Zachary Barr

Education: Zachary graduated with a B.A. in History from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Ore., and from the radio track at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine. Professional background: Zachary began in public radio in 2003 at Sound Portraits Productions in New York, where he worked as a production intern. At the time, Sound Portraits was a tiny production house launching StoryCorps, the national project to record stories of everyday people. That led Zachary to a position as facilitator at StoryCorps, where he assisted people interviewing each other inside a booth in Grand Central Terminal. From there, Zachary went on to help manage StoryCorps’ national tour. While living in New York, he began a side project with a photographer on a series of stories about the families of American military personnel killed in Iraq. This project later became a book, “Never Coming Home,” published by Charta. Zachary’s reporting has been featured on NPR, Slate, Marketplace, MSNBC, MediaStorm and in The New York Times.Awards: Zachary has won awards from National Press Photographers Association, Pictures of the Year International, Colorado Broadcasters Association and Colorado Associated Press Broadcasters Association. He has been awarded reporting fellowships from MediaStorm and the Institute for Journalism and National Resources.
In his own words…Why I became a journalist: I was hooked on the news from an early age. I read the newspaper and watched the five o’clock TV news. Later, as a young adult, I discovered public radio and became a fan. One day, while listening to “This American Life,” I was surprised to hear a high school classmate narrating a story. Hearing her voice made me realize that public radio journalism was an actual career. Right then I decided to give it a shot. Along the way, I’ve been inspired by people like John Burnett, Joe Richman, Scott Carrier and Ian Frazier.Why I got into radio: I adore radio. My love for it began when I was a kid, holed up in my room listening to Denver Nuggets basketball games. Later, when I stumbled upon a shortwave radio, the relationship deepened. The short wave transmissions came from far-away places, and although I didn’t understand a lick, I could still listen for hours. When I began listening to public radio, Dave Isay’s stories like Tossing Away the Keys and Sunshine Hotel moved me to tears and made me care about strangers. Now, as a journalist, I love thinking about how my interviewing, writing and story structure create that connective tissue between the listener and the voices on the radio. The good folks at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies patiently helped me find my way, and soon I was slogging through a mud flat in Maine trying to describe what it’s like to spend your days digging for worms.How I ended up at CPR: I was working in New York and traveling a lot for StoryCorps. In late 2006 I was looking for a new challenge. Colorado Public Radio’s statewide audience, growing newsroom, and super staff and facilities were a big draw. I was already familiar with the joys of living in Colorado because I grew up in Boulder, but, yes, I’ll always miss New York!

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  • Drive south of Denver on I-25 and you’ll see it. A massive blue and yellow building with a whopper of a sign next to it. Colorado’s first IKEA opened in 2011.
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  • Molly Greacen and a few neighbors knocked on every door in their Boulder neighborhood to ask people to stop using pesticides.
    <p>Dead bees on Kit Van Winkle's back patio in Boulder.</p>
<p>Dead bees on Kit Van Winkle's back patio in Boulder.</p>
  • Well, tomorrow, the path to the world’s biggest sporting event goes through Commerce City, a north Denver suburb. The soccer stadium there hosts a qualifying match for next year’s World Cup, as the United States plays Costa Rica. And while the U.S.
  • Leaders of this Pueblo church trusted the immigration attorney from Nebraska, Jerre Moreland.  Today, the story of a swindle. And the victims may lose a lot more than money. In Southern Colorado, immigrants, here illegally, hired an attorney who promised them a legal way to stay. He turned out to be a crook.
  • The Boulder restaurant Frasca is in the running for a James Beard award, often called “the Oscars of food.” The restaurant, which serves northern Italian dishes, is nominated in the category of outstanding wine program. It was also nominated last year.
  • A bill to create civil unions has made it through the State Senate, and, soon, the full House will weigh in. Its passage is a near certainty.
  • We’d like to introduce you to an experimental ensemble called “The Boulder Laptop Orchestra.” It’s made up of students at CU-Boulder. The ensemble blends the sounds of traditional instruments with electronic gizmos. John Gunther is a music professor at CU Boulder, and one of the group’s leaders.
  • We finally made it to election day. It’s been a long haul. So, let’s take a break from politics, kick back a little, and talk beer. Craft beer, the stuff made in small batches, is enjoying a golden age. Both the number of breweries and varieties of beer are multiplying like rabbits.
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  • The corridor between Denver and Boulder’s growing fast. It’s lifeblood, Highway 36, is overly stressed. Its 100,000 daily users have long wanted some relief from congestion. Well, relief’s in sight. Construction’s just getting going on three-year project to rebuild the highway.
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  • There’s a plan out this week to boost the financially troubled FasTracks, metro-Denver’s seven billion dollar transportation project. It’s a growing web of light rail, commuter trains, and buses. In the short term, this new plan delivers some much needed cash to RTD, the transit agency, but it underscores FasTracks’ long term money problems.
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  • A bad situation is getting worse. That’s the top line from farmers, ranchers, and water managers as the state’s drought marches on. Over the past year, Colorado’s had about 30% less precipitation than average.
  • Muscle Shoals is a tiny town in northern Alabama and the birthplace of some of the biggest hits in rock and roll history. The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Etta James all recorded there.
  • A piece of public art that people love to hate is turning five. We’re talking about the blue mustang at the Denver International Airport, the rearing 32-foot tall horse with glowing red eyes.
  • Gun policy is front and center at the state legislature. Republican lawmakers introduced a handful of pro-gun bills last week. They were defeated. Majority Democrats plan to introduce their gun measures in the coming days; these bills would tighten restrictions.
  • Scientists at the University of Colorado are on a quest not just to treat schizophrenia, but to prevent it. And they’ve just made some real progress, warding off an early warning sign of the disease in newborns. They say it’s the first successful attempt to do this with a mental illness.
  • This weekend the NFL playoffs come to Denver when the Baltimore Ravens play the hometown Broncos. The Broncos exceeded expectations this year, finishing on an eleven-game winning streak. The team’s now favored to win the Super Bowl, if you believe the Las Vegas casinos.
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