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The Jefferson Journal is JPR's members' magazine featuring articles, columns, and reviews about living in Southern Oregon and Northern California, as well as articles from NPR. The magazine also includes program listings for JPR's network of radio stations.

The Path Ahead

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2021 was another doozy. The aftermath of a rugged national election that culminated in violence in our nation’s capital. Dashed hopes of a definitive end to the pandemic. And, a deepening political divide that has exposed the frayed threads that hold our democracy together.

As we usher in a new year here at JPR with cautious optimism (it’s gotta get better, right?), there are several themes that will guide our work and service to the region.

  •  Knowledge is Power.  We’ll continue to be a resource that elevates the power of facts, knowledge and critical thinking over the power of misinformation.  The destructive forces of misinformation that have been amplified by partisan “news” outlets and social media are now established parts of our information ecosystem and baked into our society.  We’ll need to address these forces head-on as an ongoing part of our work if we expect to make progress toward achieving the aspirations of the mission we share with NPR “to create a more informed public — one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas and cultures.”
  • Deeper Local News. We’ll expand and strengthen our local and regional journalism.  As the number of local journalists in communities across the country continues to decline due to the changing economics of the news business, we’ll add another full-time reporter in the coming year so that we can cover a wider range of issues and voices from a broader sweep of the communities we serve.  We’ll also seek to develop new collaborations with other journalism organizations that will help us leverage our resources to create deeper, more impactful work.
  • Paying It Forward.  We’ll actively work to mentor the next generation of journalists.  JPR is an ideal place to learn the craft of journalism – large enough to have a team of skilled professional colleagues from which to learn, yet small enough to gain practical experience covering a diverse array of issues.  We’ll continue working with Southern Oregon University students to provide meaningful experiential learning opportunities and also maintain our formal internship program with The Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism at the University of Oregon.
  • Bringing Stages Back To Life.  We’ll be a catalyst for the return of live music to stages across our region.  Losing live music events during the pandemic has been detrimental to artists, performance venues and audiences.  Through our own presenting activities, like the One World Performance Series, and by partnering with non-profit presenting groups and other venues, we’ll work to re-establish our region as a home for great live music while supporting the artists who create it.
  • More Local.  We’ll continue to partner with the many accomplished arts and cultural organizations in the region to create and broadcast compelling local programming.  Examples of this work include the radio/podcast special we produced and broadcast this past Halloween adapted from the Camelot Theatre’s production of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde and the holiday special we aired on December 24th that was adapted from The Collaborative Theatre Project’s production of Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Goose.

As we set our path for the coming year, we recognize the special relationship we enjoy with our listeners, who provide the resources we need, year after year, to do our best work. We’re truly grateful to be serving one of the most generous public radio audiences in the nation. Here’s to 2022 – may it be filled with the perfect balance of calm and excitement … and plenty of time to listen to great radio!

Paul Westhelle oversees management of JPR's service to the community.  He came to JPR in 1990 as Associate Director of Broadcasting for Marketing and Development after holding jobs in non-profit management and fundraising for a national health agency. He's a graduate of San Jose State University's School of Journalism and Mass Communications.