KUCB's newsroom has a new reporter.
Hope McKenney moved to Unalaska last month and is now covering local and regional news.
She sat down for an interview with KUCB's Laura Kraegel to introduce herself to the community.
HOPE MCKENNEY: I'm a reporter from Northern California. I'm from a town of about 700 people, but I've been living kind of all over the country and Latin America for the last 10 years. And now, I just moved to Alaska.
KUCB: What is your background in reporting and radio? What brought you to this field? What interests you about this type of work?
MCKENNEY: I grew up in this tiny farming community in Mendocino County and in a kind of alternative family. We had no access to television or really anything, but we had public radio. We had public radio from my community. And in high school, I got really interested in journalism, was the editor at my high school paper, and ended up asking the local radio station for an internship. So I started my senior year of high school with the local radio station and then became kind of a freelance contributor when I lived in New York and when I lived in Latin America. Started working in New York in radio. I worked for a Quechua-language radio station. Quechua, for those who don't know, is an indigenous language from the Andes that I speak. So I started working in Quechua radio in New York. Then, most recently, I worked at KQED in San Francisco, the NPR affiliate there. Then, I saw that this job was open and applied and really wanted to come to Alaska.
KUCB: We're so pleased that you did. And given your wide variety of experience — it's very interesting work — what is it that appeals to you about a community like Unalaska?
MCKENNEY: Well, I've always had an interest in Alaska and I was really ready to get back to a small community. I've been in New York and San Francisco for the past few years, and I'm not really a big city person and love small, community-supported public radio. In small communities, I feel like radio plays such a vital role. Because not only is it how people get their news about what’s happening in the world, but it's also — a lot of the time — the emergency alert system. It's the way people are able to communicate with each other. It is so much more in places that don't necessarily have access to the same resources as large cities. So yeah, I wanted to get back to a small community, be able to wear many hats, and be able to produce and edit and report and on-air host. Do all of those things again that I've kind of fallen away from in recent years at large stations.
KUCB: Well, we're going to put you to work. [laughter] We're jazzed that you're ready to fulfill so many different roles, because that's absolutely part of the gig. With that in mind, what are you looking forward to in terms of reporting that you might be working on? Any beats that you look forward to covering? Or, outside of work, any activities that you’re looking forward to as you settle into your Unalaska life?
MCKENNEY: I'm really excited to find out more about the fisheries and how climate change is affecting things. Environmental reporting is something I've been very interested in for a long time, so finding out those types of things. Also, just anything that's important to the community and that they want us to report on here. I'm here for the community to report on issues here. And outside of that, I am getting involved in softball. I'm on a softball team. I played my first game. I'm also hoping to do soccer. A lot of hiking. I love the berries. Berries everywhere, which is amazing. Oh! I adopted a kitten, so I already have an animal here. It's been great.
KUCB: Really looking forward to all of the work that you're going to be doing. We're excited for your new perspective and voice. But before I let you go, is there anything further that you would want the folks of Unalaska — the people who are going to be getting to know you — to know about you now? Anything further you'd like to say?
MCKENNEY: I think that's good for now. But come talk to me. I would love to meet and talk to all of you and find out about your lives and you find out about me. Yes, please come and say hi.
Contact Hope McKenney with news tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.