This hour on Focus host Jim Meadows talks with Illinois Public Media’s head honchoes. Bob Culkeen and Mark Leonard will be here to discuss programming changes taking place this summer, the health of your public media station and new ideas we’re cooking up at WILL.
Lots of things about the Tsarnaev brothers remain unknown, but as more facts about them and why they allegedly planted bombs at one of the largest US marathons become available, what role do the media play? This hour on Focus, we’ll talk with Bob Garfield, co-host of the program “On the Media” about journalistic ethics and when personal facts about someone’s life like race, ethnicity and religion should matter to a story. We’ll also talk about accuracy and some problems new media created in misidentifying the alleged bombers’ identities. Brant Houston, the Knight Chair Professor in Investigative and Enterprise Reporting at the University of Illinois College of Media also joins us.
Several major news organizations misreported certain aspects of this case and had to make corrections. Does that cause you to question the facts they report moving forward? Post in the comments section below or find us on Facebook and Twitter @Focus580.
This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with public radio host and Champaign-Urbana native Jeremy Hobson.
Hobson is currently the host of the Marketplace Morning Report, an eight-minute daily business news program with an audience of nearly six million. This hour, we talk with him about his experiences interviewing billionaires like former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers and philanthropist Melinda Gates; his experience reporting in Turkey at the start of the Iraq war and the start of his radio career that began at the ripe old age of 9 when he started contributing to the program Treehouse Radio.
We'll also talk about his next steps as a co-host of WBUR and NPR's program Here and Now which will start airing on WILL AM 580 July 1 in place of the NPR program Talk of the Nation.
Hobson is a graduate of Boston University and the University of Illinois Laboratory High School. He lives in New York and enjoys hiking, traveling and extremely spicy foods.
Coming up next week on Focus, we’ll talk with former SNL cast member and author Julia Sweeney, local New York Times Bestselling author Jean Thompson and Marketplace Morning Report’s Jeremy Hobson, among many others.
Tuesday, we’re recording an interview with Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to register for a bib number to run the Boston Marathon. Have something you want to ask her? Email us at email@example.com
The technologies encompassed by the term “unmanned aerial vehicle” are vast and include everything from hobbyist drones that look like toy helicopters to units that are equipped with cameras and are being used to monitor crop damage. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Matthew Schroyer, a graduate of the UIUC who is also the founder of the Professional Society of Drone Journalists. We’ll talk with him about the things drones could help us do, and we’ll ask him about the privacy concerns the technology raises. Chris Anderson, CEO of 3D Robotics, former Wired editor and founder of the website DIY Drones and Nancy Cooke, Professor at Arizona State University and Science Director of the Cognitive Engineering Research Institute in Mesa, Arizona, also join us.
Watch a video of Matt explaining and flying his drone.
Are you excited by the possibilities of this kind of technology? Or does it scare you? Why? Join our conversation. Post in the comments section below or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter @Focus580.
Next week on Focus, we'll talk with the official historian for Major League Baseball and an Urbana man working with unmanned aerial technology for both journalistic purposes and to inspire high school students to study math and science. We'll also address the unmet need for homeless services in the area and talk about the growing disconnect between law schools and law firms in Illionis and why it matters.
Senior reporter Jim Meadows will become Focus’ new interim program host starting Monday, February 25. Current host and News and Public Affairs Director Craig Cohen is leaving Illinois Public Media/WILL for Houston Public Media.
Meadows says he’s excited to have the opportunity to host Focus and is looking forward to being part of program’s rich legacy. He’s been with WILL since 2000 working as a reporter, newscaster and local host for Morning Edition, and has also been a substitute host for Focus several times.
“It’s going to be a challenge, but it’s also going to be a lot of fun,” he said.
During this episode of Focus, we talked about film and its role in public discourse. Host Craig Cohen talks with Ben Kenigsberg, Film Section Editor for Time Out Chicago, and Richard Leskosky, an Associate Professor (retired) of Media and Cinema Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, about this year’s Academy Award nominees and the political statements they make. We discussed waterboarding and the capture of Osama bin Laden in Zero Dark Thirty, mental health issues raised in Silver Linings Playbook and the different depictions of slavery in Lincoln and Django Unchained. We also asked whether it’s a conflict of interest in Argo wins best picture; after all, it is a picture about how Hollywood came to the rescue...
Tens of millions of viewers were captivated by Fox’s “The X-Files” in the late 1990’s. Inspired by shows like The Twilight Zone, The X-Files resonated with skeptics, conspiracy theorists and those who see reason to mistrust the government. This hour on Focus, host Craig Cohen talks with the show’s creator, Chris Carter, about what inspired the show, what made it a hit and why he slept on a couch in Fox studios' lobby after pulling an all-nighter to finish the pilot. We’ll also ask Carter about his character Bambi Berenbaum, a knock-out entomologist who appears in season 3 and was named after University of Illinois Professor May Berenbaum.
Carter joins Focus in preview of his visit to this year’s Insect Fear Film Festival.
In the second half of the hour, we’ll talk with John Grant, the author of “Denying Science: Conspiracy Theories, Media Distortions and the War Against Reality” about conspiracy theories in popular culture and why they persist.
This hour on Focus, host Craig Cohen talks with Nina Totenberg, NPR’s award-winning legal affairs correspondent and this year’s winner of the Illinois Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism about her coverage of the US Supreme Court and some little known facts about her life and career. Then for the second half of the hour, we’ll talk with Nathan Wolfe, a virologist who has been named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine, about his work in Africa and why globalization is making our society more vulnerable to pandemic diseases.
Both Totenberg and Wolfe are speaking on campus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaing on Monday, February 11. Find more information at the links listed below.