Courtney Flatt

Multimedia Journalist - Based in Richland, WA

Courtney Flatt began her journalism career at The Dallas Morning News as a neighbors editor. There, she also wrote articles for the Metro section, where she reported on community issues ranging from water security to the arts. Courtney earned her master’s in convergence journalism at the University of Missouri and developed a love for radio and documentary film. As a producer at KBIA-FM she hosted a weekly business show, reported and produced talk shows on community and international issues. Her work took her from the unemployment lines, to a Methamphetamine bust, to the tornado damage aftermath in Joplin, Mo.

What I cover
Energy, climate change and the Columbia Basin

Soon to be favorite outdoor activity
Having never lived so close to mountains before, I am determined to learn to snowboard this winter.

A funny thing happened one day in the field...
It was an icy winter morning, and I was trying to get some ambient sound of the Missouri River, which seemed easy enough. I had to make it over a pile of cement rocks to reach this one sandbar. (And if you know me, you know I’m a walking example of Murphy’s Law.)

Realizing this, I securely attached every piece of equipment to my body. Everything except my extra mic. I had climbed halfway across the cement pile when, woosh! My mic fell through a small hole covered by leaves. The mound was probably 10 feet tall.

As I peered down, a fisherman wandered by. He helped me lift a few of the blocks – they probably weighed 50 pounds each. But the mic wasn’t anywhere near the top. Every time I saw the pile after that day, I wondered where my mic wound up.

Likes
Farmers markets, traveling, tea and painting (though I’m pretty bad at it)

Dislikes
There’s not much… Maybe traffic?

If I weren't a journalist, I would be...
Working on an organic farm in Spain. I actually joined the WOOF program right before graduation. Then I got a job.

Ways to Connect

Courtney Flatt

  Mountain snowpack is above normal throughout the Pacific Northwest this winter, in spite of warmer than normal temperatures in January. That’s good news after last year’s extreme drought. The findings were released in a federal report released Monday.

There’s been a later start to this year’s predicted El Niño conditions, which typically cause warmer, drier weather in the Northwest.

That late start meant there was more time for snowpack to build up in Washington’s mountains.

Martin LaBar

Some Washington blueberry growers in Walla Walla County admitted in federal court that they systematically violated agricultural workers rights, including failing to pay minimum wage and overtime.

The growers, including Blue Mountain Farms and its affiliates, will have to pay pickers and packing shed workers nearly $400,000 in unpaid wages and damages, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Tobin Fricke

Federal officials want to know: What should be included in the Manhattan Project National Historical Park at Hanford? They bought up the question at a public meeting Thursday in Richland — where people suggested everything from how the atomic bomb was developed at Hanford to what happened once it was dropped on Nagasaki.

It’s the early stages of planning for a new national park site at Hanford. Officials at the Department of Energy and the National Parks Service want to make sure they’re covering all the themes people would like to see presented at Hanford.

A. F. Litt / FLICKR Creative Commons

A federal court has ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to pay for the toxic waste cleanup at a historic Yakama Nation fishing site on the Columbia River. The decision is said to be the first of its kind in the nation.

Courtney Flatt / Northwest Public Radio

Tacoma’s Commencement Bay has long been riddled with toxic pollutants. It’s taken decades — and cleanup at some superfund sites is still ongoing. Now, the Washington Department of Ecology is making plans to clean up one of the last and most complicated sources of pollution along the bay: a plant that for decades produced drycleaning solvents and other chemicals that have slowly leached underground.

Ted S. Warren / / AP Images

The Washington Commissioner of Public Lands is asking for extra funding to help with next year’s fire season. Peter Goldmark spoke at Washington State University Tuesday to address how the state can be more prepared for future large fire years.

Courtney Flatt / Northwest Public Radio

For federal wildlife enforcement officers, time on the job means a lot of time alone, wandering remote areas. But one wildlife officer now has a new companion to keep him company on the trails: the Pacific Region’s very first enforcement dog.

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Rice is a staple in many people’s diets. But you may not know that rice paddies are one of the biggest sources of global methane emissions — a potent greenhouse gas. Now, researchers have found a way to nearly eliminate methane emissions from rice paddies.

When it comes to greenhouse gases, methane is a major contributor to climate change. It is 20 times more efficient at trapping heat than carbon dioxide.

Researchers estimate that up to 15 percent of global human-caused methane emissions comes from growing rice.

Courtney Flatt / Northwest Public Radio

This year’s hot summer and low river flows devastated Snake River sockeye.

Orin Blomberg / / FLICKR Creative Commons

A plan to ensure there’s plenty of water for the Yakima Valley is one step closer to moving forward. A bill that aims to bring drought relief to the agricultural area would provide federal funding for water projects. But not everyone is on board.

Pages