Phyllis Fletcher is a lifelong Seattleite with roots in rural eastern Washington state. Her decade in public radio journalism has been primarily at the service of Seattle listeners, with a detour to Washington, D.C. to report from NPR’s national desk.
As a reporter and as an editor Fletcher covered five turnovers of the Seattle school superintendency for KUOW Public Radio. She shifted focus in 2011 from daily education news to demographic analysis of suburban and exurban school districts hit hardest by the recession. That research became a radio series and the culminating project for Fletcher’s master’s degree at the University of Washington.
Fletcher’s regional journalistic excursions led her to document rescue and recovery after a fatal landslide, to memorialize soldiers and marines killed in the Iraq war, to discover the true identity of a swing musician who had passed for white from her childhood through her death, and to expose abuse of a government database of unemployed job seekers. Those stories gave Fletcher the opportunity to share voices from rural Washington and Oregon with public radio listeners around the northwest and across the country.
Fletcher has earned academic credentials in demography, computer programming and accounting fraud detection. Her skill in those areas helps the Northwest News Network add context to its in-depth coverage of Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Fletcher’s honors include a national Edward R. Murrow Award, a Gracie Award, two UNITY Awards, two Salutes to Excellence from the National Association of Black Journalists and a first prize in beat reporting from the Education Writers Association. She has been named a Friend of Scholastic Journalism by the Journalism Education Association.
Phyllis Fletcher is a graduate of James A. Garfield High School in Seattle.