Illustrious Upstaters: Big Jay Fink

Big Jay Fink, Indefatigable Upstate DJ

If we had an Upstater of the Week feature, I’d lobby to nominate Greene County WRIP DJ Jay Fink, so I was thrilled to see Jay get a shout-out in today’s New York Times. Jay’s tireless marathon radio coverage of the storm—much of it done when he was supposed to be on vacation—has proven invaluable to stranded mountaintop residents as well as to neighbors who want to help.

Listening to Jay’s broadcasts on WRIP post-Irene, especially as a city dweller, has been a wonder of tight community camaraderie. People stop by the station to give info about a clothing drive or a church dinner or FEMA sign-up sheet, and Jay seems to know every single person by name and family history. WRIP has also become a kind of de facto StoryCorps project, with locals calling in simply to tell how they experienced the storm, what they lost and what they’ve seen, thanking neighbors by name who helped them out or specifying what others might need.

Much like the amazing reporting being done at Watershed Post, Jay’s work at WRIP shows how vital community journalism can be and conversely, how symbiotic the relationship is between journalists and their communities. Listening to WRIP, it’s clear that people call Jay before anyone else (including 911) because they know him and trust him. I know I would.

Read On, Reader...