Jill Kaufman

Reporter/Producer/Host

Jill Kaufman has been reporting and hosting at NEPM since 2005. Before that she spent almost 10 years in the news department at WBUR in Boston, five of them at The Connection with Christopher Lydon. In the months leading up to the 2000 New Hampshire primary Jill hosted NHPR’s call in talk show The Exchange. During the 2000 South Carolina Primary she hosted NPR’s Weekend All Things Considered. Right before coming to NEPM, Jill was an editor at PRI's The World

An empty classroom.
Violet Jiang / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/124094550@N02

Some Massachusetts parents disagree with Governor Charlie Baker's plan to get students back in classrooms by the end of the school year, a proposal announced earlier this week. 

Bilgesu Sümer and Laura Fattaruso dated online for a month during the pandemic, before they decided to meet in person.
Submitted photo

The pandemic — and a partially shut down economy — hasn’t stopped Valentine's Day or dating, in general.

"Landscape With Rainbow" by 19th century painter Robert Duncanson was shown during a ceremony at the inauguration of President Joe Biden.
Gift of Leonard and Paula Granoff / Smithsonian American Art Museum

A presentation of art was among the many moments in Washington during Wednesday’s presidential inauguration.

The Calvin Theatre in Northampton, Massachusetts, is one of several venues owned by Iron Horse Entertainment Group. The company is rescheduling shows for later in 2021 and 2022.
Sam Hudzik / NEPM

In the last 10 months, New England’s rich arts scene has been hit hard.

U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, center top, presided over the House chamber when it recessed during the lockdown. On the left, staff members motion for lawmakers to stay seated.
Screen shot / C-SPAN

Updated at 9:25 p.m. 

As pro-Trump extremists breached the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts was presiding over the House.

In past years, hundreds showed up for the Three Kings Day celebrations at Blessed Sacrament Church in Springfield, Massachusetts. Because of COVID-19, Grisel Delgado and her daughter are producing a scaled-back event.
Courtesy / Grisel's Privare Dance School for the Performing Arts

Many Christians celebrate Epiphany on January 6, also known as Three Kings Day. In Puerto Rico, it’s an official holiday and for Puerto Ricans living in western Massachusetts, the community celebrations are usually huge, but not in the era of COVID-19.

Courtesy of Springfield No One Leaves

 

The pandemic has taken a crisis of housing affordability and made it worse. In western Massachusetts and elsewhere, growing numbers of people are falling behind on rent and are in danger of being evicted, even with well-funded assistance programs.

Holyoke Community College is the location for one of Massachusetts' "Stop The Spread" COVID-19 testing sites. With waits up to three hours long, the state opened several new free testing sites this week.
Jill Kaufman / NEPM

To help alleviate the long lines at free COVID-19 test sites, Massachusetts public health officials opened several new centers this week — including in western Massachusetts.

But it’s been a frustrating few months trying to get tested, especially for those without symptoms who had little choice about where to go before now.

"Sandra" (2019, Acrylic on canvas) by Longmeadow High School senior Wynne Dromey is one of almost two dozen portraits in a new Springfield Museums show called "This is Us."
Wynne Dromey / D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts

The Springfield Museums has curated a regional portrait exhibit to coincide with the arrival of a prestigious Smithsonian show of American portraiture.

WAM Theatre based in Lenox, Massachusetts, took on "The Thanksgiving Play" this season. The show is a sendup of white elementary school teachers trying and failing to do better at teaching this part of American history.
Illustration by Katari Wilson / WAM Theatre

In late October, Native American playwright Larissa FastHorse was among the recipients of a prestigious MacArthur Genius Grant. Among her achievements is "The Thanksgiving Play," now on stage (so to speak) at WAM Theatre, based in Lenox, Massachusetts.

In this pandemic year, the video went live last night and is up through the weekend.

Actor Alan H. Green was among those who performed "The Hills Are Alive with Rodgers & Hammerstein" this summer in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The performance was outdoors and actors wore masks.
Daniel Rader / barringtonstageco.org

According the most recent survey from the Mass Cultural Council, Massachusetts arts and culture organizations have lost nearly $484 million in revenue from COVID-19 related closures and cancellations.

Voters at the high school in Ludlow, Massachusetts, cast their ballots on Election Day 2020.
Jill Kaufman / NEPM

It's still unclear who won the state representative seat in Massachusetts 7th Hampden District.

In "I've Got Issues," Courtney Davis plays several roles, including Griselda, whose face is permanently frozen in a state of anxiety.
Courtesy / Steve Collins

The new movie "I've Got Issues" is described as an absurdist comedy about suffering.

"The Spinner" statue in Turners Falls, Massachusetts, was removed this spring for the park's renovation. Artist Nina Rossi saw an opportunity for a "pedestal takeover." Peggy Hart, a weaver, is shown here.
Groundspeak Inc. (dba Geocaching) / Nina Rossi


A few months ago, during a renovation of Spinner Park in Turners Falls, Massachusetts, a statue in the small brick streetscape was temporarily removed from its pedestal for its own restoration.

"The Spinner" had been erected 35 years ago in honor of women who worked in the area's long-gone textile mills. A local artist saw the empty platform as a way to stage a new tribute to women and their tools.

