What role does race play in college admissions?

A new documentary produced by KLRU and journalist Lynn Boswell will explore questions of fairness, equality and what those words mean in university admissions nationwide.

To help fund production of this film, we are asking you to support our Indiegogo campaign. The goal of $25,000 will help with costs associated with travel, fact checking, research and use of archival materials. Funds raised through this campaign will directly support the production of this documentary.

There are great perks to thank you for your donation including an advance screening, panel & reception, as well as a private dinner. Supporting this effort shows you support quality journalism and public media.

Share, like and tweet about this project! More information can be found on our Indiegogo page.

In the Studio: Christopher Hayes tapes Overheard 3/11

Overheard taping announcement

MSNBC AnchorsPlease join KLRU’s Overheard with Evan Smith for an interview with Christopher Hayes

Date: March 11
Time: 12:15pm (Doors open at 11:45am)
Location: KLRU’s Studio 6A (map)
RSVP: The event is free but an RSVP is required. RSVP now

Christopher Hayes is contributor and Editor at Large for The Nation and host of the MSNBC show Up w/ Chris Hayes, Saturday and Sundays at 7. Hayes is a former Fellow at Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics. His writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Time, The New Republic, The Guardian and The Chicago Reader, among other publications. His book, Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy, was published in June of 2012. Hayes is in Austin to sign copies at the SX Bookstore.

We hope you’ll be there as Overheard with Evan Smith continues its third season of great conversation with fascinating people, always on the news and always with a sense of humor. The show features in-depth interviews with a mix of guests from politics, the arts, literature, journalism, business, sports and more, and reaches PBS viewers from California to Florida. We’d love to see you in the studio for the interview, and for a chance to join the audience Q&A after the interview.

After Newtown: Mental health resources in Austin

As part of PBS’s After Newtown initiative, we asked our viewers how KLRU should respond to the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. An overwhelming number of you wanted us to focus on access to mental health care. KLRU will also feature this video during Need To Know on Feb. 22.

NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is dedicated to education, early detection and advocacy for people who suffer from mental illness. According to the group’s numbers, “one in 10 children struggles with mental illness severe enough to cause significant impairment to their day-to-day lives,” and only half of those children receive treatment. NAMI aims to diagnose these cases early, by working with teachers and parents to teach them how to identify and deal with symptoms.

NAMI Austin President Adrienne Kennedy joined us in studio for a conversation about what her organization does, and what sorts of resources are available to people living in Central Texas.

NAMI is hosting a Capitol Day on February 28 at the Texas State Capitol. Lawmakers will speak, lunch will be served, and an afternoon rally will take place on the South Steps. You can find more information about Capitol Day on their website namiaustin.org.

In the Studio: Kasim Reed tapes Overheard 2/26

Overheard taping announcement

Kasim ReedPlease join KLRU’s Overheard with Evan Smith for an interview with Mayor Kasim Reed

Date: February 26
Time: 10:15am (Doors open at 9:45am)
Location: in KLRU’s Studio 6A (map)
RSVP: The event is free but an RSVP is required. RSVP now

Kasim Reed is Mayor of Atlanta and a rising star in the Democratic Party. He was elected in 2009 to his first term, and was a key surrogate for the Obama Administration during the 2012 presidential election. Prior to becoming mayor, Reed served in the Georgia General Assembly for 11 years. He is in town for the Texas Legislative Black Caucus Summit.

We hope you’ll be there as Overheard with Evan Smith continues its third season of great conversation with fascinating people, always on the news and always with a sense of humor. The show features in-depth interviews with a mix of guests from politics, the arts, literature, journalism, business, sports and more, and reaches PBS viewers from California to Florida. We’d love to see you in the studio for the interview, and for a chance to join the audience Q&A after the interview.

After Newtown Specials Feb. 18-22

PBS and KLRU will air a week-long series of programming on school violence, mental illness and security issues on Feb. 18-22. PBS NewsHour, Washington Week, Frontline, Nova and other PBS shows will include special coverage on these topics.  KLRU will feature an interview with members of Austin’s National Alliance on Mental Illness during Need To Know on Feb. 22. Need To Know airs at 7:30 pm Fridays and the complete local interview will be featured online.

Other special After Newtown coverage includes:



After Newtown: Guns In America at 8 pm Feb. 19
AFTER NEWTOWN: GUNS IN AMERICA is an unprecedented exploration of America’s enduring relationship with firearms. From the first European settlements in the New World to frontier justice; from 19th-century immigrant riots to gangland violence in the Roaring Twenties; from the Civil War to civil rights, guns have been at center of our national narrative. Americans have relied on guns to sustain communities, challenge authority and keep the peace. Efforts to curtail their distribution and ownership have triggered epic political battles. This program traces the evolution of guns in America, their frequent link to violence and the clash of cultures that reflect competing visions of our national identity.

