July 2, 2009
Emerson Brown, NPR
July 9, 2009, Washington, D.C. – Times are tough in California. Facing a stack of IOUs, double-digit unemployment, rampant home foreclosures, thousands of public school teacher layoffs, state park closings due to lack of funds and slashed welfare and public health programs, the golden state is feeling a little tarnished these days. NPR News identifies and examines the key factors contributing to the state's budget woes in a multipart, multiplatform series "California In Crisis," airing July 13-16 on Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and available online at www.npr.org
Coinciding with the launch of the series, Madeleine Brand begins a month-long stint co-hosting NPR's afternoon program All Things Considered. Brand will join the program from NPR West in Culver City, marking the first time the long-running newsmagazine has been hosted for an extended period outside of Washington, D.C., and adding new perspective during this pivotal time for California. She is anchoring the program with permanent show hosts Melissa Block and Robert Siegel while Michele Norris is on book leave.
During Brand's time in the host chair, she will conduct a new interview series "California Characters," talking with people who capture a specific facet of the state’s singular reputation. Among the people Brand will profile are San Francisco's only black mayor Willie Brown, Jr., Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, actress Beth Broderick and self-proclaimed kitsch "histo-tainer" Charles Phoenix. Listen for the series to air throughout July and August on All Things Considered.
"California In Crisis" begins with a two-part overview of the state's ongoing financial problems. The first part on Morning Edition focuses on the underlying reasons behind the difficulties, including the steady stream of voter-approved measures for new programs and spending without the revenue to pay for them. Later on All Things Considered, NPR explores why some are calling the state ungovernable as it falls into one budget crisis after another.
The series continues throughout the week, examining major stresses on state money, including overcrowded prisons, a public school system scrambling to cut spending, endangered public health programs, and generous pension plans for public employees. The series wraps with an analysis of the potential legacy of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and his efforts to fix his broken state – and repair his standing with his constituents – before he concludes his second term in 2010.
"California In Crisis" features reporting from NPR national correspondents Ina Jaffe and Carrie Kahn, both based at NPR West, and crime and punishment correspondent Laura Sullivan, with contributions from Rob Schmitz and John Myers of NPR Member station KQED in San Francisco and Capital Public Radio's Kelley Weiss.
With 19 domestic bureaus and offices, NPR News offers daily in-depth coverage of the issues and news facing the nation, and is consistently recognized for broadcast excellence. Recent national series have included "Rethinking Retirement," assessing the new reality of planning for life after work, and "The Future of Capitalism," considering the lessons that may be learned from the current economic crisis. All national news is available at www.NPR.org/nation NPR News programming is heard on more than 880 independent local stations nationwide; for local stations and broadcast times, visit www.NPR.org/stations