Geoffrey Riley

News Director | Jefferson Exchange Host

Geoffrey Riley began practicing journalism in the State of Jefferson nearly three decades ago, as a reporter and anchor for a Medford TV station. It was about the same time that he began listening to Jefferson Public Radio, and thought he might one day work there. He was right.

Geoff came to JPR as a backup host on The Jefferson Exchange in late 2000, and he assumed the full-time host job at the beginning of 2010. The two hours of the Exchange allow him to join our listeners in exploring issues both large and small, local and global. In addition to hosting The Exchange, Geoff oversees JPR’s news department as its News Director.

Geoff is a New York native, with stints in broadcast news in Missouri, Alabama, and Wisconsin before his arrival in Oregon. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

Charlotte Duren / JPR

Political correctness and deer are this week's VENTSday topics.

Tell us how far college campuses should go to make language inoffensive, and how far Ashland (or any community) should go in making life uncomfortable for herds of deer. 

You've got opinions on events in the news, and our VENTSday segment is designed to let the world hear them.

We plop a pair of topics on the table--frequently unrelated--and let YOU deliver your passionate (and polite) views on them.

Workman Publishing

The vocabulary of the English language is huge. 

But sometimes, it's not big enough, at least not big enough to contain phrases that SHOULD be words. 

Lizzie Skurnick started creating words years ago, leading to a New York Times Magazine column rolling out her inventions. 

The column has now morphed into a book, That Should Be a Word: A Language Lover’s Guide to Choregasms, Povertunity, Brattling, and 250 Other Much-Needed Terms for the Modern World


The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Jordan Cove liquified natural gas project clears another regulatory hurdle for the project.

We had already scheduled an interview with a representative of the company responsible for the pipeline.  

Then the FEIS landed about 90 minutes before the interview.

The project is bitterly opposed by environmental groups and welcomed by public officials in the North Bend area where the plant would be built. 

Williams, the company planning to build the Pacific Connector pipeline from Malin to North Bend, is trying to sweeten the pot by offering grants to local communities. 

U.S. Fish & Wildlife

September has been lovely and largely free of smoke around the region.  The excessively smoky conditions of August, caused by wildfires, are behind us. 

But more smoke arrives with fall: smoke from prescribed burns regulated by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF). 

200,000 acres are burned each year, and ODF might increase that total, to avoid dealing with wildfires later. 

Eyes To Burma

Fred Stockwell made a living taking photographs, casting his eyes and lenses about for stunning images. 

He finally saw one he could not take his eyes off: the fate of refugees from Burma (Myanmar, officially) living in a dump in neighboring Thailand. 

He resolved to help them, and formed the organization "Eyes To Burma."

The organization is still going, years later. 


All those parents who want their kids to get off the couch and stop playing video games might have met their match in Jane McGonigal

She thinks people SHOULD play games, for their health. 

McGonigal is the designer of "SuperBetter" and other games meant to expose players to real-life challenges. 

And she's convinced the right games can add ten years to a player's life. 


Have you heard the one about books disappearing from civilization?  Maybe we're waiting for the flying cars to take them all away. 

Snark aside, the publishing industry has had its share of troubles. 

But it also enjoys widespread support, as demonstrated next weekend (October 3rd) by the annual Ashland Book And Author Festival

The fest includes a new entity this year, the Southern Oregon Literary Alliance

Robert Neff/Fifth World Art

Slowly, almost glacially, our society has begun to pull apart the many components of homelessness.

One of the main constituent groups is veterans.  And homeless vets get special attention at a number of "stand down" events around the country. 

North Coast Stand Down returns to the Humboldt County Fairgrounds this weekend (October 2-4), with a constellation of services for all veterans, not just the homeless ones. 

Kenneth Ingham/National Park Service

Open warfare broke out between the U.S. government and Native Americans many times in our region in the late 19th century. 

The incidents include the Modoc War of the 1870s, which took place in and around what is now the Lava Beds National Monument. 

The Modoc War and its setting have been explored many times in print, including the book Modoc: The Tribe That Wouldn't Die by Cheewa James, and a new book on the Lava Beds themselves by Herald and News (Klamath Falls) reporter Lee Juillerat. 


