Betsy Kaplan

Senior Producer

Betsy started as an intern at WNPR in 2011 after earning a Master's Degree in American and Museum Studies from Trinity College. Prior to that, Betsy worked as an intensive care registered nurse in several Connecticut hospitals.

While taking time off from nursing to have fun with her three young daughters, she was elected to three terms on her town's Board of Education and worked at a local museum. 

She's produced shows for Where We Live and the Colin McEnroe Show, several of which have won local awards.

She is currently the senior producer for the Colin McEnroe Show

Personal Creations / Creative Commons

It's Friday night and I want to go to the movies. But, I don't know how to choose from fifteen or so movies before me. I can quickly knock out a few I don't want to see, leaving me with the final gems. How to decide? I check the reviews of my favorite critics.

Not everyone feels that way. 

Actor Samuel L. Jackson of "Avengers: Age of Ultron" once took issue with New York Times film critic A.O. Scott. Jackson encouraged his Twitter followers to help Scott find a new job after Scott wrote the following in his review of the movie:

Jamelle Boule / Creative Commons

Donald Trump's win in this weekend's South Carolina primary was bigger than most establishment Republicans, and the media, want to admit. It comes after a week that would have sunk the other candidates; he tangled with the Pope, said the Bush administration didn't protect us from 9/11, and almost supported Obamacare's health care mandate, before he took it back. Are his supporters irrational, or do they just not care about his gaffes? Can anyone really still stop him?

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Heart disease is still the biggest killer in the United States, even though fewer people die from from heart attack and cardiac arrest than ever before.

Stephen Masker / Creative Commons

The 2016 presidential election took a dramatic turn this weekend with the sudden death of Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court's most divisive, yet colorful justice. Revered for his brilliance, quick wit, and lively writing, he was equally reviled for a mean streak and his refusal to recognize the subjectivity in his objectivity in adhering to the original intent of the constitution. 

Moving Picture World / Creative Commons

Sherlock Holmes is the most recognizable character in the world. According to the Sherlock Holmes Society, the famous detective has been portrayed by seventy-five actors in more than 260 films, making him the most portrayed character on film. This could explain why a significant percentage of the British think Sherlock Holmes was a real person who lived at 221B Baker Street - a view supported by the Sherlockians, a loyal group of scholars dedicated to keeping his memory alive.

Thor / Creative Commons

The CDC this week recommended women between the ages of 15 and 44 not drink alcohol unless they're on birth control. Why run the risk to the baby if there's a chance you could be pregnant and not yet know it?

Some question whether the caution against any alcohol instills a fear that outweighs the risk, while others chafe at the condescension that targets only women, and not the men who get them pregnant. 

Mike Licht / Creative Commons

Our deepest convictions shape how we see the world from a very young age. Our parents, community, and religion deeply influence our beliefs and ultimately, the political identity we choose to adopt.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The eyes of the nation turn to Iowa. But, why? The caucus process doesn't really resemble voting as we do it the rest of the time in this nation. And, the Iowa caucuses aren't really binding in terms of national delegate selection.  Iowa doesn't look like the rest of the nation, by which I mean, way whiter, but this in the words of Bruce Hornsby, is "just the way it is."

We also talk about the New York Times endorsement of Hillary Clinton and reactions to her candidacy. 

Zoran Veselinovic / Wikipedia

Joseph Fiennes will play Michael Jackson in a new British made-for-TV movie about a fictional road trip taken by Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson, and Marlon Brando from New York to California after 9/11. We might applaud the casting of a white actor to play one of the most iconic black entertainers in American culture if we lived in a post-racial society. But that's fiction, too.

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Dr. Bill Petit spent Sunday, July 23, 2007 playing golf with his father. The day was sunny and hot and a great day to be outside. His wife and two daughters spent the day at the beach. Life was good - until it wasn't.

Within 24 hours, his wife and daughters would be murdered, his home burned, his belongings gone. The trauma would render him unable to return to his medical practice. 

Ninian Reid

The Republican establishment is wringing its hands over the rise of Donald Trump. On Friday, National Review, one of the leading and oldest voices for conservatism, dedicated its latest issue to the war "Against Trump." But it didn't have the effect they were hoping for

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Warning to listeners: the audio contains some information about "The Revenant" that slipped out of one of the guests during the discussion. It could be considered "a spoiler." 

It seems only natural that Sarah Palin and Donald Trump would find one another. 

Spyder Monkey / Wikimedia Commons

This all started with a scratchy phone message from a guy named Bobby Duley. He had been making regular visits to his mother convalescing at a rehab facility in Old Saybrook. Down the hall in one of the public rooms, he discovered a woman who was intimately involved in the civil rights marches that began in 1966 in the south.

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The Academy is supposed to nominate the best actors, directors and writers for Hollywood's most prestigious Oscar awards; instead, they see only whites worthy of these lofty levels of achievement this year.

Bansy / Creative Commons

Dr. Joseph Cyr, a surgeon with the Royal Canadian Navy, had to think quick when his ship came upon a rickety boat with mangled and bloody bodies. at the height of the Korean War in 1951. As the only doctor on board, he quickly moved to operate on 19 men, all of them his enemies in this war. All survived, making the young doctor a hero.

