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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  • When you think of nuclear power, you might picture a sprawling plant capped with those massive cooling towers.  A Denver company has developed something that looks a lot different.
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  • The state's new poet laureate is Colorado College English professor David Mason and he plans to travel to every county in the state during his four year term.
    <p>Colorado Poet Laureate David Mason.</p>
<p>Colorado Poet Laureate David Mason.</p>
  • Cattle branding’s still the way to mark ownership of livestock in the West.  But July 1st is the last hurrah for several thousand Colorado brands.
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  • Some recommendations for Summer reading, all with a flavorof Colorado and the West.  We’ve asked two local booksellers to give ussome suggestions.  Cathy Langer is lead buyer for the Tattered CoverBook Stores in Denver, and Andrea Avantaggio is a co-owner of Maria’sBookshop in Durango.  They speak with Ryan Warner.
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  • In rural Colorado, the best paying job, and one of the most secure, may be working at the nearby prison.  But in the towns of Brush andWalsenburg, those jobs are evaporating as privateprisons facilities close.  These for-profit prisons are fairly new, built to house inmates that state prisons didn’t have room for.
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  • The state prison population in Colorado declined last year for the first time.
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  • Today, a story about advances in treating the most deadly form of cancer: lung cancer.  Those diagnosed will more than likely die within a year.  Andy Bonnett, of Denver, was in his early 30’s when he was told he had the disease.  “I was actually quite shocked, and confused, and incredibly sad to hear those

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  • The non-native tamarisk tree has been vilified in the west, for all sorts of things:  clogging riverbanks, crowding out other species,  but — most of all — for being a water hog.
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  • The heaviest rainfall ever observed in Colorado happened 75 years ago this week.  Back in 1935, a giant storm soaked eastern Colorado in up to two feet of rain in a single day.  As the swollen Republican River pushed eastward, people reported hearing a wall of water approaching even before they saw it.  The flood

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  • Immigrants to the U.S. are partially to thank for a dipin crime in this country. That’s according to a new study out ofCU-Boulder. The national crime rate started to go down in theearly 1990s. That’s about the time substantial numbers of newimmigrants, legal and illegal, began to arrive.
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  • More people are visiting their local public libraries. They go for the usual things, but also for something else these days.
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  • Bar owner Tom Hennessy’s got a big idea. He wants to require everyone in his town to vote. Hennessey lives in Ridgway, a small western slope town about halfway between Grand Junction and Durango. A couple months ago, Hennessy stood before town leaders and made his pitch.
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  • Journalist Peter Hessler writes about moving to Ridgway in a recent issue of the New Yorker Magazine. Hessler had been living in Beijing with his wife for quite some time, writing extensively about China.
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  • Later today a group of Denver attorneys who advocate for the poor plan to announce whether they’re going to sue the state of Colorado.  At issue: food stamps — a benefit one out of every eight people in the state receive.  Federal law requires states to process food stamp applications within a fixed time period. 

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  • Later today a group of Denver attorneys who advocate for the poor plan to announce whether they’re going to sue the state of Colorado.  At issue: food stamps — a benefit one out of every eight people in the state receive.  Federal law requires states to process food stamp applications within a fixed time period. 

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  • The sport is rather simple: Young competitors jump on a sheep and hold on as long as they can.
    <p>Asher Kark of Denver competes in mutton busting at 2008 National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado.</p><p>Asher Kark of Denver competes in mutton busting at 2008 National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado.</p>