Matthew Leonard, Editor


Editor for the Innovation Trail

Matthew Leonard has been involved in public broadcasting since 1988, having worked for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Radio New Zealand and for the post-apartheid South African Broadcasting Corporation. He is the recipient of Australia’s highest award for journalism, The Walkley; and his programs have been broadcast by the BBC, CBC, NPR Soundprint and Radio Netherlands International. He is an experienced media educator and mentor and has also worked extensively as a media and business advisor to a number of Indigenous/First Nations organizations.

Ways to Connect

Tom Dooley/WXXI

“You know the guys used to joke to me, they’d be like, man Goodyear’s been good to you Harry. They gave you a wife, because that’s where I met Diane, you have a father-in-law that you worked for, and the other thing you got at Goodyear was bladder cancer so you know, you got everything."

We’re well into the holiday season, when I sit down with Harry and Diane Weist in their renovated farmhouse in western New York. Our conversation’s interrupted a few times by their little chihuahua, who likes to get in on the act.


The lengthy dispute over casino royalties was resolved in Niagara Falls on Thursday with the signing of new deal between the state of New York and the Seneca Nation of Indians. 

This deal is the third in 30 days between the state and upstate Indian nations since the governor launched his initiative to push for additional casinos (or as he calls them "resort destinations"), in upstate.

What's in it for the Seneca? Support from Albany to uphold their rights to run exclusive gaming operations in western New York.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The Innovation Trail recently concluded a week of reporting on a range of stories about innovation in the state's agricultural sector with a two-hour live program on WXXI's 1370 Connection program.

You can listen to that program below, or download the original reports from our Soundcloud page.

Ryan Delaney/WRVO

Agriculture is one of the most dynamic and innovative economic sectors in New York state. With typical ingenuity, growers are tampering with conventional business models, using the latest research to battle pests and mitigate against the impact of climate change.

They’re also keeping an eagle eye on the fracking debate, converting dairy farms to grow hops to meet the needs of the brewing boom, and looking to renewable energy to save on their power bills.

In a series of reports running 20-25 May, the Innovation Trail team looks at some of the current challenges and opportunities for the state’s producers.

A preview of some of the stories we're including, after the jump.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has outlined more details for establishing a financial restructuring board as a resource for distressed local governments, particularly in upstate New York.