It’s my absolute pleasure to welcome our first full-time reporter – Samantha Hogan, who comes to Pine Tree Watch from The Frederick (Md.) News-Post, where she covered state politics, as well as stories about agriculture, the environment and energy. For us, she’ll be focusing on education.
Hogan, 26, will be based in PTW’s office in the Burton Cross Building in Augusta.
Hogan is one of 61 Report for America fellows selected this year to fill news coverage gaps in 50 communities and newsrooms across the country. RFA conducted a national search for candidates earlier this year that yielded more than 1,000 applicants. These were whittled down to a pool of 150 early-career journalists to match with host news organizations.
Hogan’s most recent editor gave her a more than glowing recommendation, saying she has a knack for breaking down complex issues in a meaningful and accessible way, which is exactly what we aim to do at Pine Tree Watch. She stood out to us during our round of interviews for being down to earth and personable, intelligent, energetic and curious. We’re thrilled to have her here to cover education – a woefully undercovered and important subject in Maine.
Among other things, Hogan will spend the next year looking critically at Maine’s educational policies, testing methods and how students fare in the classroom. Her coverage of agriculture and the environment in Maryland often took her into classrooms, as farmers fought to teach a generation of children who were not raised on farms about where their food and clothing came from and local advocates pushed in-school composting as a solution to dwindling landfill space.
Growing up in the small town of Killingworth, Conn., Hogan attended public school during the early years of the “No Child Left Behind” act signed by President George W. Bush in 2002. She later attended Sacred Heart Academy in Hamden, Conn., and earned both a bachelor’s of arts in print journalism and environmental studies and a master’s in investigative journalism from American University in Washington, D.C.
Hogan also has spent time as an intern for The Washington Post, working on follow-up reporting to its Pulitzer Prize-winning Fatal Force series, which tracked officer-involved shootings across the country; as a public-media intern at Current.org in Washington, D.C.; and as a contributing reporter for two hometown newspapers in Killingworth.
She is joined in Maine by her cat Ida, who is named for the mother of investigative journalism, Ida Tarbell.
Please join me in welcoming her to the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting/Pine Tree Watch.