Phyllis Fletcher

Editor

Phyllis Fletcher's public radio career began in the swimming pool. It occurred to her there that if she were not submerged in water, she'd be listening to KUOW — as she was the other 23 hours of her day.

Her previous career in software had become a casualty of the Seattle dot–com bust. Her days of complimentary high–end sodas and yoga classes at the office were long gone. As she crossed Queen Anne pool doing the crawl stroke, it came to her: why not try to work at KUOW, where she probably wouldn't need free pop to be happy?

A few months later, she volunteered to help at KUOW's membership drive. She came in every day to answer phones. A KUOW news reporter noticed Phyllis, and did what reporters do: "You've been here every day," she said. "What's your deal?" Phyllis confessed her interest, and the reporter gamely took her on as an intern. From there, Phyllis became a freelance reporter, fill–in newscaster, staff reporter, and, ultimately, an editor for KUOW News.

Phyllis' demographic research and reporting have highlighted school districts hit hardest by the recent recession. Her series on the recession and public education was the culminating project for her master's degree at the University of Washington. Phyllis' original investigation of primary sources has also revealed the true identity of a swing musician who passed for white from her childhood through her death, exposed abuse of a government database of unemployed job seekers, and led to the preservation of student press freedom in Seattle. For these reporting opportunities, Phyllis thanks the members of KUOW.

Phyllis has earned academic credentials in demography, computer programming, and accounting fraud detection. Her skills in those areas help her support her colleagues in their reporting. Phyllis' honors include a national Edward R. Murrow Award, a Gracie Award, a UNITY Award, a first prize in beat reporting from the Education Writers Association, and a fellowship on the national desk at NPR. Phyllis talks about herself in the third person and lists her awards only when directed to do so by her employer.

She grew up in Fremont and is a proud graduate of James A. Garfield High School.

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Supreme Court Opinion
7:03 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Corporations Are People Too In Identity Theft Law

The Temple of Justice in Olympia.
Flickr Photo/Aidan Wakely-Mulroney

The Supreme Court of Washington ruled Thursday that a corporation can be a victim of identity theft just like a person can under state law. The law makes it a felony to steal the identity of a “person, living or dead.”

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Police Reform
11:57 am
Mon April 8, 2013

Mayoral Candidates React To Seattle Police Chief Resignation

Seattle Police Chief John Diaz announced his resignation to reporters at Seattle City Hall Monday April 8, 2013.
Seattle Channel

Seattle Chief of Police John Diaz announced his retirement today after 33 years with the department.

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and Seattle Police Chief made the announcement Monday to reporters with 30 minutes' notice.

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Shepard-Byrd Act
7:15 am
Wed April 3, 2013

Federal Prosecution Adds Stiff Penalty To Hate Crime Charge

Sukhvir Singh, a Seattle cab driver, was attacked by a passenger in a vicious hate crime in November 2007.
PRNewsFoto/Sikh Coalition

It’s a story you may have heard before: A drunk guy gets in a cab. His driver has dark skin, a beard and a turban. The passenger calls the driver racial names and beats him so viciously, the driver lands in the hospital and the passenger goes to jail.

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Obituary
10:34 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Cheryl Chow, Educator And Politician Dies At 66

Sarah Morningstar watches her daughter Liliana Morningstar-Chow kiss her mother Cheryl Chow. Chow spoke at Seattle City Hall Monday, Sep. 17, 2012.
The Seattle Channel

Cheryl Chow died Friday. Chow served on the Seattle City Council and the Seattle School Board. She grew up in Seattle and had also worked as a teacher, a principal and an assistant director for Girl Scouts of Western Washington.

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The Short Arm Of The Law
4:13 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

High Court To Seattle Police: “You Had To Be There” For Misdemeanor Arrest

The Temple of Justice in Olympia.
Flickr Photo/Aidan Wakely-Mulroney

If you’re not a police officer, imagine you are one.

