Keith Oppenheim


Keith Oppenheim, Associate Professor in Broadcast Media Production at Champlain College, has been with the college since 2014.  Prior to that, he coordinated the broadcasting program at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan (near Grand Rapids). Keith was a correspondent for CNN for 11 years and worked as a television news reporter in Providence, Scranton, Sacramento and Detroit. He currently produces documentaries, and his last project, From Somewhere Else, looked at how global changes in media and communication have changed the immigrant experience.

My father passed away a few years ago, but a few weeks from now, he would have turned 90 years old. And lately I’ve been thinking about how as a child, he fled Nazi Germany.

What is it about the Olympics? Every four years, I find myself glued to the tube, fascinated by sports I otherwise never pay attention to. I say things like – “The Romanian gymnast got docked on technical points by the Swedish judge… unfair!”

At the end of the conventions, TV ratings are one of those things that get intensely reviewed. But it wasn’t as if one party got a huge audience and the other did poorly.

The election is still months away and unpredictable, making it presumptuous to talk about Bill Clinton coming back to the White House. But if that happened, it would be another fascinating aspect of gender-making history. America would join other places where the chief executive also is or has been a married woman including the United Kingdom, Germany and Vermont.

Let me make a confession. These days, just about every time I open a news app on my phone, listen to the radio or get my morning TV news fix, I want the latest on the horserace.

It was about 8:30 AM. I was flipping through the Sunday morning shows. The breaking story had not yet hit the air. So I went to work on my laptop, at one point turning to a website to check a fact.

And then I saw it. The number fifty. Fifty - the number of dead in Orlando.

At a weeklong conference in Washington, I got a chance to meet Jon Greenberg.

Recently, I was watching Dan Quayle on NBC News. It had been a while since I’d seen him.

Bernie Sanders plays chess. I learned this in October of 2014, when one of my students produced a short video news story about that very subject.

The Democratic battle for New York was feisty – and arguably a turning point. Now that it’s done, there’s potentially worrisome news for both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

So the other day I was surfing online when I came across something which, at first, might not seem as compelling as say - the last thing Donald Trump just said.

When you think about the different big-picture messages between the Sanders and Clinton campaigns, it has all boiled down to something like this.

I must confess I’ve been down lately.

Part of that is the calendar; we’re approaching mud season in Vermont. But it also has to do with the political world where it’s been mud season for a while.

A big part of the contest between Bernie and Hillary is a fight over words, particularly one word. It's the P-word: "progressive."

Polls will show by a slight majority, Vermonters think legalizing pot is a good idea - but you can look at another factor – consumption.

In 2014, Vermonters consumed somewhere between 15 to 25 metric tons of marijuana – and spent at least $125 million on that. Per capita, we’re one of the highest pot-consuming states in the nation.

On the night of Trump’s Vermont speech, I was on a plane returning from Florida. At the start of the flight, Delta Airlines proudly announced this was a Wi-fi flight, so I got on the Internet.

Oppenheim: The Gift

Dec 23, 2015

One of the things I love about Burlington is how much I walk. I walk everywhere. Even - believe it or not, to the University Mall, where I recently went to get an eye exam and a new pair of glasses.

From downtown, it’s not the prettiest of strolls; I have to cross a number of highway on and off ramps. But I’m happy to get the exercise. Right near the highway interchange, I was making my way through the parking lot of a restaurant that’s been shut down, not a place where you’d expect to see something remarkable.

But I did.

Let’s face it. Even before the most recent shootings, long before Paris and San Bernardino; before attacks that revealed the power of ISIS and its ability to plot, recruit and spread fear - Donald Trump was calling for mass deportations of undocumented immigrants; and that we establish a registry of all Muslims in this country and shut down mosques.

Just hours after learning about the attacks in France, I went out to dinner with my wife on Church Street in Burlington.

I was 29 years old, in my first few days as a reporter for a TV station in Detroit. My assignment was to meet up with Mayor Coleman Young, the city’s first African American Mayor, and a formidable figure - to put it mildly.

Somewhere downtown, a crowd of reporters - including me - and several camera crews surrounded the Mayor. I found my moment – and shouted out my question.

He looked at me, realizing I was new and said: “Who the (expletive) told you to ask me that question?” Mind you, cameras were rolling. I stuttered – “I did!”