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KUCB Says Goodbye To Reporter Laura Kraegel

laura_kraegel.jpg
KUCB Staff
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It's a time of transition at Unalaska Community Broadcasting.

Reporter Laura Kraegel is leaving KUCB's newsroom Friday after more than three years with the radio station.

KUCB's Hope McKenney sat down with Kraegel to ask how she's feeling about heading off-island.

TRANSCRIPT

LAURA KRAEGEL: More than anything, I feel grateful. I initially signed on to be a temporary reporter, actually. It wasn't a full-time position. I thought I was going to be here for four months — and maybe it would turn into something after that, but who knew? Then it grew into this incredible three-plus years, and I feel so lucky that it happened the way it did. So I'm very grateful, but of course, I'm sad. And excited. I feel like this work, this town, and the people I've had the good fortune to know — and work with and report on — have taught me a lot. And have helped me to shape my goals and my values. So I'll miss all of that, because it's been very formative and very important to me. But I also feel this experience has put me on a great track for great things personally and professionally, and I'm excited for that reason. It's been really key in my life.

KUCB: You've covered a wide variety of issues while you've been here — from City Council meetings to fisheries to tragedies in the community. What work have you been most proud of?

KRAEGEL: I think the variety of work is what I'm most proud of — and what I feel really lucky that I get to do. We do hyperlocal news and then bigger things as well. News with statewide relevance that is local, as well as regional news. I get to do stories about: Will there be fireworks on the Fourth of July or New Year's Eve? But then I also get to do bigger stories pertaining to how crab quotas may affect the city budget, which in turn affects all of the community's programs and the bigger ecosystem of the island. I also get to travel sometimes and report on World War II commemorative events in St. George or the school in Atka. To get to do so much on behalf of the people who live here and who have such wide interests — it's really amazing to get to do, in turn, a lot of all-over-the-place stories for them.

KUCB: What’s next for you? And has working here prepared you for that next step?

KRAEGEL: I am going to be heading home to the Chicago area to spend some time with my family and help out with some stuff on that front. That'll be happening for a while until I hopefully head to graduate school in the fall. That's the plan — to study journalism, get a little more training, and add some more depth to my knowledge. So much of doing radio in Alaska, and specifically in a place like Unalaska, is that we get learn on the job — to make it happen, figure it out, and do so many different things. So much of my knowledge and understanding has come from really wonderful, practical, and on-the-ground experience. But I'm also looking to improve upon that and increase my training and skill set. When we talk about the variety of stories that are going on in this town, I honestly do feel a lot of frustration at myself — just at my own personal limitations. There are things I see that I'd like to do on behalf of the community — stories I would like to pursue — that I can't quite actualize. Because I don't have certain skills pertaining to things like using data or records or a whole lot of things. So I'm excited at the prospect of having identified some of my own shortcomings and having a chance to hopefully learn and acquire those skills and do better work. I feel ready to do that because of my time here. So again, I would just say "thank you" to everyone in Unalaska for an amazing handful of years here. I'm definitely looking to come back and visit and maintain some sort of relationship with this amazing town. But in the meantime, please continue to support your local public radio station and your local newsroom. KUCB takes a lot of pride in that mission of doing real local news on behalf of you and your family and your neighbors and the people who live on this island. Thank you again for that support.

Hope McKenney reported for KUCB from 2019 until 2022. She was KUCB's news director starting in 2021.
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