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.

U.S. Marines/Public Domain

Maybe you were one of those people who struggled through higher math in school, wondering how it would ever help you in life. 

Keith Devlin will be happy to tell you.  Devlin is the co-founder and Executive Director of Stanford University's Human Sciences and Technologies Advanced Research Institute (just call it H-STAR). 

He also appears on NPR as "The Math Guy," exploring the usefulness of math in the world. 

He visits Southern Oregon University for a couple of lectures this week. 

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Close your eyes for a moment and try to visualize what's in the area around you.  Can you?  We tend to run on autopilot, not taking much note of familiar surroundings. 

But attention to detail is critical at times, and Amy Herman teaches a course called "The Art of Perception."  Art?  Yes, students look at works of art to learn how to fine-tune their visual perception. 

Amy Herman put it into book form in Visual Intelligence

U.S. Fish & Wildlife

A couple of phone calls this week--well before fire season--confirmed that when people see smoke in the hills, they worry. 

But the smoke they saw (on May 10th) was from a controlled burn in the Ashland watershed, part of AFR, the Ashland Forest Resiliency Stewardship Project. 

There is a science to getting forests to burn ONLY where you want them to burn, and agencies share information on that science through Prescribed Fire Training Exchanges

Public Domain

It will be hard indeed to lower the amount of carbon in the atmosphere if the planet's population continues to grow. 

Project Drawdown is a coalition of organizations determined to bring greenhouse gases down, through a variety of means. 

One of those means is a focus on population growth, and ways to slow the birth rate to a sustainable level, especially in developing countries where resources for large populations of children are scarce. 

Alisha Graves centers her work on population issues for Project Drawdown, The Oasis Initiative, and Venture Strategies for Health and Development

Pentimento Press

Thanks to the rains brought by El Niño, California gets a bit of a break from drought politics this year.  But memories of last year are still fresh: sharp reductions in water use by homeowners and public entities, while agriculture uses most of the state's water. 

In Water, More or Less, journalist Rita Schmidt Sudman and artist Stephanie Taylor track changes in California water policy and make suggestions for future moves. 

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

"The play's the thing," Shakespeare wrote.  But not the ONLY thing, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival hastens to add. 

OSF continues to produce plays about our society through its "American Revolutions" project.  The plays include this year's premier of "Roe," about the Roe vs Wade decision of the Supreme Court that made abortion legal nationwide. 

OSF plans several public discussions, including a pair this weekend (May 14-15). 

guernicamag.org

Our discussion about the Roe vs Wade abortion case (8 AM Wednesday) sparks the subject matter of this week's VENTSday segment. 

Join in the discussion with 1) your experience with unintended pregnancy; 2) how society should provide for children who ARE born--food? Preschool?  College?    

Listeners take stage on our weekly VENTSday segment, a chance to vent on a couple of topics in the news--by phone, by email, or through our online survey. We provide the topics, you provide the opinions.

Your thoughts are front and center on VENTSday. No expertise necessary; just opinions and the ability to express them in a radio-friendly way. We post our weekly survey on one or both of the topics in advance.

Alex Cox via Hannon Library

Whether it's on paper, on a big screen, or on a mobile device, we're often just looking for stories. 

Our parents read them to us as kids, and the habit sticks around.  Tod Davies is all about the story.  She's written some big ones, like the screenplay for the movie "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," and is the editorial director at Exterminating Angel Press.

Hannon Library at Southern Oregon University brings Davies in for a chat on "The Importance of Story," Thursday (May 12) at 4 PM. 

USDA/Public Domain

It's not quite like the mythical phoenix rising from the ashes, but we do create life from death. 

In our compost piles, that is.  Truly, we can enrich our gardens and yards through the decay of once-living matter. 

Rodney Bloom from the OSU Extension Service offers a program called "Decay for the Masses," with a session coming up Sunday in Eugene. 

Chronicle Books

Even people who do not consider themselves "birders" get excited when a bird flies by, displaying beautiful plumage. 

