Samantha Wright

News Reporter/Show Producer

Samantha Wright is a news reporter and producer for Idaho Matters.

Her spot reporting, special projects, and audio production have been featured on Voice of America, National Public Radio News, This American Life, National Native News, the Northwest Radio Network and on The New York Times website. Samantha earned a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Use of Sound for her feature “Co-op Cooks.”  She also earned a first place award for Use of Sound for her feature “Canning Makes a Comeback” from PRNDI - Public Radio News Directors Incorporated. Samantha was a co-producer of the Idaho StoryCorps Project. The project was recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists.

Ethan Webber / Boise State Public Radio

This week’s Reporter Roundtable panel of Rebecca Boone with the Associated Press, Mike Sharpe from KIVI and Nicole Foy of the Idaho Statesman talk you through the biggest headlines from the week. On tap? Higher education tuition freezes, new numbers of sexual victimization in juvenile detention facilities, mental health on social media for teens and much more. 


This segment originally aired July 15, 2019.

Comic Con is a multi-day event that will bring thousands of fans to San Diego this week. To be asked to be a speaker is a high honor and this year Treasure Valley author Devri Walls has been asked to talk about how she creates fantastic villains in her booksIdaho Matters talks to Devri about Comic Con and about how her fantasy book characters deal with real-life problems.


This segment originally aired July 17, 2019.

In 1969, sending lunar astronauts to Idaho’s Craters of the Moon National Monument seemed like a no brainer. Its barren rock and surreal landscape were good practice for pilots headed to the moon. But it turns out NASA had a bigger goal in mind when it sent astronauts to Idaho. Idaho Matters explores a new documentary about the Gem State’s connection to the moon landings. We also take a listen to some of the moon landings — find out more here.

Thomas Hawk / Flickr

In a new survey conducted by Boise State University researchers, residents of the Treasure Valley indicated that growth and traffic congestion were primary areas of concern. Idaho Matters talks with political scientist Jeff Lyons of Boise State about the survey, and how it might be used to influence decision makers and elected officials.

Ethan Webber / Boise State Public Radio

The United States Marine Corps has been helping bring holiday joy to children since 1947 with the Toys For Tots program. Idaho Matters talks with USMC Sergeant Zeballos about the Boise branch of the program and why they need support during the 2019 holiday season. 

Hatem Moussa / AP Images

Earth's moon is well known for its surface being littered with craters. But can we learn anything from these collision points? That is a question that Gwen Barnes, a professor at the University of Idaho, has been attempting to answer. She talks with Idaho Matters to explain her research and preview her talk Friday at Boise State University.

Ethan Webber / Boise State Public Radio

From historic Boise and Caldwell runoff elections to the surprise retirement of Idaho Rep. Mat Erpelding (D-Boise), the Reporter Roundtable brings you the biggest headlines of the week. We're joined by reporters Melissa Davlin with Idaho Public Television, Scott McIntosh of the Idaho Statesman and Margaret Carmel with the Idaho Press.

John McGee for Caldwell City Council - Facebook

Former Idaho state legislator John McGee has won a heated runoff election for Caldwell City Council seat 6. McGee was unceremoniously ousted from his position as an Idaho lawmaker after sexually harassing a legislative staff member. He served 39 days in jail for disturbing the peace in connection to the accusation. Idaho Matters talks to College of Idaho professor Jasper LiCalzi and Boise State Public Radio reporter Heath Druzin about the election results, and what they mean for Caldwell.  

Courtesy Dave Bieter/ Courtesy Lauren McLean

Sixteen-year incumbent Boise Mayor Dave Bieter didn’t win a single precinct in Tuesday night’s runoff. Boise City Council President Lauren McLean won decisively with more than 65% of the vote. 

Homeless camping and growth drove the division between the candidates in the final weeks of the campaign. Jeff Lyons, an assistant professor in the Boise State School of Public Service, told Samantha Wright those issues may have helped McLean keep a comfortable lead throughout the night.


Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

College tuition costs are rising around the country, leading to many suggestions about the issue of affordability. One group in Idaho are now backing a proposal of a tuition freeze, which would prevent schools from increasing the cost of schooling. Idaho EdNews reporter Kevin Richert explains how this issue is shaping up to be a debate going into the 2020 legislative session. 

Idyltime - Facebook

Local Boise band Idyltime is releasing their third album at a fundraising event for the World Center for Birds of Prey. Why this collaboration? One of the band members is the president of the nonprofit organization. Idaho Matters talks to him about this unique combination of raptor conservation and music.

