Zack Seward

Reporter, Innovation Trail

Zack Seward had only a few weeks to catch his breath between graduating with a master's in journalism from Columbia University and becoming the first reporter hired for the Innovation Trail.

Prior to his graduate studies, Seward was a production assistant at the PBS NewsHour, where he researched and developed breaking news stories as well as features for both the Health and Arts & Culture units. He also served at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver with the NewsHour, and wrote for the NewsHour's Art Beat blog.

Seward got his start in public media when he was an anthropology student at the University of Chicago, as a production intern for WTTW's Chicago Tonight. He has also conducted internships in regional transportation planning and neighborhood revitalization. He's originally from San Francisco. 

Zack Seward/Innovation Trail

The brand new Venture Jobs Foundation is just like any other charity.

"This one just happens to be providing early stage capital," says Denny DeLeo, the foundation's president and director.

A new report from a statewide environmental group says New York's brownfield remediation program is broken. Advocates say too few sites are being redeveloped -- at too high a cost.

Zack Seward / WXXI

It started out as “The Death App.”

“I called it that because I couldn’t think of anything else,” says Tony Di Pietro.

Di Pietro’s “Death App” was the kernel of what became the winner of Rochester’s first Startup Weekend.

ibmphoto24 via Flickr

IBM's Watson already has Jeopardy! under its belt. Now Big Blue is turning to the University of Rochester's Simon School of Business for ideas on what to do next.

Manoj Saxena, the general manager of IBM's Watson Solutions unit, says the goal is finding ideas that will "take Watson from a Jeopardy-playing machine to a business-grade decision support system."

Twenty-five Simon MBA students were the first in the nation to partner with IBM on tackling that charge.

Rochester after Kodak

Jan 20, 2012

With Kodak embarking on a restructuring effort under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the future of the imaging icon remains unclear.

But one aspect of Kodak's legacy is already deeply imprinted onto the Rochester community.

Even as Rochester's most famous company struggled mightily to reinvent itself, the Rochester region steadily fought back - leading the state in job growth in recent years and outpacing its upstate peers in economic vitality.

One key reason: A long history of top-notch human capital flung into the community - willingly or not - as Kodak's fortunes withered.

It's 4 o'clock on a Thursday, and instead of sitting in front of computer screens, a group of software engineers and customer service reps from M5 Networks is in the middle of band practice.

M5 is a telecom company based in New York City that offers Internet phone services. But it offers something else for its employees: At the Rochester, N.Y., office of M5, workers are gearing up for a companywide battle of the bands against other branches.

Zack Seward/WXXI

From toilet paper to soda pop, more and more companies are testing whether "doing good" can be good for the bottom line.

The photography pioneer Kodak has been dogged by bankruptcy rumors, its stock has tumbled, and its cash reserves have shrunk. But the company says it expects a strong fourth quarter as it fights toward profitability in 2012.

"I grew up in a Kodak family — aunts, uncles, father, brother-in-law," says Linda Nau. Her connection to the company is similar to that of a lot of native Rochesterians. Nau herself even worked at Kodak.

Bowing to pressure from environmental groups and the public, the state's Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is extending the public comment period on its draft hydrofracking regulations.

The Department of Environmental Conservation held the first of four public hearings on hydrofracking Wednesday.More than 800 people descended on the vacant Dansville Middle School to rally both for and against the controversial natural gas drilling technique.

Small businesses are often called the backbone of the U.S. economy; they employ about half of the nation's private sector employees. But in many cases, small companies start out with a workforce of just one — like cereal entrepreneur Ian Szalinski in Rochester, N.Y., who's trying to stake a claim to the breakfast market.