Kat Chow is a journalist covering race, ethnicity, and culture for NPR's new Code Switch team. In this role, Chow is responsible for reporting and telling stories using social media, sparking conversations online, and blogging.
Prior to coming to NPR, Chow worked with WGBH in Boston and was a reporting fellow for The Cambodia Daily, an English-language newspaper in Phnom Penh.
While a student at the University of Washington in Seattle, Chow was a founding member of a newsmagazine television show and freelanced for the Seattle Weekly. She also interned with the Seattle Times and worked on NBC's Winter Olympics coverage in Vancouver, B.C. You can find her tweeting away for Code Switch at @NPRCodeSwitch, and sharing her thoughts at @katchow.
Ben Philpott hosts Agenda Texas for KUT-FM. He has been covering state politics and dozens of other topics for the station since 2002. He's been recognized for outstanding radio journalism by the Radio and Television News Directors Association, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated, the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters and twice by the Houston Press Club as Radio Journalist of the Year. Before moving to Texas, he worked in public radio in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, Ala., and at several television stations in Alabama and Tennessee. Born in New York City and raised in Chattanooga, Tenn., Philpott graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in broadcast journalism.
Laura Ziegler began her career at KCUR as a reporter more than 20 years ago. She became the news director in the mid 1980's and in 1988, went to National Public Radio in Washington, D.C. as a producer for Weekend Edition Saturday with Scott Simon.
In 1993, she came back to Kansas City as the Midwest correspondent for National Public Radio. Among the stories she covered - the floods of 1993, the ongoing farm crisis and rural affairs, and presidential campaigns.
After the birth of her 3rd child, Laura returned to KCUR as producer of Under the Clock, a weekly talk show broadcast live from Union Station. It was hosted by former Kansas City mayor Emanuel Cleaver. When he was elected 5th district Congressman in 2002, Laura returned to KCUR as a part-time reporter and producer.
Laura has won numerous awards for her work, including three regional Edward R. Murrow awards.
In 1992, Laura was awarded a Jefferson Fellowship in Journalism with the East West Center at the University of Hawaii which took her to China, Japan, Burma, Bangladesh and Thailand. In 1990, she was part of a reporting trip to the then -Soviet Union with the American Center for International Leadership.
Laura graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Anthropology from Vassar College.
She, her husband, and their three children - Julia, Ellie, and Benjamin, live with Laura's father in the house in which she was born.
Kurt began his radio career at 16 as weekend disc jockey at KOLS-AM/KKMA-FM (now KMYZ) in Pryor, Okla. He gradually began doing news work at his home town radio station. Kurt studied journalism at Oklahoma State University, serving two terms as managing editor of "The Daily O'Collegian." He returned to his radio roots while at Oklahoma State, working first as a part-time news producer, then as Morning Edition host at KOSU. Kurt left the station in 1990 returning to Pryor to be a part of a new business, ViaGrafix, that developed computer training videos. He eventually sold his business to attend seminary at The Iliff School of Theology in Denver and Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa, Okla. He served as minister of communications for St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City for five years before starting his own media business, Discuss Communications LLC. In 2005, he once again returned to radio as the operations manager and Morning Edition anchor at KGOU, eventually transitioning to news director in 2009, where he also serves as editorial director for StateImpact Oklahoma.
Kurt is secretary of the Oklahoma Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and member of the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters board. He lives in Oklahoma City with his wife, the Rev. Charla Gwartney, and daughter, Elizabeth.
Felix Contreras is a reporter and producer for NPR's Arts Desk specializing in coverage of jazz, world music, and Latino arts and culture. He is also the co-host of Alt.Latino, NPR's new web based program about Latin Alternative music.
As a producer and reporter for the NPR's Arts desk, Contreras has covered arts and technology issues; reported a series of stories on the financial challenges facing aging jazz musicians; and recently profiled a legendary Mexican singer for the "50 Great Voices" series. He once stood on the stage of the legendary jazz club The Village Vanguard after interviewing the club's owner and swears he felt the spirits of Coltrane and Monk walking through the room.
A part- time jazz musician, Contreras plays Afro Cuban percussion with various jazz and Latin bands. He is a recovering television journalist who has worked for both NBC and Univision.