Jefferson Journal

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 about finance, health and food from NPR.   The magazine also includes program listings for JPR's network of radio stations. The publication's bi-monthly circulation is approximately 10,000.  To support JPR and receive your copy in the mail each month become a Member today!

Getting To Know You

Jan 3, 2019

When listeners meet me for the first time, they usually say “it’s nice to put a face to the voice.” I could practically say the same thing of them; when I’m on air, I feel like I’m speaking to a faceless void, an empty room. But I got to see a lot of faces for the first time during Jefferson Public Radio’s open house this fall. I never thought that I’d have a job interesting enough that people would want to tour my desk space, so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw huge groups of people lining out our door to learn more about their local public radio station.

Photo Courtesy of Oregon Shakespeare Festival

It was a sunny October afternoon when I arrived for my appointment with Bill Rauch. I was early and, as I waited, I saw Bill walk from the Admin building to the Bowmer and reappear ten minutes later.

When Jean Houston attended her 60th college reunion, she says her classmates didn’t recognize her. “You must be Jean Houston’s granddaughter,” one crowed. “Where’s your grandma?”

I’m Jean Houston,” Houston, who graduated from Barnard College in 1958, insisted. Her classmate, incredulous, called over another alumna. 

“You’re too young to be Jean Houston!” the other friend scoffed.

NPR Head Steps Down

Jan 1, 2019
Steven Voss | NPR

In early December, NPR chief executive Jarl Mohn announced that he would be stepping down as head of the network this coming June. In the years before Mohn took the helm at NPR, the NPR chief executive was a relatively distant and disconnected player for most local public radio stations. 

When I was in high school, we “kidnapped” the Spanish teacher’s favorite stool and sent him ransom notes stipulating terms for its safe return. This was during the Patty Hearst era—which isn’t funny, I know—but we had a great time cutting out letters from magazines and leaving the cleverly written ransom notes in his teacher’s box in the office. We dressed the stool in a wig and dark glasses and took pictures which we included in the notes.

A Contemporary Heritage

From Peter Britt, who grew grapes in Jacksonville in 1855 to the establishment of the Rogue Valley Vintners in 2018, Southern Oregon’s wine industry has come a long way. Southern Oregon is recognized today for growing high quality grapes and producing delicious wines with care and thoughtful intention. The region’s wine industry is robust and mature, yet not without challenges. 

Forged deep in a crucible of earth and brought toward the surface in a river of magma, diamonds are the hardest known naturally occurring substance. Their scarcity creates value and value often leads to conflict. 

For reporters in southern Oregon and northern California, late summer to early fall has traditionally been “fire season.” In the newsroom, nobody gets to take vacation between July 15 and September 15; it’s all hands on deck.

That often means long days in the field and long days on the phone, tracking down the latest updates on the fires affecting JPR listeners. 

Jenny Graham | Oregon Shakespeare Festival

As I write, the 2018 OSF season is drawing to its close, and a sad close at that. The heavy financial losses resulting from smoke-affected performances have brought in their wake a restructuring process which has led to the loss of some sixteen positions among the company.

Although turnover in staff is inevitable in such a large organisation and will often be welcomed, in this case the speed of the change and its enforced nature is a cause for considerable concern, not only for those directly affected but for the OSF community as a whole. 

Great Leap Forward

Oct 31, 2018

The last few months have seen enormous changes for all of us at JPR.  Moving into a new broadcast facility after 48+ years in a basement has been more than just a change of scenery. (Psst: We now HAVE scenery!) It’s been a major overhaul of nearly aspect of how we operate. From control rooms to production spaces to expanded offices, we’ve got room to breathe for the first time in ages.

We’ve always felt that living in this beautiful, rural part of the country shouldn’t preclude us from accessing the very best content that public radio has to offer. 

Over the course of the last year, there has been a conversation taking shape among NPR and member stations to define the “culture of journalism” that exists within our national public radio system. 

Central to this conversation are several questions being discussed by journalists and public radio leaders from across the public media landscape. A piece written earlier this year by NPR Standards and Practices Editor Mark Memmott lays out these questions:

• Is there a “culture of journalism” at NPR and those member stations that operate local newsrooms?

Jenny Graham | Oregon Shakespeare Festival

“Snow in Midsummer?” said the lady at the box office as she handed me my tickets, adding “I wish!” 

And there was a certain irony in the fact that the final production of this OSF season which is concerned, among other things, with strange weather phenomena, should open when the Rogue Valley was experiencing the uncomfortable and dangerous effects of heat and smoke. Indeed, as audience members walked into the Angus Bowmer Theatre, signs outside informed us that the outdoor production that night had been cancelled.

Recordings seem to offer us a double promise: they can bring us closer to the music we love, and music can be caught and made as durable and solid as any sculpture. But if a share of the power of music lives in its being transient and fleeting, or momentous, limited, and already disappearing, maybe those two promises work against one another. Recordings can bring us closer, but they can’t make music stay. Music lives in time as it passes and in sound softly falling away.

Game Of Drones

Sep 1, 2018

The attempted assassination of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro last month using a pair of drones armed with explosives made international headlines and is a harbinger of future high-profile attacks using common drones.

Of course drones have been being used to kill people for many years now. Since 9/11, the US government has carried out hundreds of drone strikes against terrorist targets in Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan, and Yemen.

A New Normal

Sep 1, 2018

During the past several weeks, the JPR news department has been at work covering one of the most active and destructive fire seasons in Southern Oregon and Northern California history.  

“Although the fact that fire has always been an important ecological factor is recognized to a certain extent by most foresters, many of them disregard or minimize the possibility of utilizing fire as a silvicultural agent in the management of ponderosa pine forests.”

— Harold Weaver, Journal of Forestry, 1943

On a cool spring morning outside Sisters, Oregon, the Wolf Creek Hotshots weaved their way through ponderosa pines, drip torches in hand.

My sister and I fought nearly every day for the first twenty years of our lives. She is thirteen months older than I and could land both a physical and verbal punch better than a Muhammad Ali. 

I gave as good as I got but I could never match her ability to flatten me with a well-placed left hook or an ironic barb worthy of George Carlin.

Dan Wynn, ©Elisabeth Wynn and courtesy of the James Beard Foundation

The year 1903 may be best known as the year that the elephant Topsy was filmed while being electrocuted on Coney Island, or as the year that Ford Motor Company sold its first Model A to a dentist in Chicago. It was also the year Wilbur and Orville Wright, two brothers famous for their bickering, successfully flew the first powered airplane the world had ever seen. 

Jenny Graham | Oregon Shakespeare Festival

I’m not a great fan of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s adaptations of English novels. It is difficult to encompass the narrative scope of a novel in two hours traffic on the stage—and then, there are the accents: I sit in the darkness hoping that all will be well, and that the actors will have found a way to sound English. (I actually spend a good deal of time in the theatre being anxious—I so want productions to succeed.—but more of that anon.)

Good Listening

May 1, 2018

Over the past several years, I’ve written extensively in this space about collaborations that have been developing among public radio stations and NPR which are creating better and more efficient news coverage for public radio listeners. The idea is pretty simple—local stations and NPR can accomplish more with fewer resources if we work together, share content and create an organizational framework to coordinate and leverage the work of our journalists and reporters.