Jill Kaufman


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

Comedian Zul Manzi of Springfield, Massachusetts, has a new animated series called "The Matumbila's."
Courtesy / Zul Manzi

A cartoon sitcom about a Tanzanian family living in a fictional western Massachusetts town has just wrapped up its first season.

A view of MASS MoCA in downtown North Adams, Massachusetts.
Shannon Young / The Republican / masslive.com

Employees at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams have voted overwhelmingly to unionize.

Massachusetts state Rep. Aaron Michlewitz, at left, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, with House Speaker Ronald Mariano on April 14, 2021.
State House News Service

The smoky back room where political deals used to get made has been replaced by a Zoom meeting from a Massachusetts lawmaker's home office.


Banjo camps and academic discussions of the centuries-old instrument have been taking place for years, according to Greenfield, Massachusetts, musician Michael Nix. But there are not many events that showcase how the picking and playing of the banjo has evolved.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Community Presbyterian Church on fire in Springfield, Massachusetts, on December 28, 2020.
Springfield Fire Department / MassLive / MassLive.com

A man from Houlton, Maine, faces federal hate crime charges for allegedly setting a December 2020 fire that destroyed a Springfield, Massachusetts, church.

A view of MASS MoCA in downtown North Adams, Massachusetts.
Shannon Young / The Republican / masslive.com

About 100 eligible employees at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams can now begin to cast mail-in ballots, voting on whether to form a union.

A funeral service for Black Americans lynched and never buried was held in 2016 at a church in Springfield, Massachusetts. The story of Dr. Shirley Jackson Whitaker and why she produced the funeral is featured in the documentary "Ashes to Ashes."
Ben Moon / benmoon.com

Updated at 3:59 p.m. on March 31 

The documentary "Ashes to Ashes" tells the story of a friendship between an Amherst, Massachusetts, doctor and a New Haven, Connecticut, man who became an artist decades after he survived being lynched. In the film, their story coincides with a funeral service held for thousands of Black Americans who didn’t survive.

Pynchon Terrace and Edgewater Apartments on Lowell Street in Springfield, Mass.
File photo / MassLive / masslive.com

A property management company that runs a 612-unit apartment complex in Springfield, Massachusetts, has settled a claim with the state that it denied housing to prospective tenants who are deaf.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra, which owns and operates Tanglewood in Lenox, Massachusetts, has announced it will hold live in-person concerts this summer, for the first time since COVID-19 shut down arts events and venues worldwide.
BSO Press Office

The Boston Symphony Orchestra, which owns and operates Tanglewood in Lenox, Massachusetts, has announced it will hold live in-person concerts this summer. The BSO hasn't performed a live concert since March 2020, when COVID-19 triggered cancellations of arts events worldwide. 

Lucio Perez, at a ceremony marking his departure from sanctuary in an Amherst, Massachusetts, church, on March 13, 2021.
Jill Kaufman / NEPM

After more than three years, a Springfield, Massachusetts, man who faced deportation and found sanctuary in a church has reunited with his family.

Norton Juster, who wrote "The Phantom Tollbooth," has died at 91.
Joyce Skowyra / NEPM

The well-known children's book author Norton Juster has died at age 91. Juster started out as a New Yorker, but spent the last few decades of his life in western Massachusetts.

A view of MASS MoCA in downtown North Adams, Massachusetts.
Shannon Young / The Republican / masslive.com

Updated at 11:43 a.m. on March 9 

Staff at the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, Massachusetts, announced Monday they're taking steps toward forming a union, citing reasons like inequitable working conditions and low salaries.

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

Updated at 4:45 p.m. on March 1 

Some Massachusetts parents disagree with Governor Charlie Baker's plan to get students back in classrooms by the end of the school year.

While some districts have already begun teaching in buildings, others like the Springfield Public Schools have been fully remote since the pandemic began.

Parent Rose Webster-Smith has a 14-year-old and a 16-year-old who attend Duggan Academy.

Like many households, Webster-Smith’s includes an older family member — someone with COPD, she said, and pandemic or not, kids will be kids.

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.