On Point on PRE News & Ideas

Weekdays 10 am - 12 noon
  • Hosted by Meghna Chakrabarti, Monday – Thursday; David Folkenflik, Friday

Go behind the headlines: From the economy and healthcare to politics and the environment – and so much more – On Point talks with newsmakers and real people about the issues that matter most.  Meghna Chakrabarti is your host  Monday – Thursday, and on Friday review the week's news with  David Folkenflik. 

Meghna Chakrabarti is a proven talent, hitting her stride. She’s recognized nationally for her work on Here & Now and the popular podcast Modern Love. Meghna has been the host of WBUR’s award-winning program Radio Boston and has served for the past five years as the permanent fill-in cohost at Here & Now.  She will host On Point Monday-Thursday from Boston.

David Folkenflik is NPR’s media correspondent, covering journalism, the media industry and the intersection between politics and the press. A highly regarded reporter for 15 years at NPR, David has been on top of major ongoing national stories including President Trump’s difficult relationship with the media. Before working at NPR, David was a media correspondent for the Baltimore Sun.  His work has also appeared in the Washington Post, Politico Magazine, CBS This Morning among others. David will host On Point each Friday from New York including the popular ‘Week in the News.’ He will continue to cover the media for NPR based at the network’s New York City bureau.

Ways to Connect

To beat COVID-19 we have to understand how it spreads in communities and how it works inside individual bodies. We’ll take a look at the virology and serology of the coronavirus.

Finding joy in the midst of overwhelming world events. Celebrating personal triumphs even more than you would before. We’ll talk about why levity may be exactly what we need in a pandemic.

Alicia Keys joins us to talk about the challenges and setbacks she’s faced on her path from girlhood in Hell’s Kitchen to global pop superstardom, and about why she believes music is the artistic medium that helps us rally and heal.

We look at how people are staying active at home and the psychological benefits of movement.

Guests

Judy Van Raalte, psychology professor and director of the Athletic Counseling program at Springfield College. (@SpfldCollege)

For years, Sherry Turkle has researched how technology is pushing people apart. But in the face of a global pandemic, is technological communication the thing that’s bringing us together?

“What if everything we’ve been told about human nature is wrong?” That’s the question Rebecca Solnit is asking. The author, activist and historian explores whether disasters like pandemics reveal a surprising truth – that human beings are more generous, more altruistic, more hopeful than we commonly believe.

As India locks down 1.3 billion people, the world’s largest democracy is taking unprecedented measures in the country to fight the spread of coronavirus. But will it be enough?

Guests

Dr. Ramanan Laxminarayan, professor of global health at the University of Washington. Director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy.

There was plenty of economic hardship before coronavirus hit. We’ll discuss what the crisis means for people who were already struggling.

Cases of coronavirus are skyrocketing across the U.S. We’ll talk about the public health crisis, and the politics and economics of the pandemic, in our week in review roundtable.

Guests

Paula Reid, CBS News correspondent covering the Justice Department, the White House and legal affairs. (@PaulaReidCBS)

We discuss how faith communities across America are worshiping together during the coronavirus outbreak.

Guests

Elaine Howard Ecklund, director of the religion and public life program at Rice University. Professor of sociology. (@RiceRPLP)

Find Jamil Zaki’s kindness challenge here.


Coronavirus framed in a different light: we’ll talk about acts of kindness popping up in communities around the country.

It’s been more than 100 years since all of humanity has had to respond to a global pandemic on the scale of coronavirus. We’ll take a deep look at the origins, responses and lessons of the flu pandemic of 1918.

Online learning. Can it really replace the learning and community that’s being lost as campuses across the country are closed?

Guests

Justin Reich, assistant professor in the comparative media studies and writing department at MIT. Faculty associate of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. Director of the MIT Teaching Systems Lab. (@bjfr)

Long before coronavirus spread around the world, former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy was sounding the alarm about a different, quiet epidemic: loneliness. We’ll talk to him about why so many Americans are suffering from loneliness and what we can do to take better care of each other even as we’re asked to be physically apart.

