Isolde Raftery

Online Editor

Year started with KUOW: 2013

Isolde Raftery became the online editor at KUOW in October 2013. Previously, she worked for NBCNews.com and the Columbian and Skagit Valley Herald newspapers here in Washington state. She has also written extensively for The New York Times, where she was a fellow on the Metro desk in 2010, The Chicago Tribune, Seattlepi.com and Seattle Business magazine.

Born in Ireland to an Irish dad and a French mom, Isolde grew up mostly in Seattle, where she attended Garfield High School. She later graduated from Barnard College in New York City and received a master's degree in literary nonfiction from the University of Oregon. 

Ways to Connect

Wikimedia Commons/Project Gutenberg/U.S. public domain

Last summer, the temperature reached 97 degrees in my toddler son’s bedroom.

We live in Seattle, where few homes have air conditioning, and we’re locals, so we were totally freaking out.

AR-15 rifle with a Stag lower receiver California legal (only with fixed 10-round magazine)
Wikimedia Commons

The day after the Orlando nightclub shooting, Tami Michaels, a Seattle talk show host, took to Facebook.

These pickles spent weeks on the counter in the KUOW break room, which doubles as the place where our guests wait to be interviewed. The descriptions muttered about them were decidedly NSFW. CLICK ON THIS IMAGE TO SEE MORE WEIRD STUFF.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

The subject line read: "There is fresh, raw Nigerian pygmy goat's milk in the fridge."* 

And beneath it: "I'm not going to drink it all, so feel free." 

In most newsrooms, free food is usually day-old pizza or stale Skittles. But at KUOW, the free counter in our break room is practically a dare. 

Matthew Streib, who lives in the University District, makes his way around Green Lake on his old roller derby skates. He says it's frustrating when people walk into the "wheels" lane.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

“What’s the right way to go around Green Lake?” Isaac Chirino of Shoreline asked KUOW’s Local Wonder.

Boy, people REALLY care about this one.

People like Carolyn Frost.                                                             


Natasha Marin is the creator of the Reparations project.
KUOW Photo/Jenna Montgomery

Natasha Marin is a Seattle artist who noticed a divide on her Facebook feed: Her black friends were angry and frustrated about police shootings of black men, and her white friends were saying they wanted to help but didn’t know what to do.

“There is a discrepancy in the lives of people of color and white-identified people in the United States,” Marin said.

Marin put together the Reparations site and accompanying Facebook event. It was a place where people of color could post needs, and white people could help meet those needs.


Online editor Isolde Raftery reads an old residential ledger at the Puget Sound Regional Branch of the Washington State Archives in Bellevue.
KUOW Photo/Amina Al-Sadi

First, an admission.

We were clueless when we started researching the house at 1643 South King Street in Seattle's International District.

Activists and anarchists lived at 1643 King Street for at least 40 years. They called it the King Street Collective.
Courtesy of Ronni Tartlet

If this house could talk, what stories would it tell?

About the Irish-American couple that first owned it?

And the Japanese family sent to an internment camp?

Or the anarchists that played drums during the WTO protests?


Ricquel Sears of Capitol Hill with her 3-month-old daughter. For Sears, the Orlando shooting hit home. Her brother is gay, and her fiance is Muslim.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

At a vigil Sunday night, Seattleites shared their thoughts about the Orlando shooting that occurred earlier that morning. Ricquel Sears of Capitol Hill, who was at the park with her two children, said her heart dropped:

"My brother is homosexual. It sucks that you would kill someone just because of that. Not only one or two people, but you tried to kill over 100 people.


Dr. Bob Hughes of Seattle University and Yoshiko Harden of Seattle Central. Hughes and Harden were meeting at a Starbucks on Broadway in Seattle when someone came in and unfurled a string of racial slurs and explicitives at Harden.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Last week we published an essay by Dr. Bob Hughes about a shocking experience at a Starbucks on Capitol Hill in Seattle.

Hughes was meeting with a colleague, Yoshiko Harden. A man came in and screamed racial slurs at the two college administrators, who are black. The man spit on them and then left.

Jessie Grimes McQuarter in 1949. She won the Royal Esquire Club pageant two years in a row. Now 84, McQuarter lives in Covington.
Courtesy of J.C. Cook

A year ago, we published photos from the 1940s and 50s of black people in Seattle just living their lives.


Joe Burnison works as a deckhand aboard Loki, a salmon gillnetting boat in Puget Sound. Loki is owned by one of his oldest friends, Jonah Knutson. Both men grew up in West Seattle. Joe Burnison works as a deckhand aboard Loki, a salmon gillnetting boat in
KUOW Photo/Mike Kane

With his dark-rimmed glasses, Jonah Knutson doesn’t look like the salty fisherman.

But he smells like it.

A 25-year-old woman was attacked in the Health Sciences Building at the University of Washington campus. A man who had wandered off the street found her in J-wing, a part of the Health Sciences Building.
UW Medicine

There's been a spate of rapes and sexual assaults on the University of Washington campus, although police do not believe these incidents are related.

Since May 1, there have been three separate events, including one that resulted in six women being assaulted at the Health Sciences Building.

Don Trump, left, and his wife Phyllis Trump at an event in Des Moines, Washington, to end hunger. They have attended the event for 27 years.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Donald L. Trump of Des Moines, Washington, doesn’t have a red cap.

“I don’t have the hair, the money or the big mouth,” he says.

Former Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, right, and his wife Connie pose on the steps of the Elysee Palace after he was awarded Knight of the Legion of Honor by France's President Nicolas Sarkozy on Feb. 16, 2011.
AP Photo/Francois Mori, Pool

The task seemed simple: Find top political donors in Washington state.

Turns out following the money in Washington state is nearly impossible. Try sussing out how much philanthropist Tom Campion has given, for example.

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