Natasha “Tash” Kimmell is an audio and photojournalist for KCAW, a nonprofit, noncommercial community radio station in Sitka, Alaska. Prior to this, Kimmell was a photo intern with the news site CalMatters, covering COVID-19, housing, education and other socio-political issues affecting Californians. As a production intern, she reported on the intersection of food and social justice for “Meat and Three,” the flagship podcast of the Heritage Radio Network. Kimmell holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon, where she was a staff writer and photographer for Ethos, a student-run publication, and a DJ at the campus radio station KWVA. Her hometown is Pengrove, California.
Beat: Coverage of 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. In spring and summer, the reporter may visit 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.