Linda Lockhart

Outreach Specialist

Outreach specialist Linda Lockhart has been telling stories for most of her life. A graduate of the University of Missouri's School of Journalism, she has worked at several newspapers around the Midwest, including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, as a reporter, copy editor, make-up editor, night city editor, wire editor, Metro Section editor and editorial writer. She served the St. Louis Beacon as analyst for the Public Insight Network, a product of Minnesota Public Radio and American Public Media that helps connect journalists with news sources. She continues using the PIN to help inform the news content of St. Louis Public Radio. She is a St. Louis native and lives in Kirkwood.

Ways to Connect

Writer Kaitlyn Greenidge will talk about her novel at St. Louis Public Library headquarters at 7 p.m. on February 6.
Provided / St. Louis County Public Library

The idea of setting a special time for Americans to learn about black history began in 1926 from educator Carter G. Woodson. Concerned about lack of awareness about accomplishments of African-Americans, Woodson, the son of former slaves, set aside a week for students to learn about people who received scant attention in history books. Since 1976, every U.S. president has designated February as Black History Month. Other countries, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history.

From left, Victor Hill III, Zainab Oyebamiji and Gary Arbesman are feeling cautious, puzzled and bright as Donald J. Trump takes over as president of the United States.
Photos provided

As Donald J. Trump is sworn in today as the 45th president of the United States, St. Louis-area voters are expressing moods ranging from afraid and alarmed to optimistic and upbeat.

For all of their disparities, Republican, Democratic and independent voters are united on one point: All are watching closely to see just how Trump will lead the nation.

Martin Luther King Jr. statue in St. Louis' Fountain Park (Jan. 11, 2017)
Linda Lockhart | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Jan. 13 at 1:11 p.m: Some events have been canceled or postponed, due to the weather. Check with specific groups for more information. — Martin Luther King Jr. was born at noon on Jan. 15, 1929, at his family’s home in Atlanta. He was the first son and second child born to the Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr. and Alberta Williams King.

Under his leadership, — from December 1955, until he was assassinated on April 4, 1968 — African-Americans achieved significant progress toward racial equality.

As Eric Greitens is sworn in today as Missouri’s 56th governor, he’s pledging to support the state’s constitution and to serve the more than 6 million people living in the Show Me state.   

Shortly after Greitens was elected in November, his spokesman, Austin Chambers said,  “… the governor’s priorities for this first session are jobs, ethics reform, public safety and education reform."

St. Louis Public Radio recently asked listeners and readers to share their priorities  for the new governor. In addition to issues Greitens has already raised, some of his new constituents cite discounts and tax breaks for older homeowners.

Tanya Raja, with her family, of Wildwood, talks about observing Ramadan
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

Throughout the year, people like you have helped St. Louis Public Radio report news and events that matter to you.

From music lovers mourning the death of David Bowie, to individuals who shared reflections on the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, many of you contributed to 27 St. Louis Public Radio stories in 2016. With your help, through our Public Insight Network (PIN), we produced news stories with added depth and context.

The holiday season is a time when families gather, usually for food and fun.  But in an age of video games, cell phone chats and abbreviated texts, sometimes, thoughtful conversations with elders are missed.

This year, St. Louis Public Radio, in partnership with StoryCorps, invited students from Maplewood Richmond Heights High School to spend some time asking questions of an important person in their lives. And then to just let the other person talk. 

Donald Trump leaves the stage after a March 2016 speech at the Peabody Opera House.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

In the weeks since the General Election, both those who voted for Donald Trump and those who didn't have been processing what many saw as a surprising outcome.

Some have expressed concern about how policies from the Obama administration will be affected: What will happen to the Affordable Care Act? What about immigrants and Muslims? Others are more fearful, or even angry in response to apparent race- or religious-based acts of aggression, carried out, presumably, by Trump supporters.

But, especially in Missouri, where Trump won the state’s 10 electoral votes, there are many people who voted decidedly for him, and those who were more strongly motivated to vote against Hillary Clinton.

In this election year, much of the dialogue between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump has been particularly harsh. Both candidates for president of the United States have taken turns hurling accusations of illegal or immoral behavior at one other.

The verbal assaults, frequently discussed in decidedly “adult language," have left some likely voters wondering what ever happened to common decency and common sense.

What, then, are parents supposed to do, when their children hear talk and see actions that in no way set examples of how reasonable people should behave?

In just about a month, Election Day 2016 will be here. By the end of Nov. 8, Americans will most likely know who will be the nation’s next president.