Frontline: Raising Adam Lanza at 9 pm Feb. 19
In the wake of the mass killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, FRONTLINE investigates a young man and the town he changed forever. Adam Lanza left behind a trail of death and destruction, but little else. He left no known friends, no diary. He destroyed his computer and any evidence it might have provided. His motives, and his life, remain largely a mystery. In collaboration with The Hartford Courant, FRONTLINE looks for answers to the central-and so far elusive-question: who was Adam Lanza? Also this hour: In the aftermath of the tragedy, President Obama called for a national conversation about guns in America. Nowhere is that conversation more intense than in Newtown, where FRONTLINE finds a town divided and explores how those closest to the tragedy are now wrestling with our nation’s gun culture and laws.


NOVA: Mind of a Rampage Killer at 8 pm Feb. 20th
What makes a person walk into a theater or a church or a classroom full of students and open fire? What combination of circumstances compels a human being to commit the most inhuman of crimes? Can science in any way help us understand these horrific events and provide clues as to how to prevent them in the future? As the nation tries to understand the tragic events at Newtown, NOVA correspondent Miles O’Brien separates fact from fiction, investigating new theories that the most destructive rampage killers are driven most of all, not by the urge to kill, but the wish to die. Could suicide and the desire to go out in a media-fueled blaze of glory be the main motivation? How much can science tell us about a brain at risk for violence? Most importantly, can we recognize dangerous minds in time — and stop the next Newtown?

Path To Violence at 9 pm Feb. 20th
Ever since the wake-up call that was Columbine, schools and law enforcement have developed multiple strategies to prevent attacks. Indeed, the horror of Newtown needs to be seen in a context that’s not defined by defeat. Remarkably, more than 120 school assaults have been thwarted in the past ten years. But, while security hardware and physical barriers can play a deterrent role, it’s been psychologists working hand in hand with law enforcement officers who have come up with the most helpful tools to prevent violent attacks. The Path to Violence tells the story of a powerfully effective Secret Service program – the Safe School Initiative – that’s helped schools detect problem behavior in advance. Yet, despite the progress made, recent attacks reveal a gaping hole in our safety net. Shooters like Adam Lanza, Jared Loughner and James Holmes all executed their attacks after they’d left their respective schools. In such cases, parents may be the first and only line of defense parents who are terrified of their own children and who receive inadequate help from the mental health and legal systems. Can the hard-won gains made by social psychologists and law enforcement be extended to encompass the parents and families of some of the nation’s most violent individuals? Further, is the country ready to have a national conversation about the balance between school safety and civil liberties that any such interventions – including gun control – require?

PBS Newshour selects UT students to cover inauguration

Instead of merely watching the Inauguration on Jan. 21, two graduate students and a senior lecturer from the School of Journalism at The University of Texas at Austin will be running through Washington, D.C., covering the event for PBS NewsHour. The school is part of the College of Communication.

They will participate in a PBS NewsHour multimedia short course, which will take place Jan. 18-22 in Washington, D.C. The goals of the course are to give rising journalism stars an opportunity to be a part of history and collaborate with their peers from across the country, said PBS NewsHour Extra director Imani Cheers.

Second-year graduate students David Barer and Efren Salinas are among 14 student-reporters selected from a nationwide search. After being nominated by a professor, applicants were each asked to submit a cover letter, résumé, references, letter of recommendation, short biography, news clips and three story pitches.

“It was a great feeling to be selected for this short course,” Salinas said. “I’ve been working very hard since arriving at the School of Journalism, and I feel this is not only a validation of my hard work but an excellent opportunity.”

After visiting one of senior lecturer Kate Dawson’s classes in 2012, PBS’s Cheers invited Dawson to help lead the short course.

Instructors and student-reporters will arrive at the PBS NewsHour headquarters Jan. 18.

“It will be hectic,” Dawson said. “We’ll watch the show live on Friday, have a working dinner and then it’s a litany of 12- to 14-hour days.”

Barer will serve on a print team, writing stories about corporate donations and how the Obama administration plans to respond to environmental issues.

Salinas will serve on a film team led by Dawson. He will work on a video piece about the Hispanic vote, with a focus on the Dream Act and “Dreamers,” young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children.

To follow the multimedia short course blog, visit inaugblog.com. On Twitter, student-reporters will post under #newshouru and #inaugblog.

“Going through this boot camp will be tough but really rewarding,” Dawson said. “We’re working on some really innovative ways to tell stories, including some amazing shooting techniques. This will be like a mini multimedia course for students — a semester rolled into six days. We’ll just need some rest when it’s done!”

KLRU Viewer Council

As 2013 begins we are renewing efforts for the KLRU Viewer Council, a way for us to get direct feedback from our community and help guide our programming decisions.

