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

Dallas, TX –

Have you learned anything from the so-called Presidential debates? I haven't except that Senator Clinton has some excellent writers on staff. Instead of platitudes from both parties, I'd like to know how they think, how they weigh competing interests. Let's start with a life and death issue: organ transplants.

About 95,000 people are on the waiting list for organs, mostly kidneys. About 4,000 die every year while waiting.

Dallas, TX –

In the wake of the Minneapolis bridge collapse in August, Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.) proposed a five-cents-per-gallon increase in the federal gas tax with a goal of raising $25 billion for critical bridge repairs across the United States.

Dallas, TX –

My breast cancer recovery journey was moving along quite well until a recent report from the Journal of Clinical Oncology took the wind out of my sail. The report focused on the growing trend toward double mastectomies, when only one breast is cancerous. There has been a 150% increase since 1998 of women making this choice.

Dallas, TX –

Track 1: "Three Coins in the Fountain"

The most common compliment paid to Marchel Ivery was listing him in the roll call of the Texas Tenors, an honorary club of husky-toned, large-lunged saxophonists like Illinois Jacquet, David "Fathead" Newman, and Dewey Redman who learned how to be heard in raucous roadhouses long before they got to perform in stately venues like Carnegie Hall.

Dallas, TX –

Dallas, TX –

I love open enrollment season. It's that time of year when employers allow you to sign up for health insurance - if you're lucky enough to work for an organization that offers affordable insurance.

Dallas, TX –

October marks twenty years since the world saw a news helicopter aerial video of a body lying face-down in the woods beside a red pickup. It was a young narcotics officer, murdered by Midlothian High School boys.

Dallas, TX –

Death and the agonizing ritual of burial have always fostered an unholy blend of despair and gallows humor. One famous episode on the 1975 Mary Tyler Moore series was the funeral of Chuckles the Clown, when Mary inexplicably begins laughing uncontrollably. The underlying message? There lie ironic undercurrents at any funeral. And irony is the root of great, even greatly inappropriate, droll wit.

Dallas, TX –

To get an idea of what it's like to be a reporter pilot for a television station, picture driving at 100 miles an hour in heavy traffic on Central Expressway while talking on the phone, holding a conversation with a passenger in the car and reading your e-mail.

Dallas, TX –

Six months ago I wrote a piece outlining three solid, evidence-based reasons why I should stop eating meat. One reason had to do with health, another with the treatment of animals in slaughterhouses, and another with exploitation of illegal immigrant labor by some large meatpacking companies.

I like these reasons.

In fact, I was thinking about them just the other night while grilling some hamburgers.

Dallas, TX –

Dallas, TX –

I remember as a kid watching my mother, a newspaper columnist, struggling with the Good Old Boys Club that thwarted her attempts to be taken seriously as a female professional. I recall her outrage when she was patronized; her editor believing that women have "compromised points of view" and thus "should not be writing critical analysis". Then, at 5, is when I decided; if women could get equal footing in a man's world, many world ills would be resolved.

Dallas, TX –

For more than three decades, Austin, Texas has maintained a romantic reputation as the guardian of everything that's pure and good about American music. Hometown heroes like Lucinda Williams, Joe Ely and Jimmy LaFave have long exhibited a stubborn allegiance to traditional blues, folk and country that in this era of televised talent shows spells the difference between being an Idol and being an icon.

Dallas, TX –

High gasoline prices and concern about energy security are driving entrepreneurs in the United States to explore a variety of ways to produce transportation fuels. For example, researchers are experimenting with technologies to turn turkey, chicken and pig litter, and used tires, into gasoline.

Dallas, TX –

On the political scene today, there's plenty of fear and loathing over...fear. Many believe that the Bush administration is desperately exaggerating the threat of terrorism, hoping to scare voters into sticking with the GOP. On the blogs, jeers about Bush "crying wolf" are almost as common as bad spelling.

Dallas, TX –

I recently had surgery to correct a painful cervical disc disease, the worst illness I've had in my 46 years. Contrary to what you've been hearing lately, the care was excellent and cost me very little even though I needed MRIs, CT scans, physical therapy, pain medication, and neurosurgery.

Dallas, TX –

Dallas, TX –

The Kellogg Company's decision to stop advertising cereals of dubious nutritional value to children under the threat of a lawsuit from the Center for Science in the Public Interest is silly at best and pointless in the extreme. I'm all for corporate responsibility but Kellogg elected to stop advertising for all the wrong reasons.

Dallas, TX –

Dallas, TX –

Dallas, TX –

Dallas, TX –

Dallas, TX –

Dallas, TX – The student's question was simple, concise, and valid: "So, Mr. Hays, why don't they just tell the truth and move on?" Unfortunately, I did not have a meaningful answer and replied truthfully, "I don't know."

Dallas, Tx –

When I was in college, I once borrowed the ID of a girl down the hall in our dorm because she was legal and I, obviously, wasn't. She was also about six inches taller than me, which her driver's license clearly stated. Still, seemed like a good idea to use her ID to get into the club and show it to the police officer who gave my friends and me a ticket for drinking beer in the parking lot.

That's 18-year-old judgment for you.

Dallas, TX –

By now, millions of people have seen the "Hillary 1984" video on YouTube. Millions more have read about it or seen clips on television. In this young presidential campaign season, it's far and away the most interesting event we've seen.

It's also proof that political advertising, and political campaigns in general, have changed in ways that would have been unimaginable even five years ago.

Dallas, TX –

Of all the candidates who ran for governor last fall, Democrat Chris Bell had the line that has stayed with me longest. He said, "budgets are moral documents." He meant that the way our state spends money reflects our values as Texans.

Dallas, TX –

Dallas, TX –

Many familiar arguments have been recited over the past few days. We've heard again about the American gun culture. We've seen the usual contrasts with Europe, Asia, Scandinavia. We're debating, again, the possible contributing role of TV and movie violence.

Dallas, TX –

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