Kari Plog | KNKX

Kari Plog

Digital Content Manager

Kari Plog is an eager newcomer to public radio and a longtime admirer. Her background as a print journalist started at The News Tribune in Tacoma, where she covered government and communities across Pierce County.

Her work included an award-winning investigation into a deadly boat launch in Tacoma. Before joining KNKX in November 2018, Kari worked for her alma mater, Pacific Lutheran University, where she served as senior editor of the institution’s magazine, producing long-form storytelling from Parkland to Norway.

Kari also worked for several years as a college newspaper adviser at the University of Puget Sound, and continues to serve as a passionate advocate for aspiring journalists and student media. She’s a lover of orca whales, wine and Prince. She lives in Tacoma with her husband and their lovable 75-pound lapdog, Bernie.

Ways to Connect

A driver navigates icy roads in Seattle on Sunday, Feb. 10, just as another round of snow starts.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Forecasts show a major winter storm heading for the Puget Sound, just days after a less severe one disrupted traffic, schools and other day-to-day activities Monday. KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass predicts the latest system will be “absolutely classic,” with likely extraordinary snowfall. (This story was last updated at 12:45 p.m. Tuesday.)

The execution chamber at the Washington State Penitentiary is shown with the witness gallery behind glass in Walla Walla, Washington. The state Legislature is exploring repealing the death penalty, after the state Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press (file)

State lawmakers are considering a measure that would repeal Washington’s death penalty. The Senate Law and Justice Committee will discuss Senate Bill 5339 today in Olympia. The proposal follows a state Supreme Court decision that ruled the policy as unconstitutional, arbitrary and racially biased. Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins talked about this repeal effort with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick.

Abandoned cells at the McNeil Island prison site.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The now-abandoned prison at McNeil Island ran for 136 years. That means the history of the place can tell us a lot about how prisons have changed over time.

In Episode 3 of Forgotten Prison, hosts Simone Alicea and Paula Wissel introduce us to former McNeil inmates and guards, and take listeners through the abandoned structures on the island. They talked about what they found with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick.

Abandoned cells at McNeil Island's prison site.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

McNeil Island opened around the time the state shuttered Seatco Prison, the infamous institution that eventually became known as Hell on Earth. And while McNeil was a step up in some ways, the now-abandoned prison experienced decades of its own poor conditions and mistreatment.

farmland in Skagit Valley
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

For many, Skagit Valley is known for its annual Tulip Festival. And while the million-plus visitors who flock here every year is a remarkable part of the story, this area’s identity runs much deeper.

All Things Considered host Ed Ronco and producer Geoffrey Redick take listeners inside the heart and soul of Skagit, from farmers helping each other thrive to vital programs for marginalized populations.

Thousands of people walk through Seattle's new tunnel on Saturday, Feb. 2. The tunnel opened to traffic Monday.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Seattle’s new tunnel is finally open, following a weekend of festivities bidding farewell to the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

“Thousands of people have worked very hard for this moment,” spokeswoman Laura Newborn said in an email Monday, “and WSDOT is pleased to announce that it’s here.”

A sign indicates a road closure on Queen Anne Avenue North, at the Galer Street intersection. A snow storm blanketed Western Washington on Monday, causing disruptions across the region.
Ed Ronco / KNKX

A winter storm blanketed Western Washington on Monday with several inches of snow, cold temperatures and bone-chilling winds. A lot of snow fell overnight, particularly from Seattle to Bellingham. And the snow continues to fall in parts of the region. Kirby Cook, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle, joined Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick to talk about the latest weather updates.

Matt Malyon is a chaplain and a writer who spends nearly every Wednesday afternoon with kids wearing orange jumpsuits. They meet in the Skagit County Juvenile Detention Center, where they read poems and song lyrics together. And, they write together. The
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Matt Malyon is a chaplain and a writer who spends nearly every Wednesday afternoon with kids wearing orange jumpsuits. They meet in the Skagit County Juvenile Detention Center, where they read poems and song lyrics together. And, they write together.

The program is called Underground Writing. It started in 2015, but has since expanded. They have a podcast, a new book and workshops in five Skagit County locations.

 Test baker Julia Berstein (right) works with a graduate student at the Bread Lab in Skagit County.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

MOUNT VERNON, WASH. — When the Bread Lab was founded eight years ago, it was just that — a lab inside Washington State University’s Mount Vernon Research Center. 

