WXXI AM News

Megan Mack

Connections Producer

Megan Mack the producer of Connections with Evan Dawson and Unleashed: The Pet Show. She joined the WXXI News team from WHEC-TV, where she produced newscasts and The Olympic Zone, and from the University of Rochester, where she served as an assistant director of public relations. Her background extends to television sports and entertainment, and to communications and social media management for non-profits.

Megan earned her B.S. in Television-Radio-Film from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and her B.A. in Italian Language, Literature, and Culture from the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University. She is also a graduate of The Second City’s Conservatory program.

Ways to Connect

Senator Kamala Harris has proposed a so-called Rent Relief Act, which would offer a tax credit to about 20 million rent-burdened Americans. Critics of the bill say it’s well-intentioned but won’t work. We discuss affordable housing policies with our guests:

  • Kent Gardner, chief economist with the Center for Governmental Research
  • Pete Nabozny, early childhood policy director at The Children's Agenda 
  • Stuart Mitchell, president and CEO of PathStone Corporation

National Comedy Center

First hour: Understanding the Rent Relief Act and affordable housing policies

Second hour: Discussing the new National Comedy Center in Jamestown

Two surprise hits at the box office this summer are documentaries, and the stars behind them are being lauded for their quiet voices and powerful messages. Screenings of “RBG,” a documentary about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” a film about children’s television icon Fred Rogers, have been selling out around the country.  Theater owners and critics say Ginsburg and Rogers’ voices appeal to people across the political spectrum and have the power to heal divides in a polarized country.

We discuss the impact Ginsberg and Rogers have had on generations of people. In studio:

  • Elissa Orlando, senior vice president of television and news for WXXI
  • Paula Larew Wooters, teacher in the Rochester City School District’s Universal Pre-K program at Asbury Day Care Center
  • Beth Cordello, chair of the employment law practice at Pullano & Farrow

A group pushing for anti-racism training in the Rochester City School District says one of the big problems with American public schools is a Euro-centric approach to teaching history. They say it’s racist and that there’s much more beyond the borders of Europe to teach.

So what do they think a non-racist approach to teaching history looks like? We discuss it with our guests:

"Won't You Be My Neighbor?"

First hour: What does an anti-racist approach to teaching history look like?

Second hour: How "RBG" and "Wont You Be My Neighbor?" became box office hits

When she was in Rochester last month, State Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said the Rochester City School District needs to do a better job mentoring new teachers. The surprised teacher-mentors from the district, who say the RCSD Career in Teaching program has provided intense mentor support to new teachers throughout the last 30 years.

We talk to teacher-mentors and new teachers in the program about their work, teacher turnover, and teaching as a career. In studio:

  • Christopher Davis, special education teacher at Roberto Clemente School #8
  • Angela Rodriguez, first grade teacher at Nathaniel Rochester Community School #3
  • Tammy Shaw, primary school teacher and CIT lead teacher-mentor
  • Stefan Cohen, program director for the Career in Teaching program, and history teacher in the Rochester City School District

Pope Francis is calling for a worldwide abolition of the death penalty. This represents a shift in Catholic teaching on the issue.

Our panel discusses the impact of the Pope’s new direction on the death penalty, both from a Catholic and general Christian perspective. We also discuss the meaning of life in that context. Our guests:

  • Nancy Rourke, professor of religious studies and theology at Canisius College, and former director of the College's Catholic Studies program
  • Harry Murray, professor of sociology, and coordinator of the Peace and Justice major at Nazareth College
  • Reverend Matthew Martin Nickoloff, pastor of the South Wedge Mission
  • Michael Tomb, criminal justice reform activist

First hour: Discussing Pope Francis' call for the abolition of the death penalty

Second hour: Mentorship for teachers in the Rochester City School District

Weekend Connections is a collection of some of the most noteworthy moments from the week on Connections with Evan Dawson. This episode includes conversations about:

  • The intersection of religion and violence;
  • Why some young voters say they won't head to the polls in November;
  • What a post-Roe v. Wade world might look like in New York State.

We have a conversation about the challenges of bringing the arts to rural areas. Shake on the Lake is a professional Shakespeare touring company based in Silver Lake. The founders created the organization after observing the disparity in arts and cultural opportunities in rural communities. They’re one of a few local organizations that bring theater and the arts to underserved rural groups, including the prison population.

We discuss their work and how it impacts cultural and economic development in the areas they serve. Our guests:

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