Emma Jacobs

Reporter, WRVO

Former WRVO/Central New York reporter for the Innovation Trail.

Emma Jacobs is a native of Boston. She studied history, so she went for more practical training in public radio at NPR member-stations WNYC and WBUR. She helped shape Wired's Haiti Rewired project, a 2010 Knight Batten Innovations in Journalism Awards notable initiative. 

She's contributed to NPR's National Desk, and to Living on Earth, The Environment Report, Only a Game, Voice of America, and Word of Mouth.  She now reports for WHYY in Philadelphia.



Fri September 16, 2011
Regional Councils

Regional Councils: Try and try again

Don Glynn of the Niagara Gazette holds up his article on Governor Cuomo's regional councils ... that he wrote 27 years ago.
Daniel Robison WNED

In May of 1984, the recently-elected Governor Mario Cuomo got up in front of the press at the Buffalo Convention Center to talk about his new initiative to help create jobs: Ten councils to help plan regional economic development.

This summer, his son, Governor Andrew Cuomo, is touting nearly the same thing: Ten councils, to help plan regional economic development.

Read more


Wed September 14, 2011
Who's who

Central New York economic council: Who's in charge

Members of the central New York regional economic council, with their chairman, Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy.
Emma Jacobs WRVO

The Innovation Trail is taking a look at the members of the governor's regional economic development councils.  Here's what we found.


Our reporters brought back short biographies of the folks behind the councils, including campaign contributions in the 2010 gubernatorial election (courtesy of public filings at the State Board of Elections).

The New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), at our request, retrieved data about the state lobbying expenditures of council members' employers from a database that they created using Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) information.  The also retrieved the party enrollment of council members, where available, from a database that they compiled based on FOIL'ed information (that's accurate as of October of 2010). Bill Mahoney of NYPIRG was instrumental in pulling this information together.

See an error, or want to add more?  Let us know.

And without further ado, here's who's who in Central New York.

Regional Co-Chairs

Nancy Cantor is chancellor of Syracuse University.  She became the first female chancellor and president of Syracuse University in 2004. SU, one of Syracuse’s anchor institutions, is the metro-area’s second-largest employer with a $900 million dollar budget. Cantor, a native New Yorker has earned a reputation in Syracuse for getting involved off-campus. She’s credited for her involvement in the cradle-to-grave education initiative, Say Yes to Education – she sits on Say Yes’ board - and redevelopment projects on the city’s impoverished West Side. She’s a past chair of the American Association for Higher Education and American Council on Education. She also writes extensively on higher education including, occasionally, for the Huffington Post. Cantor’s also among the top-paid university presidents in the nation, with total compensation totaling $1.4 million in 2008.  She serves on the board of Centerstate CEO.

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions: $0
  • Total lobbying dollars spent in New York State by SU in 2010: $183,472
  • Registered Democrat

Rob M. Simpson is president of CenterState CEO, a native son made-good in Washington D.C.  who better yet, returned home eight years ago. Simpson helped create CenterState - the former Metropolitan Development Authority business advocacy group and plain-old-chamber-of-commerce rolled into one. The merger took place shortly after he took the helm and Simpson says today that he considers the organization a “convener” of partnerships between Central New York groups. Simpson has also become an advocate for Syracuse’s downtown and the area’s tech industries. Syracuse’s Post-Standard aptly described him as “professionally optimistic.”

  • 2010 gubernatorial campaign contributions: $0
  • Unable to determine voter registration

Read more


Fri September 9, 2011

How the CNY defense industry has changed since 9/11

Senator Chuck Schumer says he'll continue to advocate for upstate contractors as defense spending declines.
Zack Seward WXXI

The defense budget has nearly doubled since 9/11, to pay for the two wars and update the U.S. military.

But now the tide is changing again, and as it’s unclear what’s in store for the central New York companies that supply the armed forces.

Read more


Wed September 7, 2011

Duffy says NYS "isn't perfect" but is getting "better"

Locals Jim Fayle (left) and Rob Simpson (center right) present to the regional council, with Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy (center left) and Irene Baker (right).
Emma Jacobs WRVO

New Yorkers think government causes more problems than it solves. That's the word from the pollsters at Siena who take the state's temperature on a regular basis.

This time around, they found that 64 percent of New Yorkers think government isn't helping the state's economy.

This news comes as the regional councils - the latest state government effort to do right by New York's economy - meet again across the state. 

Read more


Tue September 6, 2011
Marcellus Shale

Number of landowners forced to frack could rise "exponentially"

Mike and Velda Ward are worried they will be compelled to accept underground gas wells beneath their property. The number of landowners forced to "integrate compulsorily" by the state is expected to rise if fracking moves forward in New York State.
Emma Jacobs WRVO

Compulsory integration is (not completely unfairly) sometimes called the "eminent domain" of gas drilling, including by the decidedly pro-gas drilling governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Corbett.

We did a longer report on the ups and downs of the New York State law, which forces landowners to let their land be drilled in some cases, even if they don't want to sign a lease to allow a gas well.

But whatever your perspective, what seems clear is that compulsory integration is going to happen a lot more if (or when) horizontal hydrofracking goes forward in New York State.

Read more