Erin Hennessey

News Director

Erin Hennessey oversees KPLU's news team. Before accepting the position of News Director in 1996, she spent five years as KPLU's All Things Considered Host and filed news stories for KPLU and NPR. Erin is a native of Spokane and a graduate of the University of Washington and London's City University - Center for Journalism Studies. Erin worked in the film industry and as a print journalist in London and New York before returning to Seattle to work in broadcast news.

Ways to Connect

  Reporters from the Pacific Northwest weigh in on stories from the week that they believe deserve more ink and analysis.

This week, KPLU's Sound Effect hears from members of Seattlish who describe their blog as a place where you can read about "Seattle, politics, drinking, obscenities and cute animals... brought to you by a trio of mouthy broads.”

AP Images


Five out of six incumbents running in a crowded Seattle City Council field will advance to the fall election, according to the Tuesday night returns in the 2015 Primary Election.

One likely exception is councilwoman Jean Godden, who sits third place in Northeast Seattle’s District 4. Godden had 21 percent of the vote as of last night, Rob Johnson had 34 percent and Michael Maddux had 23 percent.

Johnson, who’s leading in that race, heads the Transportation Choices Coalition, a non-profit that advocates for transit, biking and walking. Maddux is a paralegal.

In all nine races, the top two vote-getters will move on to the Nov. 3 general election.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Photo

President Barack Obama says a former Army captain and Seattle native who survived one of the Afghan war's deadliest firefights is a reminder that Americans look out for one another, even when it's difficult.

Obama commented at a White House ceremony Tuesday before placing America's highest military honor, the Medal of Honor, around former Army Capt. William D. Swenson's neck. Before the ceremony, the president spoke with Swenson’s parents, Carl and Julie.

Who came up with the idea for Earth Day? Depends who you ask.

If you ask Tom Paulson, founder and editor of, he’ll tell you it was he and his childhood friend who gave the idea to President Lyndon B. Johnson. And he’s got a presidential letter—and his mother’s word—to back him up.

Born in 1957, Paulson was 9 years old when he penned the Earth Day letter to the president with his neighbor, friend and fellow Cub Scout Brad Jones, who is now an attorney in Tacoma.

Nancy Leson

Making your own vinegar is not complicated, thank goodness, but it does require a  good starter. Seattle Times food writer, Nancy Leson, tells KPLU's Erin Hennessey how she makes her own red wine vinegar and why it's so special.

Hattie Lewis

Downtown Seattle's Westlake Park filled up with hundreds of people Sunday who came out to show their support for gun-control legislation. One of those attending was Jack Severns from Kent who wants to see a ban on assault weapons.

"I've owned guns since I was 12 years old but I want to see them used correctly."

Many at the rally talked about revisiting the second amendment.

The rally, called StandUp Washington, included speakers, music and remembrances for those lost in the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

Edward Curtis / Curtis Library, Northwestern University

If you've seen sepia images of Native American Indians, you've probably seen Edward Curtis's work.

A new biography, "Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher, The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis," pays tribute to the Seattle photographer. KPLU's Erin Hennessey walked around Seattle's Pioneer Square with  author Timothy Egan to see where Curtis took some of his early photos, including his first portrait of an American Indian, Princess Angeline, the last surviving child of Chief Seattle.

Houseboats ahoy!

Jul 3, 2012
Courtesy of Cooper Jacobs Seattle Real Estate

There are not many places on the West Coast where you can find house boats. That means the supply is limited so they are usually in high demand. And don't forget the slips for the homes. Those can go for a pretty penny, too. A recent ad in the Seattle property listings featured  a piece of property on Lake Union that's 14 x 30 feet, 35 feet of water, with an asking price of $95,000.

Erin Hennessey

Weeks have passed since the May Day protests, but Seattle police are still asking for help identifying the individuals who damaged property. The violence was largely attributed to people who've been called anarchists. So what is anarchy anyway?

Erin Hennessey / KPLU

From Mayor Mike McGinn worrying about violence to a guy on the street wondering if the ferries will run, tensions in Seattle are mounting over May Day protests.

