Elisabeth Harrison

News Director

Elisabeth Harrison's journalism background includes everything from behind-the-scenes work with the CBS Evening News to freelance documentary production.

She joined the WRNI team in 2007 as a Morning Edition producer and freelance journalist. In 2009, she became a full-time reporter, and became the Morning Edition host in 2011.  She was promoted to full-time News Director in June of 2015.

Harrison's education is as wide ranging as her work at Rhode Island Public Radio. She has a B.A. in English and French from Wellesley College, and a joint M.A. in Journalism and French Studies from NYU.

A native of Los Angeles, Harrison loves good food and good movies.

Ways to Connect

  Average rental costs went up by about 5.6 percent last year, according new data from HousingWorks, a housing research group at Roger Williams University.

The group’s annual survey was released Wednesday. It finds the average two-bedroom apartment costs a little more than $1,200 a month in Rhode Island.

HousingWorks says roughly half of renters have to spend more than 30 percent of their income to cover the rent. Director Brenda Clements says the lack of supply of affordable rentals is a persistent problem in the state.

John Bender / RIPR

Rhode Islanders will go to the polls Tuesday to vote in a primary election. The general lack of high-profile races is expected to result in a low turnout of voters. 

All this week, we’ll bring you more stories from The Big Switch: New England’s Energy Moment. It comes from the New England News Collaborative, a name you may have heard on Rhode Island Public Radio over the past couple of months. You may be wondering what that is. Well, eight public radio stations, including Rhode Island Public Radio, are partnering up to cover some of the most pressing issues across New England. 


Voters head to the polls Tuesday for primary elections in Rhode Island, and one of those primaries will fill a House seat formerly held by Ray Gallison. The Democrat resigned under a law enforcement probe likely to include legislative grants, given to an organization with Gallison on the payroll. Rhode Island Public Radio Political Analyst Scott MacKay discussed the race with News Director Elisabeth Harrison.

Katherine Doherty

After the long summer break, it's back to school this week for many Rhode Island students.

In Coventry and Barrington, classes start Monday. Lincoln and Burrillville are among the districts resuming school on Tuesday. 

Warwick reopens elementary schools and 9th grade on Wednesday. In Cranston, students head back to class on Thursday.

Little Compton, Portsmouth and some charter schools are already back in session as of last week. Providence and Newport won’t resume classes until after Labor Day.

albertogp123 / flickr/creative commons license

Rhode Island students scored a little bit better this spring on the annual standardized test known as PARCC, or the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.

In the second year of the test, scores improved by an average of 5 percentage points in math and 2 percentage points in English.  But State Education Commissioner Ken Wagner said gaps between urban and suburban students showed little or no change, and in some cases worsened.

Elisabeth Harrison

The Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra played a pops concert at Providence's Roger Williams Park on Thursday night, in a return of sorts for the orchestra. The philharmonic's last concert in the park dated to more than a decade ago, in 2004.

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison, filling in for Dave Fallon on our weekly business segment, The Bottom Line.  

This week, Mark and Elisabeth speak with Mark Gray, coordinator of the state's Health Insurance Small Employer Taskforce, about the impact of new health insurance rates on small businesses.

Rosaline Stock/Creative Commons License

Public schools will seek to close achievement gaps in 3rd grade reading and mathematics by 2025, under a bill signed into law this week by Gov. Gina Raimondo.

The measure provides no specifics on how to close those gaps, but directs the state board overseeing K-12 education adopt it as a goal. 

Elisabeth Harrison

Starting in 2018, state colleges and universities will have to meet specific performance goals to receive increases in state funding, under a state law signed by Governor Gina Raimondo on Thursday.

The goals include increasing the number of students graduating on-time and adding graduates in fields that employers need. 


As students enjoy the last few weeks of summer vacation, faculty at Rhode Island College are gearing up for a new semester and a new president. 

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2016

With summer nearing a close, we turn to the experts for book recommendations not to be missed on those final trips to the beach.

Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison gets a few tips from Emma Ramadan and Tom Roberge, the owners of Riffraff, a new bookstore and bar opening this Fall in Providence.

Books you have to pick up right now

Emma Ramadan:  Ladivine, Marie NDiaye 

Courtesy of Brown University

Sovijja Pou, a senior at Brown University, will compete next week as one of two swimmers representing Cambodia. His event, the 100-meter freestyle, is scheduled for Tuesday.

Will Ricketson / U.S. Sailing Team Sperry

The Olympic Games began today in Rio de Janeiro, and five athletes competing for the United States have ties to Rhode Island. 

Elizabeth Beisel from Saunderstown will swim the 400 meter individual medley. She already won silver in the event four years ago in London, and took home a bronze medal in backstroke.

Elisabeth Harrison

In Middletown, St. George’s boarding school has announced a settlement with up to 30 former students, who allege they were sexually abused.