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Katie Kather

Multimedia Journalist

Twin Cities

Katie Kather

Versatile and passionate journalist with an interest in everything from public affairs to arts and culture.

Two things: I love public radio. I need to tell stories.

Dream beat: Refugees

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Austin Boulevard: "The invisible barbed wire"

2014 Studs Terkel Scholarship winner// What separated Austin and Oak Park to the extent seen today started with the phenomenon of White Flight. During the 1960s, White Flight happened across the country, but sociologist Carole Goodwin describes what it looked like in Chicago in “The Oak Park Strategy: Community Control of Racial Change.”.
Creatavist.com Link to Story
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Little League provides more than baseball

The Garfield Park Little League serves kids ages 4 to 18 in Garfield Park, North Lawndale and Austin. Started in 2008, the league expanded to include Austin in 2011. Watch the audio slideshow to see what the league means to one family in North Lawndale.
AustinTalks.org Link to Story
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Bridge to somewhere

Nearly every weekday morning, four men sit facing each other in the third car of a Metra train. It’s the same spot where they always sit. In one motion, they pull their briefcases onto their knees to fashion a makeshift card table and drape it with a piece of worn red felt. Then they whip out a deck of cards.
Chicago Public Media Link to Story
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Chicago's long-forgotten zoo

Our question comes from John Lillig, a resident of the West Ridge neighborhood on Chicago’s far North Side. The location is important to this story in that he’s intimately familiar with the nearby Indian Boundary Park. It's a place, he says, where he once could take his child to visit a tiny zoo that housed a llama, a bear, and other animals.
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Former inmate brings yoga to Chicago’s West Side

A man who spent nearly half of his life in prison for murder is opening a yoga studio in one of Chicago’s more violent West Side neighborhoods. Marshawn Feltus hopes his new yoga studio will bring peace to the troubled streets of Austin.
Chicago Public Media Link to Story
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StoryCorps: Camping trip ends in tragedy

Kathleen Monahan met her future husband, Tim, after he left the seminary. Kathleen: Dad (her husband, Tim) was in the seminary, and he came out. I saw him walking, and it sounds really hokey, but I looked at him and I thought, “Oh. That guy could be the father of my children.”. And he was. The couple, who both worked in the social services, married and had five children who all grew up to be teachers.
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Saving a culture so far from the other home

How do you save your roots so far from your first home? It’s the endless struggle of immigrants.
Chicago is the World Link to Story
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A place in Chicago's suburbs for Sudanese culture

Chicago's Sudanese refugees are having their first batch of kids born state-side, and they're worried about preserving the Sudanese culture. Six years ago, they started a church in Wheaton. The group is made up of at least six tribes and four Christian denominations, but they say the most important thing is to be together -- and teach the next generation what it means to be Sudanese.
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James Deng Kog: a Sudanese refugee in Wheaton

If you ask James Deng Kog how long he's lived here, the Sudanese refugee will tell you down to the exact day -- February 10, 2000. He lives in a house tucked away on Wheaton College's idyllic campus with his wife, nine kids and two grandchildren. Kog gets up at 2:30 a.m. almost every day to go to drive a cab until 7 p.m., and his wife works in housekeeping at a nearby hotel.
Cowbird Link to Story
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Korean seniors learn English in Albany Park

Around 40 elderly Koreans set up pencils and workbooks on long tables at the Hanul Family Alliance in Albany Park three mornings a week for two-hour classes. Many have lived in the United States for 10 to 20 years before deciding to learn the language -- and then it can take just as long to master it, said Hanul's program coordinator, Carol Lee.
Cowbird Link to Story
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Austin schools face budget cuts this year

When an estimated 1,000 children entered their welcoming schools this week after the closure of four elementary schools in Austin, every one of those students started the year with fewer teachers, less books or reduced services due to budget cuts. These cuts amount to about $15 million for the Austin-North Lawndale Elementary Network, according to the Chicago Public Schools FY 2014 preliminary budgets – scheduled to be voted on Aug. 28 by the Chicago Board of Education.
AustinTalks.org Link to Story
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Murray Center’s closing leaves more than 250 developmentally disabled residents with tough choice

Just like any toddler, Karen Kelly’s son can throw a powerful temper tantrum. The only difference is Eric can break someone’s arm. Eric Schutzenhofer is a 39-year-old, 6-foot-5-inch, 250-pound severely autistic man who functions as a toddler. Because of the care he’s received, he hasn’t needed frequent restraints for autistic meltdowns since moving into Murray Developmental Center 13 years ago.
ChicagoTalks.org Link to Story

About

Katie Kather

Journalism takes my passion for social justice and writing and blends them into one. I have always cared deeply about social justice issues. When I was 18-years-old I traveled to Sudan on a humanitarian aid trip.

I spent the following decade figuring out how to do something about all these people in the world that I cared about who might not have the means to tell their own story.

Now that I have some journalism experience, I’m not naïve enough to think I can change the world by writing about it (although I think my website still claims that). I’ve had a healthy dose of reality since then.

As the Reader’s Steve Bogira told me a few months ago, people want to point to something concrete, like a change in policy, but that’s not how most important changes happen.

“I want to believe there’s a modest shift in how [the reader] thinks or sees things…that they see the human, the person, and become more empathetic because of that. I want to believe that happens because of journalism,” he said.

He said the stories he tells are about people who are poor and not used to being listened to and that alone makes them important.

That conversation reminded me of my trip to war-torn Sudan. I met a lot of hurting people in 10 days. By the sixth or seventh day, I was discouraged. I complained to the trip coordinator that we weren’t doing anything. I burst into tears and said, “All I’m doing is shaking people’s hands and telling them hello in Tigrinyan. I’m not doing anything.”

He looked at me and said, “You’re showing them they haven’t been forgotten.”

And in the midst of breaking news, shifting mediums and deadlines, I think that’s what journalism really is.

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Skills

  • Reporting
  • Editing Audio
  • Editing Video
  • Photography
  • Shooting Video
  • Social Media
  • HTML
  • Final Cut Pro
  • Sony Vegas
  • Management
  • AP style
  • Writing
  • Editing