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.

Hind Bourhim, originally from Morocco, becomes a naturalized American citizen.
Don Treeger / The Republican

Northampton is one of a handful of cities in Massachusetts that held swearing in ceremonies for new American citizens on July 4th.

This was the sixth year Mayor David Narkewicz hosted the event, sponsored by the Center for New Americans -- and the first time since Donald Trump took office.

Marketers of Western Massachusetts are moving forward with their rebranding campaign to bring more tourists and workers to the region -- after changing the slogan to appease local critics.

After spending $80,000 dollars on consultants, economic development officials ended up with a slogan most locals have long used to describe where they live -- "Western Mass." That's after critics slammed the proposed term of "West Mass".

Rick Sullivan of the Western Mass Economic Development Council says trying to give the region a snappier name was a miscalculation.

A "missing persons" ad in the Daily Hampshire Gazette, aimed at U.S. Representative Richie Neal.
Daily Hampshire Gazette / via MassLive

Some residents of the Western Massachusetts hilltowns are so frustrated that their congressman doesn't come visit, they've taken out a "missing persons" ad in a local newspaper.

A progressive activist group called Indivisible Williamsburg raised money online to take out the tongue-in-cheek ad in the Daily Hampshire Gazette -- a photo of U.S. Representative Richie Neal above the words, "Has anyone seen this man?"

Lou Cove and Howie Gordon, together in 1979.
Courtesy / Lou Cove

In 1979, 12-year old Lou Cove had just moved to Salem, Massachusetts -- his family's eighth home in a decade -- when an eccentric family friend named Howie came to live with them.

The renovated Franklin County Courthouse in Greenfield.
Karen Brown / NEPR

A small group of residents in Franklin County -- and a top Massachusetts lawmaker -- are urging court officials to stop destroying legal books and documents.

Former Mass. state Rep. Ellen Story gives campaign advice to Susan Voss, a candidate for the Northampton school committee, as volunteer Didi Firman looks on.
Karen Brown / NEPR

The election of President Donald Trump is inspiring many people to explore a run for public office – especially those who oppose his policies. A new pop-up school in Western Massachusetts – one that teaches skills for social change – is trying to attract potential candidates.

Photo of Emily Dickinson's original plant conservatory, which has now been recreated at the same location.
Emily Dickinson Museum

The Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts, this weekend is opening a reconstructed plant conservatory at the house where the poet often wrote about nature.

ARCHIVE: Never Mind The White Dress, Turns Out Emily Dickinson Had A Green Thumb

A sign against the "Indians" mascot.
Phil Demers / Masslive

The Gill-Montague Massachusetts school committee has a new line-up following an election Monday that also addressed a controversial sports mascot.

In more than a two-to-one margin, voters in Montague supported keeping the "Indians" as the Turners Falls High School mascot.

The referendum was non-binding, however. It does not change the school committee's previous vote to eliminate the mascot, which has been called offensive by many Native Americans.

An online petition urged the school committee to change the mascot of Turners Falls High School.
Screen shot / Change.org

Even though the Gill-Montague school committee in western Massachusetts voted in February to get rid of a controversial sports mascot, some voters will get their say this month.

The Indians have represented Turners Falls High school for decades. After several public forums, the regional school committee sided with mascot critics, who say it's disrespectful to Native Americans.

Dr. Nettie Maria Stevens
Carnegie Institution of Washington / Creative Commons

A pivotal but unheralded scientist is getting a building named after her at Westfield State University on Friday.

More than a hundred years ago, Westfield alum Nettie Stevens was studying beetle chromosomes when she noticed a critical difference between males and females.

"She noticed that one chromosome was smaller than the other, and because of that research, we were able to then apply that to the human genome as well," said Westfield biology professor Jennifer Hanselman.

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