Growing up in the foothills of Mount Rainier, Anna King ’00 figured she’d end up either a veterinarian or a writer. Her family ran a small cattle farm in Roy, and she loved animals.
King participated in 4-H projects, raising animals but also giving presentations that taught her to communicate with an audience. When a TV reporter from the Seattle area paid a visit to her high school class, she remembers thinking, “This person is so smart, so edgy, so inspiring.”
The Honors College alumna worked for several newspapers in the Puget Sound area, including the Puyallup Herald. She figured out early that by being honest and true to herself, people would confide in her. She left that job with a Key to the City.
At the Tri-City Herald, she recalls, she had a meeting with a group of alfalfa farmers annoyed that a “city girl” had taken over the agriculture beat. They “really wrangled me,” she says, but she gave as good as she got. “I know how to buck hay, I know what timothy is!” she snapped at the farmers. She had no trouble reporting on ag after that.
But newspapers, King realized, weren’t changing fast enough to stay afloat in the flood of new media. King jumped to radio in 2005 as a journalist for Northwest Public Radio at WSU’s Murrow College of Communication. Her reports are heard on public radio stations throughout the region via the Northwest News Network. “I really wanted that job. They were doing multimedia reporting, you had a big territory, you had editorial freedom, and they cared about journalism reaching younger people.”
King recently won two Gracies, awarded by the Alliance for Women in Media. She was also named WSU’s 2016 Woman of the Year. “What I really enjoy now is mentoring WSU Tri-Cities students in multimedia and journalism. It’s been great to have them as interns and to share some of the hard lessons I’ve learned, but also to learn from them.”
King laughs at her memories of school days in Pullman. “It was a city to me!” she says. “My friends would say, ‘Order a pizza!’” But to her that meant a long car ride to town and back, and cold pizza when it finally got home. “The idea of hot, fresh pizza delivered right to your dorm—that was magic!”