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!

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.

Independents’ Day

Mar 1, 2018
Photo courtesy of the Ashland Independent Film Festival

Richard Herskowitz is excited.

The Artistic and Executive Director of the Ashland Independent Film Festival talks with energy and enthusiasm about the upcoming seventeenth season, his third in charge. Despite his busy schedule, he is on time for our meeting, generous with information (he emails me with a follow-up before I’ve even left the room) and unfailingly courteous—he checked the time only once, right toward the end of my appointment, before rushing off to his next meeting—and genuinely seemed interested to know who I was and why I was involved with this story. 

Photo Courtesy of Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Either you are early for the theatre performance or you have time during the intermission, and decide not to switch on your cell phone for those all-important calls which have come in during the past hour, and you find yourself, instead, reading the Playbill.

For the most part, the Playbill makes sense. You know what the actors and musicians do – they have been onstage in front of you. And you have a fair idea of other roles, like director, designer, composer, stage manager etc. But ‘dramaturg’? What does a dramaturg do (and how do you even pronounce the word?

Forging Ahead

Mar 1, 2018

As we get our feet under the new year here at JPR, we’re looking ahead to a number of service improvements for listeners.

While projects change from year to year, our efforts to improve our service consistently focus on three main objectives: strengthening our technical plant to serve our current audience better and reach new listeners; improving our programming, both on radio and in digital platforms; and becoming more effective raising funds to support our work.

Our Wild And Scenic Rivers

Jan 3, 2018

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, a good round-number that begs for a retrospective view of what has been accomplished in the past half century, and also for an eye to the future with its prospects and challenges.

In southwestern Oregon and northern California we have Crater Lake National Park and Mount Shasta, seashores and redwoods, bugling elk and barking sea lions. All these natural highlights astonish, but every bit as extraordinary, we have rivers as ribbons of life connecting all our remarkable landscapes. 

I admire the skills of accomplished interviewers. The ability to formulate a logical set of questions that tells a concise, interesting story while cutting to the heart of a complex issue is truly an art. Add to this the interviewer’s role as an active listener who must be able to veer from a planned narrative direction when the interview subject reveals something unexpected or presents a complex or questionable set of data.

Has this ever happened to you? You call your __________ (spouse, sibling, boss) to discuss something important. Maybe it’s about an upcoming vacation. Maybe about the work you’ve just been assigned. You know how busy and distracted people are—and it’s the middle of the day—so you check first to make sure that now is indeed a good time to talk. They say yes, sure, and you think you have their full attention. 

And maybe you do.

But not for long. 

It’s been an interesting time to work in public media. On the up side, there’s been an amazing renaissance in the oral tradition.

Podcasts, public radio and other on-demand audio platforms have attracted new and younger audiences for the art of audio storytelling, fueling a surge in the innovative and creative work of artists, journalists and audio producers. 

Jenny Graham | Oregon Shakespeare Festival

There is a special pleasure in being in the audience for the opening of the Elizabethan Theatre at OSF. For many people, open air Shakespeare is the very heart of the Festival, tapping into its historical roots. For others, it is an opportunity to dress up, to catch the first Green Show, to see and to be seen!

This particular season of plays under stars began with The Merry Wives of Windsor, directed by Dawn Monique Williams, a production which was a complete delight, a riot of color, of energy and of joy. 

Jes Burns | OPB/EarthFix

The Kids Are Alright

Sep 1, 2017

Kids making music is not a new concept. Michael Jackson was a child star, so was Justin Timberlake. Prodigies like Sierra Hull and Sarah Jarosz have been making great acoustic music since their teens. 

Watching Jim Acosta from CNN at work is both fascinating and grueling. As the White House correspondent for his network, his job is to lob questions about matters facing the country at both White House representatives and the president himself. And it can’t be easy to stand there and take the abuse when President Donald Trump declares “you are fake news” in response to a question. 

To Acosta’s credit, he stands his ground and continues to ask his questions, knowing the responses may be incomplete at best and hostile at worst.