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A new on-line look

June 2, 2010

The newsroom, which is collectively exhaling from our One Square Mile — West Warwick series of last week, is re-engaging with another busy week of  compelling stories about politics, the arts, health, and education.   More on that in a moment, but first, many thanks to all of our listeners for the positive feedback  on our West Warwick series, which concluded with a special one hour program that aired over the weekend — produced by Megan Hall and hosted by me.  If you missed it, you can check it out on our website (wrni.org) 

This is our first full week with our new and much improved web site — so please check it out.  Besides the new health and education blogs, as well as this news director’s blog, we are also offering breaking national and international news stories, more local photography and video, and a much improved interactivity function. The comments are already cascading in, so don’t be shy about posting to our site.  A lot of work went into the re-design, and we are committed to making WRNI.org  the best news site in Rhode Island, so take advantage of it, and let us know what you think. 

In political news this week, reporter Ian Donnis will be following the many issues involved in the General Assembly as the state’s nearly $8 billion budget winds toward a vote. So far, the budget-balancing plan contains no new broad-based sales or income taxes, but makes deep cuts in aid to Rhode Island’s 30 cities and towns. The debate is sure to be heated as lawmakers work on the election-year spending package. 

Political analyst Scott MacKay is following the illegal immigration issue at the State House, where a Senate vote is slated on a proposal to require Rhode Island businesses to verify the citizenship status of all new employee hires on a federal database called E-Verify. Business interests are lobbying against the measure, but anti-immigration activists are pushing for approval. Similar legislation won House approval last year but died in the Senate. MacKay is also looking into a Senate proposal to change the state’s income tax system. 

Elisabeth Harrison, our always-busy education reporter, has a number of items on her list this week. She is wrapping up a story on the heightened interest among Brown University students in becoming school teachers.  So teaching is in, while Wall Street careers appear to be on the wane among the students at Rhode Island’s Ivy League campus.  Elizabeth is also following the teacher contract vote in East Providence, which has sparked tense relations between the teachers’ union and school department management. 

General assignment reporter Flo Jonic is working on a story about the increased use of state campgrounds. The tough economy is making campgrounds, such as Burlingame State Park in Charlestown, attractive vacation venues. 

We are also following the tragic death of Mark Malkovich, the force behind the Newport Music Festival. Malkovich died in an auto accident over the past weekend. 

So stay tuned and keep listening.  And don’t forget to have a look around the new WRNI.org, our much improved web site — and tell us what you think. 

Anthony Brooks

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