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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  • A lot of the things that can kill us prematurely are things we have some control over. Like our weight, whether or not we smoke, how much we exercise. And yet, even with our lives on the line, it can be hard to change our behavior. Why?
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  • It took focus groups, logo designers, a hundred thousand dollars, an act of the legislature, and the governor’s signature. All so Metro State College of Denver could change its name to Metro State University of Denver, to reflect that it’s a 4-year institution with graduate programs.
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  • [Photo: flickr/b00nj] Today, we step inside the mind of a man who has helped the world save a huge amount of energy. His name is Amory Lovins. And 30 years ago, he co-founded the Rocky Mountain Institute. Today, the think tank has around 90 employees in Snowmass and Boulder.
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  • When leaders talk about the future of energy in this country, they often say “there’s no silver bullet.” They say to generate electricity, the U.S. has to rely on a mix of coal, natural gas, nuclear and renewables. Well, today we hear from a man who says there is a silver bullet.
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  • You hear car commercials all the time talk about leasing with “zero money” down. Well, now, that kind of offer is fueling another market: solar panels. Denver High School teacher Matt Klassen has wanted to “go solar” for a long time. And this was his way in. He’s paying about 30 bucks a month.
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  • A crew with the U.S. Forest Service is setting out on a grim task today. They’ll hike to a remote cabin where six frozen dead cows await them. This is around Aspen. The cows apparently wandered in over the winter and got stuck.
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  • A CORRECTION: Deford will appear Thursday at the Tattered Cover on Colfax. Sportswriter and NPR commentator Frank Deford will be in Denver Friday to accept an award from The Denver Press Club. The Damon Runyon Award is given annualy to a top journalist.
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  • Denver Post photographer Craig Walker has experienced something very few journalists do. He’s won a Pulitzer Prize twice. This time, it’s for his photos of Scott Ostrom, a marine who served multiple tours in Iraq. Ostrom suffers from debilitating PTSD. Photojournalist Craig Walker spoke with CPR’s Zachary Barr. [Photo: Craig F.
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  • As we’ve heard in our series on the Niobrara, this vast oil and gas reserve is a blessing or a curse, depending who you ask. Today we’re going to hear about a man who, if drillers strike oil on his land, may have the most to gain.
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  • If you’re listening to the radio from somewhere along Colorado’s Front Range, then you’re likely standing above a fresh discovery that’s worth billions of dollars. I’m talking about something called the Niobrara. It’s an ancient layer of Earth thousands of feet down.
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  • Some people take a lot of pride in how many miles their car can drive on a gallon of gas. That’s certainly true of some University of Colorado engineering students who designed a car that gets more than 1700 miles per gallon. One of the designers is Paul Sweazey, who studies mechanical engineering.
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  • Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner reads from your letters. One listener says a recent story ommited a key point, another shares her “I-25 moment,” and a third writes to let us know that a CPR story inspired him to take wounded veterans to the Utah desert.
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  • At an age when most ball players are long retired, pitcher Jamie Moyer is retiring batters. He’s 49, and he’s the Rockies’ starting pitcher tomorrow in Houston against the Astros. It’s his first season with Colorado.
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  • The Women’s Final Four basketball tournament comes to Denver this weekend, bringing tens of thousands of fans and generating millions in economic impact. As CPR’s Zachary Barr reports, the event is drawing extra attention this spring because of a very big star.  Griner up in front of everybody!
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  • Denver author Nick Arvin’s new novel is called The Reconstructionist. The title refers to someone who investigates serious car crashes and reconstructs them to learn who’s at fault. Arvin’s sticking to the rule that you should write about what you know. For three years, he had a job analyzing car wrecks.
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  • For a long time, people have been debating how to ease weekend traffic in the mountains on I-70. Well, one day a few months ago, state transportation officials arrived to work, and to their surprise, a comprehensive solution was sitting right in front of them.
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