Karen Brown

Senior Reporter

Karen is a radio and print journalist who focuses on health care, mental health, children’s issues, and other topics about the human condition. She has been a full-time radio reporter since for New England Public Radio since 1998. Her pieces have won a number of national awards, including the National Edward R. Murrow Award, Public Radio News Directors, Inc. (PRNDI) Award, and the Erikson Prize for Mental Health Reporting for her body of work on mental illness.

Karen previously worked as a reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer in its South Jersey bureau. She earned a Masters of Journalism from the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley in 1996.

She lives with her husband Sean, and twin children, Sam and Lucy, in Northampton, Massachusetts.

A kitchen showroom in an Ikea store.
David (randomwire) / Creative Commons

Amherst, Massachusetts, author Catherine Newman set her first middle-grade novel, "One Mixed-Up Night", in an unlikely setting -- the giant Swedish furniture store Ikea. 

Former state chemist Sonja Farak at her 2013 arraignment.
File Photo / Daily Hampshire Gazette

Four years ago, a chemist with the state drug lab in Amherst, Massachusetts, was arrested for stealing drugs for herself and tampering with evidence.

Sonja Farak's case came on the heels of another scandal in eastern Massachusetts, in which state chemist Annie Dookhan was convicted of evidence tampering.

Scenes from an eclipse-watching party at Smith College.
Karen Brown / NEPR

Parents with the kids, workers on a lunch break, astronomy buffs getting their fix. Across the region on Monday afternoon, people stared at the sky to see a sun partially obscured by the moon.

Author Crystal Senter-Brown of Chicopee, Mass.
Joyce Skowyra / NEPR

We continue our back-to-school book series today with "A.J. and the Magic Kite," a picture book about the contributions of African-American inventors.

Northampton, Mass., author Lisa Papademetriou.
Ellen Augarten

Callie is a seventh-grade grader in New York who spends a week cutting school, visiting museums and uncovering family secrets about the death of her gay uncle.

She's the main character in "Apartment 1986," a new young adult novel by Northampton, Massachusetts, writer Lisa Papademtriou.

To kick off this year's back-to-school book series, we sat down with Papademtriou. She started by reading from the book's first section, when we meet the exuberant narrator.

Judge Michael Ponsor, holding his first novel, "The Hanging Judge," which was published in 2013.
File photo / The Republican

When Springfield federal Judge Michael Ponsor semi-retired after three decades on the bench, he started to enjoy two privileges of part time work: He could choose the type of cases he wanted, and he had a lot more time for his other professional passion, fiction writing.

State Representative Peter Kocot of Northampton. Mass.
Mark M. Murray / The Republican

A western Massachusetts lawmaker wants to make it easier to get on the state's voting list -- especially for the approximately 700,000 people eligible to vote who are not registered.

UMass Amherst epidemiologist Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson.
UMass Website

UMass researchers say consuming more vegetable protein may reduce the risk for early menopause.

Early menopause, which is the loss of reproductive function before the age of 45, is a problem for the growing number of women who have delayed having children. That's according to UMass Amherst epidemiologist Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson.

"There are indications that women with early menopause are at increased risk for premature mortality, cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline and osteoporosis," Bertone-Johnson said.

Naila Moreira
Jermane Stephinger

We continue our summer fiction series with a form of literature that is not strictly "made up." 

A scene from rehearsals of The Scarlet Professor opera.
Daniel Keller

In 1960, a famous literature professor at Smith College was arrested for having gay pornographic materials in his Northampton, Massachusetts, apartment. Four decades later, that scandal was the basis of a nonfiction book. Now the story is getting a new telling -- an operatic one -- on the very college campus where the original events took place.


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