Elena Rivera

On Second Thought Producer

Elena Rivera is a producer for "On Second Thought." Before coming to GPB, she worked for KBIA in Columbia, Missouri, as a producer for the weekly community issues show "Intersection." She also anchored the morning newscast and reported on arts and entertainment, education and mental health for the station.

She has won awards from the Missouri Broadcast Association and the Kansas City Press Club for her production and presentation of the morning news, in addition to her arts and entertainment reporting.

She is originally from Rochester, New York, and graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.


On today's "On Second Thought," we revisited a few of the conversations that have lingered in our minds this week. Jonathan Merritt told us why he stopped having conversations about faith after leaving Georgia behind for New York, and how he is reconceptualizing religious language for a new era. We also heard from filmmaker Stefan Forbes about Lee Atwater and the Southern strategy. On Second Thought's Virginia Prescott also took the show on the road to Athens, Georgia, where she snacked on edible insects with University of Georgia entomologist Marianne Shockley. Need a palate cleanser after that? Virginia visited Atlanta-based Chef Todd Richards for a BLT breakfast sandwich with collard greens. 


Five years ago, Jonathan Merritt moved from Buford to Brooklyn, New York. Almost immediately, Merritt found he couldn't communicate with the people around him. It was not that they spoke a different language, but rather that Southern Baptist preacher's son — and Emory-educated Master of Divinity — felt unable to have the conversations about faith and spirituality that he had always had in his hometown. Merritt set out to find out if other people in the United States were avoiding conversations about religion. 

Boston Public Library / Flickr

In an episode of "Meet the Press" in April 1960, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said he thought it was one of the most "shameful tragedies of our nation that 11 o'clock on Sunday morning is one of the most segregated hours in Christian America."

Nearly 60 years later, a pair of church leaders in Macon observed that not much had changed. The New Georgia Encyclopedia states Macon is home to more churches than any other city in the American South.

GPB recorded a conversation between Rev. Dr. Jake Hall of Highland Hills Baptist Church and Rev. Dominique Johnson of Kingdom Life, Inc. for the series "Macon Conversations." In this excerpt, they discussed finding common ground between white people and people of color in their congregations.


Today, "On Second Thought" took a scan of the state.

We spoke with NPR political reporter Asma Khalid about low voter turnout, and heard from some of the Georgians she met in Houston, Cobb and Hancock counties.

GPB's own Emily Jones also joined from Savannah with a story about alligators in the Okefenokee swamp, and "On Second Thought" host Virginia Prescott munched on some edible bugs with University of Georgia entomologist Marianne Shockley.

We also caught up with John T. Edge of the Southern Foodways Alliance. His new series, "TrueSouth," debuts on SEC Network tonight. Chef Todd Richards also told us about his favorite Southern ingredient: collard greens. 


A bug in your food is not usually considered a good thing, but what if it was there on purpose?

The United Nations reports around two billion people include insects in their daily diet. Companies like Chirp Chips and Chapul are making bugs a snacking option in the United States. In Georgia, mealworms and crickets top the list of commonly consumed insects.

We spoke with entomologist Marianne Shockley who researches edible insects at the University of Georgia.


Is Georgia turning blue? That question came up in 2014 when Jason Carter ran for governor, in 2016 when Hillary Clinton ran for president and in 2017 with Jon Ossoff’s campaign in the most expensive House race in history. Every time, however, Georgia remained a red state where Republicans won. 

Grant Blankenship/GPB

Changing voter demographics and the national rise of female candidates have led to speculation that Georgia will turn blue in the November elections. We’re exploring the likelihood of this shift as well as Georgia’s role in the upcoming national elections in 2020.

On this edition of "Two Way Street," Georgia musician Adron stops by to talk and play a few songs from her new album "Water Music" before setting sail for the west coast. We also hear from a woman who made a career of saying goodbye: Kay Powell. 

Maupin photo by Christopher Turner

On this episode of Two Way Street, we hear from two Southern writers from the Decatur Book Festival.

In front of an audience at the festival, new host Virginia Prescott interviews authors Rick Bragg and Armistead Maupin on the way their Southern heritage shapes their writing.