Austin Jenkins

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. He regularly files stories for NPR News. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin was a freelance general assignment reporter at KING–TV, the NBC affiliate in Seattle. He also worked as a freelance education reporter for KPLU–FM, the Tacoma–based NPR station. Austin spent 2001 in Washington, D.C. as a Knight Foundation/American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow. Austin has also worked as a television reporter in Portland, Oregon; Boise, Idaho; Casper, Wyoming; and Bozeman, Montana. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and has a B.A. in Government from Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut.

Over the years Austin has won numerous professional awards for his reporting. He lives in Olympia with his wife Jennifer Huntley and their two children.

Read Austin's blog, "The Washington Ledge: Dispatches From Olympia."


12:54 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Names And Details Emerge About Mount Rainier Accident Victims

File photo of Mount Rainier

Originally published on Tue June 3, 2014 7:14 am

Alpine Ascents International Monday released the name of the second company guide who was killed in this weekend’s climbing tragedy on Mount Rainier. His name was Eitan Green, a Colby College graduate from the Boston area. He was based in Seattle and had guided for Alpine Ascents since 2009.

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Climbing Accident
9:09 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Climbers Mourn Mount Rainier Tragedy, But Climb On

Mount Rainier as seen from the road to the White River campground.

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 11:12 am

Mount Rainier is one of the most popular climbing destinations in the nation, but this weekend, it became the scene of a terrible tragedy -- the second worst climbing tragedy in the mountain's history. Six climbers apparently fell to their deaths.

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Crime & Courts
8:13 am
Fri May 30, 2014

Fighting Public Welfare Fraud In Washington Keeps State Investigators Busy

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 4:38 pm

Fraud investigators in Washington state say they expect to announce a major case of public welfare theft next month.

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Drivers Ed
7:54 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Stopped By A Trooper? Don't Reach For Your Registration

File photo of a new Washington State Patrol cruiser

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 4:16 pm

With the summer driving season fast approaching, the Washington State Patrol is reminding drivers what to do and not do if you’re stopped.

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7:54 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Pacific Tower Expected To Fill With Tenants; Long-Term Funding An Issue

File photo of Pacific Tower, a 14-story former public hospital that also once served as the headquarters of

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 6:13 pm

After a slow start, the state of Washington says it’s on track to fill the former headquarters of with tenants. But long-term costs remain a concern.

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11:45 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Washington Supreme Court: Employers Must 'Reasonably' Accommodate Religious Practices

File photo of the Washington State Supreme Court.

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 4:55 pm

The Washington Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Washington employers must “reasonably” accommodate the religious practices of their employees.

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Washington Supreme Court
7:49 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Inslee's Judicial Appointees Virtually Unopposed On Ballot

Washington Supreme Court Justice Mary Yu takes the oath in the state’s Temple of Justice.

Originally published on Tue May 20, 2014 10:48 pm

The Washington Supreme Court has its first openly-gay, Asian-American, Latina justice. Former King County Superior Court Judge Mary Yu was sworn-in Tuesday.

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8:19 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Carfax For Candidates? Nonprofit Offers Politician Background Checks

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 9:21 am

Even though it is a mid-term election year, some 300 candidates are vying for 162 local, state and federal positions in Washington state alone.

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Maurice Clemmons Case
10:20 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Washington Supreme Court To Hear Lakewood Police Killings Challenge

File photo of the Temple of Justice in Olympia, Washington.

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 3:59 pm

It’s been almost five years since Maurice Clemmons gunned down four Lakewood, Washington, police officers in a coffee shop. Clemmons’ aunt and cousin were convicted of helping him after the murders.

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Goodbye, Chevy
10:20 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Washington State Patrol Switching Back To Ford

The Ford Interceptor is the Washington State Patrol’s new vehicle of choice after a short and rocky experience with the Chevy Caprice.

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 4:30 pm

The Washington State Patrol is switching back to Ford police cruisers after a brief, but rocky dalliance with Chevy.

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Conversion To Digital
10:20 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Lawmakers Raise Concerns About Troubled State Patrol Radio System

File photo of one of the new Washington State Patrol portable radios by Motorola.

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 5:32 pm

Washington’s troubled State Patrol radio system is getting fresh scrutiny from state lawmakers. The Joint Transportation Committee got an update Wednesday on the $40 million conversion to digital technology.

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7:45 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Pot Grower Says Black Market Can Survive Legalization

Scott Johnson poses outside the Bellingham Towers where he used to own a restaurant and where his attorney has an office.

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 8:29 am

Scott Johnson is one of those natural born salesmen. He used to own a restaurant on the 15th floor of the Bellingham Towers -- Bellingham’s tallest building.

“At first it was called ‘Top of the Towers’ and then after about five years I changed it to ‘City View Grill,’” he says.

Now Johnson comes to Bellingham Towers to see his lawyer -- whose office is also here. Johnson has been sentenced to five years behind bars for his role in a long-running marijuana production and distribution ring.

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NPR Story
8:58 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Washington Attorney General Targets Kickstarter Campaign

The Asylum Playing Cards project raised more than $25,000 on Kickstarter -- but never delivered.

Originally published on Sun May 11, 2014 9:36 am

Washington’s attorney general has filed what’s believed to be the first government action against a failed crowdfunding campaign.

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Pollution Limit
8:21 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Inslee Predicts Washington Will Adopt Controversial Fuel Standard

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 8:59 am

Washington will likely adopt a pollution limit on gasoline and other transportation fuels. That’s the prediction from Democratic Governor Jay Inslee. He recently ordered a feasibility and cost study of a low-carbon fuel standard.

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Kickstarter Project
8:14 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Washington State Files Lawsuit Over Alleged Crowdfunding Scam

Originally published on Fri May 9, 2014 8:23 am

One of the victims of an alleged crowdfunding scam says he’s not counting on getting his money back, but he’s glad Washington’s attorney general has filed a consumer protection lawsuit.

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