Picture yourself perched on the second floor of a building in Belltown. You see someone selling drugs. You radio a fellow officer on the ground and tell him to arrest a guy on a misdemeanor charge of drug loitering. Your partner searches him and finds crack.

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Starbucks Campaign Cash
7:29 am
Wed March 20, 2013

UPDATE: Starbucks Shareholders Want Ban On Political Contributions

Starbucks shareholder Bruce Herbert lobbies for a proposal that would prohibit Starbucks from contributing to political campaigns.
KUOW/Deborah Wang

Story last updated by Phyllis Fletcher on March 20, 2013 at 1:50 p.m.

Starbucks holds its annual shareholders’ meeting Wednesday in Seattle. On the agenda: a proposal from a group of investors that’s meant to limit the company’s involvement in elections.

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Seattle Police Reform
4:35 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

UPDATE: Police Commission Appointment Revives Questions About Harriet Walden

Rev. Harriett Walden told Seattle City Council members she's qualified to serve on the Community Police Commission.
The Seattle Channel

Story last updated by Phyllis Fletcher on March 18, 2013 at 4:35 p.m.

A March 6 special hearing by the Seattle City Council was intended to launch the city’s new Community Police Commission. But the meeting became mired in the background of one of its appointees.

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Super Tchotchkes
6:37 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

The Five Best Sonics Souvenirs Ever

Coming in at number five, a photo of a photo of the Wheedle and his buddies.
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

At least, the best pieces of memorabilia we’ve ever seen. Because the Museum of History and Industry let KUOW’s Deborah Wang peek at the stash that came into their hands as part of a settlement between the city of Seattle and Clay Bennett.

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Big Law, Tiny Font
7:16 am
Thu February 7, 2013

Lesser-Known Washington Law Doubles Maternity Leave To 24 Weeks

Washington law says your employer must inform you of your labor rights with this poster. The tiny text in the red box (added) tells workers of their right to additional parental leave.
Phyllis Fletcher

A long-standing state law in Washington gives working mothers up to 24 weeks off when they have babies. If you didn’t know, you must not have read the poster in your break room at work. You know, the one everyone is always leaning over and squinting at to find out what their rights are.

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NBA Deal
9:27 am
Mon January 21, 2013

Hansen Announces Pending Purchase Of Sacramento Kings

Sonics fans showed their colors as rumors flew about a pending sale of the Sacramento Kings. Otis Williams takes a self-portrait with one of his prized Sonics Pumas.
Courtesy Otis Williams

Chris Hansen announced Monday that his investment group has a "binding agreement" to buy controlling interest in the Sacramento Kings basketball team from the Maloof family. The announcement ends weeks of rumor and speculation. 

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Law
12:31 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Washington Supreme Court Says Jury Selection Must Be Public

The Supreme Court of Washington issued opinions on four cases Wednesday about how courts and judges interact with jurors. In three of the cases the Supreme Court ruled that jury selection has to happen in the open.

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School Zone Traffic
12:08 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Cars Caught Speeding On Camera Now Get $189 Tickets

Starting Monday, drivers who speed past any of four Seattle schools will get tickets in the mail. Vehicles that go more than 20 miles per hour when school is in session are caught on camera.

The four schools with speed cameras are Thurgood Marshall Elementary on the I-90 lid, Gatewood Elementary in West Seattle, and Olympic View Elementary and Broadview Thomson K-8 in the north end.

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Elections 2012
12:09 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Democrat Concedes Secretary Of State Contest

Kim Wyman will be the next Republican secretary of state in Washington if she holds her lead.
Courtesy Citizens for Kim Wyman - GOP

Democrat Kathleen Drew has conceded the race for Washington secretary of state.

In a statement Saturday, Drew said of her Republican rival Kim Wyman, "I know that she will carry forward Washington’s tradition of fair and impartial elections, and I am optimistic that she will work on measures to remove barriers and increase voter participation."

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