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.

Americans (Still) Struggle To Read Well

Feb 15, 2017
Randi Hausken, Bærum, Norway - CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29876616

The literacy rate is considered high in America, but plenty of people struggle to read at an appropriate level. 

Cognitive scientist Mark Seidenberg says that's because we don't do enough to connect what science has learned to the way language is taught in the classroom. 

Seidenberg lays out his case in the book Language at the Speed of Sight: How We Read, Why So Many Can't, And What Can Be Done About It.

Dreaming Of A Dunsmuir Tram To The Mountain

Feb 14, 2017
cherylpetty.com

Travelers heading north on Interstate Five from Redding often notice a sharp intake of breath when Mount Shasta first comes into full view near Dunsmuir. 

The big mountain and the surrounding country are simply breathtaking.  Think of how much more you could see from a higher elevation. 

Cheryl Petty is already on it, touting the idea of an aerial tramway connecting Dunsmuir to the top of Mount Bradley to the west. 

The proposed Horsetail Falls Aerial Tram has a long way to go to become a reality. 

Oregon Legislature Considers Vaccine Law

Feb 14, 2017
James Gathany/CDC

It's not just that people have a fear of needles; some of them also have concerns about what comes OUT of the needles. 

Vaccines have become increasingly controversial in recent years. 

A group called Oregonians for Medical Freedom supports legislation in Oregon's state capital to provide greater freedom for parents to make medical decisions for their children. 

One of the bills currently circulating is SB579, which is titled "Relating to informed consent for vaccinations." 

The Work It Takes To Create A Vaccine

Feb 14, 2017
Wikimedia

Much like Zika virus, rubella--German measles--makes people feel lousy for a while, then generally goes away on its own. 

But rubella in a pregnant woman can be as damaging to the fetus as Zika.  Scientists worked for decades to find a vaccine for rubella, finally succeeding in the late 60s. 

This is the story told in Meredith Wadman's book The Vaccine Race.

Pedro Simões, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5586125

Valentine's Day seems like a great time to talk about love and sex, and to do so frankly. 

Julie Gillis and Mario Fregoso are ready.  Gillis is one of the creators of BedPost Confessions, a storytelling project about sex and sexuality.  She's started an Ashland version of the event. 

And Mario Fregoso works to support LGBTQ+ young people through the Lotus Rising Project

The First Lady And Her Lover, Remembered

Feb 13, 2017
National Archives

In a less candid age, the end of the phrase "Eleanor and..." was "Franklin."  Roosevelt, that is. 

The first lady and the president broke many barriers in their 12 years in the White House. 

But Eleanor Roosevelt's biggest barrier was broken out of the public eye, in her loving relationship with reporter Lorena Hickok.  "Hick" was Eleanor's constant companion for decades, a story told by Susan Quinn in her book Eleanor and Hick

cUriOus: University Focuses On Volcanoes

Feb 10, 2017
NASA/Public Domain

Even volcanoes in remote places can cause problems for people. 

Example: the eruption of a volcano in Iceland in 2010; the ash plume shut down airports across Europe. 

Volcanology is one of the study areas addressed by a "Cluster of Excellence" at the University of Oregon. 

Volcanoes in and near Oregon made this a natural program emphasis. 

In this month's installment of "cUriOus: Research Meets Radio," Professor Paul Wallace lays out the cluster of excellence model and how it will help study volcanoes. 

S.O. Music Festival Seeks Saving Donations

Feb 10, 2017
S.O. Music Festival

It's been nearly three decades since the Medford Jazz Jubilee started bringing multiple bands to Medford for multiple days of musical performance. 

But there will not be a fourth decade, unless what's now called the Southern Oregon Music Festival is able to find a few wealthy friends. 

SOMF lost a few key sponsors last year, leaving it in need of $50,000 by March 1st. 

Festival leaders are hustling to bring in the cash to preserve SOMF and its award-winning programs

The Prolific Pen Of Naomi Shihab Nye

Feb 10, 2017
Steven Barclay Agency

It might be a challenging question to ask Naomi Shihab Nye where she's from. 

Nye is a poet-novelist-essayist, born in St. Louis, but raised in both San Antonio and Jerusalem.  Yes, THE Jerusalem. 

Nye is Palestinian-American, and her large body of work reflects the many influences in her life, from West Texas to the Middle East. 

She visits Ashland for a speaking engagement tonight (February 13th), and drops by the studio for an advance on the evening. 

Why People Go To Planned Parenthood

Feb 9, 2017
Rhoda Baer for National Cancer Institute, ID 7496.

What does Planned Parenthood mean to you? We put that question to thousands of people in Southern Oregon and Northern California this week through a social media survey.

