Katherine Reed's Profile

Public safety and health editor, Katherine Reed
Associate professor, Missouri School of Journalism.
I teach reporting and advanced reporting.

reedkath@missouri.edu, 573-882-1792 Twitter: @reedkath Blog: reedkath.wordpress.com

WHAT DO YOU DO AT THE MISSOURIAN? I joined the faculty of the School of Journalism and the editorial staff of the Missourian in the summer of 2004. For the first few years, I was the editor of our bilingual monthly magazine, ¡Adelante! and public safety editor — directing our coverage of crime and the courts. After ¡Adelante! became a radio program (it no longer exists) on KOPN several years ago, I took on another beat at the Missourian: health care. So these days, my students are mostly focused on public safety and health care.

WHAT KIND OF JOURNALISM KEEPS YOU GOING? I’m most motivated by projects that I’d describe as “watchdog journalism” — stories that hold officials and institutions accountable for how they conduct the public’s business and spend the public’s money. I like training students to dig deeper when the explanations don’t make sense, or when something just doesn’t add up. I’m especially proud of the reporting we did between 2005-2009 on the Boone County Fire Protection District because we weren’t just pursuing answers to our own questions but also responding to questions and concerns from the public about how the agency was spending money and treating employees. I was also gratified by the impact of stories we published during that same period about how complaints about the police from African-American citizens were handled differently from complaints from white citizens. A recent piece of watchdog journalism that had an impact in Columbia was the story we did less than two years ago on conditions at Regency Trailer Park. But I am also proud of our day-to-day efforts to cover the courts and to report on crime in a responsible way that doesn’t needlessly worry people in Columbia about how safe they are. Columbia is a safe city for the most part, and I strive to teach beginning journalists how to add context to our reporting so that the people who live and work here aren’t unjustifiably alarmed by what they read or watch on the news.

WHAT’S YOUR BACKGROUND? I’m originally from the Chicago area, a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism and have a master’s degree in English and creative writing. I’ve been a journalist since the year I graduated from Mizzou, but I did take a fairly long and interesting break to work in the field of victim advocacy, which still shapes the way I teach crime and court reporting. I also ran a business weekly in Prague for about four years and learned a lot from that experience. I’ve won awards for my own writing but have much greater pride in the numerous awards my students have won over the past eight years, including honors for watchdog journalism, investigative reporting, breaking news reporting and feature writing. This past year in particular, my students did quite well in competitions on the national level.

WHAT'S YOUR LIFE OUTSIDE OF WORK LIKE? Outside of work, my husband and I like to spend as much time outdoors as possible, running with our high-energy border collie/Aussie mix, cycling on the MKT and hanging out at Cooper’s Landing. We spend a lot of time at Ragtag and Uprise, or cooking Indian or Middle Eastern food at home and sharing it with friends. We both love to travel, so we’re usually planning a trip or just coming back from one.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT COLUMBIA? We love the events in Columbia and in the area that get us outdoors, like the Boone Dawdle, the Peddlers’ Jamboree, the blues festival in the fall and the other fests and events. One of my favorite rituals is cycling on the trail up to Rocheport or Boonville and having a great lunch or dinner at Abigail’s or Glenn’s Café. We’re supporters, too, of the local arts scene and rarely miss an opening at Perlow-Stevens gallery. We just love the spirit of this town: how people get an idea — like the True/False Film Festival or the We Always Swing jazz series — and make it happen. I think this community greets creativity with warm appreciation, and that makes it easier for the next idea person to have success. That rich vein of creativity is what makes Columbia a better place to live than one might expect of a city of just 100,000 in the middle of the Midwest. My husband and I always say that Columbia is greater than the sum of its parts, and we feel very fortunate to find ourselves here, once again.