Scott Willis

Host, Reporter, Producer

I’ve always been enamored with the intimacy of radio.  It’s so personal.  It forces you to listen…and listen only.  No visual distractions.  I grew up listening to mostly top 40 radio in Detroit, with no shortage of entertaining DJ’s.  As a teenager, I discovered the area’s all news station.  I loved knowing what was going on, and the intensity with which they told stories.  I often wondered what it would be like to be the first to know what was happening, and then tell others.  Maybe that’s why I pursued a career in news. 

I would go on to serve as an intern at that all-news station, and it was amazing and maybe a little overwhelming to see what it took to put out a constant stream of news.  But something was missing.  It wasn’t until after I graduated from college that I actually discovered Detroit’s public radio station at my alma mater.  What a difference!  You had time to write and tell engaging, meaningful stories, to be creative, all without the pressure to constantly crank out the news.  Quality over quantity.  That’s when I knew public radio was for me.  I was hooked.

I would hone my skills on and off for almost three years at WDET as an intern under the tutelage of a patient Assistant News Director. I produced daily stories for newscasts, but also was given the privilege of producing long-form features on topics that interested me, and that people knew very little about.  Now THAT was cool.  Right up my alley.  What budding reporter could ask for more?

I landed here in Syracuse in June 2001.  Today, I’ve come full circle, and now teach the craft to more than a dozen student reporters per week.  We work hard to choose informative stories, find the most engaging sound, and edit copy for clarity and accuracy. 

Outside of work, I spend time with my wife and little boy.  We like to take walks, travel, and read.  When I can, I’ll hop on my bike for a quick ride.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the honor and privilege of bringing WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners the news of the day during All Things Considered.  Thanks for listening.

Ways to Connect

Scott Willis / WAER News

Officials cut the ribbon Friday on a project aimed at bringing affordable housing to distinct neighborhoods on both ends of Salina Street.  The nearly $15 million, 49 unit Salina Crossing project is unique in that it encompasses ten scattered site properties.  The northside anchor is a 20-unit building that occupies the site of the old Otisca building.  Housing Visions Vice President Ben Lockwood says they and their partners took a big risk to tear it down before they even had a plan.

Siena College Research Institute

A study of cyber bullying in Central New York finds nearly one third of teens report being bullied online.  That’s a bit higher than the 26 percent of teens surveyed across Upstate New York.  Siena College Research Institute President Dr. Don Levy says the numbers are probably understated.

37 People Become U.S. Citizens At Syracuse Naturalization Ceremony

Nov 17, 2016
Scott Willis / WAER News

Thirty seven people from 23 different countries completed the final step to become United States citizens Thursday at Onondaga Community College.  They recited the Oath of Allegiance as delivered by Judge Michael Hanuszczak. 

Scott Willis / WAER News

As many as 1,000 Syracuse University and SUNY ESF students and faculty gathered for a rally and march around campus Wednesday out of concern for what might happen under a President Donald Trump.  They wanted to stand in solidarity to preserve dignity and respect for all people.

The call to action was part of a nationwide walkout from college and university classes to speak out about the fears they have.  SU junior Breanna Cooper says many people don’t feel safe.

Scott Willis / WAER News

About three dozen self-described Water Protectors came to Syracuse’s Clinton Square Tuesday as part of a national day of action calling on the federal government to reject The Dakota Access Pipeline.  The group stood outside of the Bank of America to protest the loan issued to build the pipeline.  Many people came to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux, the native population that has been negatively affected by the pipeline’s construction. Water Protector Margaret Birdlebough of Syracuse was among the crowd.

Investigation into Alleged Hate Crime at SUNY Geneseo

Nov 14, 2016

New York State Police and the State Division of Human Rights are jointly investigating an alleged hate crime on the campus of SUNY Geneseo last week when a swastika with the word ‘Trump ’ was found in a residence hall.   SUNY Student Assembly President Marc Cohen says students seem discouraged about this kind of speech being spread on their campus.

cornell.edu

Cornell University will have a new president starting next spring.  The board of trustees Monday unanimously selected Martha Pollack as the permanent successor to President Elizabeth Garrett, who died in March of colon cancer after only eight months on the job.  Since then, former President Hunter Rawlings III has been serving on an interim basis.  Pollack has been Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Michigan since 2013.  She'll take the helm at Cornell April 17th.  

John Smith / WAER News

A Local Veterans Day observance at the War Memorial in Syracuse this morning honored all Veteran’s both past and present.

 “The bombs bursting in air gave proof through the night that our flag was still there” the choir sang.

The Spirit of Syracuse Choir and the spoken word describing the countless sacrifices of brave men and women of all wars were equally moving. Vietnam Veteran Gordie Lane

Shoshana Stahl / WAER News

Governor Andrew Cuomo stopped by Syracuse Thursday to help wrap up a three-day convention on unmanned aviation systems, or drones, that attracted companies from across the nation and beyond.  He used the opportunity to commit $30 million  in additional funding to expand drone testing in the region.  

Cuomo made his intentions clear when he began his remarks to hundreds of attendees at the Oncenter.

"I'm here because I want you and this industry located in Central New York," Cuomo said to applause. "That doesn't just happen by chance."

nysenate.gov

If the numbers hold, Republicans are poised to remain in control of the State Senate, and even pick up a seat when the senate reconvenes in January.  The news has reassured business groups but dismayed reform advocates.

The numerical majority  means many of the same issues that were gridlocked in the legislature in the past are likely to remain so, including , the Dream Act, which would provide college aid to children of undocumented immigrants, abortion rights measures, and ending the incarceration of 16 and 17 year olds in adult prisons.

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