Message from Here & Now

Here & Now regrets that historian Sarah Milov wasn’t given due credit in a recent segment with two historians from the BackStory podcast. We have worked to remedy the situation and invited Professor Milov onto our program when her book "The Cigarette: A Political History," is published. She accepted. Corrections were made to the text and audio story which is posted online at hereandnow.org. At this time, we’re reviewing our editorial process, including the use of attribution, with the BackStory podcast producers and historians. Accuracy is the top priority for Here & Now and WBUR. To that end, we will pause any more collaboration with BackStory until a full review is completed.

Circle Round Debuts "Summer Pop-Up" Series

Don't miss the new Circle Round episodes this summer - these podcasts are the perfect companions to bring on your next family road trip:

July 9: Summer Pop-up Series (recorded live at Tanglewood Music Center):

Celebrity reader Jane Kaczmarek (Malcolm in the Middle, CHiPs)
Celebrity reader Jane Kaczmarek (Malcolm in the Middle, CHiPs)

Kangaroo and Joey Too

Recorded live at Tanglewood Music Center to celebrate the opening of the Linde Center for Music and Learning, this Aboriginal story from Australia stars Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under, My Fair Lady), Thomas Sadoski (The Newsroom, Life in Pieces), Jane Kaczmarek (Malcolm in the Middle, CHiPs) and Campbell Scott (Singles, House of Cards), and imagines how the kangaroo got her indispensable pouch.

July 16: Summer Pop-up Series (recorded live at Tanglewood Music Center):

Practice Makes Progress

Lauren Ambrose, Thomas Sadoski, Jane Kaczmarek and Campbell Scott star in this folktale from the Antilles about a budding musician determined to go pro.

July 23: Summer Pop-up Series (recorded live at Tanglewood Music Center):

The Magic Bowl

Lauren Ambrose, Thomas Sadoski, Jane Kaczmarek and Campbell Scott star in a comedic yarn from Ghana and the West Indies about the dangers of greed and gluttony.

Explore all the Circle Round episodes on our website and listen on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.

WBUR Investigative Reporting Leads to Exoneration In Murder Trial

Through investigative reporting, WBUR played a key role in the exoneration of Darrell Jones after he served 32 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. WBUR Senior Reporter Bruce Gellerman led an initiative in which he found that Jones did not receive a fair trial for a murder conviction in 1986. In 2017, Jones was awarded a new trial after extensive litigation by a legal team that included attorneys John Barter, Neil Austin (law partner at Foley, Hoag), and Lisa Kavanaugh (director of the Committee for Public Counsel Services Innocence Program). Key evidence tracked down by Gellerman played a pivotal role in the litigation effort. On June 11, Jones was found not guilty at a jury trial led by attorney Paul Rudof, in partnership with attorney Lisa Kavanaugh.

In 2014, Boston University’s New England Center for Investigative Reporting (NECIR) began investigating Jones’ conviction. Senior investigations reporter and senior trainer Jenifer McKim taught a class on investigative journalism to a group of students from Boston University and Emerson College who investigated Jones’ case. They read transcripts, sought public records, tracked down witnesses to the crime and interviewed police and legal sources. They also reviewed the pleadings filed by Jones’ legal team, comprised of attorney John J. Barter, attorney Neil Austin of Foley Hoag, and attorney Kavanaugh vanaugh of the Innocence Program, which included forensic reanalysis of a key piece of videotape evidence.

In the spring of 2015, NECIR began a partnership with WBUR in which Gellerman and photojournalist Jesse Costa became involved with the case. After extensive research, Gellerman tracked down juror Eleanor Urbati. She expressed to Gellerman that she did not believe Jones was guilty. She regretted her decision to agree with the 11 jurors. Gellerman learned from Urbati that the all-white jury was influenced by racist comments. This fact led Gellerman to uncover additional details that eventually resulted in Jones’ first trial being vacated.

“When Eleanor picked up the phone, it was as if she had been waiting for my call for 30 years,” said Gellerman. “I am grateful that we have seen a positive outcome for Mr. Jones, and I am thankful to the senior WBUR news team who played an instrumental role in providing the journalistic support and resources for this project for more than five years. My work is not done, however. Now the question I ask myself is, if Mr. Jones did not commit the murder, who did?”

Gellerman notes that none of his work would have been possible without support from WBUR newsroom leadership including executive news director Tom Melville, executive director of news content Richard Chacon, managing editor of the newsroom Dan Mauzy and executive producer of news Mark Degon.

“Darrell Jones’ case showcases the importance of journalism to the administration of justice,” said Melville. “At WBUR, our mission is to report the news and tell the stories that hold our government accountable. This years-long effort by Bruce Gellerman is one example of the impact of our journalism on our community.”

Gellerman is a national award-winning, public radio, investigative journalist with expertise covering science, technology and the environment. He served as the founding senior reporter for WBUR’s business vertical, Bostonomix, the host and senior correspondent for PRI’s national environmental science program, Living On Earth, the host and co-creator of WBUR/NPR’s Here & Now, among other roles. Gellerman has received numerous awards including the American Association for the Advancement of Science three times in 1980, 1983 and 2006. In 1992-1993, he received multiple awards including National Headliner Award, National Press Club and Associated Press award for his WBUR series investigating Fleet Bank’s lending practices to minority homeowners which resulted in an $8 billion national settlement. Gellerman received a Bachelor of Arts from Ohio State University and began a Ph.D. program in sociology at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel. Gellerman currently serves as a senior reporter on WBUR’s new environmental vertical, Earthwhile.

On July 11, WBUR CitySpace will host, Beyond Reasonable Doubts: Darrell Jones’s Story of Exoneration featuring a panel discussion with Gellerman, Jones, Rudof and Kavanaugh.

