. In studio:

When you think about the effects of climate change, perhaps your mind goes to drastic weather events, air pollution, or rising sea levels, but what about threats to human health and nutrition?

Research shows that increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are decreasing the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables. This research isn't new. In fact, a small, but growing group of scientists has been stressing how CO2 can significantly impact plant growth and nutrition since the 1990s, but no one seemed to be listening. That’s all changing as more evidence becomes available.

We dive into some of the research, and discuss how climate change can affect our food supply and our health, both in the short and long term. Our guests:

  • Jane Andrews, nutrition and labeling manager for Wegmans Food Markets
  • Dr. Ted Barnett, M.D., founder and medical director of Rochester Lifestyle Medicine; founder and board chair of the Rochester Lifestyle Medicine Institute; and co-coordinator of the Rochester Area Vegan Society
  • Sue Hughes-Smith, member of the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition
  • Walter Nelson, horticulture program leader at Cornell Cooperative Extension 
  • Bob King, certified crop advisor with the American Society of Agronomy, and senior agriculture specialist in the Agriculture and Life Sciences Institute at Monroe Community College
  • Ruth Blackwell, owner of Mud Creek Farm

FREEIMAGES.COM/TSUNEI MIYUKI

First hour: The impact of climate change on human health and nutrition

Second hour: How domestic violence affects victims and communities

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