John Dankosky | Connecticut Public Radio

John Dankosky

Executive Editor, NENC

John is Executive Editor of the New England News Collaborative, an eight-station consortium of public media newsrooms. He is also the host of NEXT, a weekly program about New England, and appears weekly on The Wheelhouse, WNPR's news roundtable program.

Previously, he was Vice President of News for CPBN, and Host of Where We Live,  twice recognized by PRNDI as America’s best public radio call-in show. You can also hear him as the regular fill-in host for the PRI program Science Friday in New York. He has worked as an editor at NPR in Washington, and reported for NPR and other national outlets on a variety of subjects.

As an editor, he has won national awards for his documentary work, and regularly works with NPR and member stations on efforts to collaborate in the public media system. As an instructor, John has held a chair in journalism and communications at Central Connecticut State University and been an adjunct professor at Quinnipiac University. He is also a regular moderator for political debates and moderated conversations at The Connecticut Forum , the Mark Twain House and Museum, The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, The World Affairs Council of Connecticut and The Litchfield Jazz Festival.

John began his radio career at WDUQ in Pittsburgh, his hometown.

Ways to Connect

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

A battle over campaign lawn signs? Dueling opinion pieces about how great or terrible our state is? Big questions about how we’ll keep our population or lose it to those states down south? It sounds like your typical Wednesday in Connecticut. 

Abdul-Razak Zachariah and his younger sister.
Courtesy of Abdul-Razak Zachariah

The new children’s book The Night Is Yours by Abdul-Razak Zachariah captures a snapshot of life growing up in an apartment complex. This is Zachariah’s first book, and it’s based loosely on his childhood -- with his sister as inspiration for the main character. He and his family lived in Terrace Heights, an apartment complex in West Haven, Connecticut.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

The language of politics--of America, really--has gotten quite a bit uglier over the last few years. And the last few weeks in Connecticut are a case in point. Female political leaders from both major parties faced online insults and threats, and prompted a call from the governor and others for a more civil tone.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

On average, police are more likely to pull over a person of color than a white person. That’s what the data shows.

Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Vermont have all taken steps to reduce this disparity, but these stops still happen every day. And, that higher number of stops leads to more encounters between civilians and police.

Last April, Anthony Vega Cruz was shot and killed by police in Wethersfield, Connecticut after cops tried to pull him over. He was 18 years old.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

Last night’s 12-person Democratic presidential debate proved a few things:

1. That’s too many people on stage.
2. Elizabeth Warren has become both the front-runner and the target of most of her colleagues.
3. Warren is proving to be a bit harder to attack than former front-runner, Joe Biden.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

The House of Representatives is conducting an impeachment inquiry into President Trump for his call for an investigation of Joe Biden’s son by the Ukranian government; Trump now says he and his White House won’t cooperate with what it’s calling an illegitimate effort “to overturn the results of the 2016 election” - an obstruction that the House might use to consider another article of impeachment. 

Wikimedia Commons

Not all of the presidential campaigning this primary season is on the Democratic side. A few Republicans are challenging President Trump. One who’s best known to New England is Bill Weld, former governor of Massachusetts.

Weld is fiscally conservative and socially liberal. He ran for Vice President as a Liberatarian in 2016, and he says that’s the sort of thing that plays well among New England voters. He’s trailing Trump badly in the polls, but is spending a lot of time in New Hampshire talking to voters about issues like immigration and climate change.

The Puritan tiger beetle used to be found up and down the Connecticut River, but climate change, dam construction, flooding, and other ecosystem changes have reduced its range to a few small patches of sandy soil.

For researchers, where those patches are is a well-guarded secret. That's because last fall, they planted hundreds of beetle larvae on a few of those beaches, with the hopes of finding adults this year. 

Rodger Gwiazdowski gently runs his hands through sand. Puritan tiger beetles burrow in sandy beach habitat found along the banks of the Connecticut River.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

A federal appeals court in Boston heard arguments Tuesday centering on whether Immigration and Customs Enforcement can deport immigrants even though they’ve been granted a state pardon for past crimes. 

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont announced Tuesday his support for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

The news arrived amid reports that the former vice president’s polling lead is shrinking, as California U.S. Senator Kamala Harris' numbers rise. 

Sean Teehan / NEPR

Growing up reading Dr. Seuss books like, well, just about everyone else, I imagined they were written by someone who grew up in a fantastical place, filled with oddly shaped trees and strangely-named animals.  But, it turns out Dr. Seuss, born Theodor Geisel, actually grew up in the rather normal town of Springfield, Massachusetts.  

Ronald T. Gautreau Jr.

Bren Smith began his career as a commercial fisherman, but now is the owner of Thimble Island Oyster Farm, a 3D restorative ocean farm in Connecticut. He’s also the author of the new book, Eat Like a Fish: My Adventures as a Fisherman Turned Restorative Ocean Farmer.

