Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Pitch Questionnaire with KCUR's Elana Gordon

The KCUR health reporter talks bikes and bagels.

Posted By on Wed, Feb 8, 2012 at 6:00 AM

Name: Elana Gordon

Occupation: Health reporter, KCUR 89.3. I don’t have a set program, but I regularly produce stories that air during Morning Edition and KC Currents.

Hometown: Pleasantville, New York (no, not like the movie; yes, home of the Puzzlemaster)

Current neighborhood: The West Side

Who or what is your sidekick? My Marantz 660 and Sennheiser headphones and, on a rare occasion, my euphonium.

What career would you choose in an alternate reality? Troubadour, public-health nurse

What was the last local restaurant you patronized? Vietnam Café

Favorite place to spend your paycheck: Where there’s live music.

What local phenomenon do you think is overrated? Trader Joe’s. Still don’t get it. Now, if Stew Leonard’s and its dancing, animatronic dairy section came to town, that would be major.

Where do you like to take out-of-town guests? Depends who’s visiting. Dad was recently here. Our weekend included jazz at 18th and Vine, Rodin at the Nelson, WaterFire, vegan lunch followed by barbecue dinner, a library lecture. To my sister, who’s long overdue for a visit: Get ready for a bike ride on the Katy Trail, that hair museum in Independence and, last but not least, Funkytown.

Finish the following sentence: “Other than the Kauffman Center, Kansas City got it right when …” It built several free/low-cost health clinics.

“Kansas City screwed up when it …” Developed in a way that has left most residents dependent on automobiles.

“Kansas City needs …” A good bagel.

“People might be surprised to know that I …” Get nervous speaking to large groups. Good thing I can’t see you in the recording booth.

____ take up a lot of space in my iTunes: Really? You’re going ask a radio producer this? Lots and lots of podcasts: Radiolab, This American Life, Love and Radio, HowSound, 99% Invisible, Tiny Desk Concerts, NPR Health, Planet Money, The World’s Science podcast. I don’t even know where to start with music, but it includes a lot of Latin pop.

What local tradition do you take part in every year? Dodging fireworks. There’s really no avoiding it, no matter how much I’ve tried. This place is one big dynamite fest on the Fourth.

Celebrity you’d like to ride the Mamba with at Worlds of Fun: Did you say Worlds of Fun? I’m still reeling over the fact that I missed Ira Glass when he was there last summer (with the This American Life crew). But if I had been there, I’d much prefer to have challenged him to a game of strongman — or, even better, have a heart-to-heart over some rounds of skee ball. Then I’d go ride the Mamba with Cole Lindbergh, that hilarious Worlds of Fun manager who was featured on the program.

Favorite person or thing to follow on Twitter: I mostly follow health news, but I recently learned the conceptual artist Jenny Holzer has a Twitter account, @JennyHolzerMom. I love when her parental “truisms” pop up in the Twitter feed. They’re a refreshing punch in the chest amid the more subdued sea of health tweets.

Person or thing you find really irritating at this moment: Trying to find a late-night coffee shop with Wi-Fi, so I can complete this survey.

What subscription do you value most? That’s a hard one, but I can’t imagine starting my day without a hard copy of The Kansas City Star and an online review of Kaiser Health News’ Daily Health Policy Report.

Last book you read: The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino

Favorite day trip: Pick-your-own-blueberry orchards. Freeze the bounty and enjoy it all winter long.

What is your most embarrassing dating moment? I was once a production assistant for the reality-TV dating show Elimidate when it came to Kansas City. I was on set for dates that involved boats, cows, bad â ¨karaoke … man, I’m embarrassed just thinking about it.

Interesting brush with the law? Not too long ago, I visited Johnson County’s jail — where about one in five inmates has a mental illness — for a story about mental-health care in the region. While there, I met with folks leading a special re-entry program, interviewed a guy locked in a padded cell struggling with some mental and cognitive issues and his case manager, who was trying to figure out a better treatment option.

Describe a recent triumph: Professionally, trying to turn a story about a federal physician database into a two-part radio thriller. Personally, making banana bread that had no sugar, dairy or oil in it — and it still actually tasted good.

Follow Elana Gordon @KCURElana.

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