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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  • The Aurora movie theater where 12 people were killed and dozens wounded reopens today. So how exactly does a business that’s been the site of a mass shooting decide whether to reopen? To answer that, host Zachary Barr turns to Bruce Blythe.
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  • <> The Denver Center Theatre Company puts a premium on helping new plays come to the stage. And premiering tomorrow: Ed, Downloaded, by playwright Michael Mitnick…it runs through February 17. It’s a romantic comedy that asks what happens when someone else tries to alter your memories.
  • <> This is the first day of the National Western Stock Show in Denver. The schedule is full of rodeos, tractor races, fiddlers, and farm animal contests. We’re going to learn what it takes to be a champion chicken from a poultry expert with over 25 years of experience judging birds.
  • When you drill for oil, oil isn’t the only thing that comes out of the ground. So does methane gas. And often, there’s no easy way to get that methane to market as natural gas, so it’s essentially thrown out. That means a huge amount of energy is wasted.
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  • It’s Wednesday, when we take a sip from our series, Words That Speak to Me. This series shares phrases, sayings, idioms — whatever words have helped make you who you are.
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  • In developing countries, a nutritious food is being thrown away. Scientists at Colorado State University just received a million dollar grant to change that. The food is rice bran. It’s the covering that distinguishes white rice from brown.
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  • This week, the governor made owning small amounts of marijuana in Colorado legal when he signed Amendment 64 into the state Constitution. With the same stroke of his pen, he also opened the door to hemp. You see, the amendment directs state lawmakers to regulate industrial hemp.
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  • Senator Mark Udall, a Democrat from Colorado, has a new morning routine. Just about every day, he stands on the floor of the US Senate and delivers roughly the same speech in support of the wind energy production tax credit. The PTC is a federal subsidy to the wind industry.
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  • The University of Colorado football program has a problem a student at its business school might appreciate. It wants to hire a big name coach to improve its fate, but affording one is another matter.
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  • Nothing to Fear by David Rothman You thought you’d get a break. You thought you’d earned it. You voted, pulled your lawn sign, maybe burned it. You hoped things now might calm down just a bit, That with luck half the spinmeisters would quit… But no.
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  • If you’re racking your brain for a gift for the Holidays, or just a good read, we have some recommendations. They’re all books about the West or by authors with links to the region.
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  • Bernard Amadei, a CU Boulder Engineering professor, just got a job only a few people in the world have ever held. The US State Department has named him a “Science Envoy.” What’s that mean?
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  • 19 Colorado communities asked voters for money in one form or another, for things like transportation and open space. Sam Mamet, of the Colorado Municipal League, has been tracking the results.
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  • The Starz Denver Film Festival gets underway November 1. The festival, now in its 35th year, features more than 200 movies. Brit Withey has watched nearly all of them.
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  • Stump speeches and TV ads aren’t the only ways candidates try to convey who they are to voters. They also have logos, on yard signs, bumper stickers, and T-shirts. Two Denver design experts critique how well the presidential and congressional candidates are branding themselves. Rick Griffith runs a design studio called Matter.
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  • As part of our election series, “Colorado Votes,” let’s look at the campaigns’ efforts to appeal to Hispanic voters. Around one in seven voters in the Colorado is Latino, and historically, they favor the Democratic Party. Four years ago, Obama won 61% of their votes.
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