Commentaries | KERA News

Commentaries

KERA has refocused its approach to commentaries on the radio and the web. We aim to explore the issues of the day, but not in the type of pieces you’d routinely find on op-ed pages of newspapers. Instead, we do it through storytelling and personal experiences.  

Diversity is a primary goal – across politics, ethnicity, age, geography. KERA aims to sound more like North Texas, with a wide variety of voices covering a wide variety of topics.

Immediacy is key. When reflecting on a news event, the piece should be turned around within a couple of days. Airing more than a week after a news event is often too late. And, when a news event can be anticipated, we try to air the commentary the day of that event.

Brevity is crucial. The piece should not exceed three minutes. Read aloud and time the commentary before submitting it.

So is food for thought.  A good radio commentary gives the media consumer something to think about well after its presentation ends, not just the writer’s point of view.

Here are a few examples that fit the criteria:

How To Submit

Submit commentaries by email, with a suggested two-sentence host introduction and a one-sentence “tagline” for the host to read that describes the commentator (Ex: “Jane Doe is a writer from Dallas.”) Please include your complete contact information: email address, phone number, Twitter and Facebook handles.

Whom To Contact

Sam Baker, Senior Editor

Email: sbaker@kera.org | Phone: 214-740-9244 | Twitter: @srbkera

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Immigration is often described in broad generalizations.  But commentator William Holston thinks if we focus on individual immigrants, the discussion can look very different.

KERA Archives

This week, we’ve been remembering Robert Wilson, who led KERA during its early years. He died at age 75 May 5 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Wilson introduced American TV audiences to Jim Lehrer and Monty Python. Lee Cullum worked with him during that period and remained friends afterward. She shares her memories.  

Library of Congress

For many of the faithful in North Texas, the season of Lent is winding down, and concludes April 15th. But for Brent Barry, Pastor of NorthPark Presbyterian Church in Dallas, this Lenten season has taken an unexpected detour.

Courtesy Lauren Menking

Like many, over the holidays this year I got around to rewatching Love Actually. I’ll be straightforward: I have no stake in the great Love Actually internet debate. I think it’s a fine film. It makes me laugh. It makes me cry. And that’s pretty much the extent of my feelings on the matter…except for one scene.

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Members of the Dallas Police and Fire Pension Fund will vote in November whether to reduce their benefits. If the answer is "yes," the chairman of pension fund board calls it only a first step toward saving the troubled retirement system. But commentator Lee Cullum says something has to be done.

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2016 marked five years since the death of a special volunteer in Richardson schools. Anne Foster reflects on the example Art Middlebrook left behind about the importance of public schools.

Commentary: Confronting Bigotry In Others And Ourselves

Jul 22, 2016
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Recent shootings in Dallas, Baton Rouge, Minnesota and Orlando, Florida have raised concerns about racism and bigotry. The head of the Human Rights Initiative of North Texas suggests the solution to these problems may start within ourselves. William Holston points to his own background as an example.

COURTESY OF NICOLE STEWART

Three years ago, as Wendy Davis was filibustering Senate Bill 5 in Austin, Nicole Stewart was facing a difficult decision in Dallas. Five months into her pregnancy, doctors said if she delivered her baby, he probably would not survive.

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Just as fans did for his fights in the '60s and '70s, people in Muhammad Ali's hometown of Louisiville, Kentucky, lined up for hours for tickets to a public service for the boxing great.  His recent death reminded commentator Lee Cullum of her first encounter with Ali in Dallas. 

Commentary: When Cuba Became Personal

Mar 30, 2016
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Barack Obama recently became the first U.S. president to visit Cuba in nearly 90 years. The island was also on commentator Stephen Whitley’s wish list of places to visit. But Cuba always seemed out of reach until the recent easing of restrictions on travel. He learned some lessons during a Spring Break trip there.

Commentary: Why We Need More Lawyers Like Atticus Finch

Feb 25, 2016
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Writer Harper Lee died last Friday at age 89. But her classic novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, lives on. With more than 40 million copies sold, it’s never been out of print. Lee’s tale of racial injustice in the South had a major impact on contributor William Holston -- in particular, its central character. 

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Polls shows interpretations of what being a feminist means vary across age groups today, but the fact that the conversation continues likely pleases the person who did much to raise the nation’s consciousness about the issue.

