2023 Nova Media Fellow
Kate Morgan has been a freelance journalist since 2015. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, National Geographic, BBC, Popular Science, Sierra, and many other publications. She is the producer and host of the Roaring Earth Podcast, and has been featured on other popular podcasts and radio shows. She is a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America.
Kate lives in the Appalachian foothills of Pennsylvania, where hardwood forest meets the anthracite coal fields, with her husband and toddler. Rural life informs her reporting, and helps her tell the nuanced stories of America’s overlooked places and people. Her work takes a broad view of health and often focuses on the inherent optimism of those working to repair and restore natural ecosystems and human communities.
Media Fellowship Project
The plight and promise of Appalachia
There is no place so impacted by social determinants of health, so plagued by poverty, and so ecologically wrung-out in the name of progress as Appalachia. The region has a radical lack of healthcare resources. Communities struggle with issues of substance abuse, food insecurity, and clean water access. A lack of economic and educational opportunity has created chronic “brain drain,” and an aging population rapidly outpacing the national average. The land suffers, too. The ancient terrain has been pillaged and exploited by fossil fuel extraction. Its waterways have been poisoned, its soil contaminated, and its mighty mountaintops shorn away.
And yet: the landscape remains one of the most biodiverse and resource-rich ecosystems on the planet and a refuge for flora and fauna species forced into climate migration. Threats loom large, but with critical action, the hills and hollers are healing. So are the people who live in this unique region. Through grassroots efforts, local organizing, and advocacy at state and federal levels, Appalachian communities are working to solve vital problems, rehabilitate health systems, and save lives.
The place and its people are deeply, remarkably resilient, and while the peril is unprecedented, so is the potential. Though it’s long been under-represented and under-reported, the Appalachian story is the American story; and it’s a hopeful one.
As a Nova Media Fellow, Kate will embark on a year of deep reporting in the region, interrogating the biggest environmental, economic, and cultural issues impacting Appalachia, and bringing much-needed attention to the individuals and organizations working toward solutions.
Education and Training
- BS, Journalism, St. John’s University, Queens, NY
- Transom Workshop (2017), Narrative Radio Reporting, Manhattan, NY
- Society of Professional Journalists, Wilson Barto Rookie of the Year, Silver, 2014
- Outdoor Writers Association of America, Professional Membership
- The Demise and Potential Revival of the American Chestnut, Sierra, 2021
- Eating More Lamb Could Change the Future of Appalachia, Saveur, 2019
- New River Gorge: America’s newest national park is one of West Virginia’s hidden gems, The Washington Post, 2021
- Can This Amusement Park Be Saved? The New York Times, 2021
- Crypto Throws the Coal Industry a Lifeline, Sierra, 2022
- This Mysterious Fish Could Rescue East Coast Rivers, Sierra, 2022
- “It’s a Battle Scar”: The Emotional Toll of C-Sections No-one Talks About, Harper’s Bazaar, 2019
- Toads are the garden’s heroes. Here’s how to help them thrive. The Washington Post, 2023
- Science Is Helping Kids With Cancer Preserve Their Future Fertility, Elemental, 2020
- The Cautious Hope for a Drug to Treat Postpartum Depression, The Cut – New York, 2019
- America thrived by choking its rivers with dams. Now it’s time to undo the damage. Popular Science, 2020
- Are we killing off all the wild buffalo that still know how to roam? Popular Science, 2019
- See more at bykatemorgan.com