Karen Coates

Freelance Print Journalist @karenjcoates @ramblingspoon

Karen Coates is an independent journalist who reports primarily on issues involving the environment, science, food, health, and human rights. She is a contributing editor for Archaeology Magazine, and she has published four books. She and her husband, Jerry Redfern, are currently in post-production on a documentary film based on their book, Eternal Harvest: The Legacy of American Bombs in Laos, which was a finalist for the Investigative Reporters & Editors Book Award. For several years, Karen was a Senior Fellow at Brandeis University’s Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, until it closed in 2019. She was a 2010-11 Ted Scripps Fellow in Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado, and she has received fellowships and honors through the Fund for Environmental Journalism, the MIT Knight Science Journalism Program, the Council for Wisconsin Writers and other groups. In 2019, Karen serves as president of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande Chapter. She lives in New Mexico after years in Southeast Asia, where she returns regularly.

En Español

Karen Coates es una periodista independiente que informa principalmente sobre temas relacionados con el medio ambiente, la ciencia, la alimentación, la salud y los derechos humanos. Es editora colaboradora de la revista Archeology Magazine y ha publicado cuatro libros. Ella y su esposo, Jerry Redfern, se encuentran actualmente en postproducción de una película documental basada en su libro, Eternal Harvest: The Legacy of American Bombs in Laos, que fue finalista del premio Investigative Reporters & Editors Book Award. Durante varios años, Karen fue Senior Fellow en el Instituto Schuster de Periodismo de Investigación de la Universidad de Brandeis, hasta que cerró en 2019. Fue 2010-11 Ted Scripps Fellow en periodismo ambiental en la Universidad de Colorado, y ha recibido becas y honores a través de el Fondo para el Periodismo Ambiental, el Programa de Periodismo Científico Knight MIT, el Consejo para Escritores de Wisconsin y otros grupos. En 2019, Karen se desempeña como presidenta de la Sociedad de Periodistas Profesionales del Capítulo de Río Grande. Vive en Nuevo México después de años en el sudeste asiático, donde regresa regularmente.

Programs
Reporting Locations

Reporting

| Valeria Fernández, Karen Coates

The Migrant Student Club

  Please Visit NPR for the full podcast. Over 300,000 students in the U.S. migrate every year to work in agriculture, from spring to fall. At a high school in South Texas, when these students…

| Valeria Fernández, Karen Coates

The Migrant Student Club

This story was produced with support from the International Women’s Media Foundation and the Education Writers Association. Reyes started migrating when he was 9 years old, traveling cross-country from his home in South Texas to…

| Valeria Fernández, Karen Coates

A Moment On The Farm

South Texas is known for commercial agriculture, with its vast fields of sugarcane, citrus, and vegetables. And most of that food goes far beyond the Rio Grande Valley. But one immigrant family from El Salvador…

| Valeria Fernández, Karen Coates

Las manos jóvenes que nos dan de comer

Un viento persistente recorre los surcos en un interminable campo cebollero en el Valle de Río Grande en Texas. Es una calurosa mañana del fin de semana de Pascua. Berenice, de 16 años y su…

| Valeria Fernández, Karen Coates

The Young Hands That Feed Us

An estimated 524,000 children work unimaginably long hours in America’s grueling agricultural fields, and it’s all perfectly legal. It was the last day of March of 2018, the day before Easter, the season of onions.…

| Karen Coates

Preparing for the Worst

It’s a calm day in a Ugandan village. Women gather on plastic chairs, shaded from the afternoon sun. I’m here with a handful of journalists on a reporting trip sponsored by the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF).…

| Karen Coates

Warming waters hurt Zanzibar’s seaweed. But women farmers have a plan.

Zanzibar’s streets are serene in the dark moments before sunrise, and an amber glow tints the beach. The tide is out, and the air is fresh. A few women head to work, toting sticks on…

| Karen Coates

Crossing the Border as an Unaccompanied Minor

A migrant child watches behind the main door of a shelter in Tapachula, Mexico, where he’s taken a rest during his attempt to reach the border between Mexico and the United States.(Photo: Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images)…

| Karen Coates

Far From Being a Burden, Research Suggests Refugees Come With Benefits

W hen war hit close to home, Veronica Mesiko Simon grabbed a few dishes and a bundle of clothes. With a load on her head, six kids and a mother in tow, she ran for…

| Karen Coates

Here is What a Cut in U.S. Foreign Aid Could Mean for this Woman’s Family

I sat in the dim light of a Christian church with walls of mud and a roof of corrugated metal, as Alaakiir Ajok told her story. This was last September, 19 months after fighting had…

| Karen Coates

Mexican Smuggler Says Trump’s Wall Won’t Stop Him — Here’s Why

  Culture Everything from dogs and blimps to Gamma-ray imaging systems and video surveillance is used to prevent people from crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, making the prospect of a wall seem obsolete.  

| Karen Coates

2,300 Miles Away from Washington, Americans on the Border Say a Wall Wont Work

Meet Tony Estrada. He’s the seven-term sheriff of Santa Cruz, a small, rural county in southern Arizona with 50 miles abutting the Mexican border. This county is home to ranches and pastures, and one of…

| Karen Coates

Coping With Tragedy In South Sudan

By: Karen Coates on December 23, 2016 With the threat of mass atrocities looming, Samantha Power earlier this week the UN Security Council to do something about South Sudan. She repeated the words of Secretary…

| Paula Bronstein, Karen Coates

The Onward Struggle: Refugee crisis in Uganda worsens as South Sudanese forced to flee “impending genocide” at home

Photography by Paula Bronstein and Story by Karen Coates for Yahoo News.___ The journey takes days, sometimes weeks, often on foot. The roads are too risky, so they hike through the bush, fleeing gunfire and…

| Karen Coates

South Sudanese Refugees and the Taste of Displacement

Katarin Ladu is tall and thin, with short, curled hair and a face wrinkled by sunshine, age, and worry. She wears a beaded necklace, a mismatched pair of flip-flops, and a long, loose dress with…

| Karen Coates

The Crisis in South Sudan is Sending 2,000 Refugees to Uganda. Every Day

By: Karen Coates on October 12, 2016 Over the past three months, an average of more than 2,000 South Sudanese a day have crossed into Uganda, seeking safety from bloodshed at home. Aid groups and…

| Karen Coates

Health in a Rwandan Hospital Garden

Hospitals have many tools at their disposal. A garden is not typically one of them (not in the healthcare system I am accustomed to in the United States, anyway). When I traveled to Rwanda last…

| Karen Coates

Rwanda is an international development success story. But can it survive climate change?

By: Karen Coates on August 05, 2015 Many international development experts will tell you Rwanda is a modern success. Since the 1994 genocide, the government has instituted policies that have sharply raised living standards nationwide,…

| Karen Coates

How Bicycles Are Helping To Heal Rwanda

Adrien Niyonshuti of Rwanda heads down a field during the men’s mountain bike race in the 2012 Olympics. Bryn Lennon/Getty Images This weekend, Rwanda will host the Africa Mountain Bike Tour, an Olympic-qualifying championship race.…

| Karen Coates

“To Keep You Is No Benefit. To Destroy You Is No Loss.”

Every president has vowed to stop genocide, but not one has ever made it a priority to stop it. What will it take for us to demand that they do? I knew this woman’s face…