Homer News reporter Sarah Knapp poses for a photo on Tuesday, April 27, 2021, at the newspaper offices in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstong/Homer News)

Homer News reporter Sarah Knapp poses for a photo on Tuesday, April 27, 2021, at the newspaper offices in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstong/Homer News)

Knapp started this week at Homer News

Knapps brings Tennessee writing experience to Alaska

A new reporter has joined the staff of the Homer News. Sarah Knapp arrived in Alaska last weekend and officially started on Monday, April 26.

Knapp, 22, comes to the Homer News after working in the Office of University Relations for the University of Tennessee at Martin. Born and raised near Moscow, Tennessee, a small town of about 600 about 40 miles from Memphis, Knapp also graduated from UT Martin. She was executive editor, a photographer and social media manager at the student paper, The Pacer, where she received numerous awards in reporting, editing and photography. A photographer as well as a reporter, Knapp started a small photography business, SKnapp Photography.

“We are very pleased to have someone with Sarah’s background handling our weekly reporting,” said Homer News Publisher Jeff Hayden. “Sarah brings a great deal of enthusiasm and commitment to the job. Sarah has a genuine passion for community journalism.”

Knapp has taken over the position previously held by Megan Pacer, who worked at the Homer News since July 2017 before moving to take a job with Alaska’s News Source. A general assignment reporter, Knapp’s beats include education, sports, government, public safety and general news.

Before taking up journalism, Knapp had considered a career in photojournalism. She had the dream of being an embedded reporter working with the military for the Stars and Stripes. Her great-grandfather served with the U.S. Army 7th Armored Division during the liberation of Europe in World War II, and she recalled reading her great-grandfather’s copies of Stars and Stripes from that era.

“I fell in love with print journalism anyway,” she said. “It worked out just fine.”

Moscow, Tennessee is in Fayette County on the Wolf River and is the site of the 1863 Battle of Moscow during the Civil War in which Black Union troops thwarted a Confederate attempt to take over a bridge on the Wolf River. Knapp grew up on her family’s former farm, now roughly 100 acres of forest and fields. Her family also runs a trap and skeet range in Moscow. Knapp is a national champion sporting clays shooter, and competed on her high school and university clay target teams.

Knapp had already decided to move to Homer before applying for a job at the News. She met her partner, Michael Singer, at UT Martin, and he got a job working as a soils scientist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Homer a year ago.

“I had already decided to move in June whether I found a job or not,” Knapp said. “This thing came open.”

Knapp visited Homer last November for a Thanksgiving vacation. Growing up on the flat side of Tennessee, she wasn’t used to mountains and the ocean.

“I get excited every time I see the mountains and the water,” she said. “I don’t think I’ll ever get used to that.”

Already an inveterate traveler, Knapp has visited 10 foreign countries.

“I always wanted to travel. I never wanted to stay in Tennessee,” she said. “My mom’s thankful it’s (Alaska) still technically the United States. She was convinced I’d wind up in Ireland.”

As she gets settled in Homer, Knapp said she looks forward to meeting more Alaskans and getting to know the community better. Knapp loves cooking and cooking shows, and enjoyed watching the Homer and Alaska episodes of “The Great Food Truck Race.”

Skilled in writing profiles, Knapp said she wants to tell the stories of the southern Kenai Peninsula.

“I like human interest stores,” she said. “Everyone has something unique about them that makes you want to tell their story.”

Knapp can be reached by email at sarah.knapp@homernews.com or by calling the paper at 907-235-7767.

Reach Michael Armstrong at marmstrong@homernews.com.

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