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.

Jacob Frank, National Park Service

Blast from the Past: enjoying the night sky is one of the features of living in the State of Jefferson. 

The lack of gigantic cities and the corresponding presence of open and wild spaces makes for places to see the sky in all of its glory. 

But in much of the world, lights from the ground tend to obscure our view of the lights from the sky.  Paul Bogard wrote about this in his book The End Of Night

Walter Albertin/Library of Congress ID ds.01489e/Wikimedia

One by-product of the November election is fear... including fear of nuclear war increasing for the first time in years. 

Peace activists consider the current landscape and how best to address it. 

In Ashland, Peace House hosts a discussion of the current state of American society (March 16th and 17th), and whether we'll opt for war or to devote money to societal concerns. 

Kevin Martin of Peace Action and Reiner Braun of the International Peace Bureau are the featured speakers. 

HarperCollins

Politicians are fond of talking about our country's "founding fathers" and what they envisioned for the country. 

The women standing in the shadows of those men had dreams and visions, too.  And some of them even stepped out of the shadows to help guide the young country forward. 

Cokie Roberts of NPR fame wrote of them in the book Founding Mothers and followed that with a picture book for children, Founding Mothers: Remembering the Ladies. 

Electronic Freedom Foundation

Let the sun shine!  Sunshine Week celebrates the public's right to know the business of government... and observes the uneven delivery of the goods by various governments. 

The messes and mistakes of government transparency are celebrated (tongue-in-cheek) by the Electronic Frontier Foundation's "Foilies."

Entities from the president to the sheriff of Milwaukee County ended up on the list this year. 

Southern Oregon University

Tight budgets are forcing state universities on both sides of the line to raise tuition. 

At this point, the only question for Oregon students is how MUCH tuition will rise. 

At Southern Oregon University, the president says the range is 8-12 percent. 

Humboldt State University students recently walked out of class to protest the planned tuition hike there. 

Sylvia Massy YouTube channel

Johnny Cash and Prince might not have had a great deal in common musically, but there is a link. 

Her name is Sylvia Massy, who worked in the production of songs for both artists.  She spent years working her craft in Los Angeles, before moving to first Weed and later Ashland. 

She still keeps a hand in the recording studio, guiding bands and helping train a new generation of engineers and producers. 

National Institutes of Health, ID 2534

Maybe your phone rings in the evening, and you don't recognize the number in caller ID. 

So you pick up, only to hear some robo-call voice warning you that there could be a problem with your health or your safety or your money. 

If you're over the age of 50, that could be why you get such calls. 

A profusion of scams targets seniors, and Indra Nicholas from Home Instead Senior Care in the Rogue Valley has heard of most of them. 

Christian LInder/Wikimedia

"Two heads are better than one" seems like a mismatched phrase with "fake news," but there's a common thread. 

And that is the working of the human brain.  We tend to think better in groups than as individuals. 

And that may explain why left to our own devices, we believe in conspiracy theories or lying reporters. 

Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach are the co-authors of The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone.

Rod Waddington, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54018882

Why does a crowd yelling "surprise" at a birthday party delight one person but make another grumpy?  They're just wired that way, we like to say. 

And we could very well be wrong.  Psychologist and neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett has a different theory: that emotions do not come from specific areas in the brain in all people, but from all over the brain, depending on an individual's experiences and thinking. 

Barrett lays out the theory in How Emotions Are Made, just now hitting bookstores. 

Irangilaneh, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28439014

The battle over school standards and funding tends to skip over an important point: the schools are not solely responsible for student success or failure. 

Kids bring family and community "baggage" to school with them, and are often lacking some of the basic tools to just pay attention in class. 

The University of Oregon hosts a panel discussion on "What Kids Bring to School," tonight (March 14) at the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics. 

ICE/Public Domain

Oregon and California already draw the ire of hardline anti-immigration groups. 

Oregon is a sanctuary state, and California is considering that status.  Within the states, local communities are also looking at sanctuary status, meaning local police would not enforce federal immigration laws. 

Ashland is already a sanctuary city; Arcata's city council will likely take a vote in April. 

University of California Press

Education is seen as the pathway to a better life in America. 

But the pathway is neither straight nor wide for the estimated two million young people who were brought to America illegally as children. 

A study that tracked 150 undocumented young adults in Los Angeles found significant obstacles.  Roberto Gonzales tells the story in his book Lives in Limbo

Yves Picq, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28335609

About a third of American adults are considered obese, and the percentage among children is growing close to that rate. 

Science is looking at obesity from a number of angles, including at the University of Oregon. 

The Health Promotion and Obesity Prevention Initiative is one focus of the Prevention Science Institute at the U of O. 

Bureau of Land Management / Flickr

The use of the term "monument" in Southern Oregon seldom refers to a stone obelisk.

It often means the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, recently expanded by President Obama before his term ended. 

A month after the expansion, Western Oregon counties filed suit, and so did the timber industry. 

atheistsunited.org

You can get all kinds of college degrees studying religion. 

But until a few years ago, there was no secular studies program by that name anywhere in the United States. 

Pitzer College in Southern California started the first such program, with Phil Zuckerman as its head. 

The program "neither applauds nor condemns" secularism, but the program's presence cheers secular segments of society. 

Gun Bills Pile Up In Oregon Legislature

Mar 9, 2017
Public Domain/Wikimedia

Another year, another raft of gun bills. 

Congress may be slow and slower on firearms legislation, but the Oregon legislature has dozens of gun bills to consider in the current legislative session. 

Most are designed to toughen gun restrictions and close sale loopholes, and with Democrats in control in both houses, there could well be changes. 

Oregon Firearms Federation resists new controls on guns, while Ceasefire Oregon relishes the possibility of further restrictions. 

Kim Boek, Seoul, South Korea, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3458326

We don't want everyone to know everything about us. 

But that's just privacy; secrets are another matter entirely.  And research shows that keeping secrets can damage relationships, wounding both keeper and finder of the secret. 

Jane Isay, who comes from a family of psychologists and psychiatrists, wrote about the issues in her book Secrets and Lies

The Geology Of Terroir In Wine

Mar 8, 2017
Wikimedia

The explosion of the wine industry in our part of the world has introduced some new terms to everyday language.  "Terroir," for example. 

If you read it quickly, it conjures up images of horror films. 

But it's not "terror," just a term to indicate the way wines from different vineyards taste different, due to soil and other conditions.  Like rocks. 

Geologist Scott Burns, emeritus at Portland State University, is well-versed on what goes on below that affects the grapes above. 

Bidgee, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7437952

There's never a dull moment in media lately.  President Trump has gone from talking about "fake news" to declaring members of the news media "enemies of the people." 

And on the lighter side, who handed Warren Beatty that wrong envelope at the Oscars? 

We track the changes in the world of information in a segment called Signals & Noise.  Our partners: the Communications department at Southern Oregon University. 

envirobeat.com

The goal of 350.org was to convince people to stop the rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, to stop it at 350 parts per million. 

That's now a past-tense goal, since the number consistently hangs above 400.  But 350.org and other larger organizations continue the fight for meaningful curbs on greenhouse gases. 

Board Chair KC Golden visits Ashland for a talk at Southern Oregon University this week. 

Pages