Commentary: Dark Secrets In The Classroom

Nov 11, 2015
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His wife is a longtime teacher, but commentator Bret Wooten says it was the time he spent volunteering in her classroom that opened his eyes to her world.  

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Commentator Lee Cullum recently attended a conference in Berlin where the main topic was supposed to be the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. But she says all anyone could think about were the migrants pouring into Germany from the Middle East. 

Commentary: Jimmy Who?

Sep 2, 2015
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Recent news about his cancer has prompted numerous tributes to former President Jimmy Carter. Commentator Lee Cullum looks back to when she first met him.

Commentary: Continuing Education

Aug 25, 2015
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The start of a school year for many students means new beginnings. For the family of commentator Tom Dodge, call it a case of continuing education.

Commentary: Leaders Vs. Bosses

Jul 16, 2015
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Commentator William Holston recently turned 59 years old. During that time, he’s married, raised children and practiced law. Now, as head of the Human Rights Initiative of North Texas, Holston wants to focus on another goal: becoming a great leader.

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An obituary following his death June 20 called Daniel Weiser arguably the most powerful Dallas political figure who never sought elected office. Journalist Bob Ray Sanders explains in this commentary why voters in recent Dallas elections owe him a thank you.

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As we approach Mother’s Day, commentator Diane Brown looks back on her relationship with her mother-in-law. She said it was difficult at first, but time and understanding won out in the end.

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August 2015 will mark ten years since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. It’s been a difficult recovery with some problems still to work out. But commentator Lee Cullum says there’s good news to report.

Study Up For 'Think': The Hairy Truth Of Hair Removal

Feb 11, 2015
Daniel Horacio Agostini, flickr

Waxing, shaving, tweezing, threading, epilating, lasering ... while the methods vary, the vast majority of Americans have tried removing body hair they find unsightly. At noon, Krys Boyd will sit down with historian Rebecca Herzig, author of Plucked: A History of Hair Removal.

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Texas has its own claim to the legacy of the American civil rights movement - James Farmer Jr.  Born in Marshall in 1920, Jan. 12 would have been the birthday of the man many remember as “the great debater.”

Dr. Ben Voth, director of forensics (speech & debate) at Southern Methodist University, says Farmer’s bipartisan civility has much to teach us today.

Study Up For 'Think': A Natural Fix For ADHD

Nov 20, 2014
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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder affects eleven percent of kids ages 4-17. In the first hour of 'Think', we'll talk about the root causes of A.D.H.D. and a natural approach to treating the condition with Dr. Richard Friedman, who recently wrote an article in The New York Times about the disorder.

Domestic Violence In Immigrant Communities

Oct 30, 2014
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Each minute, 24 people are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States. That’s according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and William Holston of the Human Rights Initiative of North Texas explains in this commentary why immigrants face additional challenges.

Diwali: Celebrating Awareness Of The Inner Light

Oct 22, 2014
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Study Up For 'Think': Using The Food We Waste

Oct 14, 2014
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Food waste is a huge problem in industrialized nations where many households and businesses have more food than they really need. Today, in the second hour of 'Think' we'll be speaking to Elizabeth Royte, who writes about better uses for food waste in the November issue of National Geographic.

Commentary: The Tumbleweeds Are Back

Sep 4, 2014
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Don’t let the recent rains fool you. We’re still in drought and commentator David Marquis says there’s no reason to get comfortable.

Jeff Heimsath / Texas Tribune

The U.S. locks up more kids than any other industrialized nation in the world. Today at 1 p.m. on Think, we'll be speaking to author and journalist Nell Bernstein about the phenomenon and alternatives to locking kids up in her book Burning Down The House: The End Of Juvenile Prison.

Study Up For 'Think': What Went Wrong In Iraq

Jul 29, 2014
Stringer/Iraq/Reuters/Corbis / PBS

Now that the Sunni extremist group known as the Islamic State has taken over much of north and western Iraq, many Westerners are left wondering what went wrong in the country. Today at noon on 'Think', we'll be speaking with Jim Gilmore, reporter and a producer of the Frontline documentary "Losing Iraq".

Study Up For 'Think': Marijuana By Numbers

Jul 24, 2014
Brett Levin / Flickr CC

With the legal weed market starting up in Colorado and Washington this year, marijuana is being widely discussed among scientists and researchers across the country. Today at noon on Think, we'll be speaking with Dr. Francesca Filbey and Dr. Robert Morris, two researchers at UT Dallas who've recently completed studies about pot, addiction and crime.

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