KCUR 89.3 has hired reporter Christopher Haxel as a member of the inaugural cohort of Audion Fellows, who will spend two years reporting on the role of guns in American life as part of a new national “Guns & America” reporting collaborative.
All 10 fellows will work in public media newsrooms across the country.
Haxel comes to KCUR from the Lansing State Journal where he covered breaking news and the courts. He's been a stringer for The Washington Post and a reporter for The Manhattan Mercury. He's also a U.S. Army veteran who spent four years in Special Operations.
"I know guns better than most journalists, and I know the people who love them," Haxel says. "I spent four years holding guns for this country, and now I’d like to spend two more examining why we can’t seem to put them down."
Supported by a $5.3 million grant from The Kendeda Fund, the Audion Fellowship will provide ongoing professional development training to participants to foster a diverse new generation of multimedia public media journalists. The first fellows class sets the model for the program – providing in-depth, nuanced fair reporting across digital, radio and print platforms on a topic of national importance.
"To fairly cover a topic as complex as guns in America, it’s essential to hear from communities that reflect the full spectrum of relationships to firearms," said Andi McDaniel, senior director of content and news, at WAMU, the lead station for the initiative.
"Thanks to our public media partners, Guns & America will surface stories from rural and urban communities of all political shades, with a wide range of relationships to gun ownership and regulation. By participating, KCUR will bring Kansas City’s stories to a national audience."
Cody Newill is an audience development specialist for KCUR 89.3. Follow him on Twitter @CodyNewill.