Jacqueline Rabe Thomas / The Connecticut Mirror

New England is different from the rest of the U.S. in many ways. But one of the most visible is our celebration of the individuality of each town. While some states may have giant metro areas governed as large cities, or strong county government overseeing the municipalities inside it, we, largely, let towns elect their own officials and run their own affairs.

Elodie Reed


One of the most scenic, and, in places, scary, summer drives you can take in New England is the historic Mohawk Trail, which stretches almost 70 miles from Montague, Massachusetts to Williamstown, along Route 2.  Long before it was a tourist highway, it was a native trade route, and while named for the Mohawks, there was another tribe that lived on that land, the Mohican Nation Stockbridge-Munsee Band.

Adam Sherman

Rising seas are a frightening reality for coastal communities, including many historic towns that have been built right to the water’s edge over the last few centuries. Provincetown, Massachusetts, at the tip of Cape Cod, is a perfect example of this kind of community. But what happens to the character of the place when sea level rise forces it to adapt?

Fiona Turner / 'Eat Up' Documentary

You know those airplane meals that arrive in those pre-frozen packages? Heated up in the back of the plane, with condensation leaking down from the plastic lid? It’s not too appetizing. But for years, that’s what many kids in schools around the country are getting for lunch every day. And for many of them, that means not eating all day.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Housing costs in Connecticut are high, median apartment prices are about $1,100 a month. And the state also has wide disparities, with some of the biggest concentrations of wealth and poverty in the nation. 

Teresa Mares

We’ve been following the struggles and successes of farmers in our region. A new focus on organic, locally grown food has led to a boom in farmstand and ‘foodie’ culture. But the hard economic realities of milk production in the region has meant the closures of hundreds of farms over the last decade.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Stop & Shop employees continue to strike in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, prompting some customers to fill their grocery carts elsewhere. 

OJ Slaughter / WBUR

At the end of March, WBUR's Arts and Culture Team, The ARTery, released an ambitious project that caught our eye: "The ARTery 25." The project features 25 millennials of color who are making waves in Boston’s arts scene. The people featured include painters, dancers, a street artist, and a violinist, among others, but what they all have in common is that they are all shaping the 'cultural ecosystem' of the city.

U.S. Census Bureau

New England has long been one of the biggest makers of guns sold both inside, and outside, the U.S. Iconic names like Smith & Wesson, the Colt 45 and the Winchester rifle were all made here, and the region still has several global manufacturers of guns.

David Abel / Lobster War

There’s a section of the ocean along the border between the U.S. and Canada that’s considered a “gray zone.” It’s a stretch of over 200 square miles that the United States and Canada both have claimed. And in recent years, as seas warm and lobsters move north, the "gray zone" has become prime lobster fishing ground, sparking tension between American and Canadian lobstermen, both trying to capitalize on the catch.

Courtesy of Vermont Yankee

A recent article from The Boston Globe caught our eye. In it, reporter Joshua Miller reports on the casks of nuclear waste that are sitting at nuclear power stations in our region, plants that were closed decades ago. Scientists, plant operators, and lawmakers insist they’re safe, but how much are taxpayers shelling out to keep this waste on-site?

Courtesy Marc Nozell via Flickr, Creative Commons

In about one year from today, if you can believe it, New Hampshire voters will participate in their 2020 Presidential Primary, famous for its long-time status as being first in the nation. The small state’s out-sized political role has made it a must stop for politicians of all levels of popularity. And the list of politicians who have visited the state so far is growing fast. 

Domenic Esposito

Massachusetts’ Attorney General, Maura Healey, has filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma and the Sackler Family, claiming that “Purdue pharma created the [opioid] epidemic and profited from it through a web of illegal deceit.”

Jesse Costa / WBUR

The New England Patriots are headed to the Super Bowl, again. If they win, it would be the team’s sixth championship since 2001. That would tie the record for most Super Bowl wins, and make them the greatest dynasty in NFL history. But it wasn’t always that way.

Nina Keck / Vermont Public Radio

Hampshire College, in Amherst, Massachusetts announced last week that they are looking for a “strategic partner,” that could help them survive while deciding whether or not to admit a class of students to start at the college in the fall of 2019.

U.S. Department of Labor

The start of 2019 meant more workers around the region saw automatic increases to their minimum wages that were built into legislation – and it also meant new governors, like Ned Lamont in Connecticut. In his state of the state address, he addressed the fact that Connecticut’s been at $10.10 for a few years now, and he hopes to change that by moving the state’s minimum up to $15 an hour.

Photo Courtesy of Yankee Magazine


New England cuisine is characterized by local farm-to-table producers, and each year Yankee Magazine scours our landscape to celebrate the best artisan New England products through the Editors’ Food Choice Awards.