Tash Kimmell and Jaego.

Raven Radio is excited to welcome Tash Kimmell to our newsroom beginning in June, 2021. Tash is a 2018 graduate of the University of Oregon in Photojournalism. During her university years, Tash hosted a two-hour music show on KWVA in Eugene, and also produced audio stories.

Tash honed her interest in broadcast journalism during the pandemic. Beginning in March of 2020 she joined the Heritage Radio Network as a production intern, working on the network’s flagship podcast “Meat and Three.” One story in particular of Tash’s at HRN that caught our eye (and then knocked us right over) was her piece on the transformative power of gardening for inmates. Her interview with a former San Quentin prisoner named Rasheed is a perfect example of the power of radio as a storytelling medium.

KCAW listeners will already be familiar with Report for America: For the past year we’ve had RFA reporter Erin McKinstry working in the newsroom, producing stories based in KCAW’s seven remote listening communities, and in Sitka itself. Erin’s series “Building Solutions” is the most thorough look at housing affordability — and how to address it — produced by a journalist in Southeast Alaska in recent memory.

Happily, Erin is not going far. When her tenure ends in May, she’ll return to her freelance career based out of her home in McCarthy, Alaska.

Report for America is a national service program of the nonprofit Groundtruth Project that places emerging journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities. This year, RFA has placed 300 reporters in 200 newsrooms in 49 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam. The Groundtruth Project and RFA were created to restore journalism from the ground up following the closure of hundreds of regional newspapers prompted by the 2008 economic recession.

“The crisis in our democracy, disinformation and polarization, is in many ways a result of the collapse of local news,” says Steven Waldman, co-founder and president of Report for America. “We have a unique opportunity to reverse this decline by filling newsrooms with talented journalists who not only view journalism as a public service, but who can make trusted connections with the communities they serve.”

And KCAW’s listeners can participate in that reversal by helping support our local contribution to the RFA reporter’s salary. For more information on how you can help, email KCAW development director Lily Wasserman, lily@kcaw.org.