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.

Pages

Fuel Cells
6:26 am
Tue June 12, 2012

Fuel Cells Could Power Your Neighborhood

Researchers have developed a fuel cell that could one day power your neighborhood. From EarthFix, Courtney Flatt explains, this new system is much more efficient than power plants.

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Pygmy Rabbit Breeding
6:51 am
Fri June 8, 2012

Pygmy Rabbits Successful Breeding A Step Forward

Pygmy rabbits are the smallest rabbits in North America.
Photo courtesy Oregon Zoo

It’s been a decade-long struggle for Washington’s pygmy rabbits. The palm-sized bunnies have been all but wiped out from the state. And efforts to breed them in captivity were failing. So, biologists are now attempting to breed the rabbits in their natural habitat. Reporting for EarthFix, Courtney Flatt explains, the pygmy rabbits are finally doing what rabbits are supposed to do.

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Energy Plan
6:58 am
Wed June 6, 2012

How Important Are State Energy Plans?

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber Tuesday released plans to increase renewable energy in the state. Both Washington and Idaho already have energy plans in place. Reporting for EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has more.

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Black-Tailed Deer Research
6:23 am
Fri June 1, 2012

Managing Black-Tailed Deer Through Their Diets

A black-tailed deer grazes on the Palouse.
Photo by Courtney Flatt Northwest News Network

PULLMAN, Wash. – Black-tailed deer roam forested areas of western Washington and Oregon, but some say their numbers are declining. Scientists suspect that’s because these deer are having trouble finding food to eat. Correspondent Courtney Flatt spoke with researchers who are studying black-tailed deer’s diet. Once they know what deer like to munch on, wildlife managers can make sure those plants keep growing in the wild.

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Thunderstorm Science
7:30 am
Wed May 23, 2012

Study: Summer Thunderclouds Warm the Atmosphere

Researchers in the Northwest have found some pollution is making thunderstorms stronger and the atmosphere warmer. Correspondent Courtney Flatt explains.

Those giant, anvil-shaped thunderclouds you see looming in the distance may actually be getting bigger and stronger this summer, all because of aerosol pollutants.

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Water Rights
6:48 am
Thu May 17, 2012

A Water Plan For Fish, Families And Farmers

Doling out water in the arid western United States is tough to do. There’s not much to be had, and everyone wants a fair share. What’s fair? It depends who you ask. But as correspondent Courtney Flatt reports, one basin in central Washington is finding a way for fish, farmers and communities to have enough water.

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Columbia River Contaminants
5:41 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

'Personal Care Products,' Pharmaceutical Toxics Found In Columbia River

The Dalles Dam on the Columbia River near the west end of the Columbia River Gorge.
Photo courtesy of USGS

Giant smoke stacks and industrial dump sites are no longer the only water quality problem on the Columbia River. a recent study has found that our day to day life has a major impact as well.

U.S. Geological Survey researchers looked at nine cities along the river, from Wenatchee to Longview, Wash. They detected hundreds of contaminants flowing from wastewater treatment plants and stormwater runoff.

Hydrologist Jennifer Morace says the toxic contaminants included things like shampoo and pharmaceuticals.

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Rescued Owls
6:37 am
Mon May 7, 2012

The Case of the Great Horned Owl Mix Up

Western Screech Owlets at Washington State University.
Photo by Courtney Flatt Northwest News Network

Nine fluffy owlets recently turned up at Washington State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Doctors thought the babies looked like great horned owls. But to their surprise, the owlets turned out to be an even more unusual species. As correspondent Courtney Flatt reports, help poured in from around the country to solve the tiny owls’ identity crisis.

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Hanford Greenhouse Gases
6:22 am
Fri April 20, 2012

Reducing Hanford’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions

When you think of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, its radioactive legacy usually comes to mind. But, as correspondent Courtney Flatt reports, there’s more to clean up than just the site’s nuclear waste.

The Department of Energy wants to cut back commuter traffic at the nation’s most contaminated nuclear site.

Nearly 10,000 workers travel to and from Hanford on a daily basis. That’s a lot of traffic, and most of those cars hold just one person.

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Climate Change Preparedness
5:48 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Climate Change: How Prepared is the Pacific Northwest?

An environmental group has rated each state’s strategy for dealing with climate change. Problems can range from droughts to rising sea levels. As correspondent Courtney Flatt reports, two of the Pacific Northwest states are well prepared.

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