But will they be happy?

Probably not, based on what many sources in our Public Insight Network have told us.

Throughout this presidential election year, St. Louis Public Radio has been assessing the political mood of likely voters.

In a recent query — What is your political mood, now? — we learned that voters still have very strong — and mostly negative — emotions. A review of the reasons behind those moods shows that among those who responded to a Public Insight Network query, many were equally unhappy with the Democratic and Republican nominees.

NPR's ombudsman, Elizabeth Jensen.
James Wrona

In January 2015, Elizabeth Jensen was appointed to a three-year term at NPR as the organization’s ombudsman. What does that mean? Otherwise known as the public editor, Jensen is the public’s representative to NPR, answering thousands of listener queries and criticisms.

Jensen stopped by St Louis on the Air Thursday while she’s in St. Louis to attend the national conference of the Public Radio News Directors Incorporated. She talked with host Don Marsh about challenges she faces in working to develop a closer relationship with news consumers.

An American flag flies outside Linda Austin's St. Louis home on a past Memorial Day.
Provided by Linda Austin

Memorial Day is so much more than hot dogs and burgers on the grill. It’s even more than yet another time stores use to pitch the latest sales. 

The true purpose of Memorial Day is a time to honor military service members who died in the line of duty. 

A view looking out on the rotunda from the second floor of St. Louis city hall.
File photo| St. Louis Public Radio

With nearly a year to go before St. Louisans pick a mayor to replace Francis Slay, people are floating lots of names.

Now in his fourth term as mayor, Slay announced last week that he would not seek re-election. When it comes to qualifications for his successor, people are looking for someone who supports healthy economic growth, has a keen eye for justice and equity, and who knows how the system works, but isn’t afraid to shake things up.

From left, Kathy Bernard, Lee Lyons, Jake Gray
Nathan Rubbelke |St. Louis Public Radio

Gene Hutchins is agitated. Alison Lamothe is concerned.

Ahead of Tuesday's Primary Elections in Illinois and Missouri, they represent just two of the many moods voters are expressing when it comes to the choices for president.

David Bowie performing.
Hunter Desportes | Flickr Creative Commons

Tammy Merrett is a self-proclaimed “life-long Bowie fan.” After hearing the news that mega-entertainer David Bowie had died on Sunday, Merrett, of St. Louis, reflected on the times she saw him perform in St. Louis.

“I was at both shows,” Merrett wrote, responding through St. Louis Public Radio’s Public Insight Network. She was referring to Bowie’s performance in 1995 at what was then Riverport Amphitheater in Maryland Heights, and in 2004 at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis.

Bowie died Sunday, two days after his 69th birthday. He had been treated for cancer over the last 18 months.

The University of Missouri-Columbia is under the national microscope after a series of racially-charged incidents on campus.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio file photo

From Ferguson to Syria: Though separated by more than 6,000 miles, these places were the setting for events that many St. Louisans recalled as they reflected on the news of 2015.

Ferguson, a mid-size city in north St. Louis County, was the first thought of many people who responded to a call for suggestions put out by St. Louis Public Radio’s Public Insight Network. A year and a half since the shooting death of a young man named Michael Brown by a police officer named Darren Wilson, many area residents consider that case, and its aftermath, the top news story of the year.

Photos provided

For many former students of the University of Missouri-Columbia, events of recent weeks bring back memories. Some are good, but many are not. For those alums, racial bias has always been part of the sub-text of their Mizzou experience.

And while some alumni welcome announcements this week that Tim Wolfe, president of the University System, is leaving, and R. Bowen Loftin, chancellor of the Columbia campus, is changing jobs, others question whether those actions alone will be enough to solve long-standing problems.

At their 2013 wedding, Bob and Jackie McNett displayed their baseball loyalty.
Photo provided by Jackie McNett

Jackie McNett has been a St. Louis Cardinals fan for as long as she can remember. Growing up, her family named their canine member Wrigley, because, as she put it, “at the time, the Chicago Cubs were the dogs of the National League.”

Then, in 2008, as a student at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Jackie met Bob. Spotting a Cubs poster in his dorm room, Jackie called it “disgusting.” But that didn’t stop her from wanting to get to know him better.

“I thought he was cute,” Jackie said in a telephone interview Friday. “So we kept talking.”

