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NCPR News Staff: Zach Hirsch

Reporter and Producer

Zach Hirsch has a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Vermont. He got his radio training at the Transom Story Workshop in Woods Hole, MA.
 
He hosted a community radio show during his years at UVM, but it was actually coursework that motivated him to pursue a career in public radio journalism. As a senior at the university, he carried out a yearlong, ethnographic investigation on surveillance and discipline in an outdoor mall. He won honors for his thesis, but he wasn't entirely satisfied. The final report was too academic – it failed to tell the story in a way that was accessible to most people. So he began translating the paper into radio stories and interviews, which he broadcast on his weekly show on WRUV.
 
Zach left Burlington in March 2013, when he was accepted into the Transom program. In Woods Hole, he was among an elite group of nine radio producers, learning how to create human-sounding stories under the mentorship of award-winning documentarians. While at the program, he reported on the psychological aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing. His profile of two survivors was at the center of an hour-long discussion on WCAI's The Point. Zach's work has also aired on New Hampshire Public Radio, WFUV in New York, PRX Remix, and HowSound.

Stories filed by Zach Hirsch

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The Canton United Methodist Church regularly offers free meals. Photo: Zach Hirsch
The Canton United Methodist Church regularly offers free meals. Photo: Zach Hirsch

Systemic hunger, right here in the North Country

In the North Country, there is an ongoing conversation about poverty, health, and hunger. Over the last five years, 40 percent more people living in St. Lawrence County have signed up for SNAP benefits, or food stamps.

Nationwide, one in six Americans doesn't know where the next meal is coming from.

Last week, about a hundred people gathered in Potsdam to watch A Place at the Table, a documentary about hunger. It's the latest film from the group behind Food, Inc.  Go to full article
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Export-Import Bank president Fred Hochberg, and Congressman Bill Owens in Ogdensburg. Photo: Zach Hirsch
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Export-Import Bank president Fred Hochberg, and Congressman Bill Owens in Ogdensburg. Photo: Zach Hirsch

Exporting North Country goods with fewer headaches

Each year, billions of dollars in material goods flow between New York and Canada. On the North Country side of the border, more and more businesses are realizing they could make good money when they export their products.

For smaller businesses, though, dealing with foreign customers and distributers can be complicated and expensive.

But at a roundtable discussion in Ogdensburg on Friday, officials told North Country business owners they can make it easier to jump into the game of international trade.  Go to full article
Dr. Kristen Esterberg will become the new president of SUNY Potsdam, and Dr. Zvi Szafran will take over at SUNY Canton. Photos via <a href="http://readme.readmedia.com/SUNY-Board-of-Trustees-Appoints-Dr-Kristin-Esterberg-as-President-of-SUNY-Potsdam/8400638?utm_source=newswire&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=media_pr_emails">SUNY Potsdam</a> and <a href="http://educate.spsu.edu/zszafran/">Southern Polytechnic State University</a>.
Dr. Kristen Esterberg will become the new president of SUNY Potsdam, and Dr. Zvi Szafran will take over at SUNY Canton. Photos via SUNY Potsdam and Southern Polytechnic State University.

SUNY Potsdam, Canton each get their own president

Canton and Potsdam's state universities each got new presidents Thursday.

In a press release, the State University of New York's Board of Trustees announced that Kristen Esterberg will be the 16th president of SUNY Potsdam. She'll be the first woman to lead the college.

Esterberg is currently the provost and academic vice president at Salem State University, in Massachusetts.  Go to full article

The North Country's health, measured online

Blood pressure, cholesterol, weight - doctors check all of these indicators to see whether their patients are healthy. Zooming out a bit, how would you measure the health of an entire region?

One group of advocates intends to do just that, with a new website called the North Country Health Compass. It's a project by a Fort Drum-based planning agency.  Go to full article
The Canton Merchants Association hopes to put more retail shops and eateries on Main Street. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/29781788@N00/8687082133/">wabisabi2015</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
The Canton Merchants Association hopes to put more retail shops and eateries on Main Street. Photo: wabisabi2015, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Merchants to give downtown Canton a new spark

There's something missing on Main Street in Canton: it doesn't feel "downtown" enough. That's the concern among some local business owners in the village.

So a handful of them teamed up to form the Canton Merchants Association.  Go to full article
The Plattsburgh Cardinals after their big win on Saturday. Photo via <a href="http://www.gocardinalsports.com/index.aspx?path=whockey">SUNY Plattsburgh</a>.
The Plattsburgh Cardinals after their big win on Saturday. Photo via SUNY Plattsburgh.

SUNY Plattsburgh: the other big North Country victory

While Clarkson was duking it out for the Division I championship on Sunday, the Division III Women's Ice Hockey team at SUNY Plattsburgh was already celebrating.

Over the weekend, the Cardinals beat Norwich University, 9-2, for their third national title.  Go to full article
Austin's 6th Street was closed off to cars so that the thousands of SXSW "pilgrims" could mill about. Photo: Zach Hirsch
Austin's 6th Street was closed off to cars so that the thousands of SXSW "pilgrims" could mill about. Photo: Zach Hirsch

The North Country, represented at SXSW!

Each year, thousands of people flock to Austin, Texas, for SXSW (South by Southwest), a set of music, film, and interactive festivals.

Zach Hirsch was our person on the ground for the music part. All last week, he was snapping photos, recording sounds, sampling the scene, and keeping an eye out for musicians from our region.

Zach is now safely back in the North Country, and he joined Martha Foley in the studio for a little debrief.  Go to full article
Photo: Zach Hirsch
Photo: Zach Hirsch

Clarkson Women's Ice Hockey heads to Frozen Four

The Clarkson Women's Ice Hockey team is making history. For the first time, the Golden Knights made it to the Frozen Four. Tomorrow, the team faces off against Mercyhurst College, and if they win, they play for the 2014 NCAA Championship.

Before the team boarded the bus to Quinnipiac University yesterday, their fans cheered them on.  Go to full article
Catherine Matthews, director of the Canton food pantry. Photo: Canton Church and Community Program
Catherine Matthews, director of the Canton food pantry. Photo: Canton Church and Community Program

New program will help St. Lawrence County food banks keep shelves fuller

A new delivery method will help St. Lawrence County food banks keep their shelves full. The Food Bank of Central New York's new retail partnership program in St. Lawrence County will expedite donations from Walmart.

The idea is simple: to get food to the people who need it faster, in a year when the brutally cold weather has made it harder for people already struggling to make ends meet.  Go to full article
Inside the tiny Potsdam mosque. Photo: Zach Hirsch
Inside the tiny Potsdam mosque. Photo: Zach Hirsch

For North Country Muslims, NYPD surveillance ruling brings back memories

A recent federal ruling is bringing back memories of surveillance in Potsdam's Muslim community.

Since 9/11, the New York City Police Department has played an increasingly aggressive role in domestic counter-terrorism efforts. The NYPD has investigated mosques and entire ethnic communities, a point that raises concerns among civil liberties advocates. Undercover agents have also monitored the websites of Muslim Student Associations at more than 15 universities.

According to an Associated Press report from 2012, NYPD officers scrutinized the online activities of Muslims at Clarkson and SUNY Potsdam.  Go to full article

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