KUCB welcomes our newest reporter Sofia Stuart-Rasi
KUCB’s newest team member joined the newsroom last week.
Sofia Stuart-Rasi recently moved to Unalaska from Indiana, where she hosted Morning Edition for about a year.
Stuart-Rasi is originally from Denver, Colorado, but has reported for stations across the nation. She has a Master of Arts in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism from the University of Montana as well as a graduate certificate in Documentary Studies from the acclaimed Salt Institute in Portland, Maine.
KUCB’s Maggie Nelson sat down with Stuart-Rasi to hear more about her background in journalism and what she’s looking forward to about reporting in Unalaska.
Contact Sofia Stuart-Rasi with news tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SOFIA STUART-RASI: I'm from Denver, Colorado. I grew up there. I was born there. And I stayed there for a little bit, in Colorado. I got my BA in Studio Arts at the University of Colorado Boulder. And then I was a ski bum for a while. I lived in Telluride. I'm really into skiing. I was a ski lift operator for three winters. And then I also did some ski school instructing. So I'm really into outdoor activities… hiking during the summers, skiing during the winters. And I like to travel around a lot. So after that, living in Telluride, I was like, ‘I can only be a ski bum for so long.’ So I moved to Maine for a little bit, went to school there. And then I moved to Montana, went to school there as well. And then as a reporter, I've reported in Colorado, but I've also reported in Montana, and I've reported in Indiana.
KUCB: You came straight from Indianapolis. Tell me what you were doing there for work. I mean, that's a pretty big jump going from a city like Indianapolis to Unalaska. But yeah, I guess, tell me about that transition, about the work that you were doing there.
STUART-RASI: Yeah, so I was a Morning Edition host at WFYI. It's an NPR station in Indianapolis. But they also have stations with Purdue University. So I also was the Morning Edition host at WBAA as well. So I was on radio for about four or five hours a day. I think one thing I learned about myself is that I am not a city person. I think I do better in smaller communities, where I can go outside and kind of unwind and not think about the news all the time. I think that's really important for me. And that was really, you know, why I ended up coming to Unalaska actually, was that it would be, I think, and as of right now, it's pretty easy for me to be like, ‘okay, don't think about the news all the time. Don't think about work. Go outside and go for a hike,’ which is so easy to do here.
KUCB: You studied environmental journalism. Right. So tell me a little bit about that. And like, how that played into your decision to come here and or maybe how you see that taking a part of the work that you’ll do here.
STUART-RASI: I think KUCB is a really cool station with regard to what is reported on. Because we are in Alaska — it's such an environmentally rich area. And it's so so cool. Like, especially leaving from Indianapolis, where I was living in downtown and — sidenote, like Indiana has the dirtiest waters in America, according to the Clean Water Act. I'm laughing because I say it a lot because I think living in cities and being in a place like Indiana, a lot of people don't really understand the benefits you can get from supporting the environment that you're in and nurturing and the environment that you're in, like our planet Earth. And so when I was in Montana, I studied environmental journalism. And I think what I really learned was like, how we report on environmental issues can be really scary, or it has been in the past, especially with regards to climate change. And so as a reporter, and how I want to, you know, come to Alaska is like, we are partners with the environment, we're partners with Planet Earth. And I think, instead of being afraid of our past and how scary what we did can affect our future, I think, we really need to change our relationship with how we view the planet and how we report on it as well.
KUCB: So I'm curious how has your time so far been here? Likewhat have you enjoyed doing? Have you been out on hikes? Just tell me a little bit about that.
STUART-RASI: Yeah, so I moved here with my boyfriend and our two cats. And we have been exploring any weekend we can. And I like to take my cat on walks. And he has actually like never really gone on a walk before, until we moved here. I would try in Indianapolis, but he would always try to run back. But no, he’ll walk around the cabana and walked up the hill yesterday and so that's been really cool. And we've just been exploring different beaches that we can drive to right now. We have all these ideas of what we're going to do during the summer, which we're really excited about. Hopefully when we get enough snow and the snow sticks and get some snowpack, I'm going to try to go out skiing a little bit. So I got my skis sent in. And then we've been going out to all the different restaurants we can go to, got a library card, went to the PCR. So we've just been exploring as much as we can
KUCB: Tell me a little bit about, like, professionally, personally, what you hope to get out of your time here,
STUART-RASI: I think my hope for being in Unalaska is to be a better storyteller. I think one thing that KUCB offers that I really appreciate is like giving their reporters the time and flexibility to dive into stories that you really want to know more about, not only as a reporter, but also like, as a citizen of the island and of the area. There's so many things going on around us, and to have that opportunity to spend how much time you want — there's always different ways that you can tell a story. And I feel like KUCB has that for the reporters to go ahead and use that — having that ability to be flexible and also learn. So I think like, as a reporter, I just want to be a better storyteller. I'm also really passionate about rural health care. And just learning about how health care works where you don't have a hospital. Where I've always lived in the past, there's always been a hospital like, I don't know, 10 … 20 minutes away from you. So how does that look like here? And what do people do? Also, you know, being on the island, I really want, as a person, to be back in like a community mentality. When I lived in Telluride for a few years, it was a small town, and I'd talk to people at the grocery store. I really missed that. And so I hope to have that here as well. I think one thing too, I really want to say as a reporter, is that I'm not judgmental. I think a lot of people can kind of get scared talking to the media, thinking that journalists have like an agenda. And that's something that I don't do as a reporter. I'm here to listen to you. And I'm here to, I like to say like, just pass the microphone.