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!

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.

Pepper Trail

I’m big into names. As a professional ornithologist and a lifelong naturalist, I’ve spent years learning the names of things. 

That drab little yellow-green bird skulking in the bushes? It’s an Orange-crowned Warbler, Oreothlypis celata. What about the bushes? They’re snowberry, Symphoricarpos albus. And the bee buzzing among their flowers? Why, it’s a yellow-faced bumble bee, Bombus vosnesenskii (say that one five times fast!).

Pushing People Up

Sep 1, 2017

In the alphabet soup of public broadcasting acronyms, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), often takes a back seat to more familiar organizations like NPR, PBS and even well established local stations.

Ok, I get it. I'm not 25 or 40 anymore and have no business teaching the Irish Jig to high school students. Oh I can “teach” the jig, I just shouldn't probably “do” the jig. I have written before about brain age vs. ligament age; how if you haven't played kick ball in 45 years, you should consult with your doctor and/or undertaker before getting out on the field and playing like you did in '68, but sometimes I don't listen to my own advice. Like most of us.

Moving Forward

Jun 29, 2017

It’s been a busy time at JPR with numerous projects moving forward. I thought it might be useful to share a glimpse of some of the major initiatives and developments in which we’ve been engaged that will allow us to advance our service to the region. 

Federal Funding

Oregon Braces For The Solar Eclipse

Jun 29, 2017

 Oregon’s Public Lands Could Face The Brunt Of Solar Eclipse Visitors

By Amanda Peacher / OPB

Smith Rock State Park naturalist Dave Vick peered through his spotting scope perched on a red rock cliff. He pointed the scope toward a tall ponderosa pine, spotting a downy mass in the middle of a 6-foot-wide nest. Inside was a 2-week-old bald eagle, or eaglet, named Solo because he was the only hatchling in this year’s brood.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Gentle readers. Thank you so much for stopping by. I have been writing about plays and books for decades but, until this moment, only for academic journals which, for the most part, have provided me with no feedback. Now, dear readers, I have you, and I thank you in advance for letting me know what you think: my email address is at the foot of this piece.

I’m conscious of following in the footsteps of the wonderful Molly Tinsley who has written with such distinction in this journal and its predecessor. And so, with no little trepidation, I plunge into my task.

The rich history of volunteer service at Jefferson Public Radio stretches back to the earliest days of the station. As we evolved into three separate services, there was need for folks willing to come in to run things for a few hours a week or to host programs like the Jazz Sunday and Folk Show. Part of my job when I arrived at JPR in 1998 was to supervise about 30 volunteers to do just that; but as the station has become more automated, fewer opportunities were available for people to help out off the air.

I have this somewhat naïve idea — gained from coming up as a journalist during a simpler time — that it’s my job to act as a principled civic go-between. 

I’m supposed to find out the kind of information that you, as a citizen, need to understand the various institutions that affect your life. And then I’m supposed to communicate that information to you, in a clear, informative and hopefully enjoyable way. That’s my basic job description.