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!


As our nation gets decked out in red white & blue to celebrate Independence Day, have you ever wondered what qualifies as the most patriotic song? I do think about these things. It’s the rabbithole I usually find myself going doing when sitting in 100 degree heat watching a parade go by while waving a little flag and slowing dying of heatstroke.

The Jefferson Reality

Jun 30, 2016

Anyone paying attention to politics lately has noticed that small changes barely seem worth the trouble anymore. Congress can’t be bothered to make laws. The Supreme Court is pushing cases back to the states the way an infant refuses his creamed carrots. American voters have forgotten that lofty goals are usually accomplished with tiny steps.

Untempered by realism, we’ve been hearing a lot about abolishing the IRS, providing free college, building unscalable walls. Breaking through a glass ceiling seems quaintly mundane when the sky’s the limit.

Forest Fieldnotes

Jun 30, 2016

 As I sit writing this in early June, the thermometer has already shot up into triple digits for the first time this year, and I heard thunder in the distance yesterday evening. With a now-familiar sense of mild dread, I realized fire season is upon us once again. 

This is the reality we live with each summer, those of us who inhabit northern California and southern Oregon. The temperature goes up, the forests dry out and each thunderstorm has us casting anxious glances toward the mountains, scanning for the telltale column of smoke that tells us wildfire has come to visit again.

Nature Conservancy

Last year was the most expensive wildfire season ever. Federal agencies alone spent more than $2 billion on suppressing fires in 2015 and an estimated 2,500 homes were lost. This trend has been on the rise since the mid-1990s and continues to pick up steam.               

Is there any end in sight?

My Camino

Jun 29, 2016

I learned an important thing last summer. Everyone walks their own Camino.

Daughter Mae has been living and working in Prague, Czech Republic for the past two years. She’s been teaching English and, in my view, attending a kind of finishing school.  It wasn’t an easy transition, but she figured out housing, transportation and work in a foreign country, all on her own. See what I mean about “finishing school?”

Ah, Lost In Venice

Apr 28, 2016

I'm lost somewhere within the tangle of narrow streets in Venice, Italy. There are signs high up on the walls of the crowded buildings looming claustrophobically above where the only clear direction is straight up into a bright slit of blue sky. But signs are of no use when you don’t know precisely where you are nor where, exactly, you are going.

As you might imagine, JPR gets a fair amount of listener feedback. A recent email from one listener criticized JPR for an episode of RadioLab we aired which this listener contended was the final straw that proved JPR supported the proliferation and use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). GMOs have been a hot topic in recent years, both regionally and nationally, with bans approved by voters in Jackson and Josephine counties and the narrow defeat of an Oregon statewide GMO food labeling initiative in 2014.

Jenny Graham | Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Between a pair of imposing pillars hangs an elaborately wrought-iron gate, at its center a bear’s head shield. Suddenly the bear lets out a mighty growl, recalling the MGM lion’s roar, and the gate, a projection, gives way to one of those scratchy old-time newsreels with the headlines MOVIELAND MELANCHOLY and TRAGEDY AT SEA.

Spotlight won this year’s Academy Award for Best Picture, but the story portrayed is slipping slowly into the fiction category. The sort of investigative journalism dramatized in the film is disappearing.

Michael Keaton plays a newspaper editor in charge of the investigative journalism unit at the Boston Globe in 2001. When they uncover a child-abuse scandal inside the Catholic Church, each reporter wrestles with how the revelations will affect their lives and neighborhoods.

April 7–11 marks the 15th anniversary of the Ashland Independent Film Festival. The festival has grown from 73 films in four days at the beautiful art deco Varsity Theatre to more than 90 films and dozens of special events in five days across Ashland. AIFF16 will expand across town and across genres with films, live performances, and art installations at the Varsity, the Historic Ashland Armory, Ashland Street Cinema, the Ashland Springs Hotel, and new venues, ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum and the Schneider Museum of Art. 

Lessons From The Field

Mar 14, 2016

It’s around 10pm when I call Vicky, a crisis worker for victims of domestic violence in Del Norte County, California. I’m panicking, 150 miles away in Ashland. I’m afraid someone is going to get hurt tonight. Vicky listens calmly. She agrees to drive by an address near her neighborhood. It’s an address that shows up over and over in the Del Norte County 9-1-1 call logs. I came across it researching how law enforcement responds to reports of domestic violence in a county with the highest rate of domestic violence reports in California.

Domestic violence occurs in every region, in every part of society.

But economically-depressed rural areas often have a greater incidence of abuse and fewer resources to stop it.

For example, in Del Norte County -- nestled far behind the Redwood Curtain in California’s northwestern corner -- 911 calls about domestic violence come in at a rate eight times the state average.

More of these calls reached local law enforcement in 2015 than ever before. 

Late last year, I received another set of all of Beethoven’s symphonies and a student working here at JPR heard my sighs and asked what prompted them. I explained that we had been given yet another recording in a decades old tradition of one conductor recording all nine symphonies of Beethoven and our space is limited. Being an intelligent young man, he asked how I decide whether it is worth holding on to and since the station has many recordings of the same thing, how I determine what recordings go on the air.

I was recently reminded of the old proverb “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” when the controversial Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) was passed quietly in the night as an amendment slipped into the trillion dollar omnibus bill that prevented our federal government from running out of money and shutting down.

The stated purpose of CISA is somewhat vague: “To improve cybersecurity in the United States through enhanced sharing of information about cybersecurity threats, and for other purposes.”

Remembering OSF's Catherine E. Coulson

Mar 2, 2016
Oregon Shakespeare Festival

  For the opening night of Guys and Dolls last year, Catherine Coulson, who played the Salvation Army General, wanted to present her fellow cast members with an affectionate souvenir. Ever resourceful, she reached the secretary at the local Salvation Army office, who managed to locate a bag of wooden coins with the Salvation Army logo on them. At one time, they were awarded to donors who put money in the red pot at Christmas. Catherine was thrilled, but it happened to be the day after a chemo treatment, and she was feeling drained.

Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren | Wildreturn

Today I hiked along a forest trail near my home. Squirrels scolded, a raven croaked. I moved steadily on. Startled at my approach, a deer bounded away, labored up the loose soil of the steep little canyon, and disappeared. I barely paused. There is nothing here for me to fear, nothing for me to attend other than what I choose.

It was a proud moment in my young life… I walked into the Town Clerk’s office back in Coventry, Connecticut shortly after my 18th birthday and registered to vote for the very first time. In that place and that time, there was even a little ceremony around the event… the clerk made me raise my hand to be sworn in as a brand-new voter. And I was excited about the responsibility and the opportunity, even if the next major election was more than a year away, and the next presidential election nearly three years off. Voting meant something then.

Turning A Page

Mar 2, 2016

Welcome to JPR’s new member magazine, The Jefferson Journal! We consider The Jefferson Journal to be a natural evolution of The Jefferson Monthly, a publication JPR has produced and published since April, 1993. Going back to the JPR history vault even further, The Jefferson Monthly was the successor to The Guide to the Arts, which JPR first began publishing in March, 1977.


Some people—like my five-year-old—adore the holidays. Since we celebrate both Hanukah and Christmas in our house, Leone gets a winter two-for-one.

Presents! Treats! Snow forts! What’s not to love?