KFSK listeners might recognize Hannah Flor’s voice from programs like The Common Good and Voices of Séet Ká Kwáan. Since 2021, she’s raised money for the station as its development director. However, as a longtime public radio listener, Hannah’s heart lies in community journalism. This week, she left fundraising and joined KFSK’s newsroom.  

KFSK’s Shelby Herbert spoke with Hannah about her childhood in Petersburg, her past life making clothes for celebrities, and her future in news. 

Hannah Flor: Reporting in small communities is often such an act of trust building. When you’re telling a story about one person, it really helps further the understanding of that person among other members of the community. I love the way that the news plays such an outsized role in the lives of community members in small towns.

Shelby Herbert: My heart feels so full right now. I’m actually getting a little misty eyed in the studio. A lot of journalists I know — myself included in that — have had really complicated journeys to journalism. I want to know… what got you here?

Hannah Flor: It was just so fun, to be surrounded by all of these reporters who are working on sometimes very nerdy stories, digging down into all sorts of policy detail. And then also at the same time working on these stories that are about exceptional things that kids have done in the community, or covering Petersburg events and talking about ways that Petersburg is distinct.

Shelby Herbert: Did that inform the kind of work you’ve been doing? I mean, you’ve stewarded so many different projects, just in your role as a development director. You’ve worked on a podcast. You have a couple of live shows every week.

Hannah Flor: Yeah, I feel like it did. I feel like I have these opinions about audio. For a while, I didn’t know where they came from. And then at some point, I was like, ‘Oh! It’s because I’ve listened to way more than 10,000 hours of podcasts and radio.’

Shelby Herbert: So Hannah, I gotta point it out. You are the only KFSK employee who is born and raised Alaskan, born and raised right here in Petersburg. What was it like growing up here?

Hannah Flor: Oh, well, not only did I grow up in Petersburg — I also grew up off the grid. I didn’t have a TV, I didn’t have a phone for a lot of my life. I didn’t have a refrigerator. I remember walking around in the muskeg behind my parents’ house, daydreaming about working in fashion. I was probably a late teenager or something. These kind of sad little pathetic daydreams that were so small, I didn’t know how to dream big. It was fun to come back and realize that I had superseded anything I had ever been able to imagine. And having lived in New York City for a long time where there is no social requirement to be polite to one another. And here in Petersburg…

Shelby Herbert: You live or die off of people’s goodwill.

Hannah Flor: Yeah, you gotta rein it in. If your natural tendency is not to be super kind, you gotta figure it out.

Shelby Herbert: Tell me about what you were doing in New York.

Hannah Flor: I worked as a pattern maker with all sorts of big brands in New York City. I made mostly clothes that went down the runway at Fashion Week and yeah, I’ve made clothes for celebrities…

Shelby Herbert: You have to throw some names out there.

Hannah Flor: Like, I didn’t dress Madonna… I didn’t dress any superstars like that. But I remember — we had to stop everything one day because Shakira wanted catsuits for her entire backup dance crew. Like, stop what we were wor  king on and like work on catsuits. And I made a couple different things for Zoe Kravitz. And one thing I made, showed up Solange wore like four years later, and I was really excited to see the picture.

Shelby Herbert: One of the things I really appreciate about you, Hannah, is your fine attention to detail. And I don’t know if that comes from years of patternmaking. But you’ve also taken so much of your own time to study this craft — you’ve you’ve taken classes, you went to Press Club. What’s the coolest thing you’ve learned?

Hannah Flor: That’s a really good question. I just finished an online class about something called solutions journalism. I think finding out about the existence of solutions journalism was what, in the end, tipped the scale in the favor of wanting to be a reporter. Because so often we listen to the news. And it’s like, there is a problem… And it’s just one after another. So solutions journalism — they look at a problem. And they look for one place where that problem is being addressed in a way that’s effective. And so having good news about a way that a problem is being addressed is really great for retaining listeners.

Shelby Herbert: That’s fantastic. Any final thoughts?

Hannah Flor: I want to say thank you to people who have faith in my ability to jump into journalism. Tom Abbott — I pitched this idea to him and he was nodding before I even finished the pitch. Ever since I told you that I was interested in this, you were always really supportive and helped me feel like this is a good move. So thank you. 

Shelby Herbert: Thank you, Hannah. I think you have a very exciting career ahead of you. Maybe some long hours too, but definitely a lot of excitement.

Hannah Flor: I am very excited. 

Shelby Herbert: And I am very excited to start working with you.