Their answers got personal, even as the question is steeped in politics. Last week Republicans in Congress renewed efforts to zero out federal support for the organization.

Planned Parenthood provides health services to people with minimal or no health insurance.

We hear from those who've been inside a PP clinic about why they went, and the care they received.

Shannon Rio is a Nurse Practitioner who provides reproductive health care, and abortions, to women in the Rogue Valley. She joins us with Riah Sadafy and Kendall Bartley from the Women's Resource Center at Southern Oregon University. 

Exchange Exemplar: Negating Narcissists

Feb 9, 2017
Public Domain

Think of the charming people you know.  Now think about the people you thought were charming at first, but who slowly revealed a very different side over time. 

There's a good chance you were dealing with a narcissist in that case.  Linda Martinez-Lewi has come across more than a few in her years as a therapist and clinical expert on narcissistic personality disorder. 

She wrote the book on the topic, Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life

Shakespeare 2017 Season Draws Near

Feb 8, 2017
Oregon Shakespeare Festival

First comes Valentine's Day, then comes "Shakespeare in Love." 

A play based on the movie by that name is among the offerings at this year's season of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, fast approaching. 

Previews of the season's first plays begin on February 17th (""in Love"" on the 18th). 

It is another big and ambitious season at OSF; its director of literary development and dramaturgy, Amrita Ramanan, visits. 

Information Today: Signals & Noise

Feb 8, 2017
Stefan Kühn, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=105738

It's a weird time in the history of information.  On one hand, the Internet makes so much information available so quickly, it's easy to stay informed. 

On the other hand, people fight about facts and truth far more than they used to, and the president himself even referred to a news organization as "fake news" shortly before he took office. 

We track the changes in the world of information in a new segment called Signals & Noise, starting today. 

Our partners: the Communications department at Southern Oregon University. 

The Beauty Of Earth That Moves

Feb 8, 2017
Darin Ransom | JPR Director of Engineering

We can be wary of the earthquake potential of the Cascadia Subduction Zone and still appreciate what it's done for the landscape. 

The meeting of tectonic plates far beneath us makes our part of the world quake-prone, but beautiful, too. 

Mountains and other dramatic landforms are the products of the earth moving; Robert Lillie demonstrates in his book Beauty from the Beast: Plate Tectonics and the Landscapes of the Pacific Northwest

Lillie taught geosciences at Oregon State and led ranger tours on geology. 

Austin Jenkins/Northwest News Network

It's still taking a while for some terms to sink in: "cannabis industry." 

Who would have thought a few years ago that Oregon and California would be able to use that term, legally? 

The growth of the industry is phenomenal, including the likes of "Grow Condos," a large warehouse for growing weed in Eagle Point. 

The company CEO has big plans for things like a cannabis-friendly RV park. 

Siskiyou Film Fest Returns To Grants Pass

Feb 7, 2017
speakforthetreesoregon.org

Pick a forest, and there's usually a story about people fighting over a timber sale or two. 

So it is in Oregon's Little Applegate Valley, where people enjoying a rustic way of life are concerned about plans to harvest timber on federal land. 

The issue is the subject of the short film "Speak for the Trees," one of the entries in this year's Siskiyou Film Fest, Sunday (February 12) in Grants Pass. 

You still hear someone talk about "horse sense" now and then. 

We can get a lot deeper into the conversation with Linda Kohanov. 

She knows horses and the people who work with them, and she shows how their expertise can benefit us, in the book The Five Ways Of the Master Herder

Help For Home-School Parents

Feb 6, 2017
Jason Kasper, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4067638

It's a big step, choosing to teach a child at home rather than sending him or her to school. 

There are requirements to measure what home-school students learn, but parents have a lot of latitude in deciding what and how to teach. 

For those who feel a bit overwhelmed, there are resources available, both from the public school system, and from the likes of the Cascadia Learning Cooperative

Wikimedia

The days of hiding in the shadows are largely over for members of the LGBTQ community.  Or are they?

Society's attitudes toward people who are not strictly heterosexual have changed, but over a long time, and with a lot of pressure from a lot of people. 

And they all have stories to tell, stories being collected by the Coming Out Project

GMOs From Both Sides Now

Feb 6, 2017
BASF

Isn't there just ONE thing you'd like to see changed in our food through genetic engineering?  For a lot of people, the answer is a resounding NO. 

It is a selling point to be GMO-free.  But GMO true believers stick by their (gene) guns. 

Environmental journalist McKay Jenkins visited with them and a lot of people on both sides for his book Food Fight: GMOs and the Future of the American Diet. 

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