Ana Sofia Knauf knew she wanted to be a journalist since high school. But something shifted for her during her junior year at the University of Washington as a journalism student when she was first introduced to The Seattle Globalist. It was through two of her instructors, Globalist co-founders Sarah Stuteville and Jessica Partnow, that she was encouraged to find her voice in journalism.
“The way that they taught journalism is looking at your world, looking at your own experiences, and expands that to how will it work with a community,” she explained. “I really like that approach to journalism, and that’s what piqued my interest and my dedication to want to do that kind of work. That makes the purpose of journalism feel more important to me: localizing issues and breaking it down so people can actually understand it.”
Today, the Los Angeles native is doing just that as a reporter for The Stranger on the community and neighborhood beat. This comes after serving in a number of roles at the Globalist, from freelance contributor, to contracted event coordinator, to news reporter.
The first story Ana Sofia wrote for the Globalist about the Burmese refugee experience in Washington was one of her most memorable, she said. Why were Burmese refugees the third highest refugee population in the state? Where were they? This in itself was a story, she learned. After pitching it in class her professor Sarah Stuteville encouraged her to pursue these questions.
“It was an eye-opening experience to know that this community is so nearby, but also so unseen,” said Ana Sofia. “This story has made a big impact for me and has shone a light that these people are here and thriving.”
After graduating from UW in 2013, Ana Sofia went on to write for various publications as a reporting fellow for Grist Magazine, and interning for The Seattle Times and Puget Sound Business Journal. Throughout her experiences, Ana Sofia has learned that The Seattle Globalist is distinctive in offering her the opportunity to be a part of a community of writers and work closely with caring editors to develop stories.
“I think, especially with freelancing, you don’t really get to have a connection with the people you’re working with or for,” Ana Sofia explains. “… There can be a lot of friction between freelancer and editor because editors don’t have much time to work with writers in crafting stories and helping writers understand how to tell the story.”
“I think that’s [Editor Alex Stonehill’s] true talent. He’s probably the most gentle editor I’ve ever worked with, and he was very thorough and thoughtful. Since I had the [Grist] fellowship, I had very few editors who put in the same time as Alex does.”
She’s been able to apply what she’s learned at The Stranger now, working on hyperlocal news stories and covering social justice issues. One of her latest stories for The Stranger was a look into racial disproportionality of young people of color in the juvenile justice system and a fact-check on the voter-approved Children and Family Justice Center facility in the Central District (most recognizably dubbed the “youth jail” by protestors).
“The Globalist has changed my perspective on how to cover a community and to search for voices that have not been heard from as much as they should be,” said Ana Sofia. “As a woman of color, I feel like the Globalist has given me the opportunity to specifically focus on communities of color. Other places that I’ve worked would never let me specifically focus on that. The Globalist really taught me to do that, and it’s something that I carry with me to The Stranger today.”
If The Seattle Globalist went away, it would be sorely missing in the local media landscape, said Ana Sofia.
“I think that a publication like The Seattle Globalist is the key to better covering the city and helping people understand our city better. Big papers mostly focus on big and broad issues, and there are a lot of stories that are lacking. I feel like The Seattle Globalist really helps fill that in,” she said.
Most importantly, though:
“I’ve never seen myself represented in most media until I started writing for The Seattle Globalist. That was an eye-opening experience for me personally. A lot more of the city would become invisible without a publication like The Globalist.”
The Seattle Globalist elevates diverse voices through media. We’re building a pipeline of diverse journalists like Ana Sofia through media trainings and intensive editorial mentoring. You can help break down barriers that have historically kept immigrants, women and people of color out of journalism.