Kathleen Masterson

New England News Collaborative Reporter

Kathleen Masterson is VPR's New England News Collaborative reporter. She covers energy, environment, infrastructure and labor issues for VPR and the collaborative. Kathleen comes to Vermont having worked as a producer for NPR’s science desk and as a beat reporter covering agriculture and the environment.

Kathleen covered food production for Harvest Public Media while based at Iowa Public Radio in Ames, Iowa. She wrote stories ranging from the risks of antibiotic use in livestock feed to how hedge fund managers visit corn fields to bet on the commodities market to how the fracking boom has spurred sand mining in Iowa. As a digital producer for NPR for several years, Kathleen reported science and health stories and produced multimedia series for NPR.org. She covered topics that ranged from human evolution to swine flu to the Affordable Care Act to plastic chemicals BPA and phthalates.

Kathleen has contributed work to NPR, Marketplace, Grist, and NPR-affiliates including KQED and WGBH. She also worked as a digital producer for PBS NOVA, a science writer for University of California, San Francisco and the Morning Edition producer/reporter for VPR.

Ways to Connect

Dan Sumption / Flickr

Armed with only rock, paper and scissors, participants today will face off at a fierce tournament challenge. The materials are, well, metaphorical — and it’s all in good fun, for a good cause. The proceeds from the second annual Rock-Paper-Scissors Tournament Challenge will go to benefit ANEW Place, a local homeless shelter that aims to create long term solutions for homeless men and women.

Library Freedom Project

If you use the Internet or carry a smartphone  and let's face it, that's almost everyone who's not off the grid  you probably already know that companies are tracking our movements. Apps track where we shop, the items we search for, and where we like to travel. Companies are gathering as much data as they can, in large part to come up with more effective ads to sell us more stuff, or in the case of the government, to track suspicious activity.

Tantek Celik / via Flickr

A Vermont college professor says that polygamy is about to become the new marital and civil rights issue. You heard right: Janet Bennion, a professor of anthropology and sociology at Lyndon State College, says legalizing the marriage of more than two people — or at least decriminalizing the practice – is primed to become the next civil rights frontier. 

Kathleen Masterson / VPR File

At a Vermont Fish and Wildlife sampling station in South Hero, a tiny brook is alive with splashing dorsal fins. It's full of landlocked Atlantic salmon from Lake Champlain fighting their way upstream to spawn. This year, the fish are arriving in record numbers.      

Community College of Vermont

First, the good news: Vermont has one of the best high school graduation rates in the country. The bad news? The Green Mountain state also has a relatively low rate of college attendance. 

Kathleen Masterson / VPR

Vermont is known for its iconic dairy cows, which regularly dot its lush green hillsides in summer. But in a pasture in Reading, the cattle look a bit different. 

Kathleen Masterson / VPR

The current location of paintings by one of Vermont's most famous artists, Thomas Waterman Wood, is somewhat hidden in plain sight.

Craig Line / AP

Vermonters are reacting to the news that former Lt. Gov. and state senator Barbara Snelling has died at the age of 87. Snelling died Monday at her home in South Burlington with friends and family by her side.

Snelling's son, Mark Snelling, joined VPR to share memories of his mother and discuss her political legacy in Vermont.

jtyler / iStock.com

With the passing of Vermont’s Clean Water Act last year, the state has made a serious commitment to tackle the pollution problems plaguing Lake Champlain.

But less well known are recent major updates to the pollution data that’s the guiding force dictating just how much runoff the state needs to cut back.    

Have you ever listened in as someone next to you was talking on the phone? Maybe you were able to fill in the blanks to interpret what the person on the other end of the line is saying?

You could probably learn a lot even without hearing the other person. At least that’s the premise of a new novella by author Peter Gould. 

Burlington Free Press

A veteran reporter who's covered just about every story big and small in the state of Vermont is retiring at the end of the month. Mike Donoghue began reporting for the Burlington Free Press in 1968. 

Lyndon State College

The term “animation” might conjure up images of The Simpsons or video games or Disney and Pixar films or even Japanese anime — and while it is all these things, a professor at Lyndon State College wants to show that animation can be more than just entertainment.

Márcio Cabral de Moura / via Flickr

More than 1,200 dams hold up rivers, creeks and streams across Vermont. Some, built over a century ago, are relics of another time when Vermont ran on mills, logging and small-scale hydro power.

Currently only 80 of the state's dams are actively used for hydropower or flood control. Far more are no longer serving any purpose at all. About 200 of these so-called “deadbeat dams” are, to critics, deteriorating and reducing habitat for fish and hampering recreational activities for humans.

Courtesy VCFA

The first-ever Vermont Book Award winner has been announced. Chosen from six finalists, poet Kerrin McCadden of Plainfield won for her collection Landscape With Plywood Silhouettes.

Courtesy Finding Traction

Vermont’s Long Trail traverses the Green Mountains, which stretch a full 273 miles along spine of the state, including peaks over 4,000 feet.

It can take even the fittest hiker several weeks to complete, but ultra runner Nikki Kimball holds the women’s record of running the trail in just 5 days, 7 hours and 42 minutes. 

In Vermont today 15 percent of children grow up in poverty, and still more families are living on the edge. They’re unable to afford advantages like tutoring, after school programs or even the precious time to read to children.

The increasing wage gap is hurting low income children and their chances of success, says Robert Putnam, a Harvard social scientist and author of the book, Bowling Alone.

violetkaipa / Thinkstock

Having a chronic disease like diabetes or heart disease or migraines is hard enough on its own. But some people also suffer from mental illnesses such as anxiety or depression, which exacerbates their other disease.

Courtesy UVM

Doctors and medical students from the University of Vermont College of Medicine stepped out of the hospital halls recently and onto the stage. The team put on the Pulitzer Prize winning play, “Wit,” to raise awareness about end-of-life issues and to spark discussion on a topic many people find to uncomfortable to talk about.

Courtesy of Community Sailing Center

Sailing is often an expensive sport, and that means it’s not always accessible to everyone who might be interested. But the Community Sailing Center on Lake Champlain in Burlington is working hard to give all kids the opportunity to get out on the water. 

Sally McCay

When politicians get busted for taking bribes or awarding contracts to their supporters, it’s often a governor or a lawmaker who lands in the hot seat. But reporter Eric Lipton uncovered how corporate lobbyists are targeting another group for favors: attorneys general in states across the U.S.