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In with the New(sies)

Laura Kraegel in KNOM lobby

We’re happy to introduce to you the two volunteers who will serve as KNOM’s news reporters during the 2015-2016 service year. Meet Laura Kraegel and Emily Russell.

Laura (pictured at top), whom Static readers may recognize from her photo in the July issue, hails from the city of Mount Prospect, Illinois, a northwest suburb of Chicago. A 2013 graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a focus in literature and philosophy, Laura brings to KNOM experience both in reporting and in service.

During her undergraduate studies, Laura wrote for Notre Dame’s The Scholastic: she started as a reporter and, ultimately, served as the publication’s editorial director. After graduation, she moved to Boston to serve in a volunteer role as a middle-school mathematics teacher, working in small groups. It’s experience that Laura says left her eager for more service — and that made her excited to find a program, like KNOM’s, that combined service and journalism.

Emily Russell in the KNOM newsroom

Emily Russell in the KNOM newsroom. Photo: David Dodman, KNOM.

Emily — who’s pictured next to the story ideas list whiteboard inside KNOM’s newsroom — hails from Queensbury, an upstate New York town an hour north of Albany. She’s a 2011 grad of Maine’s Bates College, where she majored in environmental studies.

While her degree came from Maine, however, Emily’s path to KNOM began, of all places, in Copenhagen, Denmark, where she spent a semester (while a Bates student) studying abroad. A class on the “literature of ice and snow” sparked an interest in Arctic culture and history, which, in turn, prompted her undergraduate thesis on cargo shipping in the Northwest Passage (a sea route through the Arctic).

Ultimately, Emily carried her zeal for the North into a three-year master’s program at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, which she completed earlier this year. Her years in Alaska — and, in particular, time interning at the U.S. Arctic Research Commission — inspired her to write her master’s thesis on the Bering Strait region, which is the very region KNOM serves. Her thesis wasn’t the only thing Emily wrote; like Laura, she also worked on the campus newspaper (UAF’s The Sun Star), where she brought “my take on life in Alaska as an outsider” to a regular column.

We’re thrilled to have these two exceptional writers serving as KNOM’s 2015-2016 news volunteers. Alongside news director Matthew Smith, Laura and Emily will be crafting the local news stories that our listeners — and readers on this website — will be receiving every day. (As you can see in the photo below, they’re already immersed within our news department’s day-to-day; they’re pictured attending a daily news meeting with outgoing newsies Jenn Ruckel and Francesca Fenzi.)

We warmly invite you to explore Emily and Laura’s work online; their reporting efforts, over the coming year, will be a vitally-needed service that your generosity makes possible.

Daily news meeting, July 2015

At a daily news meeting on July 14, 2015, newly-arrived news reporters Laura and Emily (left and right, foreground) listen and share ideas with outgoing, veteran reporters Francesca Fenzi and Jenn Ruckel (left and right, rear). Photo: David Dodman, KNOM.