Groups are planning May Day marches in Seattle to protest capitalism, immigration laws and labor practices, but the most consistent rallying cry is for a “general strike.” How many people will go on “strike,” how many will show up to rally and whether there will be an outbreak of violence on the streets are unknowns.

And that uncertainty appears to be jangling some nerves in the city.

Tom Paulson

President Obama has announced the recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Among the honorees is William Foege. The Vashon Island doctor developed a vaccination plan that wiped out small pox.

Erin Hennessey / KPLU

Seattle has always been a city that likes to read. But if the Seattle Public Library's growing e-book collection and its high usage is any indication, even more people are reading more books. And, we're also outpacing New York.

The Seattle Public Library now has just over 100,000 digitized books compared to the New York Public Library which has about 88,000.

The Associated Press

About a dozen women testified in favor yesterday of the Seattle City Council proposed rule to add protection for breastfeeding mothers.

A committee considering the new law voted 3-0 to pass it onto the full council, which will vote on the bill on Monday. The committee is expecting unanimous support of the bill.

Western Washington University is offering summer session classes for the first time in King County starting this June. The classes will be held at North Seattle Community College.

Paul Cocke, Director of university communications, says the goal is to help students graduate in a timely manner.

Erin Hennessey / KPLU

According to the Website for the St. Patrick's Day Dash in Seattle, the event began 27 years ago as a race between bars and as a training event for an Irish Olympian. Now it’s Seattle’s largest single-distance run/walk, jog or crawl where the winners cross the finish before the last person starts.  The Dash covers nearly 4 miles of city streets with a 15,000 person ribbon of green. 

We'd love to see your photos – please post them in the comments section below. Cheers!

Erin Hennessey / KPLU

A 34-foot totem pole honoring slain First Nations woodcarver John T. Williams was carried from the Seattle Waterfront to Seattle Center and raised by some 90 people on Sunday. The pole was carried to its final destination with traditional singing, drumming, and dancing. 

City of Seattle

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn delivered his third State of the City Address today focusing on education, public safety, and the economy – noting that the city was knocked down pretty hard during the recession.

He said Seattle lost 35,000 jobs with unemployment peaking at 8.2 percent. But progress has been made.

Gerry Hadden

Any dedicated public radio listener has probably wondered what it's like to be a foreign correspondent for NPR. Reporter Gerry Hadden gives us a glimpse into that world in his memoir, Never the Hope Itself.

Erin Hennessey

Seattle homicide detectives on Sunday afternoon fatally shot a man who was a suspect in the stabbing death of an 84-year-old employee at a self-storage facility in the city's Interbay neighborhood. The suspect had been using the victim's credit cards.

Detectives used photos to track him down in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood, at the bustling corner of 4th Avenue and Cedar Street. Seattle Police spokesman Mark Jamieson told KPLU the murder suspect attacked detectives, forcing them to fire their weapons.

It’s a “privilege” to be in Libya at the height of its transition from the now-dead leader Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s rule to that of the rebels, said Anna Knutzen, an emergency program manager for Mercy Corps in Tripoli, who grew up in Seattle.

“Martyrs' Square … was a sight to see. People were just piling in to celebrate the news, and it’s still going on. You might be able to hear it in the background,” Knutzen said in a phone interview Thursday afternoon.

Erin Hennessey / KPLU

On Sept. 11, 2001, and the following days, more than 30,000 people gathered at the International Fountain at Seattle Center for a flower vigil that became one of many spontaneous gatherings around the world.

 I was happy to be among them, and glad to be among a smaller but just as meaningful group 10 years later.

Erin Hennessey

Seattle writer Tim Haywood of Reflections of a shallow pond fame has the jitters. His youngest daughter is about to start middle school.  That brings up  memories of his own journey, 35 years ago, from elementary school to junior high. 

Erin Hennessey / KPLU

Being a father of tweens and teens isn't easy. Just ask writer Tim Haywood. With Father's Day coming up, Tim reflects on his efforts to take the high road, even when it gets bumpy.