The coronavirus outbreak has devastated financial markets and sent shockwaves across the economy as the nation prepares for negative growth and massive job loss in the coming months. We’ll dig into the causes and how Washington is responding.

Taking stock of an incredible week in a global pandemic. We’ll have the latest facts and figures, the science and politics, and how we’re all coping with the coronavirus crisis.

Guests

Rick Berke, Co-founder and executive editor of STAT, a media company focused on health, medicine and science. (@rickberke)

What shows are you bingeing while you’re stuck at home? What favorite movies are you turning to? We’ll talk with critics about what you’re watching while spending more time at home.

The key to stopping the spread of COVID-19 is knowing who has it. Yet testing in the U.S. has been a fiasco. What went wrong and how can we fix it?

Guests

Graeme Simpson, director of Interpeace USA. He developed a fever and a cough after returning from Spain. He’s an at-risk patient at 61 years old and has asthma. He first tried to get a COVID-19 test on March 3. (@Simpson_YPS)

Checking in on China, where officials are now seeing a decrease in the number of newly reported infections. Plus, social distancing is being encouraged as a way to slow the spread of the coronavirus. We’ll talk about ‘flattening the curve.’

If ever there were a time to turn to the experts it’s now. And yet, there’s deepening distrust of expertise. We’ll talk about why and what to do about it.

Guests

Tom Nichols, professor at the Harvard Extension School. Author of “The Death of Expertise: The Campaign against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters.” (@RadioFreeTom)

Are U.S. hospitals prepared for coronavirus? We drill down on the data with public health experts to see what the disparities are and where reinforcements are needed.

Emmy-award winning writer and producer, David Simon, on his new HBO miniseries, “The Plot Against America,” and why making the real-life iconic aviator and anti-Semite, Charles Lindbergh, president in 1940 is instructive for our times today.

Guests

David Simon, Emmy-award winning writer and producer of “The Wire,” “The Deuce” and “The Plot Against America.” (@AoDespair)

For resources on the coronavirus, visit the CDC’s page here. NPR’s coverage of the coronavirus outbreak is available here


What does it take to make an effective vaccine quickly? Why are testing kits so hard to find? What makes this coronavirus so virulent? We’ll dig deep into the science you need to know.

This program originally aired on Oct. 17, 2019. 


For decades, Rick McIntyre has been one of Yellowstone’s most dedicated and passionate wolf-watchers. And in his book, he tells the remarkable story of Wolf 8, one of the first wolves reintroduced to Yellowstone in the mid-’90s, and how the pup went from being runt of the litter to alpha male.

As the Trump administration’s new asylum policy faces legal challenges, we’ll take a look at the policy’s effect on asylum-seekers at the border.

Guests

Julián Aguilar, immigration and border security reporter for The Texas Tribune. (@nachoaguilar)

What Voter Suppression Looks Like

Mar 9, 2020

We look at voting rights in the United States. What happens when Americans are robbed of their right to vote?

Guests

Alexa Ura, associate editor and demographics reporter at The Texas Tribune. (@alexazura)

The Democratic race for president reconfigured. Stepped up urgency on coronavirus. Tornadoes in Tennessee. The news roundtable is here.

Guests

Emily Siner, news director for Nashville Public Radio. (@SinerSays)

Errin Haines, editor-at-large for The 19th. (@emarvelous)

The Next Chapter In Syria's Civil War

Mar 5, 2020

The battle for the city of Idlib. We’ll get insight on the latest cruel chapter in Syria’s long civil war.

Guests

Joshua Landis, Syria specialist and professor of Middle East studies at the University of Oklahoma. (@joshua_landis)

What are the major takeaways from Super Tuesday? We’ll tally up the votes and take a look at the path toward the Democratic nomination.

Guests

Anthony Brooks, On Point’s 2020 correspondent. (@anthonygbrooks)

Immigrants to the United States assimilate just as quickly as they ever did. We’ll dive into the cutting-edge research from two economic historians and discuss exactly what that means.

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