We're so excited about bees of late, that three cities in the Rogue Valley have received "Bee City" designations.  Can the butterflies get a little love here?

Indeed they can, and do, from the people of Southern Oregon Monarch Advocates

These friends of the monarch butterfly are in the process of creating "monarch waystations," places where a weary monarch might like to stop for a rest and a meal. 


California voters passed medical marijuana into law nearly 20 years ago, but the state has not added anything in the way of regulation since the original vote.  Until now, maybe. 

The recently concluded legislative session produced a package of three bills constructing a regulatory framework for marijuana... if Governor Jerry Brown signs them. 

The California Cannabis Industry Association pushed for the bills, and eagerly awaits the outcome of Brown's decision. 

King Features

The elevator doors open, and the person waiting notices that the elevator occupants are all standing perfectly upright... but on the wall.  "Going left?" one of them asks. 

This is the work of Dan Piraro, the cartoonist who draws the daily newspaper strip "Bizarro."

His unique take on the world as it does NOT currently exist (but might, who knows?) has delighted fans for years. 

And produced some hate mail, too, apparently. 


  Young people in Eugene continue to make headlines with lawsuits filed against state government, meant to produce action on climate change. 

The cases, with mixed legal success so far, are based upon the "public trust doctrine." 

University of Oregon law professor Mary Wood wrote the book on public trust law.  Really, she's the author of a textbook on public trust law, and will explain the approach at the coming Southern Oregon Climate Summit in Medford. 

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

  Latinos make up the largest minority group in America, with great cultural and growing political power. 

The cultural end of that influence is reflected in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's "Latino Play Project," September 25-27 in Ashland. 

The weekend highlights works by and about Latinos, in a couple of play readings and a panel discussion.

Basic Books

  Free speech in America?  You bet.  Free to shout "fire!" in a crowded public space?  Absolutely not.

See, right there the Constitution is not as absolute as some people make it out to be. 

The annual observance of Constitution Week is September 17-23, and we tack an observance of our own onto the end: Paulsen and Paulsen's The Constitution

The book gives history on perspective on our founding document, including shedding light on some of the major disagreements and perceptions about it. 

kcmckell/Live Aloha

Hypothetical: if we all have the same opportunity for success in society, but some of us live in environmentally degraded areas, are we all receiving justice?  Under the concept of environmental justice, the answer is no. 

It's not a new concept; the Oregon Legislature created an Environmental Justice Task Force nearly a decade ago. 

The task force meets in Medford this week (September 25th) with the heading "Fairness For the Land and the Worker." 

The Northwest Forest Worker Center and the farmworker group PCUN are among the sponsors.


Crystal Geyser decided to prepare an Environmental Impact Report on its proposed water bottling operation in Mount Shasta... let's get your take on bottled water in VENTSday. 

While you're at it, let's talk weddings--any kinds of weddings--and who should officiate. 

For that matter, do we NEED any more than a license to get married? 

You've got opinions on events in the news, and our VENTSday segment is designed to let the world hear them.

We plop a pair of topics on the table--frequently unrelated--and let YOU deliver your passionate (and polite) views on them.


The world would indeed be a different place if our region's top professional theater were called "The Oregon de Vere Festival."  Who?  Exactly. 

But a surprising number of people insist that "William Shakespeare" was either not a real guy, or not the guy who wrote all those plays. 

The Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship points to evidence that indicates Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford, is the true author. 

The Oxfordians invade Ashland this weekend (September 24-27) for their annual conference. 

Michael Richardson/Wikimedia

Fire and water both figure prominently in the state of the forests in our region. 

The size and intensity of fires indicates and determines forest health, and so does the health of native fish. 

So it seems natural to talk fire and water together... scientists Dominick DellaSala of Geos Institute and Jack Williams of Trout Unlimited join forces to talk about forests from their perspective this week at ScienceWorks in Ashland (September 24th). 

Wikimedia/Garry Knight

The graying of America means changes in some of society's infrastructure. 

Because more people will choose to age-in-place in their own homes, AND they will need transportation to get around town. 

So it should come as no surprise that AARP maintains a focus on transportation and livability. 

Jana Lynott is a senior advisor in AARP's Public Policy Institute.