Where?

What?

Who?

Me

I am a public radio reporter based in Washington, DC. My work has aired frequently on NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition, and I’ve covered Capitol Hill for Pacifica Radio’s national newscast, FSRN. I grew up in sunny (or foggy) northern California, where I reported stories for KQED’s California Report.

I recently returned to DC after a year in Missouri covering health, wealth and poverty in rural and underserved parts of the state. The grant funded position at KBIA allowed me to work on long form documentary-style stories, focussing on weighty issues like lead pollution or access to health care, but experimenting with creative ways to tell the story. I got to see a fascinating part of our country that I knew very little about (I’d never been to the Midwest prior to interviewing at the station). The job took me and my hearty Honda Civic all over the state: I spent the night at a horse ranch near the Oklahoma and Arkansas borders, profiling a cowboy-doctor who is one of the only physicians in a county that is one of the most medically underserved in the state; I ran a marathon in Joplin, carrying a little audio recorder and talking to runners about how the tornado interrupted their lives and running routines; I visited the town that’s home to the last primary lead smelter in the U.S., where a few years ago half of the children closest to the plant had high levels of lead in their blood.

Click here to see and hear more of my work on KBIA.org.

I have a master’s degree in journalism from UC Berkeley, and bachelor’s degree from Reed College in Portland, Oregon.

My first experiments in radio were in college. Spring break 2003, I locked myself in a sound booth and spent the week teaching myself to use Pro Tools, microphones, and mixers. With the help of some actor friends, I produced a ridiculous, raucous, hour-long radio play about child-cannibals who unwittingly, accidentally, take over the world. As I’m sure you can imagine, there were a lot of great sound effects.

After college I worked at a theater company in Portland, where I was an assistant stage manager. In 2004 I started volunteering in the newsroom at KBOO, the local community radio station. I quickly realized telling real stories about real people was even more interesting than making them up.

Contact:

jacobfenston[at]gmail.com
(202) 251-4118