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

JT, Flickr Creative Commons

If you have asthma or heart disease, you know the quality of the air you breathe is very important: airborne particles can have a big impact on human health. That’s why researchers at Washington State University are looking into how climate change might affect air quality.

Creative Commons, Paul Owens

  Backcountry wilderness offers beauty. Solitude. Just you and nature.

“Skiing through a foot or two of powder — I have a hard time putting it into words. It’s mesmerizing. You’re weightless. Time stands still. In the mountains, the way snow catches light and the way wind whips through trees and over snow, it creates different textures and lines. It’s a super gorgeous experience,” Michael Hatch said.

Dave Goeke

If you’ve ever seen hundreds of sandhill cranes gliding through the air, you will never forget it. They’re very big - a wingspan of six feet, yet they weigh just a little more than a chicken.

Every year 35,000 lesser sandhill cranes take a breather outside Othello, Washington. That’s a lot of birds to see and hear around the Columbia Basin.

Courtney Flatt

Mountain snowpack is still above normal throughout most of Washington — even with higher- than-normal temperatures this February. But warming weather could cause problems later this spring.

Orin Blomberg / FLICKR Creative Commons

Washington state representatives introduced new legislation into the U.S. House to advance a water plan for Washington’s Yakima Valley. The bill, H.R. 4686, would authorize federal funding for a lengthy list of water projects in the central part of the state.

A warming climate could make water more scarce for places that depend on runoff from mountain snowpack, which could be especially troublesome for agricultural hubs like the Yakima Valley.

T&R Farms

Driving through farm country, you often hear about the price of wheat or potatoes. But you don’t always think about the price of passing on the farm. One family in Pasco is working through these issues now.

Jan & Peggy / Flickr

An abnormally high number of babies in Central Washington have been diagnosed with a fatal defect since 2010. The cause is still unknown. State health officials are collecting data in hopes of learning more.

Anencephaly, in which babies born with their brains and skulls are not completely formed, is fatal - and pregnancies in Benton, Franklin, and Yakima counties have been affected at a rate about four times above the national average. State health workers are conducting an investigation into what’s happening.

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.

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.

Pages