WXXI AM News

Hélène Biandudi Hofer

Need to Know Host

Hélène Biandudi Hofer is host and producer of WXXI TV's Need to Know, an award-winning, half-hour weekly news and public affairs program. Hélène joined the station in September 2010 as the host of All Things Considered.

Before moving to Rochester, Hélène worked at the CBS Primetime show 48 Hours Mystery in New York City. While at CBS she contributed to several documentary specials for the network including the tragedy at Virginia Tech, the tribute to news icon Walter Cronkite, the inauguration of Barack Obama and the CBS/VOGUE Fashion’s Night Out program.

Hélène is a graduate of New York University’s Broadcast Journalism program. After graduation, she returned to her hometown, Columbus, Ohio, where she worked as an associate producer for WBNS-TV.

Ways to Connect

Have you ever taken a class that changed your life? That's exactly what some students at MCC are taking. You'll go inside the classroom on the next Need to Know.

Spring is finally here and that means people throughout Rochester are eager to head outside and embrace the slightly warmer temperatures. Once you finally get outside, do you ever stop and take the time to notice the environment around you? The City of Rochester’s Department of Youth and Recreation has created a group called Earth Explorers. As WXXI’s Lisa Famiglietti explains, the goal is to get kids to enjoy the great outdoors while taking part in a little something called “citizen science.”

Intimate scenes on stage and in films can be vulnerable and scary for actors to perform. But now, there is an emerging profession that ensures safety, efficiency, and effectiveness when it comes to those intimate moments. Intimacy directors and choreographers are on the rise, in part, due to movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp, in addition to the downfall of former Hollywood heavyweights like Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, and others. On this edition of Need to Know, we learn about the relevance of intimacy choreography and how it’s impacting local productions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in four Americans is infected with the human papillomavirus, often referred to as HPV. It happens to be the most common sexually transmitted infection in humans, and yet many Americans don’t understand the severity of this type of infection. The CDC says that each year, more than 42,000 HPV-associated cancers occur. The infection impacts women and men of all backgrounds.

An upcoming screening on May 2nd of the documentary film Someone You Love: The HPV Epidemic and the panel discussion following the film is an effort to educate and enlighten the community on HPV, in particular, its impact on cervical cancer.

HPV is described by some as “the common cold” of sexually transmitted diseases and yet it can impact people in ways they may not realize or understand. On this edition of Need to Know we examine HPV and discuss how to help prevent it.

Also on the show, the rise of movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp  have helped shift the way theatre productions and films approach intimate scenes. We’ll introduce you to the world of intimacy choreography in Rochester.

And we’ll meet a group of young explorers in our region learning how to use the great outdoors to make important discoveries.

If marijuana is legalized how will it impact local jobs, the workforce, healthcare, and other aspects of daily living? That’s what reporters in the WXXI newsroom have been tracking down. Reporters James Brown and Brett Dahlberg join this edition of Need to Know share their findings and some of the challenges they encountered in their research.

Advocates for recreational cannabis say it will be a money-maker for New York and an opportunity to launch new business, small and large. It’s estimated that legalizing weed in New York could generate more than $1.7 billion in sales each year. WXXI’s Hélène Biandudi Hofer met two local entrepreneurs of color who see a legal weed industry as not only a chance to make money, but to also educate and destigmatize cannabis. However, they question if the so-called “green rush” will be equitable and benefit those targeted by the war on drugs. Rochester’s Roc NORML weighs in on this issue and shares how they’re working with legislators to ensure equal access to the cannabis industry.

To legalize or not to legalize, that’s the big question in the Empire State when it comes to recreational marijuana. While the deal was a no-go in the recently passed state budget, proponents say it will happen and we all need to get ready for it. But organizations who oppose the legalization of pot are expected to use the delay to try to prevent the legislation from passing. On this special edition of Need to Know, the WXXI News team examines how cannabis could potentially affect our community, including jobs, health care, and the economy.

Coming up on an all-new Need to Know, the New York state budget may not have included recreational marijuana, but supporters of the legislation say it will happen and that it’s time to get ready for it. The WXXI newsroom explores the potential impact of recreational cannabis on entrepreneurs, employers, criminalized communities, and more. Join us for a special edition of Need to Know, Thursday night at 8:00 on WXXI-TV.

A celebrated hero and humanitarian comes to Rochester with a message that inspires, yet also stings. Paul Rusesabagina is known for saving the lives of more than 1,200 people during one of the most catastrophic events in world history, the Rwandan genocide. 25 years later, the "ordinary man" tells us what we must do to stop it from happening again.

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