By Kelsey Corley, Student Editor
Hannah Rappleye has spent over a decade working as a reporter and producer for NBC News. During her interview with Sylvia Musgrove at Memorial Chapel this past Thursday, Rappleye spoke about her career in the media and how she focuses her work on underrepresented populations around the country.
As an investigative reporter, Rappleye is granted more time to research her subjects than breaking news reporters and can become better acquainted with the struggles faced by the communities on which she writes. She often works with groups that have been abused and exploited and by large corporations or organizations. In such circumstances, mistrust in institutions such as the media can create obstacles. “It’s hard to call someone on the worst day of their life and say, ‘I want to hear your story,'” she noted. “You just have to approach people with kindness, respect, and honesty.”
Rappleye notes that helps her establish connections with people and gain a greater understanding of their circumstances. When approaching people about a story, she is forthcoming about her intentions and is genuine in her actions. While mistrust in the media is a growing issue, she explained the rigorous research and fact-checking that goes on behind the scenes of every report, noting that even small stories carry high stakes.
Rappleye has reported on various subjects throughout her career. Much of her work in Appalachia has focused on the opioid epidemic. In her interview, she talked about her personal history with addiction and how it has helped her connect to people affected by the crisis. She spoke of one story where she focused on the children affected by addiction. The piece was filmed as an interview with several children, letting them talk about their experiences and have their voices heard.
Part of her work has also focused on the criminal justice system, specifically with individuals sentenced to life without parole for non-violent drug offenses. Rappleye described it as, “A living death sentence. . . society sees these people as irredeemable, but I don’t. Human beings are worth not giving up on.” In the future, she hopes to transition to environmental reporting as she sees the impending climate crisis as the issue of our time, with everything else falling second to the subject.
Learn more about Rappleye’s work on her website.
With Rappleye’s interview, the Institute for Faith and Culture 2021-22 speaker series is well underway. After having been waived for three semesters, chapel, convocation, and service credits will once again be required, with minor adjustments to accommodate King’s Covid-19 policies. All full-time students must obtain 5 hours of CCS credits to satisfy the requirements, and there will be 26 opportunities to get chapel or convocation hours throughout the semester.
To learn more about the King Institute for Faith and Culture Speaker Series, visit https://www.king.edu/faith-and-values/institute-for-faith-and-culture/2020-2021-speaker-series-event-schedule/ and for more information on CCS, visit https://www.king.edu/faith-and-values/convocation/.