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

More American workers are doing their jobs from home than ever before, thanks to the pandemic. Skeptical managers have had a chance to see a full year's worth of evidence about whether remote work can be productive. Now, more workers, particularly younger workers, are seeking out jobs that allow for flexible schedules and working from home.

How sustainable is that arrangement? Our guests discuss it:

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First hour: Discussing working from home, post-pandemic

Second hour: Is the University of Rochester meeting its moral and civic obligations in the community?

We have a discussion about pandemic ethics. University of Rochester Professor Richard Dees joins us to discuss the allocation of resources, the lessons we've learned when it comes to making ethical decisions, and how those lessons can be applied to future health crises. Our guest:

  • Richard Dees, associate professor of philosophy and bioethics, and director of the Program in Bioethics at the University of Rochester

A member of Rochester City Council, Mary Lupien, joins us. She discusses why she had information about Daniel Prude's death before the public found out in September. We also discuss how Lupien and mental health professionals see the Prude case and the need for changes in who responds to emergency calls.

Our guests:

  • Mary Lupien, member of Rochester City Council
  • Melanie Funchess, mental health advocate, and member of the Greater Rochester Black Agenda Group and the Black Healers Network
  • Chacku Mathai, mental health and substance use ex-patient, recovery advocate, member of the New York State Behavioral Health Services Advisory Council, and vice president for the National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy


First hour: Discussing policing, mental health crises, and the response to the Daniel Prude case

Second hour: Discussing pandemic ethics

Are we losing the capacity to understand people who see the world differently than we do? Reverend Val Fowler came to the Rochester region years ago, and built his career on a spirit of love and openness. Now he fears that we are losing a generosity of spirit with one another. Kindness is in short supply; curiosity perhaps even less so. How did that happen? Fowler finds that certainty is at odds with inquiry; too often we are certain of our beliefs without asking more questions.

We've invited him on to discuss how to better engage with one another -- how to interrogate beliefs without eroding relationships. Our guest:

A new solar array in Wayne County is providing electricity for affordable housing communities in Rochester. More than 6,000 panels are generating power for more than 500 Rochester apartments. It's a partnership between GreenSpark Solar and Home Leasing. How does it work? And will the project serve as a model for other initiatives in the future?

We discuss the area's newest solar farm and how businesses can work together to address climate change. Our guests:


First hour: How can businesses work together to address climate change?

Second hour: Reverend Val Fowler on curiosity and kindness

Elon Musk says humans will land on Mars by 2026 and could eventually move there in large numbers. But science writer Shannon Stirone says that Mars is "a hellhole" and argues that Musk has it seriously wrong. Stirone writes in The Atlantic that the newest images and video from Mars offer more evidence that Earth is the current and future home of human beings.

So can human beings ever move to another planet? Should we try? Our guests discuss it:

  • Shannon Stirone, science writer and contributor to The Atlantic
  • Adam Frank, astrophysicist and author of "Light of the Stars: Aliens Worlds and the Fate of the Earth"

We sit down with members of Spiritus Christi Prison Outreach. The program helps people leaving Monroe County Jail and state correctional facilities transition back into the community.

We hear from the program's directors about their work, and we talk to some of its participants what successful transitions look like. Our guests:

  • Jim Smith, executive director of Spiritus Christi Prison Outreach 
  • Sarah Lee, program director and alumnus of Jennifer House, part of Spiritus Christi Prison Outreach 
  • Jon Olsen, program director and alumnus of Nielsen House, part of Spiritus Christi Prison Outreach  
  • Lisa Buscemi, house manager and alumnus of Jennifer House, part of Spiritus Christi Prison Outreach   
  • Cody Spracker, Nielsen House alumnus