Erin McKinstry reports for KCAW in Sitka, Alaska, a city and borough near Juneau with a population under 10,000. McKinstry brings experience to the KCAW post, where she concentrates on Sitka issues. She is an Alaska-based journalist and audio producer who has reported stories for Alaska Public Media, Edible Alaska, The Trace, The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, KBIA and Harvest Public Media. She’s a former host and producer for the Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) Radio Podcast and produces her own podcast called “Out Here” about life in rural Alaska. McKinstry has a master’s degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. She’s a fellow of Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE), a Fulbright Scholar and an Edward R. Murrow Award Recipient from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA).
Beat: Sitka and surrounding communities
This journalist builds trust and maintains relationships with our audience and communities outside of Sitka. At a minimum, there's a weekly two-way with a mayor, council member or school board member about some local issues of importance. These routine conversations are the first step in doing more in-depth reporting on meatier stories like the threat of school closure due to a low student census, or efforts to build a small hydroelectric project. TIn spring and summer, the Reporter may visits the communities by floatplane and fishing boat, reinforcing these connections and going even deeper into the lives and issues of our far-flung audience. Our sense is that most of these stories will be about energy independence and sustainable communities in a rapidly-changing world—with lessons for all of us. This corps member needs a strong organizational sense. Conditions in Alaska require patience and flexibility when a source suddenly goes fishing or a flight gets cancelled. Resourcefulness is key.