Currently, Katie Utehs engages viewers as a freelance reporter at the Bay Area’s leading television station, KTVU-TV. Her investigative stories have shed light on potentially dangerous products and consumer protection weaknesses. From Mornings on 2 to the Ten O’clock news Katie is an informative and efficient reporter. She also updates viewers in real time with Twitter during breaking news and between shows.
Prior to moving to San Francisco Katie was a newsroom leader at KREM-TV, the CBS affiliate in Spokane, Washington. She’s a crime and courts reporter who cuts through legal jargon to produce reports that are clear, concise, and memorable. Following Katie’s investigative reports into hospital billing practices patient’s costly bills were dropped.
Katie believes that journalists play an important role in holding public officials and government programs accountable. In February 2011, she brought to light how welfare dollars were being used to bail people out of jail. The story, combined with a series of reports sparked concern and a call for change from Washington State Senator Mike Carrell.
“KING-TV in Seattle has exposed a great amount of fraud and abuse going on within the state Department of Social and Health Services and just today, KREM-TV in Spokane had a story about people using their EBT cards to bail out of jail,” Carrell said on his website. “Fortunately, my bill makes the use of welfare cash for purposes associated with bail-bond agencies a gross misdemeanor.”
Twitter is an instrumental tool for journalists, and Katie was on the forefront of that movement. She inspired precedent setting rule changes for using Twitter in U.S. District Court. Traditionally, electronics are prohibited in federal courtrooms, but Katie pushed for change while covering a domestic terrorism case in Spokane. On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in 2011, a man planted a backpack bomb along the Unity Parade route in downtown Spokane. Fortunately, it did not detonate, and the man was arrested months later by the FBI. The story gained national attention and a strong local interest. While covering the pretrial proceedings Katie worked with a senior judge and the 9th circuit media department to draft rules for using Twitter in the courtroom. These rules allow for real-time updates via Twitter so that the public can follow important cases in federal court.
When not in the field covering breaking news and top stories, Katie served as an anchor, her reputation for fairness and compassion carries over to the desk. She kept viewers informed and made their day a little brighter with her energetic smile. Also, on occasion, she took to the weather wall filling in as weather anchor.
“Katie Utehs is superb on the WX in the AM and noon. Her enunciation is perfect and I understood her whole report.” -KREM-TV telephone comment sheet
Before moving to Spokane, Katie made her on-air debut at KNDO-TV, the NBC affiliate in Yakima, Washington. The Yakima Valley is filled with inspiring people and stories. Katie started as a general-assignment reporter covering large marijuana busts and gang violence. She quickly became a fill-in news and weather anchor. While in Yakima, she uncovered corruption and dissent within the police department. Her public records requests and subsequent reports showed that the assistant police chief was releasing personnel records to his personal attorney in an effort to terminate police captains who questioned his leadership. The stories led to an investigation by the city attorney’s office.
As a student at the University of Washington Katie balanced school, several part-time jobs, and internships. She worked as a field producer while interning at KING-TV, the NBC affiliate in Seattle, Washington. There she learned valuable techniques and work ethic from industry leaders. During that time she also worked as a freelance writer for Seattle-area weeklies. As managing-editor of the UW’s Husky Cast, she revitalized the web cast at the student newspaper and obtained a grant for new camera equipment.
To see Katie’s latest work click here.