Except he wasn't really a doctor. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Life changed dramatically for Illeana Douglas in 1969 when her parents fell in love with the two Harley-riding hippies in the Dennis Hopper - Peter Fonda classic, "Easy Rider." They decided to trade in their middle-class life for a wild ride filled with free spirits, free love and Hollywood.

Netflix

People can't get enough of the new Netflix story "Making a Murderer," a depressing story about Steven Avery, the son of troublesome auto-salvage dealers in the heart of an eastern Wisconsin farming community. He was erroneously sent to prison for 18 years for a crime he didn't commit. Upon his release after a long legal battle, he was put back in jail for a murder --  you guessed it -- he may not have commit. 

Maxppp / Creative Commons

Natalie Cole struggled to step out of the shadows of R&B icon Aretha Franklin and the longer shadow of her father, singer Nat King Cole. But she did it with her stellar voice and lasting, if under-appreciated, contributions to R&B, soul, and jazz. 

Rennett Stowe / Flickr Creative Commons

Young people coming out of college today have a strong desire to do good in the world, but it’s not easy to find jobs with a social purpose. Instead, many are starting their own businesses, combining an entrepreneurial spirit with a social mission.

Nathan Rupert / Creative Commons

Fans are flocking to J.J. Abrams's "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" in droves. The film is set to break box office records. It drew $14.1 million in Europe when it opened this week, and is expected to post world record sales of $600 million this opening weekend.

Is there anyone out there who doesn't love "Star Wars"? You might be surprised

Donkey Hotey / Creative Commons

Last week, the Supreme Court heard arguments on whether the University of Texas at Austin can consider race when deciding who can come to their school. It's the second time the high court will decide this case. But like the rest of the country, the court is having a hard time talking about race without shouting at each other. Justice Scalia is making what some say are racist comments.

Walking With Dante

Dec 9, 2015
Freeparking / Creative Commons

"Dante's Inferno" is the most famous section of "The Divine Comedy," poet Dante Aligheri's, 14,000 line epic poem. It's where Dante must face his sins before moving beyond an eternity in hell, where the doomed can still find redemption in the acceptance of their humanity. 

Anonymous Inmate / Permission by Ron Jenkins

Dante's painful journey through the nine circles of hell in "Dante’s Inferno" defies description: "If I had verses harsh and grating enough to describe this wretched hole…"

Yet this is the most alluring section of the "The Divine Comedy," in the most enduring poem of all time. Dante Alighieri was a 14th century poet and politician who wrote his epic poem about sin and redemption upon his permanent exile from his beloved city of Florence.

Geoffrey Fairchild / Flickr Creative Commons

Violent crime in America has been dropping for years, reaching a point in 2012 that was roughly half of what it was in 1993. But that may be changing.

While there are a lot of reasons why violence is spiking, police officers note a growing willingness to use violence to settle minor disputes.

Pete Souza / White House

Dozens of reporters rushed the apartment of the San Bernardino shooters on Friday. They live-streamed their tour through the home for 15 minutes, holding up everyday items that included personal photographs and private documents.

They were roundly condemned on social media and by neighbors concerned by the frenzy. Where is the line between what people need to know and voyeurism? How does the drive for speed and ratings affect journalistic integrity?

USDA / Creative Commons

Access to health care has improved significantly since Obamacare, with big gains for previously uninsured minorities who were unable to gain access before the law took effect. But insurance isn’t the only barrier to overcome. Entrenched cultural beliefs and the way we deliver care can also limit access.

Harley Pebley / Creative Commons

Two married shooters with a six-month-old baby rushed a social service agency this week in San Bernardino, California. They killed 14 people and injured another 21.  It's an all-too familiar scene, including the heartfelt prayers that followed. 

Leland Francisco / WNPR

Long before evangelicalism became associated with the mostly white, conservative followers aligned with the Republican Party, a long line of progressive evangelicals led reforms to abolish slavery, give women the vote and improve public schools.

But the history of evangelicalism is complicated. It has a rich history of social activism on behalf of the marginalized, mixed with deep discomfort with the very people it seeks to help.

The Placebo Effect

Dec 1, 2015
Christian Schnettelker / Creative Commons

Placebo treatments have been making people feel better for a long time. They've been working since long before Franz Mesmer was run out of 18th-century Vienna for "mesmerizing" a young pianist into regaining her eyesight, after all hope for a medical cure had been lost.  

Doctors have long dismissed the placebo effect as inferior to conventional medical treatments that sometimes fail where placebo works well, including in surgical procedures like arthroscopy, a popular procedure that relieves the pain of arthritic knees. 

Jessica Hill / AP Photo

The 2011 consolidation of Connecticut’s regional and community colleges hasn’t worked out so well. Administrative costs have gone up, it’s still hard for students to transfer credits from community to four-year colleges, and the system faces budget deficits that will require painful cuts. But a new proposal calling for give backs from employees has unleashed a furious backlash. 

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