John Dankosky

Executive Editor, NENC

John is Executive Editor of the New England News Collaborative, an eight-station consortium of public media newsrooms. He is also the host of NEXT, a weekly program about New England, and appears weekly on The Wheelhouse, WNPR's news roundtable program.

Previously, he was Vice President of News for CPBN, and Host of Where We Live,  twice recognized by PRNDI as America’s best public radio call-in show. You can also hear him as the regular fill-in host for the PRI program Science Friday in New York. He has worked as an editor at NPR in Washington, and reported for NPR and other national outlets on a variety of subjects.

As an editor, he has won national awards for his documentary work, and regularly works with NPR and member stations on efforts to collaborate in the public media system. As an instructor, John has held a chair in journalism and communications at Central Connecticut State University and been an adjunct professor at Quinnipiac University. He is also a regular moderator for political debates and moderated conversations at The Connecticut Forum , the Mark Twain House and Museum, The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, The World Affairs Council of Connecticut and The Litchfield Jazz Festival.

John began his radio career at WDUQ in Pittsburgh, his hometown.

Ways to Connect

purple_onion / Creative Commons

It wasn’t that many years ago that gambling was seen as a pretty good bet when it comes to improving the state’s economic situation. In Connecticut, two tribal casinos were thriving and spinning off slot revenues into the general fund. Then came the recession and declining revenues just as other states started to get into the gambling business.

Now, in a move that couldn’t have been predicted a decade ago, both state tribes have agreed to work together on a new casino to help stave off a threat from Massachusetts. That plan is now under legal attack.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Connecticut is waking up on Thursday learning who the nominees are for important mayors’ jobs around the state. And it's a little bit of a surprise. All three Democratic incumbents in Bridgeport, Hartford, and New London lost their respective races.

Blondinrikard Fröberg / Creative Commons

When Senator Richard Blumenthal announced that he would support the deal struck between the Obama administration and Iran over that country’s nuclear program, it all but assured that the plan would go through without congressional obstacles. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

With a week to go before the Hartford Democratic primary, mayoral candidate Luke Bronin stops by for our Where We Vote series. Incumbent Mayor Pedro Segarra was our guest last month and today, we meet his biggest challenger for what is expected to be a tight primary race. We discuss the politics of this race, his plans for the capital city if he's elected, and how his administration would be different from his opponent's.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The 2016 presidential race is well underway, but the race for a Connecticut Senate seat is still in its infancy. A new challenger announced his potential bid against incumbent Sen. Richard Blumenthal who had "no comment" about Larry Kudlow's political ambitions.

Thomas Autumn / Creative Commons

A recent New York Times op-ed drew attention to Yale University’s endowment and how the money is spent. The report found more was spent on private equity fund managers than to students. This has prompted renewed debate and criticism over big endowments at big schools. But the argument isn’t new. This hour, a conversation with higher education experts about the management of endowment money at the nation’s elite schools.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra is in the midst of a tight re-election campaign against Democratic challenger Luke Bronin. After walking out of his party’s endorsement convention, Segarra gathered enough signatures to get on the ballot for the September primary. The mayor stops by our studios to discuss his record, plans for the future of the capital city, and the close race he's in.

Chuck Miller / Creative Commons

Is General Electric really looking to leave the state? What’s Connecticut doing to try to keep them? That’s one of the stories we’re talking about on The Wheelhouse, our weekly news roundtable. Also, there's another round of musical chairs in state government and Governor Dan Malloy brings his support of Hillary Clinton to the Granite State.

Matt Clark/Creative Commons

The Litchfield Jazz Festival celebrates its 20th Anniversary this year, and we’ll be broadcasting from the site of the festival’s jazz camp - which exposes young musicians to some of the best instructors in the world of jazz. The festival is also celebrating the groundbreaking Connecticut composer and saxophonist Tom Chapin - we’ll hear from those who remember him.

Robert Couse-Baker/Creative Commons

The city of Hartford has seen 19 homicides so far this year, the same number as all of 2014. While there’s nothing new about an increase in violence during the summer months, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra has admitted the police force needs help. He called on the state to provide more manpower and resources. 

Donkey Hotey/Creative Commons

When Donald Trump talked about Mexicans as “rapists,” one might have thought, “that’s the craziest statement I’ve heard from a political candidate in a long time.” Which he then followed up by questioning John McCain’s war hero status. The outcome? Trump’s only risen in the polls.

Scott Davidson/Creative Commons

A scathing new report from the office of the state child advocate lists a series of troubling problems at the Connecticut Juvenile Training School and the new Pueblo girls unit. State child advocate Sarah Eagan said the conditions in the jails put children there in state custody in physical and emotional harm. Now the state DCF has responded with a promise of change. We’ll talk about what’s in this report.

Also, we’ll sit down with a Yale Law professor who is on President Obama’s task force examining policing, as America grapples with a series of deaths of African Americans after confrontations with police.

Marc Nozell / Creative Commons

The life of the black Republican is pretty lonely these days, but it hasn’t always been that way. Black Americans were deeply rooted in the party of Lincoln for decades to avoid joining a Democratic Party controlled by "devils from below the Mason-Dixon line."

Pete Souza / White House

When Dustin Johnson missed that four-footer on the final hole in this year's U.S. Open that would've forced a playoff with eventual champion Jordan Spieth, he wasn't under this much pressure.

