Laurel Morales believes everyone has an amazing story to tell. You just have to ask the right questions.
As senior field correspondent for station KJZZ and the Fronteras Desk, based in Flagstaff, Arizona, Morales seeks new angles and compelling unheard voices — like the ex-gang member working to graduate from high school, the honor guard who stayed with the bodies of the 19 firefighters who died in Yarnell, Ariz., and the art dealer who decided to return sacred artifacts after visiting the Hopi tribe.
Morales left Minnesota Public Radio for northern Arizona in 2003 after her contact lenses froze to her eyeballs on a short walk from her apartment to work. While Flagstaff still has snow, the winters are short and bearable.
In northern Arizona she’s covered environmental issues at the Grand Canyon, the impact of war, water shortages, wildfires and everything in between. Living next to the largest tribe and reservation in the country, many of her stories are about American Indian issues.
She has won several Edward R. Murrow and Associated Press awards and a national PRNDI award for the only commentary she's ever written. It was about changing her name from Druley to Morales when she got married.
A call from a potential donor to an international NGO working on access to clean water proved a turning point for both the group and a fight in the US.