Cut Through The Clutter Of Your Morning With The WBUR Today Newsletter

Mornings are hard. But getting up to speed on the news Boston is talking about doesn't have to be.

When you sign up for WBUR Today, you get a quick breakdown of all the top stories that Greater Boston will be talking about. That's local and national news, the weather, your "must listen" of the day, recommended reads from other news outlets and a light-hearted send-off only locals will appreciate. Plus, this newsletter just got a complete makeover, so it's redesigned with your busy life in mind.

It will take you less time than a round of hitting snooze to read, and get you ready to start your day. So what are you waiting for? Subscribe today.

New WBUR Poll Shows Frustration Amongst Massachusetts Residents Regarding The MBTA

MBTA Red Line train. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
MBTA Red Line train. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

According to a WBUR Poll released today on Morning Edition, Massachusetts residents are unhappy with the MBTA’s upcoming fare increase and the state of the MBTA in general. Results show a deep dissatisfaction with the MBTA and the state government’s handling of its operations. The data from the WBUR Poll addresses the most pertinent issues facing commuters in Massachusetts including public transportation delays and traffic congestion, local and state leadership’s handling of transportation issues in Massachusetts, the MBTA fare increase and general perceptions of the MBTA, which many say is “in crisis.”

Highlights from the WBUR Poll include:


·         Voters want the fare increase to be put on hold by a 70/24 margin. If the increase goes through, voters believe traffic will get worse (64%) rather than T service will get better (27%).
·         Governor Baker’s handling of the MBTA has a very low approval rating with 29% approving, and 52% disapproving. Voters want both Baker and Walsh to ride the MBTA. In both cases, around 70% say they “should ride the MBTA sometimes to better understand the problems with the system.”
·         Voters see little evidence of progress. In terms of getting around Boston, just 4% say it has gotten better in the last 5 years, while 69% say it has gotten worse. Despite all the activity around the MBTA since the snowstorms, there is little perceived progress there either. 41% say it’s now in worse shape, and 35% say it’s the same. Just 14% say it has gotten better.
·         Large majorities see the MBTA (82%) and traffic situation (86%) as either “in crisis” or with “major problems.” Only a few see things as mostly ok or a minor problem.
·         In Boston, 15% say they have changed their commuting patterns and another 6% have considered it in response to derailments.

The WBUR Poll was conducted by The MassINC Polling Group, an independent polling firm in Boston. Topline results can be found here.

'Last Seen' Named Best Of Boston By Boston Magazine

Congratulations to the WBUR iLab and the team behind "Last Seen" — Kelly Horan, Jack Rodolico and Stephen Kurkijian — for being named 'Best Podcasters' by Boston Magazine in its 2019 "Best of Boston" issue.

From Boston Magazine :

Mobsters, drugs, priceless art, and an unsolved mystery: This riveting capsule podcast about the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist has it all. Meticulously crafted by WBUR’s Horan and Rodolico and the now-retired longtime Globe staffer Kurkjian, Last Seen’s twists, turns, and revelations are something you have to hear to believe.

If you haven't listened yet, click here to binge all the "Last Seen" episodes.

The Price of Health: New WBUR Series Explores Prescription Drug Pricing

(Jesse Costa/WBUR)
(Jesse Costa/WBUR)

WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station, is launching a special news series on the cost of prescription medicine. According to a WBUR Poll released today, the vast majority of Massachusetts residents have health insurance, and yet nearly one-third of those who are currently taking a medication say they find it difficult to afford prescription drugs.

“Our survey shows that even in a state with nearly universal health insurance coverage, the cost of prescription medications remains an issue for many residents, and a significant percentage report that they are waiting to fill prescriptions, or taking measures to make their medications last longer, because of the cost of these drugs,” said Elisabeth Harrison, managing editor for news content, WBUR. “Our goal in developing the series was to try to understand how this is affecting the lives – and the health – of patients, and what might be done to solve or at least improve this problem.”

The series, airing on WBUR’s Morning Edition (weekdays, 5 a.m. – 9 a.m.) from today through June 28, asks why this is happening and what it tells us about the complex problem of drug prices in our health care system. The series will explore some of the solutions that Massachusetts and others are debating in an effort to bring down drug prices.

Other WBUR Poll highlights:

  • 76% of residents surveyed think the cost of prescription drugs is unreasonable.
  • People largely blame drug companies with 77% believing that drug companies aiming to maximize profits is a major contributor to drug prices.
  • While most people we surveyed spend under $100 per month on prescription drugs, cost is still an issue.
  • 31% of residents currently on medication say it’s somewhat or very difficult to afford prescription drug costs.
  • 24% report that they have not filled a prescription on schedule in the last year because of price.

The WBUR Poll was conducted by independent polling group MassINC. Topline results can be found here and crosstabs are here. Explore “The Price of Health” series online at wbur.org; new stories posted daily through Friday.

 

WBUR Picks Up Six Awards At The Public Media Journalists Association Conference

WBUR was honored with six awards at the PMJA conference in D.C. The awards and links to the stories are below:

Breaking NewsFirst Place for coverage of the Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions

Nationally Edited Soft FeatureFirst Place for Only A Game's story about an unusual friendship with Charles Barkley.

Soft Feature- First Place for Nameless No More: Historian, Students Solve Cemetary Mystery

Soft Feature- Second Place for Lullabies Help Mothers Bond With Their Unborn Babies.

Sports Feature- First Place for How Getting Shot Made The 'Bullet Man' A Better Runner

Podcast- Second Place for Last Seen.

Congratulations to everyone involved.