Just a quick post to introduce you to the newest member of our editing team.
Veteran journalist Kim Gamel has joined the staff as a deputy editor, working directly with reporters on topics ranging from education and social issues to the use of data to produce watchdog, investigative and in-depth news coverage.
Kim is a solid, well-rounded and well-traveled journalist who will bring a lot to the table here in Hawaii. In particular, she has a strong background in military affairs, something that is very much needed in our state, where the military plays an outsized role in the economy and the lives of residents.
Kim spent the last four years at Stars and Stripes in Seoul, South Korea, where she was asked to enhance the publication’s watchdog role. Her stories often influenced military policy, including one questioning the pre-pandemic ban on mask-wearing by U.S. troops who wanted them to protect against pollution.
Prior to Stars and Stripes, Kim’s journalism career spanned two decades with The Associated Press as a foreign correspondent and editor.
She was the AP’s news editor in Baghdad from 2006 to 2009, the height of the Iraq war. Besides helping manage the bureau and working closely with local Iraqi reporters as well as visiting U.S. correspondents, Kim regularly contributed to the news report. Her stories included exclusive reporting on the long-secret Iraqi civilian death toll and an article exposing billions of dollars in wasted reconstruction money.
Kim also was a senior editor for the AP’s Middle East desk in Cairo from 2010 to 2014, overseeing coverage of the Egyptian revolution and subsequent Arab Spring, Syria’s civil war and other issues.
Kim began her journalism career in Russia — she majored in Russian in college — after working for a year as a nanny in Moscow during a pivotal time in that country. She decided to take a position with the English-language Moscow Tribune, covering issues relating to the fall of the Soviet Union.
Growing up in Idaho, Kim says she knew from a young age that she wanted to travel and live in other countries and experience new cultures.
“So it was either journalism or the foreign service,” she says. “I wanted to make a difference.”
In 2014, Kim was selected from among hundreds of applicants to be a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan. It was there that she turned her attention closer to home, exploring the importance of local news in a community as well as the business models and sustainability of news operations that continue to experience significant financial losses.
Kim saw that we were looking for another editor and decided Civil Beat might be a good fit in more ways than one.
She said the idea of working for a nonprofit was attractive given her interest in the future sustainability of local news. Local issues have a big impact on people’s lives, and she says it’s important to educate and inform citizens so they are capable of making good choices about their lives and their leaders.
And Hawaii seems like a good place for someone who has spent much of her life roaming the world.
“The chaos of the last few years including the pandemic and living abroad made me feel it was time to come back to the U.S.,” she says. “I’m thrilled to get to explore a new state that has so much natural beauty and a fascinating history.”
Meanwhile, in other Civil Beat staff news, investigations editor John Hill is back. He’s been on the mainland with his family since the pandemic landed and working for the online news site FairWarning (fans of the author Michael Connelly will appreciate that). But we’re thrilled that he has decided to return to Civil Beat and pick up where he left off.
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Patti Epler is the Editor and General Manager of Civil Beat. She's been a reporter and editor for more than 30 years, primarily in Hawaii, Alaska, Washington and Arizona. You can follow her on twitter at @PattiEpler, email her at email@example.com or call her at 808-377-0561.