Rachel Estabrook is the news director at CPR News. She joined Colorado Public Radio in 2013 as a producer/reporter for Colorado Matters.


Bachelor’s degree in Spanish language and literature, George Washington University; Master’s degree in communications, Stanford University.

Professional background:

At CPR, Rachel co-reported and hosted the serialized podcast “The Taxman,” which was a finalist for the Gerald Loeb Award for business journalism. Her work reporting and producing for Colorado Matters, and editing in the newsroom, has earned regional Edward R. Murrow awards, recognition from the Public Radio News Directors Inc. and the Colorado Broadcasters Association, as well as other honors.

Before coming to CPR, she worked on a Frontline documentary about antibiotic resistance through the Investigative Reporting Workshop, and served as a newscaster and board member for KZSU at Stanford University. While completing her Master’s degree in journalism, Rachel also worked as a reporter and radio editor for the Peninsula Press.

Rachel got her start in journalism in 2000 as a columnist covering local sporting events in Dover, NH. She has reported for New Hampshire Public Radio, and volunteered for “The Diane Rehm Show” at WAMU.

Previously in her career, Rachel served as international specialist for the Department of Justice and as an associate director in NPR’s development department.

Q & A

In her own words…

Why I became a journalist:

Journalism was like a little bug inside my body – an itch that had to be scratched before I even really knew what journalism was. I’ve always loved interviewing people, hearing their stories and keeping up with what’s new—we have home videos of me in elementary school interviewing my family in front of our very old, clunky video recorder. I love to write—in fact, I think I express myself best in writing—and I love the idea of serving a local community with information and entertainment that really matters to their lives.

My first journalism experience was in high school in New Hampshire; I edited the school paper and wrote for the local paper on high school sports. As an adult, the more I learn about journalism the more important I think it is—particularly good, reasoned, fair, serious-but-engaging journalism at a time when that can be very hard to come by.

Why I got into radio:

I started to like radio a lot when I still lived in New Hampshire, where the public radio station is the state’s best news source. Radio offers such a perfect balance: It allows personalities to come through without restricting listeners’ imaginations with too many images—the perfect combination of intimacy and authority. I love how listeners feel connected to the hosts on public radio. It creates a strong sense of community without being sensationalist.

How I ended up at CPR:

Coming to CPR was a long journey for me, and I’m so happy it ended here. For someone with mountains and rivers in her genetic makeup, the attraction to Colorado is obvious, and I think my affection for public radio comes through in my previous answers. Most simply, after freelancing, volunteering and interning in public radio for many years at several different stations, I went to journalism school at Stanford and then landed here. It’s the only place I really wanted to work after school, and I’m lucky to be part of such an excellent team of journalists serving a community as interesting, dynamic and thoughtful as Colorado.

  • A visit with OpenAir on it's two-year anniversary.
    <p> Nick Jaina performs at CPR's performance studio in July, 2013</p>
<p> Nick Jaina performs at CPR's performance studio in July, 2013</p>
  • Brian Shaw hopes to continue a coaching legacy that Denver fans have grown used to during the George Karl era.
    <p>Denver Nuggets coach Brian Shaw.</p>
<p>Denver Nuggets coach Brian Shaw.</p>
  • Voters in 11 mostly rural counties are deciding this election whether to break away from the state. In 10 of the counties, supporters want to form a new state together; the working title is “The State of North Colorado.” The effects of such a move wouldn’t be limited to Colorado.
  • Voters in 11 mostly rural counties are deciding this election whether to break away from the state. In 10 of the counties, supporters want to form a new state together; the working title is “The State of North Colorado.” The question for the 11th is whether to join Wyoming.
  • Space travel is coming soon to an airport near you. Just southeast of DIA, the Front Range Airport is finishing up its application to transform itself into a spaceport. It’ll still be a maze of runways and hangars. But the aircrafts taking off will be headed much higher than 30 thousand feet.
  • State support for colleges and universities here is dwindling. It’s dropped about $150 million since its high mark in 2008. Back in March, Colorado State University president Tony Frank told us that state funding for higher education could dry up completely within a decade.
  • A memorial service took place Thursday for Joe Bell. He was hit by a truck and killed last week while walking across Eastern Colorado, when he was less than halfway through a cross-country journey to honor the death of his teenage son. Jadin Bell took his own life in February.
  • Last year, Clint Irwin considered quitting soccer. He was playing for a minor league team in his home state of North Carolina, and had been trying to go pro for years, but just couldn’t break through. He worked two part-time jobs in addition to playing soccer just to get by.
  • On the 16th day of the government shutdown, we get some historical perspective. Former U.S. Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell was a member of Colorado’s congressional delegation during the last shutdown, in 1995 and ’96. Today, he lobbies Congress on behalf of Native American tribes.
  • Like a lot of places in Colorado, flammable plant material has built up here. This effort to cut it back is just the kind of thing the Governor’s task force on wildfire recently recommended, that neighbors take responsibility for reducing the risk.
  • Colorado is known as a hotbed of entrepreneurship. There are more new businesses created on the Front Range per capita than in most other parts of the country. But the news isn’t all good.
  • [Photo: Denver Post] Joe Nacchio is out of prison after serving four and a half years for insider trading. Nacchio is the former CEO of the Denver telecom company Qwest, now part of CenturyLink. He was found guilty of selling of his own stock while misleading the public about Qwest’s finances.
  • [Photo: 23rd Studios/Paul Talbot] The recent flood created a lot of suffering, but it led to something else, too. CPR talked to people around the state, and several expressed a sense of togetherness in the wake of the disaster.
  • The Longmont Museum & Cultural Center has transformed into a graveyard. It’s part a month-long exhibit, starting Oct. 4, which leads up to a big Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, celebration on Saturday, Nov. 2.
    CPR News logo stacked 3x2CPR News logo stacked 3x2
  • [Photos: Colorado Dept of Transportation] The recent flood wiped out 200 miles of state roads; that’s roughly the distance between Fort Collins and Pueblo. The person in charge of rebuilding those roads–quickly–is Tim Harris, chief engineer at the Colorado Department of Transportation.
  • [Photo: Colorado State University Library] Before this latest flood, there was the Big Thompson flood of 1976. As it did this year, water poured down at an alarming rate.