The office of the bishop of the Springfield Catholic Diocese.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

As the Roman Catholic Diocese in Springfield, Massachusetts, continues to address the problem of sexual abuse in its churches, congregants and others are being asked to fill out an online survey by October 19.

Bagged food at the emergency food distribution program, run by Northampton Survival Center, Grow Food Northampton and Community Action Pioneer Valley.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

The United Nations’ World Food Programme is being recognized with its Nobel Peace Prize for combating hunger, and for its efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war. That may not be the need in New England, but hunger is prevalent.

From "The Book Rescuer: How a Mensch from Massachusetts Saved Yiddish Literature for Generations to Come" by Sue Macy.
Stacy Innerst / Simon and Schuster / Paula Wiseman Books 2019

The story of how thousands of rescued Yiddish books became the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts, has been told a few times. Now, it’s an illustrated children's book. 

Darryl Moss was fired by Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno for violating a social media policy.
Douglas Hook / Masslive / masslive.com/photos

Longtime Springfield, Massachusetts, City Hall staff member Darryl Moss was fired this week. Mayor Domenic Sarno said in a press release Moss violated the city's social media policy. But Black community leaders and elected officials disagree with the mayor and are saying Moss, who is Black, was targeted.

About 15 years ago, Zee Johnson opened what is one of only a few Black-owned bookstores in Massachusetts. She still does outreach work in the city for Springfield's Department of Elder Affairs.
Jill Kaufman / NEPM

Walking into Olive Tree Books-n-Voices on Hancock Street in Springfield, Massachusetts, is like walking into someone’s home. It's one of only a few Black-owned bookstores in the state.

For their daughters and themselves, Mustafa and BeckyJean Thompson said they're relieved there's now more structure to the West Springfield, Mass., online school day.
Jill Kaufman / NEPM

Most Massachusetts public schools began classes this week after a delay due to the coronavirus. Districts,  independently of one another, developed their plans and many schools are teaching remotely. That means parents and caregivers are again juggling their work schedules while also acting as teacher helpers.

A children's book by Shirley Jackson Whitaker focuses on building confidence in girls who are Black.
Shirley Jackson Whitaker / Courtesy bornblackandlucky.com

Shirley Jackson Whitaker says her recent children's book, "I Did Not Ask To Be Born Black. I Just Got Lucky," is a way to help little girls who are Black have positive self-images. And it's a way to celebrate their beauty. 

N95 masks and nitrile gloves.
Jesse Costa / WBUR

A new survey from the MassINC details the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Latinos in Massachusetts, and finds Latinos living in the western and central parts of the state may have more of a buffer.

A "Welcome Back Students" sign hangs outside an Amherst, Mass., store August 6, 2020. It was the same day UMass told thousands of students because of COVID-19 developments, they would not be able to live on campus as planned.
Jill Kaufman / NEPM

Hundreds of resident assistants at UMass Amherst were expected to move into dorms this week. But UMass revised its COVID-19 policy late last week. It allows only a fraction of students to live on campus this fall, including far fewer paid RAs. 

The Mtali Banda Oneness Project was the opening band at the Makaya McCraven concert at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke on June 4, 2019.
Ed Cohen / MassLive / masslive.com

It’s been five months since live music venues and DJ clubs shut their doors to dancing crowds, and in Massachusetts they won’t be able to open in full until a COVID-19 vaccine or a proven treatment is available. If they make it that long.

Community organizers "Real Recognize Fake" held a Black Wall Street Protest July 7 on Court Square in Springfield, Massachusetts. Events like this the city says it will not allow to take place without permits.
Courtesy realrecognizefake413.org

Officials in Springfield, Massachusetts, say they've learned through social media that several unauthorized group events are being promoted on city properties and they have issued a warning.

The words "BLACK LIVES MATTER" were painted Sunday in Springfield's Court Square. Mayor Domenic Sarno wants the mural removed this weekend. Another city-sanctioned BLM mural will be painted in September.
Douglas Hook / MassLive / masslive.com/photos

The organizers behind a mural painted Sunday in Springfield's historic Court Square are asking Mayor Domenic Sarno to let it stay there. He’s announced he plans to have it removed this weekend.

Eric Giroux, whose novel "Ring On Deli" is about a grocery store in an old Massachusetts mill town. Decades earlier, it had a pig farm, and now feral boars occasionally appear downtown.
Courtesy Eric Giroux

For his first novel, “Ring On Deli,” Eric Giroux used a bit of his own teen experience working at the local Market Basket, a family-owned New England grocery chain. 

The UMass Amherst campus in a file photo.
UMass Amherst / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

New England professors are among about 30,000 academics from around the U.S. to sign an open letter condemning a new federal policy regarding international college students. The Trump administration is barring those students from staying in the U.S. if they only take online classes this fall.

After being closed for the first four months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Baker Administration has given Massachusetts museums the green light to reopen.
Courtesy MASS MoCA

Three major Berkshire County museums say they plan to reopen next weekend after shutting down for nearly four months. 

Two Black firefighters have named the past and current Springfield Fire Department commissioners in a federal discrimination lawsuit.
City of Springfield, Massachusetts

A federal discrimination lawsuit filed by two Black firefighters against the city of Springfield, Massachusetts, now specifically names the current and former fire commissioners.

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