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

Wind Turbines Survive
7:35 am
Fri August 24, 2012

Wind Turbines Undamaged by Central Wash. Fire

Central Washington wind turbines were not damaged in the Taylor Bridge fire.
Photo by Courtney Flatt Northwest News Network

There’s been some speculation over the years as to how wind farms would hold up in the event of a large wildfire. Now, the verdict is in. From EarthFix, Courtney Flatt reports a central Washington wind farm was not damaged.

Scorched earth surrounds wind turbines just outside Cle Elum, Washington. A fire that drove through over the last week and a half destroyed more than 50 houses and has burned an estimated 23,000 acres. It did not burn 48 wind turbines.

Operations manager Eric Melbardis says gravel landscaping protected the turbines from the fire.

Read more
Northwest News
7:24 am
Thu August 23, 2012

After a Wildfire, the Erosion Problem Begins

Fire bosses say a blaze in central Washington is 90 percent contained. That’s while large fires continue to burn in Idaho and California. Getting these wildfires under control marks the beginning of a new problem: soil erosion.

Extreme heat from wildfires destroys trees and ground cover. That means plants no longer keep soil from sliding down hillsides and into streams.

Residents near the Taylor Bridge Wildfire could see more sediment on roads and in creeks. They also might notice wind kicking up extra dust.

Read more
Wildfire Donations
6:19 am
Mon August 20, 2012

Kittitas Wildfire Prompts Overwhelming Donations

A blaze from the Kittitas wildfire.
Photo courtesy Wash. Department of Natural Resources

Dramatic images of destruction from a central Washington wildfire this week haave prompted an overwhelming flood of donations to fire victims. So much that the state of Washington is urging well meaning donors to stop giving food and clothing and donate money instead. In Cle Elum, correspondent Courtney Flatt checked out the brimming donation centers.

Read more
Cle Elum Fire
6:02 am
Mon August 20, 2012

More Good News Than Bad From Kittitas Wildfire Frontlines Today

Smoke from the Kittitas wildfire. The fire has destroyed an estimated 48 homes.
Photo courtesy Wash. Deptartment of Natural Resources

Fire bosses at the scene of a destructive wildfire in central Washington gave an upbeat progress report at a community briefing in Cle Elum Friday. Firefighters targeted full containment of the nearly 23,000 acre blaze by Sunday. Reporter Courtney Flatt is on the scene. She says the mood at the community briefing was more curious than anything else.

Read more
Wildfire Victims Return Home
4:38 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

As Fire Crews Contain Blaze, Some Residents Return Home

Residents displaced by the Taylor Bridge Fire are beginning to return to their homes. Approximately 60 primary residences were destroyed by the fire.
Wash. Department of Natural Resources

Residents are returning to their homes as a wildfire burning in central Washington nears containment.

Read more
Dam Removal
6:37 am
Fri August 17, 2012

Rep. Hastings Questions Panel on Dams, Hydropower

A Washington congressmen returned to his hometown Wednesday to promote a bill protecting hydropower dams from removal. Courtney Flatt of EarthFix reports from Pasco, Washington.

Read more
Clean Water Act
5:46 am
Thu August 16, 2012

Case Could Hamstring WA’s Control of Runoff Pollution

Washington rancher Joe Lemire.
Photo by Courtney Flatt EarthFix

A small ranch in southeastern Washington is the site of some big disputes playing out between environmental regulators and farmers.

The question: How much control can the government have over pollution from agricultural runoff?

As part of EarthFix and Investigate West’s series on the 40th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act, Courtney Flatt takes a look at a court case that could determine how strictly the state regulates polluted rainwater runoff.

Read more
Changes In Northwest Forests
5:36 pm
Tue August 7, 2012

Changes In Forests Increase Fire Risks, Insect Outbreaks

The Pacific Northwest’s inland forests have dramatically changed over the past 100 years. That’s according to a new study by a conservation group. These changes can lead to larger fires and insect outbreaks.

Read more
Coal Export Support
6:29 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Pro-Coal Alliance Launches Ad Campaign

A campaign is kicking off in the Northwest to build support for coal exports. The Alliance for Northwest Jobs and Exports includes major mining companies, railways and labor groups, all signing on to support coal export terminals in Oregon and Washington. The group is launching newspaper, radio, and television ads.

Read more
Captive Grizzly Bear Research
5:56 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Researchers Work To Make Captive Grizzly Bears Happier

Researchers at the WSU Bear Research Center are working on ways to make grizzly bears happier while in captivity.
Northwest News Network

You may have visited zoos where the animals look less than thrilled sitting in their cages. But scientists at Washington State University’s Bear Research Center are working to help captive animals enjoy their environment. Reporter Courtney Flatt followed researchers who are trying to learn more about captive bears’ moods.

Read more

Pages