Every week GBH News Tasks Editor Matt Baskin hops on our airwaves to see some of the stories the newsroom is focusing on in the coming week. This week, GBH News reporters are monitoring the response to two tragedies, one local and one national, looming large in the run-up to the Thanksgiving holiday.
What follows is a lightly edited transcript and excerpts from radio newscasts.
Arun Rath: So let’s start with this weekend’s shooting in Colorado and how it’s resonating locally.
Matt Baskin: Yes, there is a large queer community in and around Boston. And today we’re gathering reactions after what appears to have been a targeted attack on a queer-friendly club in Colorado Springs. This happened around midnight, from Saturday night to Sunday morning. It is worth mentioning that yesterday Sunday was the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Another thing we are looking at is whether gay clubs in the Boston area should take additional safety precautions at this time. We have heard anecdotes online about LGBTQ+ clubs in other cities being warned by federal police that there is an increased risk at this time. It is truly a tense time for queer and trans people in particular, with right-wing extremists fanning hatred against them online and some politicians cruelly and cynically using them as a punching bag to curry favor with their supporters. That seems to be leading to dire consequences in the real world.
I also want to say that it’s hard not to make a connection between this and the ongoing threats, in some cases, bomb threats, that we’ve seen against Boston Children’s Hospital because of the hospital’s healthcare program for transgender teens. There was another one last week, and like all so far, thank God, it was a fake. But transgender people and their allies continue to face hate and harassment.
Rat: And we also had a tragedy closer to home over the weekend, the Brandeis bus accident. Tell us the latest on that.
Bask in: Yes, a group of Brandeis students were returning from a hockey game (they were fans, not players) against Northeastern on Saturday night. Just as they were returning to campus in Waltham, they hit a tree. One person, a 25-year-old woman named Vanessa Mark, was killed [and] more than 20 people injured. Two of them are still hospitalized, at least since yesterday. The class was canceled today. It’s canceled tomorrow too. School leaders are giving students, staff and faculty time off to process this and get a head start on the Thanksgiving break so they can be with their loved ones.
Tonight at 7 there will be a vigil on campus in support of those affected by this accident. We will be monitoring it.
Rat: It’s a particularly terrible time of year to deal with something like this heading into the holidays. Making that turn towards the holidays though, tell us what our coverage of Thanksgiving looks like.
Bask in: We’re looking at it from a few different angles. There is, of course, all the preparation and stress and, yes, the joy that goes with it. I myself am responsible for bringing the cheese plate to my sister’s house. Today we had one of our best newsroom interns, Frankie Rowley, out in the field. She has been trying to talk to shoppers and grocery store workers as people prepare for Thursday. But in reality many of them have refused to speak. Perhaps in the midst of the stress of preparation, an interview with a reporter is the last thing they need, perhaps. She has also been contacting turkey farms to see if they are doing any last minute business.
But we’re also going to look at this from the perspective of Native Americans. For many indigenous people, Thanksgiving is a national day of mourning, an opportunity to call attention to the horrors of European colonialism, the horrific ways in which colonial governments and, later, the United States government treated to Native Americans.
We’re also going to have our eyes and ears on those who were food insecure and housing insecure: what Thanksgiving means to them, how they observe it, if at all, and how they can get help this time of year .
Rat: Matt, once again, thank you for all of this.
Bask in: Sure thing.
Rat: That’s GBH’s news assignment editor, Matt Baskin. That is All things considered.