Greetings and salutations.
My name is Kaitlin Washburn and I’m a freelance journalist based in Chicago.
Most recently, I was on a team of reporters covering gun violence in Missouri for The Kansas City Star as a 2020 Report for America corps member. I wrote about the deadly effects of rolling back gun laws in Missouri over nearly two decades, the ways gun violence and intimate partner abuse intersect, the faces behind Missouri’s deadliest year for gun violence, the efforts of a teen-staffed crisis hotline in St. Louis to reduce stigma and end silence around youth suicide and the stories of those who have died by firearm suicide, including a 16-year-old girl who died after facing bullying in her small town and a young Marine Corps veteran who struggled after returning home from service.
Previously, I was an agriculture reporter covering the omnipresent industry in California’s Central Valley for The Sun-Gazette, also as a part of RFA. I wrote about COVID-19’s impacts on food access, competition for labor between wine grape growers and cannabis growers and the struggles facing California’s wine industry.
Throughout college and various internships, I racked up a number of late nights filing deadline stories after long government meetings. I covered the indictment of a mayor and the ouster of a governor.
I worked on investigations into a state’s strange backlog of pee tests and a city’s fleet of aging firetrucks and I tracked dark money at the federal level, and, for good measure, almost got trampled in the aftermath of a Trump rally.
That’s all to say, I’m one of those people who, for whatever reason, needs to be in the mix. I’d rather miss a meal, a shower, a night’s sleep than miss out on a story.