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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  • Ryan Warner: Denver’s emergency alert system is getting a make-over. The sirens, which are scattered across the city, have been a regular presence for more than 25 years. The sound’s purpose is to alert residents to danger, primarily tornado warnings. Matthew Mueller is with the office of emergency management.
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  • We start today by marking the passing of a Denver civil rights leader, Ruth Cousins Denny. Denny was a schoolteacher who was tireless in her efforts to end segregation. Denny spoke with Colorado Matters on a couple of occasions. One time, she recalled her early life in Missouri, where she was born in 1920.
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  • Most airline passengers dread hearing an announcement like this: Voice of unnamed pilot: Well folks, we do apologize for the ride, we’ve reached our altitude several times trying to find smooth air; there’s no smooth air to be found. Pretty choppy at all altitudes today. Turbulence can be unnerving and even downright dangerous.
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  • Leadville’s not the highest town in the country. And Colorado’s shape is not a rectangle; it’s a trapezoid. Two of the many things you learn reading a new book called “Colorado Mountain Companion: A potpourri of useful miscellany from the highest parts of the highest state.” The author is M.
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  • In his new book “The Victory Lab,” journalist Sasha Issenberg delves into the secretive, scientific tactics of modern political campaigns. Issenberg says campaigns now marry methods drawn from behavioral psychology with sophisticated data mining. This allows them to target individuals and even persuade non-voters to vote.
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  • Andi O’Conor, of Boulder, is at the end of a long road. It’s a road a lot of other Coloradans are only just starting down. Two years after losing her home to the Fourmile Canyon Fire, O’Conor has rebuilt. Just last week, she moved in.
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  • It’s hard to imagine someone as young as eight coming down with Alzheimer’s. And yet in people with Down Syndrome, symptoms of dementia can set in at a very early age. Turns out Down Syndrom and Alzheimer’s have some things in common genetically.
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  • Later this morning, a new chapter will open in the story of the Aurora theater shooting. Alleged killer James Holmes is expected to make his first court appearance in Arapahoe County.
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  • Being a swing state means we see a lot of the presidential candidates. Events are sometimes announced just days before they’re to be held, leaving planners with just a small window of time to put rallies together. We’re gonna lift the veil on producing these big events.
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  • Comedian Jerry Seinfeld once joked that when sports fans cheer on their favorite team, they’re really just rooting for the clothes. Because the players themselves change all the time. The biggest name to don a new jersey in the NFL this year landed with the Denver Broncos. Quarterback Peyton Manning came from Indianapolis.
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  • If you spend time driving on I-25, perhaps your eye has been drawn to the occasional snazzy black bus with colorful graphics on the side. FREX, Front Range Express, shuttles commuters between Colorado Springs and Denver. Riders get wireless Internet and comfy seats. But those amenities weren’t enough, apparently.
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  • Three hundred million. That’s roughly the number of people living in the United States. It’s also, approximately, the number of guns in this country. Gun ownership, and the laws that govern it, is top of mind because of the mass shooting in Aurora last month and the shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.
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  • Some of the world’s fastest cyclists are in our state this week, competing in the the U.S.A Pro Challenge. These racers all have feather light bikes, skin tight clothing, and shaved legs. And these days, a lot of amateur cyclists do, too. Grant Petersen thinks that’s silly.
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  • Anthrax is probably most closely associated with those bio-terrorism attacks in 2001. That’s when deadly, white powder was sent through the mail. But in Colorado this summer, anthrax has turned up in its natural state and killed more than 50 cattle on a number of different ranches near Sterling.
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  • 18-year-old soccer player Lindsey Horan, of Golden, is going straight from high school to the pros. She’s the first American woman to do so. As CPR’s Zachary Barr found out, Horan is so good, she could’ve gone pro after her junior year in high school.
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  • Tomorrow the judge in the Aurora shooting case will reconsider his decision to seal the court file. Judge William Sylvester ruled that documents normally open to the public would be kept secret. This includes police notes, search warrants and arrest affadavits. Around 20 media outlets, including NPR, have challenged the decision.
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