Deep Background

A news podcast by the Kansas City Star's political and news reporters, including in-depth commentary and analysis.. It's a deeper look at news and issues in Kansas and Missouri.
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Deep Background



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Mar 15, 2017

The Kansas City Star's Melinda Hennenberger recently traveled to central Africa, and discusses the ongoing humanitarian and political crisis that is costing hundreds of thousands of lives.  Dave Helling of the Star is part of the discussion.

Mar 8, 2017

Dave Helling, Blair Kerkhoff, and Steve Vockrodt of The Kansas City Star discuss the Big 12 men's basketball tournament in downtown Kansas City -- why it's here, why it might stay here, and who might win.  

Mar 1, 2017

TextEditorStar reporter Mike Hendricks talks about his work documenting the high risk firefighters face from cancer and the uphill battle they and their beneficiaries must overcome to prove their jobs made them sick.

Feb 21, 2017

TextEditorKansas City Star reporter Maria Torres talks about work she did with columnist Vahe Gregorian and photographer/videographer Jill Toyoshiba to piece together the story of the events that led to Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura driving through a guardrail to his death in his native Dominican Republic.

Feb 15, 2017

Aaron Deacon of KC Digital Drive joins the podcast to talk about what impact Google Fiber has had on Kansas City, it's internet connectivity and tech innovation.

Feb 8, 2017

Bryan Lowry, the new lead political reporter for the Star, joins the Deep Background podcast to talk about Gov. Sam Brownback and the Kansas Legislature's efforts to find a way out of a budget hole. Then the conversation turns to Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and his unconventional approach to governing.

Feb 1, 2017

Dave Helling, Colleen McCain Nelson, and Melinda Hennenberger of The Kansas City Star's editorial board discuss the eventful first ten days of President Donald Trump's administration. It's time to take him literally.

Jan 25, 2017

The Kansas City Council is asking voters in an April election to raise property taxes for fixing streets, sidewalks and other infrastructure improvements. Voters will also consider a small hike in the sales tax to boost economic development on the city's east side. City Hall reporter Lynn Horsley explains what's going on.

Jan 18, 2017

Kansas Capitol correspondent Hunter talks about the way forward for a state with budget problems and Gov. Sam Brownback's final stretch in public office. Then Diane Stafford chats about how your workplace, job, and job security are changing in an Uber-influenced world of the gig economy. The latest "Deep Background" podcast from The Kansas City Star.

Jan 11, 2017

The Consumer Electronics Show, Kansas City's own tech scene and the balance between gadgetry convenience and privacy mark the latest Deep Background podcast conversation with Leah Becerra, Jay Pilgreen and Scott Canon of The Kansas City Star.

Jan 4, 2017

Kansas City Star reporters Dave Helling, Scott Canon, and Rick Montgomery move past the scorched earth of 2016 to take a look at trends and stories we'll see in the coming year.

Dec 28, 2016

Dave Helling and Scott Canon talk with the Star's new editorial page editor, Colleen Nelson, about 2016 campaign coverage.  Nelson covered the Clinton campaign and the Obama White House for the Wall Street Journal.

Dec 20, 2016

Kansas City Star reporters Donna McGuire and Glenn E. Rice talk about the troubled Crimes Against Children unit of the Kansas City Police Department. New detectives man the operation now, but others who worked cases of child assault and rape in recent years have come under investigation, and criticism from prosecutors, for sloppy work that's jeopardized criminal cases and left children vulnerable to attack by predators. 

Dec 13, 2016

Kansas City Star reporter Mike Hendricks joins Dave Helling to discuss the subject of an extensive Star investigation into firefighter deaths.  Many such deaths might be prevented, the reporters found, but for a variety of reasons best practices aren't always followed.

Dec 7, 2016

The Kansas City Star's Washington correspondent, Lindsay Wise, joins Dave Helling and Scott Canon to discuss the local impact of the Donald Trump transition.

Nov 9, 2016

What does the election of Donald Trump mean?  How will it work?  What just happened?  Dave Helling, Steve Kraske, and Scott Canon discuss the results of 2016 on Deep Background.

Nov 2, 2016

Who wins, who loses, and why? Kansas City Star reporters Dave Helling and Scott Canon and Steve Kraske of KCUR's Up to Date take a look at the races in the final hours.  Plus:  Hunter Woodall on the Kansas judges retention election.

Oct 27, 2016

Kansas City Star reporters Dave Helling and Scott Canon and Steve Kraske of the Star and KCUR discuss the issue questions on the November ballot, plus late-breaking analysis of the Yoder-Sidie race in Kansas and more.

Oct 19, 2016

With less than three weeks to go, Donald Trump is firing up fourth-quarter three-pointers, hoping for a win over Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton.  Dave Helling, Steve Kraske and Scott Canon talk about the last-minute strategies for the race, and what it might mean for candidates up and down the ballot.

Oct 13, 2016

Kansas City Star reporters Dave Helling and KCUR's Steve Kraske examine the impact Donald Trump has had on other elections, including the Missouri Senate race and the Third District in Kansas.

Oct 5, 2016

Do mistakes matter?  Who won the veep debate?  Is it still Clinton's race to lose against Donald Trump?  Dave Helling, Steve Kraske, and Scott Canon discuss those topics and more on the latest episode of Deep Background, the Kansas City Star's political podcast.

Sep 29, 2016

The Kansas City Star's Dave Helling, Steve Kraske of KCUR, and Scott Canon of the Star dissect the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and discuss the Missouri Senate and governor races, with less than six weeks until election day.

Sep 22, 2016

Kansas City Star reporters Mara Williams and Glenn Rice discuss the investigation surrounding the alleged murder of Daizsa Bausby in the Kansas City area.

Sep 21, 2016

As Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton prepare for their historic first debate, Kansas City Star reporters Dave Helling, Steve Kraske and Scott Canon dissect the campaigns' approach.  What must the Democrat accomplish?  What are Trump's challenges?  And how has the media covered this unique campaign?  All on Deep Background, the Star's podcast.

Sep 19, 2016

Former Sens. Bob Dole and Nancy Kassebaum of Kansas shared a stage Sept. 17 at the Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas.  DIOP director Bill Lacy moderates the discussion.  

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