The Peregrine Fund

Earlier this month, Kenyan vultures were found illegally poisoned in the African country. However, thanks to the quick actions of a representative connected to the Boise-based Peregrine Fund, some of the birds were saved and nursed back to health. But the poisonings are not likely to stop. Idaho Matters talks with the Executive Vice President & Global Director for Conservation Strategy at the World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise about the problem in the Serengeti and how to mitigate this challenge to the ecosystem.

Ethan Webber / Boise State Public Radio

After a week of national news consuming headlines, let the Idaho Matters Friday Reporter Roundtable get you caught up on important stories out of Idaho from this week. Check in with Idaho Public Television's Melissa Davlin and Bill Manny, along with Mike Sharp from KIVI 6 On Your Side. 

  • The Friday Reporter Roundtable.
  • Holiday movie preview. 

Ethan Webber / Boise State Public Radio

Controversy in Caldwell, the Boise mayoral runoff, and more. The expert panel of Scott McIntosh with the Idaho Statesman, Margaret Carmel from the Idaho Press and Seth Ogilvie of IPTV give you the must know info for this week's news on the Reporter Roundtable from Idaho Matters.

SalFalko / Flickr

In order to prevent people with severe mental trauma from receiving unfair treatment in the judicial system, many states have implemented an "insanity plea" that would allow for mental rehabilitation instead of incarceration. Idaho does not currently recognize this as a defense, but that could change. Mountain West News Bureau reporter Madelyn Beck talks to Idaho Matters about a new ruling could impact how these cases are prosecuted.

Ethan Webber / Boise State Public Radio

State budget cuts, sea changes in local politics after this week's elections, and a revision to the "historic" nature of Boise's mayoral race. The Reporter Roundtable digs into the impact of these results with an expert panel of Kevin Richert from Idaho EdNews, Betsy Russell from Idaho Press and James Dawson from Boise State Public Radio.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Fall has a lot of symbolic events, from the changing leaves to pumpkin carving to autumn arangements. The gourd is often seen in some autumn arrangements, but these fruits are used for much more. Ron Swank of the Idaho Gourd Society joins Idaho Matters and carves a thunder gourd live in studio, which is named after the sound it creates. Check out the time-lapse of the gourd carving below.


This segment originally aired June 6, 2019.

Yoga therapist Kaelyn Rogers spent a year-and-a-half traveleing the world, studying yoga and contemplating how she could bring that experience back to Boise to the benefit of the community. Rogers' solution was to bring yoga into IDOC facilities and train inmates. She joins Idaho Matters with Deputy Warden Randy Valley from the Idaho State Correctional Institution.

Ethan Webber / Boise State Public Radio

This week the Reporter Roundtable talks about the upcoming mayoral races in Boise and Meridian, fighter jet altitude limits, farmers and the trade war and more. Listen to reporters Bill Manny with Idaho Public Television, Scott McIntosh with the Idaho Statesman and Madelyn Beck with the Mountain West News Bureau recap the biggest headlines of the week on Idaho Matters.

Boise State University

In July, 28 GOP Idaho house members sent a letter to Boise State University criticizing the school’s diversity and inclusion programs at the school. Now, Boise State’s College Republicans and Young Democrats are sponsoring a forum with legislators about the issue. Presidents of the student politcal clubs join Idaho Matters to preview the event next Tuesday, October 22  which will take place in the Simplot Ballroom. 


This segment originally aired February 1, 2019.

Researchers believe the Jupiter moon of Europa could possibly be habitable. The natural satellite has an enormous ocean twenty times deeper than earth's and is covered by a thick, icy shell. JPL's Dr. Samuel Howell joins Idaho Matters to talk about NASA's Clipper Mission to Europa.

Boise State University

According to a new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts, Idaho higher education ranks 49th in the nation when it comes to how much revenue is collected for each student. So does that mean Idaho’s colleges and universities are underfunded? Idaho EdNews dug deeper into the report and breaks down their findings on Idaho Matters.  

Idaho Statesman

The Booth Marian Pritchett School has a 96-year history in Boise. Its goal is keeping pregnant girls and parenting teens in school, but their infrastructure needed an upgrade. After years of fundraising, the new school will open as part of the Salvation Army's updated community center. Idaho Matters speaks to the organization about how the new school will keep young parents educated.

this is my brave/youtube

'This Is My Brave' is a community performance of storytellers who share their experiences to try to reduce the stigma attached to mental illness. The next performance is October 19. Idaho Matters speaks to two storytellers about their stories and how they want to change lives.