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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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Pro-gun advocates line up to fire "the shot heard 'round New York" at the Black Lake Fish and Game Association in Morristown, NY. Photo: Zach Hirsch
Pro-gun advocates line up to fire "the shot heard 'round New York" at the Black Lake Fish and Game Association in Morristown, NY. Photo: Zach Hirsch

2nd Amendment advocates fire their weapons in protest

This past weekend marked the one-year anniversary of New York's tough gun law, known as the SAFE Act.

On Saturday, opponents of the law held rallies they called "the shot heard 'round New York," where they fired a symbolic gunshot in protest of the SAFE Act.  Go to full article
Catherine Matthews. Photo: Canton Church and Community Program
Catherine Matthews. Photo: Canton Church and Community Program

Listen: feeding the people

For many, the end of December is a time of giving. Volunteering and donating to people in need - it's all part of the Christmas spirit.

But when the holidays end, so does a lot of that generosity. In this next story, we hear from a Canton woman who helps the needy year round.  Go to full article
Kelly at her home in Saranac Lake. Photo: Kelly Metzgar.
Kelly at her home in Saranac Lake. Photo: Kelly Metzgar.

On self-discovery: Kelly Metzgar, trans woman

As 2013 comes to a close, we're looking back at some of our favorite stories from the year. Some are newsy, some are just for fun. This piece is about a personal journey.

Kelly Metzgar was born a boy. Now, in her mid-fifties, she's starting to live publicly as a woman.

Zach Hirsch brings us the story of how one person has finally stopped living in hiding.  Go to full article
Sarah Moore, right, stands with her boss, Catherine Matthews, in the food pantry section of the Church and Community Program in Canton, NY. Photo: Zach Hirsch
Sarah Moore, right, stands with her boss, Catherine Matthews, in the food pantry section of the Church and Community Program in Canton, NY. Photo: Zach Hirsch

SNAP recipients, supporters anxious about 2014

In November, families who rely on food stamps saw their monthly food budget lowered, when a boost to SNAP from the 2009 federal stimulus expired.

It is almost certain there will be even more cutbacks when congress passes a new farm bill next year, although it's not clear how big those will be. Last week, we checked in with some people who worry that 2014 will mean much harder times.  Go to full article
Canton resident Betty Peckham at the Unitarian Universalist Church, where students are cleaning up after the weekly Campus Kitchens dinner. Photo: Zach Hirsch
Canton resident Betty Peckham at the Unitarian Universalist Church, where students are cleaning up after the weekly Campus Kitchens dinner. Photo: Zach Hirsch

Campus Kitchens: free food and companionship in Canton

Campus Kitchens is a nation-wide program, run by college students, that feeds the needy. In Canton, St. Lawrence University students started their own branch a few years ago.

Every Monday, volunteers cook a meal and serve it for free. But people don't just come for the food.  Go to full article
Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/matthigh/2096717687/">mlhradio</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Photo: mlhradio, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Hundreds of adults say they believe in Santa

A quick disclaimer: this story may not be for children. It addresses the existence of a certain man who lives in the North Pole.

The Siena College Research Institute does regular public opinion surveys in a wide range of areas, varying from politics to business to culture. On Wednesday, Siena released the results of a special survey about the holiday season in New York.

One of the survey questions asked adults what they think about Santa Claus, and far more grown-ups than you might think said they believe.  Go to full article
The dining room of the United Methodist Church in De Kalb Junction, NY was packed with guests on Tuesday night. Photo: Zach Hirsch
The dining room of the United Methodist Church in De Kalb Junction, NY was packed with guests on Tuesday night. Photo: Zach Hirsch

"World-famous" dining in De Kalb Jct., and it's free (will)

For decades, the United Methodist church in DeKalb Junction has held a monthly, community dinner. What's on the menu varies - but when it's spaghetti, it's a big deal. Some people have even started calling it the "world famous" spaghetti dinner, even though the church isn't' actually setting any official records.  Go to full article
Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/delphien/2685012125/">Henry M. Diaz</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Photo: Henry M. Diaz, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Just how much NY farmers helped out food banks this year

New York's biggest lobbying group for agriculture, the New York Farm Bureau, is holding its annual meeting in Syracuse this week. And they kicked off the session with an impressive announcement: Farmers across the state donated 8.4 million pounds of food to food banks this year.  Go to full article
The Food Bank of Central New York will receive $380,000 of the governor's grant. Photo: Zach Hirsch
The Food Bank of Central New York will receive $380,000 of the governor's grant. Photo: Zach Hirsch

Food banks get pre-holiday boost

On November 1st, a boost to food stamps from the 2009 federal stimulus expired. For the millions of Americans who rely on food stamps, that meant a hole in their monthly food budget.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has been urging New Yorkers to give to local food pantries, and as Zach Hirsch reports, his own office is leading by example.  Go to full article
Robert D. Gorman, right, CEO of the United Way of Northern New York, and David B. Warner, President of ProAct, announce a new partnership that will distribute ProAct's discount prescription card through the United Way's nonprofit organizations in St. Lawrence, Lewis and Jefferson counties. The announcement was made Wednesday at the St. Lawrence Community Development Program office in Canton. Photo: United Way of Northern New York.
Robert D. Gorman, right, CEO of the United Way of Northern New York, and David B. Warner, President of ProAct, announce a new partnership that will distribute ProAct's discount prescription card through the United Way's nonprofit organizations in St. Lawrence, Lewis and Jefferson counties. The announcement was made Wednesday at the St. Lawrence Community Development Program office in Canton. Photo: United Way of Northern New York.

Prescription drugs at a discount

Prescription drugs can get expensive, especially for people without health insurance. There are discount cards available at local government offices, but a lot of people don't know about them. As Zach Hirsch reports, United Way of Northern New York is working to change that.  Go to full article

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