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A look back at Matt Ryan's favorite NYN episodes

Last Updated by Matt Ryan on

If you haven't heard, I'm leaving WMHT-TV and New York NOW after our October 11th program.  I'm excited to be taking on a new adventure here in the Albany area.  With a decade now under my belt as NYN Managing Editor, I thought it was a good time to look back at some of my favorite episodes through the years.  We'll do it Top 10 style in ascending order:

10. Cokie Roberts

Our Karen DeWitt got the chance to sit down and talk with the legendary ABC/NPR journalist about politics in 2018 and her trailblazing career.  Sadly, Roberts died this year after multiple battles with breast cancer.  It was a real treat for Karen to interview her and for me to just listen in.

9. Buffalo Then and Now; Casey Gets Soaked

This 2015 show was divided into two segments.  I produced two stories: One on the City of Buffalo's waterfront revival - thanks to what is known as Canalside - and the beautifully haunting remains of Central Terminal, the magnificent old train station.  What I remember most about the waterfront piece is the vibrant colors we captured, matched nicely by the bouncy music.  Central Terminal is a must-see if you go to the 716.  They have tours of the structure and it holds a number of larger events during the year.  The other segment featured my partner from the Times Union, Casey Seiler, getting a bike tour on trails recently opened up in one of the most remote parts of the Adirondacks.  The video was going to be phenomenal!  Unfortunately, we only had one day to shoot it and, of course, it poured just as they were starting their journey. 

8.  War of 1812: The Celebration That Never Happened

This 2012 program looked at the disappointment by historians over the state's decision not to budget much money for the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.  We told the story of battles at Fort Niagara, Sackets Harbor and Plattsburgh, the most significant of the three.  You'll find this is the only program in this medium that tells the in-depth stories of how the war was fought here in the Empire State.

7. Breast Density Awareness

This 2012 program featured a story about Hallie Leighton, a New York City woman.  With a history of breast cancer in her family, she started getting a mammogram at 35 which is five years earlier than recommended. She was told after her 2009 exam that her results were normal, but the notes said her breasts were "extremely dense which lowers the sensitivity of mammography."  Leighton found out in a clinical exam a year later of the cancer.  It was hidden because of her condition.  She fought for a law that would require doctors to notify patients of the issue.  It passed at the end of the legislative session.  Hallie died less than a year after our interview.

6.  Let's Hike A Mountain with the DEC Commissioner!

All credit to former DEC Commissioner Joe Martens who agreed to do an interview with us at the top of Sleepy Beauty Mountain in the Adirondacks.  The 2014 program focused on the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.  It also featured a story on a Vietnam veteran who would take inner-city kids to the forest preserve.

5.  Preet!

A great get by Casey Seiler, sitting down with the then-U.S. Attorney for the Southern District Preet Bharara.  It's an excellent interview of the man who took down two legislative leaders in under five months: Democrat Sheldon Silver and Republican Dean Skelos.

4.  Governor Andrew Mark Cuomo: The First Two Terms

One thing I've prided myself in is the now-voluminous archive we've built through the years.  We put it to good use in late 2018 producing this look-back at Andrew Cuomo's first eight years in office.

3. The Glorious State Education Building

A third episode from 2012 makes the list.  Casey has a mesmorizing look at the inside of, perhaps, Albany's grandest building.

2.  Adirondacks by Train and Boat!

I seem to be revealing something about myself here.  The good thing about being a journalist who just happens to love the Adirondacks?  There are a TON of compelling stories to tell inside the Blue Line.  Two of them are in this 2013 episode that saw us get paid to ride the Adirondack Scenic Railroad and take a boat on a gorgeous fall day in Raquette Lake. 


1.  The Rise and Fall of Eastman Kodak

I am certainly not picking this because it won an Emmy.  That was just the cherry on top.  I told this story because Kodak was the pillar of the greater Rochester area I grew up in. My Dad worked there, as did relatives from both sides of my family.  It was an institution growing up and to see it file for bankruptcy in 2012 was a kick in the gut to everyone in that community.   I tried to capture this in the program.


It was my pleasure to be invited inside your televsion sets and laptops all these years.  You can still follow me on Twitter at @MMR_MattRyan.  Thanks for watching and for your feedback during all these years!  EXCELSIOR!


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