We Must Stop Killing Each Other signs are posted on the security gate of a building near where Mansur Ball-Bey was shot by police.
Linda Lockhart I St. Louis Public Radio

On Thursday morning, sisters Debbie and Darlene Ball were sweeping up around the front yard in St. Louis’ Fountain Park area. Several big teddy bears were strapped to a fence at the two-family flat where police shot and killed the pair’s nephew — Mansur Ball-Bey.

Debbie Ball lives in the flat where the shooting occurred. The incident led to tense confrontations between police and residents, the deployment of tear gas and the burning of a car and a vacant home.

About 250 Catholic bishops will be attending a meeting on key topics important to the Church in St. Louis this week.
Courtesy USCCB's Facebook page

As Catholic bishops from across the country gather in St. Louis this week for their annual Spring General Assembly meeting, many local Catholics are hoping church leaders discuss an array of issues.

Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The dominoes keep falling in Ferguson.

Embattled police chief Thomas Jackson will resign March 19, the city announced Wednesday afternoon. He is the sixth Ferguson employee to step down or be fired since a scathing Department of Justice report found that Jackson's officers routinely and deliberately violated the civil rights of Ferguson's mostly African-American population.

Michael Brown's Normandy High School graduation photo
Provided by UPI

(Updated at 7:30 p.m. with comments from St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch)

The U.S. Justice Department’s report into the fatal of shooting of Michael Brown by then-police officer Darren Wilson makes two basic findings: investigators were not convinced that Wilson committed a federal crime; and that even if they were to indict Wilson, they didn’t believe they would be able to win at trial.

Kevin Rejent
Provided by Mr. Rejent

After the announcement last week of a plan to build a stadium on the Mississippi riverfront, pundits and politicians were quick to react with assorted pros and cons.

Likewise, St. Louis Public Radio followers were eager to share, through the Public Insight Network, just what the plan — introduced by a team appointed by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon — means to them.

The Public Insight Network helps St. Louis Public Radio tell stories that include the perspective of those most affected.

From the voters who showed up at the polls for the lackluster elections in November, to faithful and sometimes over-the-top fans of entertainer Weird Al Yankovic, PIN sources shared their particular insights on many stories in 2014.

Circus Harmony performers join with members of the Galilee Circus in July in Haifa, Israel.
Photo provided by Jessica Hentoff

Jessica Hentoff has gone all the way to Israel to bring people of markedly different perspectives together. This summer, Hentoff, artistic and executive director of Circus Harmony, took members of her tumbling group, the St. Louis Arches, to the Middle East. There, the Arches joined with Arab and Israeli youth from the Galilee Circus, where they worked and learned together, setting aside religious, political and cultural differences.

Ask a bunch of voters why they bother, especially when there are no “big races,” and Election Day is rainy and cold, and you’ll get answers like “I just always vote” or “I believe it’s important for my voice to be heard.”

Voters such as these don’t care that records show that in off-year or non-presidential elections, voter turnout is generally low, with fewer than half of registered voters bothering to show up.

Danielle and Adam Dowd with their daughter, Alice.
Provided by Danielle Dowd

Like talking about the “facts of life,” or “the birds and the bees,” many parents and teachers know that discussing race and racism is necessary in helping young people learn about life.

St. Louis Public Radio reporter Tim Lloyd presented “A Teachable Moment,” a three-part series that examined how area teachers are leading discussions in their classrooms about issues raised after Michael Brown was fatally shot by a Ferguson police officer in August.

Provided by Missouri History Museum

When radio personality Carol Daniel and her husband, Patrick Daniel, learned she was pregnant with a boy, her first reaction was sheer joy. "I had had nightmares that I would not get married or that I would not have a child," she said.

But that joy quickly turned to anxiety. "My first thought was, 'I'm having a black man.' "

Paul Sableman

Michael Brown’s parents, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr., are still waiting to bury their son, who was shot and killed on Aug. 9, by a Ferguson police officer. For them, healing probably seems like something that’s still a long way off.

But for the people of Ferguson, where peaceful protests turned violent in the week since Brown’s death, steps toward healing should begin as soon as possible.

ferguson march 81614
Linda Lockhart | St. Louis Public Radio

More than 500 people marched along West Florissant Avenue early Saturday afternoon. The racially diverse group included young and old, families, clergy members, all walking in solidarity past the burnt-out QuikTrip. The area around the convenience store that was destroyed by looters has become a focal point in the days following the shooting death of Michael Brown. Police cars from various jurisdictions followed the last of the marchers at the end, lights flashing. A St. Louis County police officer said this was to guard against other traffic running over the marchers.

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