Ann Dornfeld | KUOW News and Information

Ann Dornfeld

Reporter

Year started with KUOW: 2008

Ann Dornfeld reports on issues of racial inequity for KUOW.

She previously covered education for the station. Before that, Ann was a roving freelance public radio reporter, focusing on environmental issues, for KUOW and national shows including Morning Edition, All Things Considered, The Environment Report and Marketplace. Ann has reported on a rare bioluminescent bay in Puerto Rico, penguin habitat loss in South Africa, mangrove destruction in the U.S. Virgin Islands, coral reef conservation in Bonaire and invasive lionfish in the Bahamas. She covered a major earthquake in Sumatra, Indonesia, for NPR News and The World.

Ann also worked as a reporter and Morning Edition host at KLCC Public Radio in Eugene, Oregon, after internships at KUOW and Alaska Public Radio Network. She got her start spinning hip-hop records at the radio station of Oregon State University, where she majored in biology and environmental sciences.

She has won awards for her reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists, The Associated Press and Public Radio News Directors Incorporated. Ann has also received both investigative and data reporting awards from the Education Writers Association for her coverage of ongoing recess cutbacks and physical education shortages in Seattle-area schools. Her photography has appeared in exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. 

To see more of Ann's KUOW portfolio, visit our current site.

Ways to Connect

In 1965, Ralph and Elaine Hayes tried to put a down payment on a friend's home in Ravenna.

"And in April of '66 the United Federal Savings Bank, I think it was called, sent our check back," Elaine Hayes said. She and her husband didn't find out why for 15 years.


Beezus Murphy, 13, poses for a portrait at her home on Tuesday, April 3, 2018, in Seattle.
KUOW photo/Megan Farmer

Eighth-grader Beezus Murphy has always loved Dr. Seuss.

Seattle native Merlin Rainwater holds a map outlining the red line zone on Wednesday, March 7, 2018, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Longtime Central District resident Merlin Rainwater advocates for alternative forms of transportation, like walking and biking. She leads neighborhood “slow rides” to get older women more comfortable with urban cycling and shows them around parts of the Central District they might not know about: public art, small parks, black-owned cafes and restaurants.

High school students attend 'Hamilton' at the Paramount in Seattle, 2018.
Courtesy of STG/Christopher Nelson

What if the first live theater you ever saw was "Hamilton"?

That was the experience of many of the 2,800 students from low-income high schools across the state who got to see the hottest show in town on a field trip.


File: Sherman Alexie reads from his book, 'Thunder Boy Jr.,' at the RED INK Indigenous Initiative for All at Arizona State University, Tempe, April 22, 2016.
Flickr Photo/ASU Department of English (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/JmRvrM

Three women have publicly accused prominent Seattle writer Sherman Alexie of sexual harassment. NPR aired the allegations Monday.

Sara Marie Ortiz is a member of the Pueblo of Acoma, a federally-recognized tribal nation in New Mexico. She's a longtime friend of Alexie’s. Ortiz said she’s never seen Alexie harass anybody, but said she knows two of the women in the NPR story, and considers them "sisters, and mentors, and helpers."


File: Sherman Alexie reads from his book, 'Thunder Boy Jr.,' at the RED INK Indigenous Initiative for All at Arizona State University, Tempe, April 22, 2016.
Flickr Photo/ASU Department of English (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/JmRvrM

Prominent Seattle writer Sherman Alexie on Wednesday addressed allegations that have rocked the literary world over the past few days: That he had sexually harassed numerous women.


Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, left, walks past his husband, Michael Shiosaki, center, and his attorney, Bob Sulkin, to make a statement to media members Friday, April 7, 2017, in Seattle.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

A man who accused former Seattle Mayor Ed Murray of child sex abuse has died.

Delvonn Heckard was one of five men who last year accused Murray of sexually abusing them as teenagers.

Seattle Preschool Program teacher Hien Do, center, dances with her students on Wednesday, June 28, 2017, at the ReWA Early Learning Center at Beacon, in Seattle, Washington.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

When former Seattle Mayor Ed Murray pitched his $81 million subsidized preschool program to voters in 2014, this was his promise: high-quality, affordable early learning that would help bridge the opportunity gap between rich and poor, black and white.

KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

Lewis Maday-Travis looks like the cool teacher every kid hopes to have. He’s 28 years old, with ear piercings, a geek-chic bow tie, and an easy grin.

Seattle Rumor Center volunteer Margaret Tashian hands a memo to center director Warren Henderson in this archival photo from July 1969.
The Seattle Times

In the late 1960s, Seattle city leaders were anxious to avoid the race riots breaking out in cities across the country, from Los Angeles to Detroit.

Rather than focusing on the systemic racism at the heart of such urban uprisings, the city tried to tamp down rumors it imagined were the cause of the violence.  


Matthew Hicks looks at his mother Tiffany as she reads his report card on Wednesday, December 13, 2017, at their apartment in Auburn.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

What’s it like to finally have a place for you and your children to live, after spending most of the year homeless?

“Surreal,” said Tiffany Hicks, whose family we told you about in two stories this year (links below).


Stephan Blanford, former Seattle School Board member
KUOW photo/Megan Farmer

Stephan Blanford was the only black person on the Seattle School Board. He decided not to run again this year.

At the end of 2017, KUOW's Race and Equity Team asked him what pressing problem he saw in the city's schools. His answer: 4,000 homeless students.

