Commentary Series

Weekdays 8:50 a.m. and 5:50 p.m. Sundays at 10.55 a.m.

More than 50 commentators provide perspective and opinion about current events, topics of interest, and often showcase the work of writers and storytellers.  The VPR Commentary Series is produced by Betty Smith-Mastaler.

Send Feedback | Guidelines To Submit A Commentary

Since last year’s Town Meeting, I’ve been called to the polls twice for special elementary school votes, once for a special article about a Town Charter, and once each for the November elections, the union high school budget, and the elementary school budget. That’s a total of seven votes – an indication, I think, of how vibrant self-governance is in my town.

Thomas Jefferson supposedly called Town Meeting the "wisest invention ever devised by the wit of man for the perfect exercise of self government and for its preservation." That’s something to cling to if tempers rise and snarky comments fly. Too often, this annual gathering can feel more like an old-fashioned witch hunt.

The other morning, it was 10 below outside, and, as I gradually awoke, I realized it was getting cold inside as well. I looked at my bedside thermometer: 49 degrees. Uh-oh... Something must be wrong.

Daisy Turner was born the daughter of slaves in Grafton, and she was one hundred by the time I first met and began to interview her in 1983. I’d heard she could be feisty and cantankerous, but I found her intelligent, cautious and utterly riveting when she began relating her family saga.

Center for Biology and Society, Arizona State University

Ernest Everett Just rose through the academic ranks like a meteor, a path of brilliance in his wake, but his roots were grounded in the vestiges of the Jim Crow South and his opportunities, even in the North, were limited. But he reached for an education and found it in the Upper Valley.

Courtesy of

I love words. I love word games, I can sit and read the dictionary for hours. I wish I could say this love of words makes me an exceptionally articulate speaker. But alas, my love of words is largely a one way affection - so I leave witty repartee to people who have the gift - like Richard Sher, creator and host of the public radio program, Says You!

Craven: Upbeat Oracle

Feb 23, 2015

News of David Carr’s death stunned people who believe in the importance of probing journalism in our turbulent world. Carr’s passion and precision inspired new reporters and he took great pleasure in mentoring young writers still finding their voice. One budding journalist he took under his wing was my son, Jasper.

Krupp: Spring Reflections

Feb 23, 2015

Right about now, most of us are happy to get out of the cold and blowing snow for a little while. And for three days - from the 27th of February to March 1st, the Vermont Flower Show invites us to do just that. The theme this year is Spring Reflections, and the goal is to inspire ideas for the gardening season ahead.

Last October, on a whim, I emailed David Carr inviting him to speak at a Dartmouth college symposium this coming summer.

He didn’t know me from Adam, but I knew and admired his wonderful reporting and writing, his piercing and witty insights into the changing role of media in our society, his legendary mentoring of some of the best young reporters and writers in the country, and most of all, the amazing way he pulled himself up from alcohol and drug addiction to fame and glory.

I’ve just shoveled my porch roof for the first time this winter - after glancing through the large bedroom window overlooking the expanse of flattish hip roof and noticing the snow level at an astonishing three feet. Clearly, I was so busy shoveling paths at ground level I let the roof get away from me.