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

The Rhode Island School of Design celebrates commencement on Saturday at the convention center. At one point it appeared as though 666 students would receive degrees, but the count has gone up to 669.

Either way, the number seems fitting for cult film director John Waters, who is scheduled to address the graduates. Waters is known for movies that push the boundaries of good taste.

RISD President Rosanne Somerson says RISD is known for quirky moments at commencement. Part of the university's tradition involves a unique take on the traditional black robe.

Poor People's Pub

Bacon is on the menu Saturday at Poor People’s Pub on Block Island. The restaurant is hosting the second annual “Bacon Fest,” a benefit for the Block Island Conservancy. 

Why bacon?

"Why not?" asked server Corinne Adams, a seasonal resident of Block Island. 

The event features a mixture of professional chefs and home cooks, all competing to make the best bacon dish. Participants have the chance to taste each dish then vote for their favorite.

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

This week Mark and Dave ask Raymond Fogarty, executive director of the John H. Chafee Center for International Business at Bryant University, about an upcoming trade mission to South Korea and Taiwan. The trip is geared toward increasing business opportunities for Rhode Island exporters.  

When to listen

You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50pm.


Former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee plans to make it official next week: he's running for president.

Chafee's campaign confirmed Friday that he will officially launch his bid for the democratic presidential nomination on Wednesday. The announcement is expected during a speech at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia.

After forming an exploratory committee in April, Chafee has visited some early primary states, including New Hampshire. He often criticizes democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton for her Senate vote in support of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

RIPR file photo

Brown University ranks among the top 10 universities whose undergraduates go on to win the prestigious MacArthur "genius" grant, according to new data from the MacArthur Foundation.

Since the foundation began awarding the grants, which honor individuals with great creative potential, Brown graduates have received 14 awards. Harvard produces the most recipients by far with 72 grantees.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

New graduates receive diplomas this weekend at the University of Rhode Island. Like grads across the state, they enter a job market showing signs of recovery. But Rhode Island still suffers from one of the worst unemployment rates in the country.

As we continue our series Rising Tide, looking at whether Rhode Island is emerging from the Great Recession, Rhode Island Public Radio’s education reporter Elisabeth Harrison checks in with college students to find out how they view the future.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island’s new state-funded preschool program is expensive, but it may be high quality. That’s according to a new study from the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University.

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

This week Mark and Dave speak to Virginia Burke, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Healthcare Association, which represents nursing homes. The group has questioned a plan to cut millions of dollars in state Medicaid spending.

Burke tells Mark and Dave that cuts to Medicaid would likely lead to layoffs for nursing home staff, which could degrade the quality of patient care.

University of Rhode Island

The University of Rhode Island is arming its police force as of Friday. Preparations have been underway for a little more than a year. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison has details.

A gun scare in 2013 led to the decision last year to arm police on URI's rural Kingston campus. Though it turned out there wasn’t any gun, the false alarm pointed out the drawbacks of unarmed officers, who had to wait for armed police to respond to the incident.

Elisabeth Harrison

The Rhode Island Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is again raising alarms bells about racial disparities in school suspensions. The group has released a new report citing little improvement in the 2013-2014 school year.  

According to the study, one out of every six black male students got suspended from a Rhode Island public school during the 2013-2014 school year,

The reports finds that statewide, suspension rates declined for white students but hit their highest level in a decade for Black, Hispanic and Native American students.

Providence College

Activists rallied at Providence College Monday to call attention to what they say is racial profiling. Professor Julia Jordan-Zachery has complained she was interrogated by campus police for parking in a faculty space. The demonstrators said the incident is part of a larger pattern of targeting minorities by campus police officers.

Jordan-Zachery filed an official complaint with the college last fall. Providence College Spokesman Steve Maurano said the complaint was resolved quickly, and the head of campus security ordered additional training for campus police.

A protest is expected in Providence Saturday to show support for Baltimore residents, who have been calling for justice in the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, a black man who died from injuries sustained in police custody.

Baltimore officials announced Friday that six police officers will face charges.  

In Providence, rally organizer Marco McWilliams say he shares concerns raised in Baltimore about the relationship between police and minority residents. 

Elisabeth Harrison

Providence Superintendent of Schools Susan Lusi has announced she will not return for another school year. 

The announcement comes with only about two months left in the current school year. Superintendent Lusi declined to be interviewed for this story, but in a press release, says she wants to pursue other professional opportunities.

After four years leading Providence schools, Lusi touts improvements in the high school graduation rate and reading scores.

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza says the school board will begin an immediate search for her successor. 

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

This week Mark and Dave sit down with Dr. Anne DeGroot, co-founder of Clinica Esperanza, a free clinic providing health care to uninsured Rhode Island residents.

When to listen

You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50pm.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you. news@ripr.org  

Ian Donnis

Dozens of protesters gathered Monday afternoon outside a meeting of the PawSox' owners and the Interstate-195 Redevelopment Commission.

The team is making its pitch for a stadium in downtown Providence with financial assistance from the state.

Gary Whitney, a North Kingstown resident who participated in the protest, said he doesn't believe any public money should be used for the project.