Laura Knoy

Host, The Exchange

Laura is well known in New Hampshire for her in-depth coverage of important issues and is widely regarded for her interviews with presidential hopefuls. Laura is a graduate of Keene High School in New Hampshire. Prior to hosting The Exchange, Laura worked in public radio in Washington, D.C. as a local reporter and announcer for WAMU and as a newscaster for NPR. Before her radio career, she was a researcher for USA Today's "Money" section, and a research assistant at the Institute for International Economics. Laura occasionally guest hosts national programs such as The Diane Rehm Show and Here and Now. In 2007 Laura was named New Hampshire Broadcaster of the Year by the New Hampshire Association of Broadcasters.

Contact

The Exchange Program Page

Ways to Connect

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/snoshuu/2744476573/in/photostream/">SnoShuu</a> via Flickr/Creative Commons

Experiencing gratitude and appreciating various things seems essential to happiness and a good life. Why is this? What exactly is gratitude? Is it an emotion that we cannot control or is it a cognitive realization that I should express gratitude? If I do not “feel grateful” when someone gives me a gift I do not care for, should I expressed gratitude anyway? Why do we teach our children to say “thank you” when we feed them or otherwise give them something they deserve? Should I be grateful when a teller returns correct change?

Challenges of Autism

Nov 12, 2010

NHPR correspondent Sheryl Rich-Kern is completing a weeklong series on autism. We'll look at what we've learned about autism and what it means for schools, families and towns.

Guests

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We often hear of people suffering from “information overload.” To what exactly are we referring? Is it just that our brains are too slow to process the information now available? Does more information necessarily lead to more truth? Does more truth necessarily lead to a better world? What are the existential ramifications of living in a world where all information is always immediately available? Are there reasons to slow down our development of information technology? Is slowing down even possible given competitive global markets?

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Do the ends ever justify the means? Assuming, for example, that lying, torturing, stealing, and murder are wrong, are such actions justified in rare instances in order to avoid some terrible consequence, or to achieve some great good? If so, how far does this go? Are all actions potentially justified, so long as the benefit is sufficiently great? Or are some actions so horrible that they are never justified, no matter what the consequences? What makes actions right or wrong in the first place-the consequences, or something else?

Guest

Food Safety

May 21, 2010

Recent food scares from lettuce, spinach and peanut butter show that we are far away from keeping out food safe. We’ll look at the issue of food safety, what’s being done in New Hampshire and the debate over making standards even tougher.

Guests

Many in the Granite State are interested in localism and many farms, restaurants and organizations are pushing to move even more local, but it comes with its challenges. New Hampshire’s climate, land and development limits the amount of food that can be made in the state and with no organized distributions centers, localism requires much more work and higher prices for farmers and businesses that take their food. We’ll look at what’s being done in New Hampshire.

Guests

More New Hampshire consumers are desiring local food, saying it helps the community, the environment and the local economy. But there are some who suggest that localism takes too much energy and isn't feasible on a large scale. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of localism.

Guests

The Organic Debate

May 18, 2010

Supermarkets are carrying more organic products than ever before, and many more are farming organically as well. But critics say organic has no more nutritional value, and that we need to think beyond organic to really address the global food crisis. We’ll hear from both sides of the debate.

Guests

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/hermida/249513096/">Alfred Hermida</a> vis Flickr/Creative Commons

Our next Socrates Exchange discussion begins! This time we ask we ask “are there ethical limits to biotechnology?” From aspirin to artificial limbs many of us enjoy the benefits of biotechnology, but is there a point where it crosses the ethical line... steroids in sports, cloning or choosing the genetic makeup of your child? Post your thoughts below and respond to other postings.

Guest

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewrennie/4429438847/">Andrew Rennie</a> vis Flickr/Creative Commons

Are there some forms of expression that are simply too crude or too offensive to be allowed to be disseminated? What kinds of things, if any, should be censored? Who should do the censoring?

Guest

  • Max Latona, Associate Professor of Philosophy at St. Anselm College

 

Background Reading 

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Citizens have a role to elect their representatives in, but then what is the role of the representative? Where should federal power end and state power begin? And in the end, who is really in charge, the citizen, the representative or the courts? The country, the state, the town or the citizen?

Guest

  • Max Latona, Associate Professor of Philosophy at St. Anselm College

 

Background Reading 

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Are non-human animals merely a natural resource for human use? Do we have a responsibility to treat animals with dignity or to consider their suffering? Are we justified killing mosquitoes or pigs while pampering our pets? Do "smarter" creatures deserve more rights? If an animal is more intelligent than a cognitively disabled human, does the animal deserve more rights? Post your thoughts below and respond to other postings.

Guest

Each of us within a particular religion think our religious beliefs are true, but how do we make sense of our neighbor, who thinks the same about her religion? Can all religions be true, even though they often contradict one another? Can they all be false? How can we make sense of religion in a pluralistic society? Post your thoughts below and respond to other postings.

Guest

  • Max Latona, Associate Professor of Philosophy at St. Anselm College

In 1993, Greg Mortenson had hoped to climb K2, the world’s second highest mountain in memory of a sister who had recently passed away. He never made it to the top, and got lost on his way down, but when he finally stumbled into the town of Korphe, Pakistan his life would change forever. A promise to the villagers of Korphe embarked Greg Mortenson on a mission to build schools, especially for girls, in Pakistan. He recounts this mission in the bestselling book Three Cups of Tea.

