Commentaries | KERA News


KERA has refocused its approach to commentaries on the radio and the web. We aim to explore the issues of the day, but not in the type of pieces you’d routinely find on op-ed pages of newspapers. Instead, we do it through storytelling and personal experiences.  

Diversity is a primary goal – across politics, ethnicity, age, geography. KERA aims to sound more like North Texas, with a wide variety of voices covering a wide variety of topics.

Immediacy is key. When reflecting on a news event, the piece should be turned around within a couple of days. Airing more than a week after a news event is often too late. And, when a news event can be anticipated, we try to air the commentary the day of that event.

Brevity is crucial. The piece should not exceed three minutes. Read aloud and time the commentary before submitting it.

So is food for thought.  A good radio commentary gives the media consumer something to think about well after its presentation ends, not just the writer’s point of view.

Here are a few examples that fit the criteria:

How To Submit

Submit commentaries by email, with a suggested two-sentence host introduction and a one-sentence “tagline” for the host to read that describes the commentator (Ex: “Jane Doe is a writer from Dallas.”) Please include your complete contact information: email address, phone number, Twitter and Facebook handles.

Whom To Contact

Sam Baker, Senior Editor

Email: | Phone: 214-740-9244 | Twitter: @srbkera

Dallas, TX – The New York Times' recent public apology for its Iraqi war coverage was admirable. The 153-year-old newspaper didn't have to do it. They certainly were not alone in being duped into believing that weapons of mass destruction existed.

Yet, though the paper pledges to be more diligent in confirming stories and citing credible sources in the future, it isn't enough.

Dallas, TX – In a May 4 KERA commentary, Lee Cullum offered some welcome historical perspective on the situation the U.S. faces in Iraq. More than a year after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, after endless pointless discussions of post-war Germany and Japan, it's about time that we begin to discuss the lessons of British and French failures in the Middle East.

Dallas, TX – Bill Mitchell is an American patriot of the elite kind. He and more than 700 other fathers and mothers have made the ultimate sacrifice for his country. Mitchell sent his son off to fight in a war from which there was no return for his son.

Michael Mitchell was killed on April 4th. His father believes Michael's remains were among those in the now infamous picture taken by Tami Silicio, the contractor Maytag Aircraft fired for violating the picture policy.

Dallas, TX – Pro baseball and basketball could take a lesson in leadership from Texas universities. As March Madness rages on, highlighting the pros of the future, we might ponder if pro basketball and baseball has any responsibility as role models for young people? Their unions have just weighed in on this question - and their answer is no. The pro basketball and baseball unions' position is that, when it comes to using drugs, they can get away with whatever they want.

Dallas, TX – Even without Ephedra, many of us are vowing - again - to tackle that extra weight we tacked on during the holidays. We've all digested those shocking statistics about rising obesity, with children developing blocked arteries before they even turn 20. Many are pressing the government to re-classify obesity as a disease, and local restaurants may be forced to list the fat content and calories of all menu items.

Dallas, TX – I once knew a woman who had many children.
She fought for the right to breast-feed in public and home-school her brood.
But instead of being enlightened, she marched on like a fool.
Condemning all who disagreed with her other views:
Gays were bad people
Pro-choice a sin
And literature that offended her senses - well, burning them.
In her eyes, she was put on this earth to parent the world.
The sad thing was, no one cared to call her dare.

Dallas, TX – Newspaper and television reports regularly highlight stories of student groups praying on campus, kneeling at the flagpole for maximum attention. Images of these young students combining government and religion - Flagianity - I guess you might call it, give the impression that they are being exploited by adult zealots.

Dallas, TX – This began as a story about a rumor and about how a rumor can be simultaneously tantalizing, elusive and dangerous. Is this one true? Damned if I know, having spent three weeks immersed in it only to learn that it doesn't really matter. In the end, this story is about something else, something more.

Dallas, TX – Southwest Airlines reported better than expected third quarter earnings. On the same day it was announced, the leading economic index was down for the first time in four months. And it wasn't just the U.S. that experienced a decline in manufacturing. I'm Maxine Shapiro with KERA Marketplace Midday.