Viewer Council members will be periodically asked to answer short online surveys, to participate in individual interviews or participate in focus groups. Your participation is completely up to you – and you can opt out of the Viewer Council at any time. Another benefit to the program is you’ll receive a summary of responses from the survey and if possible, we’ll explain how KLRU will use the data.

As a reminder, we will never share your email or personal information with others. As with any research participation, your answers to these surveys will be completely confidential. We adhere to the highest standards of ethics in research.

The first survey of the year is focused on news and public affairs programming and, specifically, on how KLRU should respond to the tragic event in Newtown, CT.

To sign up for the Viewer Council, visit: http://www.klru.org/viewercouncil/
To take this month’s survey, go here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/VCJanuarySurvey

Forum Explores Demographic Impact 12/10

What: Forum Explores Effects of Changing Demographics on Civic Participation “Why Bother? Engaging Our Changing City”
When: 7-9 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 10
Where: Austin Community College’s Eastview campus, Multipurpose Hall (Room
8500), 3401 Webberville Road.
RSVP: This event is free and open to the public. RSVP here

The Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at The University of Texas at Austin College of Communication, KLRU-TV, Austin PBS, and KUT 90.5 FM are hosting a community conversation to explore the effects of changing demographics on civic participation in Central Texas. “Why Bother? Engaging Our Changing City” is the second event in a yearlong news and public dialogue series organized by the hosts.

“As Austin grows and thrives, our city is becoming more diverse, but this diversity isn’t reflected among citizens who vote,” said Regina Lawrence, director of the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life. “This forum will explore ways to get everyone engaged in our city’s future.”

KUT News Reporter Joy Diaz will host the event. Juan Castillo, senior reporter for the Austin American-Statesman, will share recent demographic trends in Austin from the 2010 census. Chantel Bottoms, senior research analyst at Community Action Network, will present voter turnout data for Travis County. Participants will then join small roundtable discussions to explore how to expand community engagement as the city continues to grow and change.

This community event is organized in partnership with Austin Community College’s Center for Public Policy and Political Studies.

Background: Sponsored by the Strauss Institute for Civic Life, KLRU and KUT 90.5 FM, the “Why Bother? Engaging Texans in Democracy Today” series aims to get people talking about why Texas has one of the lowest rates of civic participation in the country, and what can be done about it.

Future public dialogues next spring will address how citizens can make their voices heard in the Texas Legislature and how to involve Austin residents in city government
and planning. For more information about the series and the civic engagement crisis in Central Texas, visit whybothertexas.org.

About the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life
Created in 2000 to respond to growing political cynicism and disaffection in the United
States, the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life is named for Annette Greenfield
Strauss: former Dallas mayor, community leader and philanthropist. The Institute
envisions a democracy where all citizens are informed, vote and are actively involved in
improving their communities. Through nonpartisan research, education and outreach, the Institute seeks to understand and overcome obstacles to civic engagement. To learn more, visit us online at http://annettestrauss.org.

About The University of Texas at Austin College of Communication
One of the nation’s foremost institutions for the study of advertising and public relations, communication sciences and disorders, communication studies, journalism and radio-TV-film, The University of Texas at Austin College of Communication is preparing students to thrive in an era of media convergence. Serving more than 4,600 undergraduate and graduate students, the College is nationally recognized for its faculty members, research and student media. For more information about the College of Communication, visit http://communication.utexas.edu.

In the Studio: Civic Summit What it Takes for Texas Families 12/6

Civic Summit

KLRU and the Center for Public Policy Priorities present an evening focusing on families and the economy

DATE: Thursday, December 6th
TIMES: 6:30 pm doors; 7pm documentary screening; 7:30 pm townhall discussion/taping
LOCATION: KLRU’s Studio 6A (map)
RSVP: Event is free, but RSVP is required. RSVP now

First watch the documentary “Fighting Chance” and then participate in a community discussion about families and poverty to be broadcast on KLRU Decmeber 13 at 8:30 pm.

What does it take for a family to survive and thrive in Texas? “Fighting Chance” follows the lives of five families and shows the tough choices they must make — sacrifices that most Texans could not imagine. Their journeys are chronicled as they fight to meet their most basic needs. The realities of poverty are exposed and common assumptions are challenged as to what it takes to survive.

Immediately after the screening, community members and leaders join in conversation to discuss the challenges and barriers families in Texas face in order to get by. Hear how different cities address issues and provide solutions for their communities. Learn also about tools and resources available to help families get ahead.  Discussion guests include:

  • Walter Moreau, Executive Director, Foundation Communities
  • Frances Deviney, Ph.D. Senior Research Associate, Center for Public Policy Priorities
  • Moderated by Sherri Greenberg Director, Center for Politics and Governance at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin
  • Garnet Coleman, State Representative from Houston and Chairman of the County Affairs Committee

Civic Summit: What it Takes for Texas Families will be broadcast on KLRU and be available online at the Civic Summit website