And the plumage is the point of Robert Clark's new book, called simply Feathers

Clark is a National Geographic photographer, and he turns his skills on bird exterior features in an astounding series of images. 

Wikimedia

We love to eat, that much is clear. 

One clear indicator: we love to talk about food.  And another chance to do just that is offered by the Oregon Humanities Conversation Project event called "We Are What We Eat: Connecting Food and Citizenship."

The chat will be offered for free at the Illinois Valley Branch of Josephine Community Libraries Friday (May 13th) at 5 PM. 

Penguin Random House

Information about Queen Elizabeth is abundant; she's reigned over England throughout the television age.

It's her long-ago predecessor, Elizabeth I, who remains something of a mystery. 

British historian John Guy dug into archives from more than 400 years ago to give us a better picture of the queen's later years in Elizabeth: The Forgotten Years. 

Allen Alley Campaign

You'd need a small bus to carry all the people running for Oregon Governor in the May 17th primary. 

John Kitzhaber's departure a month into his term put Kate Brown in office and triggered an unusual election for a two-year term in this election cycle. 

Former state Republican chair Allen Alley is one of a handful of GOP members running. 

His chief opponent, Bud Pierce, joined us previously. 

Alena Kravchenko/Wikimedia

We respect, if not revere, scientists and their work in our society.  We also do not entirely trust them.  How's that again?  Case in point: climate change... scientists demonstrate it, but some people reject it.

Oregon Humanities explores that situation and others in one of its Conversation Project programs, "In Science We Trust? The Role of Science in a Democracy." 

Gail Wells is the program leader, bringing it to Selma later this week (May 13th). 

Wikimedia

Somehow, one of the richest countries on Earth has difficulty feeding all of its people adequately.

So we have SNAP ("food stamps"), food banks, and many program providing food for people who have trouble affording it. 

Ashland is the site of the annual Empty Bowls fundraiser to bring in money for local program addressing hunger. 

Pam Marsh from the Ashland Emergency Food Bank and Maren Faye from Uncle Food's Diner visit to explain the impact of the fundraiser. 

HarperCollins

At the peak of Maya civilization, something like ten million people lived on the Yucutan Peninsula.  Fewer than a million live there now, near the ruins of Maya culture. 

We know of it now, but the whole story of the Maya people was lost for hundreds of years. 

Explorers found it again in the middle of the 19th century, a tale told in William Carlsen's book Jungle of Stone

Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Tom Brokaw was once called "The Kid," the youngest of the major TV network evening news anchors. 

His career may be behind him, but not his journalistic penchant for investigation.  When doctors diagnosed cancer three years ago, Brokaw set about learning more about multiple myeloma and its treatment. 

The resulting memoir is A Lucky Life Interrupted, now out in paperback. 

Geoff Ridden/Facebook

The first Friday of any month has become a day to celebrate the arts around our region. 

Several communities hold First Friday art walks, and some hold similar observances on other weekend days. 

The Exchange syncs up with the art world on First Friday, by visiting with listeners about arts events in the coming month.  Want to know what events are coming, or let people know?  Here's your chance.

Northwest Women Writers Symposium

Reyna Grande garnered critical acclaim and awards for her first two novels. 

Then she turned her focus on herself for a memoir about her illegal immigration to the United States as a child, The Distance Between Us.  She is now a U.S. citizen, beneficiary of an amnesty program.

The book will be re-released in an edition for younger readers this fall, long after her appearance this weekend at Northwest Women Writers Symposium events in Eugene. 

W.W. Norton Books

Does the cat actually judge you when you trip on your bathrobe belt?  We can't rule it out. 

Science knows a lot more about animal thinking these days, enough to know that we may not rank above animals so much as next to them--think evolutionary bush, not ladder. 

Biologist Frans de Waal studies primates and other creatures in his work, and he wrote the book Are We Smart Enough To Know How Smart Animals Are?  He provides many examples of animals using their brains well. 

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