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

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/photosMassMass

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.

The Big E, a 104-year-old New England agricultural fair, is canceled for 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Courtesy Eastern States Exposition

The Big E — the giant annual agricultural fair in West Springfield, Massachusetts — is canceled this year, Eastern States Exposition officials announced Monday. In recent years, more than a million people have come to the area during the fair's two-week run. 

In 2019, the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Massachusetts, attracted more than a million visitors. Tickets for the September 2020 fair are available for purchase.
Courtesy of The Big E

Tickets are being sold for the Eastern States Exposition — or The Big E — in West Springfield, Massachusetts, known for livestock competitions, rides and fried food. The website even has a countdown to a supposed opening day, September 18. 

Nicole M. Young in Northampton, Mass.
Courtesy of Nicole M. Young / Samm Smith Design & Photography

Black Writers Read, live and online June 19th, is the brainchild of several western Massachusetts writers. The event began as a response to a Trump campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, originally scheduled for the same day. June 19 is Juneteenth, a day that marks the end of slavery in the U.S. 

Young@Heart, in a recent rehearsal, from their homes in western Massachusetts.
Screen Shot / Jill Kaufman / NEPR

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Young@Heart, the western Massachusetts chorus whose youngest member is 75 years old and oldest is 90, was forced to cancel in-person rehearsals. They started meeting online and making "quarantine videos."

Astronomer Stephen Schneider stands in the middle of the UMass Amherst sunwheel, explaining how a solstice actually lasts more than one day.
Jill Kaufman / NEPR

Concerned that as many as 100 people could show up on the first day of summer at at its mini-Stonehenge during the pandemic, UMass Amherst has canceled a ritual pre-dawn solstice talk. Skywatchers need not worry about missing out, as the astronomical occurrence takes place over several days.

"Say Their Names" is a new mural in Springfield, Mass., led by artist Wane One.
Jill Kaufman / NEPR

Public murals went up around Springfield, Mass., last year as a form of community building. This week, amid widespread protests of police brutality and racism, a group of cultural institutions including Art for the Soul Gallery and Common Wealth Murals is supporting a new mural in Springfield.

Shamari "Shamrok" Stampp, at a public piano in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Jill Kaufman / NEPR

In downtown Springfield, Massachusetts, inside an atrium near the corner of Main and Harrison, is a public piano. Shamari Stampp comes to it at least once a week. 

Timna Tarr, a quilt artist in Holyoke, Massachusetts, finds needed exercise behind her sewing machine during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jill Kaufman / NEPR

A fabric artist in Holyoke, Massachusetts, has been sewing pieces of quilts together almost daily during the COVID-19 pandemic. With no specific project in mind, Timna Tarr said it's needed exercise to sit behind her machine and just sew.

Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski issued a directive that closed, until further notice as of March 17, all diocesan churches and chapels in response to COVID-19.
Anne-Gerard Flynn / The Republican / masslive.com/photos

Governor Charlie Baker has unveiled his administration's multipart plan to restart the Massachusetts economy. Included in the first phase, along with manufacturing and construction projects, are houses of worship. They are now allowed to reopen within certain guidelines, but not all are planning to do so. 

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