Evan Dawson

Connections Host

Evan Dawson joined WXXI in January 2014 after working at 13WHAM-TV, where he served as morning news anchor. He was hired as a reporter for 13WHAM-TV in 2003 before being promoted to anchor in 2007.

Evan is also the author of Summer in a Glass: The Coming Age of Winemaking in the Finger Lakes and is the managing editor/Finger Lakes editor for the New York Cork Report, a web site that offers independent news, reviews, and commentary about the New York wine industry.

He has written freelance articles on topics including politics, wine, travel, and Major League Baseball.

Ways to Connect

Last week, Rochester City Council passed the city budget, and the subject of defunding police was a hot button issue. We're joined by members of Council who discuss their votes and their perspectives on the best ways to address police reform from a government level.

Our guests:

First hour: Rochester City Council members discuss police reform

Second hour: Will capitalism survive the pandemic?

When will it be safe to sing together again? It’s a question the New York Times asked earlier this month when reporting on how choirs have been linked to several coronavirus outbreaks. Scientific research shows that COVID-19 is primarily transmitted through respiratory droplets. When singers project in performance settings, they may unwittingly spread the virus, if infected. There have been conflicting messages across the globe about the risk of singing during the pandemic.

This hour, we discuss what the data shows and how local and national groups are adapting, both in the short and long term. Our guests:

  • Lee Wright, director of music ministry at Downtown United Presbyterian Church, and founder artistic director of First Inversion choral ensemble
  • Janet Galván, professor of performance studies, and director of choral activities and conducting at Ithaca College
  • Dr. Scott Stratton-Smith, family medicine specialist with Rochester Regional Health
  • Brenda Tremblay, host for WXXI's Classical 91.5, and member of a local choir

Why have some countries been so effective at crushing the coronavirus, while the United States has plateaued? We get perspective from guests with roots in New Zealand, which has been perhaps the most successful country in the world during the pandemic. They discuss cultural differences that have played into responses to COVID-19.

Our guests:

  • Mike Johansson, New Zealand native, social media strategist, and senior lecturer of communication at RIT
  • Chris Thomas, partner with Nixon Peabody whose family has roots in New Zealand

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

First hour: Why New Zealand has been so effective in crushing the coronavirus

Second hour: The future of choirs and singing during the pandemic

We talk with local servers about their experiences with restaurants reopening. Many establishments opened for outdoor seating in Phase 2, and now, in Phase 3, customers are also back to dining indoors.

What are the safety guidelines for customers and for staff? Are people following those rules? Our guests share their experiences and observations:

During Tuesday's primary, WXXI News heard from voters across Monroe County about issues at the polls: they expressed confusion over polling locations changing, multiple ballots, challenges with technology, and more. Some candidates have shared concerns about possible voter suppression. So what happened?

This hour, our guests talk about what they saw on Primary Day, and what needs to change heading into November's election. We hear from local voters as well. Our guests:

First hour: Discussing issues at the polls on Primary Day

Second hour: Local servers on the scene at restaurants that have reopened

Long lines and malfunctioning voting machines in Georgia's primary election renewed conversations about voting rights, especially those for disenfranchised voters. The New York Times called the issues a "full-scale meltdown of new voting systems." Those systems were put in place after claims of voter suppression in 2018.

Discussions about voter suppression are happening throughout the country, with concerns about what could happen in November. This hour, we're joined by RIT professor Donathan Brown to discuss voting rights and policies. His research focuses on race and public policy, and he's the co-author of "Voting Rights Under Fire: The Continuing Struggle for People of Color." He helps us understand voting issues throughout the country, both past and present. Our guest:

  • Donathan Brown, assistant provost and assistant vice president for faculty diversity and recruitment, and professor in the School of Communication at RIT

Local author Alex Sanchez has a new graphic novel for young adults. "You Brought Me the Ocean" is the story of a teenager struggling to come out as gay...and as a superhero. The book was published by DC Comics and is part of the DC universe.

We talk with Sanchez about the book, what he hopes readers take from the story, and about broader issues affecting the LGBTQ community. Our guest: