“The NPR Way — Reporting and Editing the Rural Beat” with NPR’s Rural Affairs Correspondent and Northeast Bureau Chief at Greenfield Community College

On September 26, New England Public Radio and Greenfield Community College will present: “The NPR Way – Reporting and Editing the Rural Beat” with NPR’s Rural Affairs Correspondent, Howard Berkes and Northeast Bureau Chief, Andrea de Leon. This multi-media presentation is sponsored by Greenfield Community College’s President’s Office and the Humanities Visiting Lecture Series and will begin at 2 p.m. in the Stinchfield Lecture Hall on the GCC main campus. It is free and open to the public.

Berkes and de Leon will discuss how NPR’s rural affairs coverage began, why it’s important to the network, and share highlights from the past decade, including a Maine series on pure democracy and the rural poll presidential election series. Berkes will also talk about covering the Upper Big Branch mine disaster in West Virginia in 2010, and his recent special report “Buried in Grain,” which examined the dangers of grain bin entrapments and the weak regulatory response to these incidents. De Leon will share the challenges of acquiring stories from the country’s most remote and least populated places, and talk about NPR’s commitment to partnerships with member stations like New England Public Radio to help share the stories coming out of rural America with the nation.

Howard Berkes – Rural Affairs Correspondent, NPR

Howard Berkes has been NPR’s Rural Affairs Correspondent since March 2003, focusing on the politics, economics, and culture of rural America. Based in Salt Lake City, he reports on stories that are often unique to non-urban communities or provide a rural perspective on major issues and events. In 2005, he was part of the NPR reporting team that covered Hurricane Katrina and in 2010, he reported from West Virginia on the disaster at the Upper Big Branch mine. Berkes’ reporting also includes the impact of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq on military families and service men and women from rural America. During multiple presidential and congressional campaigns, Berkes has covered the impact of rural voters on those races. In his long career at NPR he has covered Native American issues, the militia movement, neo-nazi groups, nuclear waste, the Unabomber case, the Montana Freemen standoff, polygamy, western water issues, and seven Olympic games.

Andrea de Leon – Northeast Bureau Chief, NPR

De Leon works with station and freelance reporters from eleven Northeast states to bring in new stories for NPR’s daily news programs, Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and the weekend versions of those shows. She also provides training for reporters. Before joining NPR in 1999, she was the News Director at Maine Public Radio and a frequent contributor to the NPR news magazines. Though she works for NPR, she still works out of her house in Maine. “Perhaps,” she says, “it was the squawking chickens in the background that convinced NPR that I should be the editor for the network’s rural beat.”  She also serves on the board of the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland.

This special event is sponsored by the Greenfield Community College President’s Office and the Humanities Visiting Speaker Series.  For more information, visit: nepr.net or GCC’s Calendar page.


New England Public Radio is a premier public broadcasting organization that delivers exceptional news, information, music, and cultural programming on air and online.  New England Public Radio combines the best of NPR, other national public programming, and signature local programming to serve to listeners in New England and beyond.

Greenfield Community College is the premier community college in the Massachusetts higher education system and is located in one of the most rural regions of the state. GCC utilizes its small size and strong sense of community to create a customized student-focused educational experience characterized by a caring and supportive faculty and staff. The College works closely with colleges and universities to offer diverse transfer opportunities, GCC’s career programs prepare students to enter the work force or update their skills, and credit-free workshops and seminars are offered for personal enrichment and job training. GCC is dedicated to making our communities stronger, better prepared for future opportunities, and more creative places to live, work, and learn. For more information, visit gcc.mass.edu.


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