Revelers at the McGilvra Elementary School Spring Auction on April 23, 2016. The auction brought in much of the $422,000 the school raised last year.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

It was dark and rainy in most of Seattle.

But inside a glittering event space, hundreds of middle-aged, mostly-white Madison Park residents were dressed for summer: Men in bright seersucker suits and saddle shoes. Women in sherbet-colored silk dresses and matching hats with plumage.

Matthew and Mariah Hicks attend Lowell Elementary School in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood, where they are just two of the school's many homeless students.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Lowell Elementary School sits across from million-dollar houses on a quiet street in Capitol Hill. But this school serves some of the poorest children in the city.

You don’t know Seattle until you see these gritty scenes

Sep 27, 2017
Along with houses of prostitution, First Avenue became home to arcades with coin-operated machines to watch racy moving pictures.
'First Avenue, Seattle' exhibit. Photo by Nancy Walz. ©Pike Place Market PDA 1981.

If you check into most hotels on First Avenue tonight, it'll run you at least $400. Not so in 1981, when low-income people found affordable rooms up and down "Skid Road" in single-room-occupancy hotels — for a night, or for the rest of their lives.

Sara Jacobsen, left, never gave much thought to the Chilkat robe hanging over her dining room table. Until she took a class in high school, when she saw another robe that looked eerily similar to the one at home.
Courtesy of Sara Jacobsen

Sara Jacobsen, 19, grew up eating family dinners beneath a stunning Native American robe.


Tommy Le's family and attorneys announce their decision to file a $20 million wrongful death and civil rights violation lawsuit against King County, the King County Sheriff's Office and (former) Sheriff John Urquhart in 2017.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

The family of a 20-year-old Burien man shot dead by police in June is suing King County, the county Sheriff's Office and Sheriff John Urquhart alleging wrongful death and civil rights violations.

They're seeking $20 million in damages.


Nobu Koch / Sealaska Heritage Institute

When Bruce Jacobsen moved to Seattle in 1986, he fell in love with the Pacific Northwest. He wanted to express his appreciation with a piece of Native art, and found one at a gallery Pioneer Square: an antique Chilkat robe.

"I just thought it was so beautiful, and it was like nothing I had seen before," Jacobsen said.


Storme Webber's  'I Cover the Waterfront', a 1950s photograph of the artist's grandmother, 2016. Digital prints modified from original.
Courtesy of Frye Art Museum/Storme Webber

For much of the 20th century, Pioneer Square was the heart of Seattle’s gay community.

Artist Storme Webber grew up lesbian in Seattle and often went to Pioneer Square with her mother – who was also gay.


Protesters sprayed Seattle Police with silly string moments before attempting to break the line. Seattle, August 13, 2017.
KUOW Photo/Daniel Berman

A day after violent clashes between white nationalists and counter-protesters in Virginia, tensions were high during two opposing protests in Seattle.


Marty Jackson
KUOW Photo/Katherine Banwell

Marty Jackson runs the Southeast Area Network of the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative. For years, she had worked with Stephan Stewart, trying to keep him off the streets.

And her efforts appeared to be working.


Suspensions and expulsions are down in Seattle Public Schools. The district's discipline rates mirror a statewide trend.

For Elijah Brown, the Rainier Community Center and Playfield in Genesee is a paradox — a place that nurtured him and terrified him growing up.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Elijah Brown was 9 when he saw a man get shot dead.

Earl Lancaster of Earl’s Cuts & Styles, used to be surrounded by other black-owned businesses, and a working-class community. Today, most of those businesses are gone.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Earl Lancaster has been cutting hair at the corner of 23rd and Union for a quarter of a century.

"Some of the highlights have been cutting some of the Sonics, Mariners. Cutting young kids and turn into fathers and cutting their kids’ hair. It’s been amazing," Lancaster said as he glided his clippers along a man's scalp.


Mourners at the internment of Charleena Lyles at Hillcrest Cemetery in Kent, Washington, on Monday, July 10, 2017.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Charleena Lyles was buried Monday.

Lyles’ friends and family filled the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Seattle’s Central District for her funeral, many wearing purple, her favorite color.


Stephan Blanford, former Seattle School Board member
KUOW photo/Megan Farmer

When Stephan Blanford ran for Seattle school board four years ago, he won 89 percent of the vote.

But he often felt stuck as a member of that board and now says he won’t run again.


Roosevelt High School in Seattle, Washington.
Flickr Photo/Joe Wolf (CC BY-ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/fuH8hN

A Seattle School Board resolution calls for the expansion of ethnic studies in district classrooms.

The Seattle-King County chapter of the NAACP first made a similar proposal last winter. 

Rachel Pearson / Twitter

Dr. Rachel Pearson got her start working with poor people in Texas, many of them people of color. 

Which got her thinking about how doctors learn by making mistakes with those communities.

"We need to keep in mind what we owe to the people who have contributed the most to medical training and medical knowledge," she said. 


Public Domain

If you find yourself at Lake Washington this summer, breathe deeply.

Matthew Klingle, author of "Emerald City: An Environmental History of Seattle," says you wouldn't have wanted to do that 60 years ago, when the lake was chronically polluted with sewage.

Filiberto Barajas-Lopez, Education professor at the University of Washington
KUOW Photo/Lisa Wang

Chief Sealth International High School in West Seattle is among the most diverse schools in the city. Seventy-five percent of the students are black, Latino, Asian or Native. But a lot of its students of color felt that the teachers tended to pay more attention to the white kids.


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