Joe Courtney, the mild-mannered Connecticut Congressman, had scored a spot in a weekend foursome with fellow House Democrats John Yarmuth of Kentucky, Ed Perlmutter of Colorado, and the most famous lefty golfer this side of Phil Mickleson, President Barack Obama.

alamosbasement / Creative Commons

 This hour, two education leaders discuss turnarounds of a very different type. In Bloomfield, not too many years ago, students struggled with some of the worst math scores in the state, and only about half of students went on to colleges. Those numbers have improved substantially over the last few years. We talk about the successes with the school superintendent, James Thompson.

Tom Tomorrow

This hour, we talk toons on the week that Bloom County returns. Local artist Dan Perkins (better known as Tom Tomorrow) has a new retrospective celebrating 25 years of his strip, This Modern World. His Kickstarter campaign to fund the book had an $87,000 goal and was surpassed in less than 22 hours. We also hear from the Hartford Courant’s always colorful Bob Englehart. Meanwhile, there's a new celebration of political cartoonist Art Young in Bethel.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

While all the other members of Connecticut's congressional delegation voted against it, Jim Himes has been a strong supporter of "fast track" trade authority, which allows the president to negotiate with 11 other Pacific nations.

Keoni Cabral / Creative Commons

Water shapes our lives. From streams to rivers, bays to oceans, water defines not only topography, but the neighborhoods and culture around us. 

The Connecticut Mirror

Connecticut’s legislative session ended with a soft thud last week. There wasn’t quite the mad rush we're used to seeing as the clock ticked down. That means, lawmakers will have to return to the capitol for a special session. This hour on our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse, we recap the long session and talk taxes, as business groups and even other states are jumping in with comments on the state's new tax plans.

David Sim / Flickr Creative Commons

When NPR launched a network-wide “diversity project” in 2012, the aim was for the network to sound more like America. Three years later, race and diversity issues are in the news like never before –- from stories about immigration, to police conduct, to how we interact on social media. 

This hour, two leaders of NPR’s project join us to look more closely at how the media covers diversity, and how we talk about it in society.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

President Obama comes to New London to address graduating cadets at the Coast Guard. The big theme of his speech? Climate change. It's a little different from Vice President Joe Biden's message to Yale grads this weekend. He encouraged them to find their "sweet spot."

This hour, it’s our weekly news roundtable, The Wheelhouse where we’ll talk about the president’s trip and about the use of the word "racist" in political speech. Governor Dannel Malloy used the word and Republicans are criticizing him for it.

Also, the a bill banning powdered alcohol is going to the governor's desk. Wait, what? Powdered alcohol?

Official U.S. Navy Page / Creative Commons

Military recruitment has long been a controversial issue in America's high schools and colleges. Dating all the way back to the days of the draft, there's been a tension between the nation's need to keep a military, and the desire - and fitness - of young people to serve.

Eric Heath / Creative Commons

Americans have been tipping for good service for centuries.

Tipping is so ingrained in our American story that we rarely question why we still do it, even though we leave an estimated $40 billion in tips every year.

Some say tipping is a good thing because it gives a much-needed boost to lower-paying service jobs. Others wonder if tipping still serves its purpose: to reward good service. Workers reliant on tips to pay their bills are sometimes tempted to discriminate against customers they think will be “bad” tippers.

The Post and Courier

The video of white North Charleston, South Carolina police officer Michael Slager shooting black, unarmed Walter Scott in an open field has ripped open the national wound over race relations and law enforcement abuse. Slager now faces a murder charge after he shot Scott eight times in the back while the 50-year-old father ran away following a traffic stop.

Mara Lavitt / WNPR

The data breach that affected Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in February affected more than a million and a half current and past Connecticut members. Most recently, Anthem announced they’ll be sending letters to those whose data was possibly leaked, offering them two years of free credit monitoring. We'll get an update. 

Bob Jagendorf / Flickr Creative Commons

Everyone’s heard of Coney Island -the Wonder Wheel, the side shows, the miles of sandy beach.

Yet, most of us have never seen it except through the eyes of others, including artists and filmmakers who used it as a prism through which to shape their view.

And, what they saw was a place with both lovers and con men, natural beauty and bawdy amusement, social inclusion and class boundaries.

Coney Island is not an easy place for them to define, so they portrayed what they saw - but also what they wanted it to be.

Eric Heath / Creative Commons

Americans have been tipping for good service for centuries.

Tipping is so ingrained in our American story that we rarely question why we still do it, even though we leave an estimated $40 billion in tips every year.

Some say tipping is a good thing because it gives a much-needed boost to lower-paying service jobs. Others wonder if tipping still serves its purpose - to reward good service. And, workers reliant on tips to pay their bills are sometimes tempted to discriminate against customers they think will be “bad” tippers.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Senator Chris Murphy said this week that as long as he's been in the Senate, he's never seen anything like the letter that Republicans recently wrote to Iranian leaders. He called the move by 47 GOP lawmakers "unprecedented."

Chion Wolf

The first few months of Governor Dannel Malloy’s second term as governor have been very, very busy. He’s rolled out major initiatives to take on our transportation problems, and to create a "second chance society" to change our system of incarceration, punishment, and re-entry after prison.

Malloy has also had to deliver a budget to lawmakers that includes deep cuts prompted by a multi-billion-dollar budget deficit. This plan has gotten criticism from social service providers on the left for cutting too much into vital plans, and from Republicans on the right for not cutting government deeply enough. There's even dispute about whether the budget is balanced or comes under the so-called "spending cap."

David Sim. / Creative Commons

When NPR launched a network-wide “diversity project” in 2012, the aim was for the network to sound more like America. Three years later, race and diversity issues are in the news like never before –- from stories about immigration, to police conduct, to how we interact on social media. 

This hour, two leaders of NPR’s project join us to look more closely at how the media covers diversity, and how we talk about it in society.

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