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

Danielle Bainbridge never thought she would be a YouTube star -- in fact, she never thought she'd even like YouTube. But now, the Yale doctoral student is the host of "The Origin of Everything," a popular series from PBS Digital Studios. The show traces the roots of different traditions, methods of communication, historical myths, and more.

Bainbridge joins us to discuss her show, education in American schools, the importance of diversity in media, and more. 

After every mass school shooting, reports show an increase in calls and interest in homeschooling. The number of families choosing to homeschool has doubled since 1999, when Columbine happened. Today roughly 3.4% of American children are homeschooled. Are mass school shootings the reason for this increase? The data isn't clear, but some parents say they've made the switch because they have concerns about their children's safety.

We discuss the issue with our guests:

  • Rosa Marie, educator for Marvelous Mind Academy
  • Anna Hubbel, editor of the Webster Herald who was homeschooled
  • Scotty Ginett, LGBTQ community leader, and chief of strategic relationships at One Path Career Partners who was homeschooled
  • Elizabeth Broadbent, homeschooling mother

pbs.org

First hour: Do concerns about school safety lead to more homeschooling?

Second hour: Danielle Bainbridge, host of "The Origin of Everything"

A new play at Geva Theatre tackles war, immigration, the refugee experience, and the gray area between right and wrong. “Heartland” is the story of an Afghan refugee and an American professor who form an unexpected friendship. It’s a production that speaks to the value theater can have in helping audiences understand the human stories behind political issues.

Our guests discuss the play, and how the arts can help us understand our world. We also preview Geva’s 46th season. In studio:

Does Rochester have to consider climate change or environmental sustainability when designing its urban spaces? That question has a more obvious answer in places like Miami Beach, where climate change is already impacting where people can live, and how. But what about Rochester? What does sustainability mean here, especially when we think about our urban spaces? 

The Community Design Center of Rochester is getting ready for their next event in the Reshaping Rochester series, and they have a designer with a distinguished and somewhat unusual resume. Mark Dawson is one of just eleven national members for the American Society of Landscape Architects' blue ribbon panel on climate change. He's in Rochester to discuss the evolution of civic parks and open space design over the last several decades.

We sit down with Dawson to discuss trends in urban design, how architects can respond to climate change, and more. In studio:

First hour: How architecture and urban design can address climate change

Second hour: How the arts can address political issues

Are sitcoms dying? As TV habits continue to change, viewers are moving further away from appointment viewing and the days of “Must-See TV.” But with the return of shows like Will & Grace, Roseanne, and others, could the sitcom be making a comeback? Or is the format back, but are we watching it in different ways?

We discuss the future of TV viewing with our guests:

  • Todd Sodano, associate professor of media and communication, and director of the Film and Television Studies Program at St. John Fisher College
  • Katie Libby, freelance writer and pop culture enthusiast
  • Juan Vazquez, digital engagement facilitator for WXXI News
  • Joy Press, author of Stealing the Show

The Olympic and Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang are now in the books, and like after many Olympics, a number of think pieces have cropped up online asking the question, “Do the Games still matter?” Between the inflated costs of bidding to become a host city, to constructing venues that often become white elephants after competition, to dwindling ratings on television, many people say the Olympics are more trouble than they're worth. But others point to more positive effects: the surge of interest in sports following the games, boosts in national pride, and the potential to introduce new parts of the world to those who may not otherwise see them.

What do you think? Are the Olympics still relevant? Our guests weigh in:

First hour: Are the Olympics still relevant?

Second hour: Are sitcoms dying?

Author Reyna Grande says there are voices missing from the conversation about immigration reform -- those of undocumented children. Grande crossed the border into the U.S. from Mexico when she was nine years old. In her new memoir, The Distance Between Us, she writes about the extreme poverty she and her siblings experienced in Mexico, and why a chance at a better life in the U.S. ripped her family apart. It's a true story of trauma, struggle, and hope - one that Grande says she hopes will help change misconceptions about immigrants in the U.S.

The Distance Between Us has been selected by Writers & Books for this year's Rochester Reads program. Grande will be in Rochester for a series of events this week, but first, she joins us on Connections. Our guests:

  • Reyna Grande, author of The Distance Between Us
  • Karen van Meenen, coordinator of the Rochester Reads and Debut Novel Series programs at Writers & Books

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