Dallas, TX – Oil is the dominant source of energy for transportation, as well as a feedstock for plastics, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, lubricants and construction materials. If we wish to continue our standard of living, we will need oil well into this century.

Dallas, TX – Vivendi finds a way out of debt, finding the best places to work if you're a mom, and don't even think about using the phone to sell me anything. I'm Maxine Shapiro with KERA Marketplace Midday.

Dallas, TX – No, it's not our imagination - our commuting time to and from work is growing. And something could have been done about it if Congress chose to - they didn't. I'm Maxine Shapiro with KERA Marketplace Midday.

Dallas, TX – As a trusting person, I have often been the butt of life's practical jokes. The most recent is the one played on me by the Social Security system and my old employer, the Dallas County Community College System. I labored there twenty-four years, bringing lessons of mass construction to a coalition of the unwilling. I was a teacher.

Dallas, TX – I'm outraged. I thought that the years since Richard Nixon had sanded away all capacity for the emotion, but the scandal at Baylor University has reawakened that feeling. This series of events demonstrates everything anyone needs to know about the corruption that surrounds us.

Dallas, TX – A Presidential appointed panel has begun sharing some of their suggestions for Postal Service. Surprising as it is, coming from this administration, they are not recommending privatization. I'm Maxine Shapiro with KERA Marketplace Midday.

Dallas, TX – To the victor go the spoils, of course. That's a practice that's permeated American politics at least since the age of Andrew Jackson. So companies that bet on George W. Bush and the Republican Party in the last two elections naturally are lining up to collect billions in contracts for the rebuilding of Iraq.

Dallas, TX – I spent my week as usual with grandson A.J., but as a bonus I had the company of my Uncle Wayne. He is 83 and A.J. is five, the same age I was in 1944 when Uncle Wayne came home on leave from the war.

He tells me how he took me to town, to the movies every day, and bought me whatever I wanted. I chose a pair of Everlast boxing gloves. I don't remember any of this but I still have one of the gloves.

Dallas, TX – Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan keeps it real. And reality TV keeps growing. I'm Maxine Shapiro with KERA Marketplace Midday.

Dallas, TX – What would war in Iraq mean to the oil market? It is no trivial question, given the shaky state of the world economy and the turmoil in Venezuela. Phil Verleger, an energy expert, believes that an attack on Iraq could send prices soaring to $40 a barrel, and they could stay there for six months to a year. Another economist puts the figure at $75.

Dallas, TX – "As long as there is poverty in the world I can never be rich, even if I have a billion dollars." So said Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I'm Maxine Shapiro with KERA Marketplace Midday.

Dallas, TX – A few weeks after September 11, our neighbor across the street dug a hole in his front yard, planted a 12-foot flagpole, rigged a floodlight to shine up at it, and raised a large American flag. His gesture wasn't born of the easy patriotism that led so many people to slap flag decals on their cars. He had two children at West Point - one a senior who has since graduated, and one who is a junior this fall. Our neighbors know something about sacrifice and service.

Dallas, TX – I could tell the joke hit a nerve with my fellow Latinos because the laughter was spontaneous - and uneasy. We were crammed into a tiny auditorium to see a comic from L.A., and the Chicano comedian had just acted out a scene about authorities who mistake a Latino for Osama Bin Laden.

Dallas, TX – In 1956, a professor named Anthony Jones wanted to convert to Judaism and join Temple Emanu El, the congregation in which I was confirmed. He had studied with Rabbi Levi Olan and had the Rabbi's unqualified support. The only unusual thing was that Professor Jones was African American, a Negro in the parlance of the day.

Dallas, TX – Well, you know we really can't complain. We asked for the truth and we're getting it. But what does surprise me a little is how the market is reacting. I'm Maxine Shapiro with KERA Marketplace Middays.

Dallas, TX – "Accounting: the system of recording and summarizing business and financial transactions and analyzing, verifying, and reporting the results." I'm Maxine Shapiro with KERA Marketplace Middays. That was the definition of accounting, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Please note the word "verify."