Now, it lives in a gigantic building full of ovens and flour mills, where bundled wheat stalks adorn the walls. Food commentator Nancy Leson visited (and indulged her way through) the Bread Lab recently.

Skagit Valley is working to diversify its economy. All Things Considered host Ed Ronco talks about that and other stories ahead of our KNKX Connects broadcast.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

MOUNT VERNON, WASH. — Today, All Things Considered broadcasts from Mount Vernon City Library for KNKX Connects to Skagit Valley. Host Ed Ronco talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick — live from Edgewater Park on the banks of the Skagit River — about some of the stories you’ll hear this afternoon 3-6 p.m.

Reign FC's Beverly Yanez  models her team's new  jersey Jan. 17 during an event to unveil a jersey sponsorship with Zulily. The Reign is moving to Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, and S2 is rebranding as Tacoma Defiance.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

More soccer is coming to Tacoma. Seattle Reign FC announced Wednesday that the professional women’s team will play its 2019 matches at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma. And with the move down Interstate 5, the team also will bear a new name: Reign FC.

Craig Romano's wife, Heather, stands at a lookout in Mount Vernon's Little Mountain Park.
Courtesy of Craig Romano

MOUNT VERNON, WASH. — KNKX Connects to Skagit County this Thursday, when All Things Considered broadcasts live from the Mount Vernon City Library. In this sneak peek of our show we meet Craig Romano, who is an award-winning guidebook author. He hiked to the summit of Little Mountain with producer Geoffrey Redick.

Capitol campus
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins says it’s hard to tell what will become a lightning-rod issue during the “fire hose” phase of the legislative session. So far this week, the lightning rod centered on hair salons. Jenkins talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick about some of the many issues being discussed in Olympia.

This file photo from 2015 shows the main entrance to Washington state's Special Commitment Center next to a fence lined with razor wire on McNeil Island, Wash.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

It’s a question that isn’t so easily answered: what exactly is the Special Commitment Center? The prison on McNeil island closed in 2011, but the SCC still operates there. It houses sex offenders who have already served their prison time, but have been deemed too dangerous to release into society. 

KNKX reporters Simone Alicea and Paula Wissel took a deep dive into the center in Episode 2 of their six-part podcast, Forgotten Prison. They talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick about what they learned. 

This Oct. 20, 2015 photo shows the grounds of Washington state's Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island, Wash.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Two episodes into the Forgotten Prison podcast, we talk about a place that isn’t a prison at all — at least not technically.

medical examiner van
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

UPDATE, Feb. 1: Pierce County's medical examiner faces another complaint from his second-in-command, according to a complaint obtained by KNKX. This one was sent to regulators with the state Department of Health, her attorney Joan Mell said. 

The chief medical examiner with Pierce County is accused of violating a laundry list of laws and standards, according to a whistleblower complaint filed with human resources Thursday.

The second-in-command at the Medical Examiner’s Office accused Thomas B. Clark of altering death certificates, mismanaging evidence and creating a toxic work environment, according to the complaint.

Former designated hitter Edgar Martinez, right, greets former teammate Ken Griffey Jr. during a ceremony retiring his No. 11 before a baseball game in 2017. Martinez, who retired at the end of the 2004 season, will join Griffey as the second Hall of Famer
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

It took a decade to get there, but Edgar Martinez is headed to Cooperstown.

The legendary designated hitter beloved by Mariners fans was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday, after receiving enough votes in his final year of contention. 

Download now   Washington Gov. Jay Inslee points as he steps into his car after speaking at Saint Anselm College, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019, in Manchester, N.H.
Mary Schwalm / The Associated Press

Gov. Jay Inslee is in New Hampshire today, testing the waters in the early primary state for a potential run for president in 2020. Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins is covering the trip, and talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick from across the country at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

KNKX reporters Paula Wissel and Simone Alicea have spent the past year digging into the history of McNeil Island, in partnership with the Washington State History Museum. They're sharing what they found in the six-part podcast, Forgotten Prison. They talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick about what they learned.

Seatco Territorial Prison
Courtesy of Washington State History Museum

This story is the result of research from a yearlong project in partnership with the Washington State History Museum. It supplements Episode 1 of the podcast Forgotten Prison, a six-part series from KNKX Public Radio hosted by reporters Simone Alicea and Paula Wissel.