Since the beginning of time, human beings have been making tools to make life easier, better, faster or more efficient, but is that always a good thing? Are human beings happier today, whether individually or collectively, because of telephones, washing machines, text-messaging cell-phones, and iPods? Are there limitations on how much technology we should produce, or allow in our lives?

Guest

  • Max Latona, Associate Professor of Philosophy at St. Anselm College

 

The acclaimed author of The Poisonwood Bible, The Bean Trees, and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle was at the Music Hall in Portsmouth to take part in our Writers On A New England Stage series. Kingsolver reads from her new book The Lacuna, talks with Laura Knoy and takes questions from the audience. Today we play back the highlights from the evening’s event.

Are we an excessively individualistic- and even selfish- culture? Does New Hampshire's "Live Free or Die" ethos place too much emphasis on the rights of the individuals and not enough on the well-being of our communities? Is it ever justified to sacrifice an individual's rights for the sake of the collective? What are the dangers of valuing the collective more than the community? Post your thoughts below and respond to other postings.

Guest

As the author of Ragtime, Billy Bathgate and The March, E.L. Doctorow is considered one of America's preeminent writers. On Wednesday, Doctorow stopped by the Music Hall in Portsmouth for the next installment of Writers on a New England Stage. He discussed his new novel, Homer and Langley, and his career with NHPR's Laura Knoy.

The Exchange's monthly discussion series is back, and our first question is on truth. Can we be wrong in our beliefs or are all beliefs equally correct, simply because they’re a matter of perspective and the product of different cultures? What evidence do we have either way? Most would say that two plus two equals four or that the Earth revolves around the sun. Fundamentalists in religion and politicians on the fringes take core truths even further by saying that their way is the right and only way.

For almost her entire professional life Ruth Reichl has been able to combine her two loves, food and writing. A long time restaurant critic for the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times, Reichl became editor of Gourmet Magazine in 1999. Her books book have also been a combination of memoir and food, but in her latest offering, Not Becoming My Mother, Reichl looks back at her mother’s life through almost a century of letters and how her challenges influenced her daughter’s career.

The best-selling and critically lauded novelist is back with The Hour I First Believed, his first new work in nine years. It follows the story of a couple relocating from Colorado to Connecticut after the wife survives the 1999 murders at Columbine High School. At the latest Writers on a New England Stage event, Lamb talked about his books and his career with NHPR's Laura Knoy. Today we bring you that event.

Massachusetts-born writer Anita Shreve is the author of 14 books, including The Pilot’s Wife, chosen as an Oprah Book Club Selection, and The Weight of Water, a murder mystery set on the Isles of Shoals. Her latest offering, Testimony, opens the door to a sex scandal at a New England boarding school that starts with a video tape and ripples out into an entire community. This week Anita Shreve traveled to The Music Hall in Portsmouth to be a part of our Writers on a New England Stage series.

In our next installment of The Socrates Exchange we're asking the question: “What is the relationship between money, happiness, and a good life?” Our culture may often tell us the personal wealth equals success, but most of us are suspicious of this. What really is the relationship between money, happiness, and a good life? If money isn't essential for happiness, why are we concerned with poverty? Is money, as some say, the root of all evil?

Guest:

In our next installment of The Socrates Exchange we're asking the question: “What is forgiveness?” Can we truly forgive? What are the key features of forgiveness? Is forgiving always a virtue, or can it be a sign of weakness or lack of self-respect? Post your comments, then respond to others on this page.

Guest

She's been called the "first lady of American journalism," known for her talent as a news anchor and for her historic interviews of leading newsmakers. In her new memoir, Audition, Barbara Walters shares her own story, reflecting on her professional and personal lives and sharing both the challenges and successes she's had in a life in the news.

Best known for her portrayals of the complex, intertwined history of Native and White Americans, a heritage the author herself shares, Louise Erdrich came to The Music Hall in Portsmouth to talk about her new book “The Plague of Doves” and take questions from the audience and Exchange host Laura Knoy. Today we bring you part of that performance.

Each month Socrates Exchange explores a different philosophical question, both on the air and on the web. This month we look at the question "Should race matter?" Is being the majority race still an advantage, or not? Do people of one race get special treatment or attention? If so, is that needed or right? Be part of the conversation.

Guest

NPR's contributing senior news analyst Cokie Roberts is one of the most recognizable women political reporters today. In 2004 she penned “Founding Mothers” about America's early revolutionary women; her new book, “Ladies of Liberty,” picks up where “Founding Mothers” left off. Last week, Cokie Roberts came to Portsmouth to talk about her new book in the latest installment of our Writers on a New England Stage series. Today we play back for you part of that performance.

Each month Socrates Exchange explores a different philosophical question, both on the air and on the web. This month we look at what success means. Is it a good job? A good marriage? Lots of money or lots of happiness? A healthy life or a healthy family? Be part of the conversation.

Guest

What does it mean to love one’s country? Does it mean that you’d make the ultimate sacrifice for it? Serving in the government or volunteering for your fellow citizens? To criticize your country when you think its heading in the wrong direction? Nationalism? Patriotism? Today we kick off our monthly series we are calling “Socrates Exchange,” where we use the Socratic method of inquiry to gain better understanding.

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