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 –

House Republicans, in their quest for immigration reform, have adopted as their mantra, "If at first, you don't succeed. Try, try again."

Not to be discouraged by the Senate's dismissal of their original immigration bill earlier this year, House Republicans have broken down their larger bill into smaller bite-size pieces.

Dallas, TX –

I've always craved adventure, and after college began tramping around the globe, even stowing away on airplanes in joyous pursuit of ongoing excitement; sleeping in the Parthenon, climbing Diamond Head volcano on impulse. My Mother said on her deathbed, "It isn't cancer that killed me. It was your twenties!"

Dallas, TX –

Dallas, TX –

Whenever I hear about some updated dictionary and the addition of 40 or 50 or 60 words, I think about the lexicographer Samuel Johnson, who wrote definitions not for 40 words, but for 40,000.

Dallas, TX –

Dallas, TX –

Dallas, TX –

I once saw a hilarious video skit on the Johnny Carson Tonight Show starring Bette Midler.

Dallas, TX –

Is there a dream ticket for Democrats in 2008? I believe there is, if not a dream ticket, than certainly a sensible, centrist combination with a realistic hope for victory. Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana and former Gov. Mark Warner of Virginia, in that order, would offer the country an approach that would not be completely appealing to the left wing of the party but would stand a strong chance of winning over independent Americans.

Dallas, TX –

Most of the disabled Iraq War veterans running for office in 2006 are Democrats. This presents a major problem for their opponents, who are already testing various strategies to overcome their reputation as "chicken hawks." A chicken hawk is said to be an able-bodied person who avoids serving in wars but supports them as long as others, or others' children, do the fighting. Their new sound bite will be, "We have moral authority too."

Dallas, TX –

Writers and speakers often use colorful figures of speech to enliven their words. That device can work provided the expression isn't trite and provided the speakers know what they're saying. Misunderstood figures of speech lead to "mixaphors" or otherwise mangled expression.

Dallas, TX –

Ann Coulter wants our attention and she's getting it in her latest bestseller, Godless: The Church of Liberalism, attacking the 9/11 widows as being "millionaire harpies...enjoying their husband's deaths." Coulter's contention: they were paid for their losses and, therefore, questioning governmental policies is using their celebrity to bite the hand that fed them.

Dallas, TX –

I can't be the only one who's noticed the shoddy editing not only in newspapers and magazines, but also in books even in textbooks and best-sellers. Let's make that especially in best-sellers. Some authors seem to land on the best-seller list no matter what, so their publishers apparently give editing a short shrift.

Dallas, TX –

12 years old, watching late night TV, an old movie started. When I called Mother to join me, she asked, "Who's in it?" I told her, "Barbara Stanwyck." "Not interested," she scoffed. I shot back, "Why don't you like Barbara Stanwyck?" Her reply? "I don't like the way she looks." Feeling smug, I reminded Mother, "You can't hold someone's looks against them." She lowered her eyelids and sneered. "I can if they're supposed to entertain me."

Dallas, TX –

Dallas, TX –

Commentary: What's A School Board To Do?

Dallas, TX –

Public schools are educating more students who live below the poverty line than ever before. More immigrant students have brought language issues to the forefront. In addition, schools must cope with other issues prevalent in our society - drugs, divorce, and violence.

Commentary: Texas system for determining school district funding

Dallas, TX –

Lately, we've heard a lot of talk about the way our local public schools spend education dollars.

But, perhaps we should also take a quick look at the state's system for determining just how many dollars your school district has to spend in the first place. After all, it's your children and your money we're talking about.

Commentary: Crazy Labeling

Dallas, TX –

Why are product labels and instructions so bewildering? It's true that sometimes such material is written by people who don't speak English as a mother tongue, and that's bound to cause problems. But even native English speakers write baffling - and sometimes hilarious - product instructions.

Commentary: Head Aches

Dallas, TX –

Everyone in the media knows that even readers who don't read the stories read the headlines, and therefore how important headlines are.

Commentary: Subsidizing Disaster

Dallas, TX –

Dallas, TX –

Why are politicians fighting to allow cities to sue the manufacturers of the fuel additive, MTBE? The answer: trial lawyers, money and politics - a toxic combination.

Dallas, TX –

Most of the Social Security debate is bogged down in numbers, but it's really a debate about philosophy.

Dallas, TX –

The recent elections prove anew, to paraphrase Lincoln: our house divided cannot stand each other.

Dallas, TX – What can we expect if John Kerry is elected president? Will he be the most liberal leader since Lyndon Johnson, as one observer has suggested? If so, what would that mean? In an atmosphere that has blown markedly to the right in the past 25 years, would he find himself able to enact sweeping new programs? Does he have any wish to do that?

Dallas, TX – Does advertising make us fat? No secret that obesity is the number one health problem and has become a children's health problem as well. Packaged food companies spend billions a year to advertise and market junk food - like Twinkies, Coca-Cola and Captain Crunch. Little or no nutritional value, lots of calories, sugar and preservatives. Is the solution to ban advertising on children's TV? The Center for Science and the Public Interest (CSPI) thinks so.

Dallas, TX – The New York Times' recent public apology for its Iraqi war coverage was admirable. The 153-year-old newspaper didn't have to do it. They certainly were not alone in being duped into believing that weapons of mass destruction existed.

Yet, though the paper pledges to be more diligent in confirming stories and citing credible sources in the future, it isn't enough.

Dallas, TX – In a May 4 KERA commentary, Lee Cullum offered some welcome historical perspective on the situation the U.S. faces in Iraq. More than a year after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, after endless pointless discussions of post-war Germany and Japan, it's about time that we begin to discuss the lessons of British and French failures in the Middle East.

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