Bente Birkeland

Bente is an award-winning journalist who joined Colorado Public Radio in August 2018 after a decade of reporting on the Colorado state capitol for the Rocky Mountain Community Radio collaborative and KUNC. In 2017, Bente was named Colorado Journalist of the Year by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and she was awarded with a National Investigative Reporting Award by SPJ a year later.

Professional Background:

Before joining CPR and KUNC, she was a reporter at KMOX Radio and KOMU TV, and also worked as a research analyst for the U.S. Department of Justice.

Awards:

In 2017, Bente was named Colorado Journalist of the Year by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and she was awarded with a National Investigative Reporting Award by SPJ a year later. She also won an Edward R. Murrow Award in 2015 for her work on KRCC’s series on the Southwest Chief, “Railroad West.”

Throughout her career, Bente has been honored with various accolades from the Colorado Broadcaster’s Association, the Association of Statehouse Reporter and Editors, the Third Coast International Audio Festival, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Mortar Board National Honorary Society and the Omicron Delta Epsilon International Economics Honorary Society.

Education:

Bachelor’s degree economics with a mathematical emphasis, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Master’s degree in journalism, University of Missouri

  • Gun rights activists in Colorado are savoring what they call a sweet victory. On Tuesday Democratic Senate president John Morse and Senator Angela Giron were voted out of office for supporting stricter gun laws, in the first legislative recall in state history. As Bente Birkeland reports, the election could change the dynamic under the gold dome.
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  • Two state lawmakers face a recall election today for supporting stricter gun laws. As Bente Birkeland reports, it’s the first time state lawmakers have ever been recalled in Colorado.  For polling locations in El Paso County, click here.For polling locations in Pueblo, click here.
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  • Two Colorado state lawmakers are facing recall votes over their support for stricter gun laws. The recalls have cast a national spotlight on Colorado and are drawing big out of state donations. Bente Birkeland sat down with reporters who are covering the recall campaigns to discuss what’s at stake.
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  • Both sides of the gun debate in Colorado are pouring a lot of resources into the historic recall elections of two Democratic lawmakers.
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  • A new poll shows mediocre approval ratings for Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper as he begins his bid for reelection. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.
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  • Veterans and other military leaders gathered at the state capitol yesterday to talk about ways to improve treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. Colorado Senator Mark Udall and Congressman Mike Coffman put a task force together to recommend better federal policies. Bente Birkeland has more from the capitol.
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  • In subjects such as reading and math, Colorado students aren’t doing as well as state officials had hoped. The Education Department released statewide-standardized test scores Wednesday. The report indicates that while small gains have been made, many students aren’t solid in core subjects. Bente Birkeland has more.
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  • Some residents in eastern Colorado have tough questions for Governor John Hickenlooper. The Governor is touring the area and southern Colorado this week to get feedback from local communities. As Bente Birkeland reports, he won’t always be in friendly territory… The Governor also plans to visit Trinidad, Alamosa, and Salida among other locations tomorrow.
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  • Republican Weld county district attorney Ken Buck plans to challenge Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Udall next year. Buck filed the paperwork today and as Bente Birkeland reports, he’ll first need to win the Republican primary.
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  • Oil and gas leaders are gathering in Denver this week to discuss innovation and controversy in their industry. Bente Birkeland takes a look at how the state’s water wars can shape the public debate over fracking.
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  • Supporters of a tax increase for K-12 schools turned in petitions today to try and get the measure on the November ballot. They submitted twice the amount required by law. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.
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  • A roughly billion-dollar education tax increase is likely to go before voters this fall. It’s part of a larger package of education reforms state lawmakers passed last session. Bente Birkeland talks to supporters about the challenges ahead, and how they hope the initiative won’t meet the same fate as a similar proposal.
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  • It’s a low time of year in Colorado politics. No general election, no Governor’s race. The state capitol is quiet, and the hustle and bustle of the legislative session is long gone.
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  • A recall effort is moving forward to oust two Democratic state lawmakers over their support for gun control laws. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.
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