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Sara Bernard

Multimedia Journalist

Seattle, WA; San Francisco, CA

Sara Bernard

Writer, radio reporter, photographer, globetrotter

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Safe Consumption Part I: The Debate

In January 2017, Seattle and King County made national headlines: They announced their intentions to build the first two supervised consumption sites in the U.S. as a way to help combat the opioid crisis. The sites, also known as Community Health Engagement Locations (CHELs), safe consumption sites, or heroin injection sites, depending on whom you ask, are places where people can inject or consume illicit drugs legally and under medical supervision.
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Safe Consumption Part II: The Site

The closest supervised consumption site to Seattle—and the first one built in North America—is located on the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, British Columbia. It's called Insite, and was created in 2003 in response to an overdose and HIV transmission crisis there in the late 1990s. Because it's the first and the closest, and has about 15 years of operation and data behind it, lots of people in the Seattle area look to Vancouver for an example of what works, or what doesn't—again, depending on whom you ask.
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Safe Consumption Part III: The Opposite of Addiction

As Seattle moves forward with piloting its first supervised consumption site—now likely to be housed in a mobile van, not a building—the fierce debate roars on. Although many people on both sides of the issue are saying the exact same thing, if you listen for a while, there's a fundamental difference that emerges.
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The Man on Iron Mountain

Charles Pillon, who usually goes by Chuck, has been living on a ten-acre property in unincorporated King County, near Renton, Washington, for decades now. He's built it into a sprawling empire of junk—including trucks, cars, buses, boats, RVs, tires, scrap metal, lumber, cans of paint, and heaps of yard waste mixed with trash.
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Without Shelter

King County has the third-largest homeless population in the country. And despite Seattle and King County's concerted efforts over the last decade, more and more people are living outside. That means more and more people are dying outside. Anitra Freeman and Qween B King Rios are two members of Women in Black, a group of volunteers that aims to stand in silent vigil for every unsheltered person who dies outside or by violence in the region.
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Faith, Doubt, and Pedro the Lion

When Seattle-based musician David Bazan began his career in the mid-1990s, he was Christian. In the beginning, he put his faith—and his doubt about his faith—into his music. But over time, he began to sing less and less about faith, and more and more about doubt. His band, Pedro the Lion, broke up in 2005, and he’s built a solo career since, releasing albums that explore his breakup with Christianity as well as his anger toward corporate power, politics, and patriarchy.
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Martin Luther King’s County

Seattle, Washington is the county seat of King County—Martin Luther King, Jr. Some locals already know that their county is named for the civil rights leader; others don't. But even those who are aware of the name probably don't know much about the long, difficult journey to make this the only jurisdiction in the entire country named for Dr.
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The Cost of Clean Coal

Barbara Correro was at home drinking tea, reading the paper. She had spent the past five years and most of her savings on a long-cherished retirement dream: a small mobile home on 24 acres of pine and hardwood forest, a large organic garden, and a pack of friendly dogs in rural Kemper County, Miss.
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Secret Agent Man

At the end of March, following the poisoning of a former Russian double agent and his daughter in England, the Trump administration expelled 60 Russian diplomats from the U.S. and closed the Russian consulate in Seattle. White House officials said that these weren't necessarily diplomats, though.
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The Matriarch of Marijuana

Everyone knows that Washington was one of the first states to legalize marijuana—medicinal in 1998 and recreational in 2012. But few know the story of the small, tight-knit community that fought the battles for patients' rights that eventually opened the door to recreational cannabis. Those who do know will tell you that none of it would have happened without JoAnna McKee, who passed away in late 2017.
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The Climate Movement’s Secret Weapon: Kids!

It’s a Friday night at the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford, and Joey and Grace, ages 9 and 11—tiny, wiry, and ebony-haired—are tumbling over each other to tell me what they know about climate change. Their introduction to the concept is pretty difficult to pinpoint, though, since it’s always been there, “like all those other facts,” says Grace.
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Tent Cities: When Society Fails to House

Tent cities have popped up across the country, from New Jersey to Texas to New Mexico. Many are starting to build more permanent living structures. So what are the benefits of living in a cluster of tents? And is this part of a real solution to homelessness?

About

Sara Bernard

I'm a freelance multimedia journalist. Until recently, I was host and producer of a Seattle-based podcast (seattlelandpod.com). Before that, I was a staff writer at Seattle Weekly, a fellow at Grist.org, a staff writer and multimedia producer at Edutopia magazine, and a freelance reporter and avid international traveler. I grew up in upstate New York and the San Francisco Bay Area, studied abroad in Toulouse, France, and spent several years freelancing, traveling, and volunteering in Thailand, Vietnam, India, France, England, Peru, Ecuador, Haiti, and Nicaragua before obtaining a master's degree at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and moving to Seattle.

As a writer, radio reporter, photographer, and Web producer, I've fallen pretty hard for the myriad possibilities of multimedia storytelling. I've reported, produced, edited, voiced, and polished long-form audio documentaries for each episode of Seattleland. I spent a year reporting part-time for Crosscurrents on KALW 91.7 FM in San Francisco and a summer reporting for the Alaska Public Radio Network. I've produced radio pieces for broadcast on KQED’s The California Report, KUOW in Seattle, the National Radio Project’s Making Contact, and KALX 90.7 FM in Berkeley, along with many audio slide shows and add-ons for news outlets and nonprofit organizations. I've shot and edited videos, mapped data, and built stories using a variety of software platforms and CMS systems including Creatavist, Drupal, and Wordpress.

In addition to Seattle Weekly and Edutopia, I've written for Grist, Wired, TheAtlantic.com, VIA, Bay Nature, Afar, Ode, Yoga Journal, Adirondack Life, Change.org, KQED’s MindShift, and The Bold Italic, among other publications, about education, travel, food, health, science, art, social justice, and the environment. I'm passionate about the power of high-integrity media to inform and inspire… and intensely curious about pretty much everything.