Similar to McNeil Island, the town of Bucoda has remnants of a prison now forgotten. But what sets this historic site apart is the active effort to forget.

Martin Luther King Jr. speaks at a Selma, Ala., church in this January 1965 photo.
The Associated Press

Martin Luther King Jr. was a jazz fan who wrote eloquently about the music he loved, as well as how jazz and the artists who created it influenced and shaped the dialogue of the civil rights movement. We celebrate King’s life on Monday with a special program dedicated to his appreciation for and influence on the genre.

Sen. Joe Nguyen is sworn in at the Capitol.
Aaron Barna / Washington State Legislature

OLYMPIA — Joe Nguyen doesn’t look like your typical lawmaker. He’s the first Vietnamese member in the state Senate. And at 35, he’s one of the youngest.

“People are realizing that I’m a senator and not a staffer,” Nguyen said. But, he added, people do sometimes ask "who do you work for?" 

Microsoft President Brad Smith speaks Thursday during a news conference in Bellevue to announce a $500 million pledge by Microsoft to develop affordable housing for low- and middle-income workers in response to the Seattle's housing crisis.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Microsoft has pledged to contribute $500 million for affordable housing efforts in Seattle and the Eastside. King County Council member Claudia Balducci says this is a significant down payment on addressing the housing crisis. She talked with All Things Considered host Ed Ronco about the announcement.

Aretha Franklin performs at the NOKIA Theatre L.A. LIVE on Wednesday July 25, 2012, in Los Angeles.
Chris Pizzello / Invision/AP

We may have left 2018 behind, but we will always remember the musical greats we lost last year. John Kessler marked the end of the year with a two-hour special honoring the lives of those artists. (This show originally aired Dec. 29, 2018.)

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. locks arms with his aides as he leads a march of several thousands to the court house in Montgomery, Ala., March 17, 1965. From left: Rev. Ralph Abernathy, James Foreman, King, Jesse Douglas, Sr., and John Lewis (partially out
The Associated Press

Music was an essential part of the civil rights movement. This weekend, KNKX’s John Kessler will host a special hourlong program highlighting the most important songs of the era, as well as the milestones they marked.

Gov. Jay Inslee speaks at the Battle Born Progress Progressive Summit, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019, in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Inslee pitched his record tackling climate change, gun control measures, raising the minimum wage and expanding paid family leave i
John Locher / The Associated Press

Ahead of Gov. Jay Inslee’s State of the State address Tuesday afternoon, Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick about what to expect. They discussed the two-year spending plan and other issues that should arise during the 2019 legislative session.

In this February 2015 photo provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, (NOAA) a new baby orca swims alongside an adult whale. A new calf was spotted Friday. No calf born in the past three years has survived.
NOAA, Candice Emmons / AP file

A new calf was spotted Friday among the population of critically endangered Southern Resident orcas.

Ken Balcomb, of the Center for Whale Research, told The Seattle Times that the calf — just weeks old — was first seen today at the eastern end of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. 

The tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle has been a long time coming. Replacement discussions have been underway since the 2001 Nisqually earthquake, and several options were studied before the Legislature approved funds for a deep-bore tunnel in 2009. Voters approved it two years later.

David Zeeck, left, testifies in Olympia last year, after lawmakers wanted to exempt themselves from the state Public Records Act.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

David Zeeck grew up in West Texas, but considers Tacoma home.

“Texan by birth, Tacoman by choice,” the outgoing News Tribune publisher told Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick, referring to his biography on the newspaper’s website. Friday is Zeeck’s last day at The News Tribune, where he worked for a quarter century, including the past decade as publisher.

In this long-exposure photo taken Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019, headlights and taillights of Alaskan Way Viaduct traffic lines the highway ahead of an upcoming closure of the roadway, as the city's sports stadiums are seen in the distance, in Seattle. The doubl
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

The Alaskan Way Viaduct closes forever Friday, marking the beginning of a three-week disruption that’s been dubbed the Seattle Squeeze — a period of heavy congestion around the region, especially in and out of the Emerald City. After the new tunnel opens in February, demolition of the waterfront structure will begin, eliminating what’s been known for decades as “the working man’s view.”

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