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Meet Kaela Roeder, Technical.ly’s new DC reporter

The American University grad and award-winning journalist joins our team to cover the companies, money, policies and innovations of DMV’s tech and entrepreneurship world.

Kaela Roeder. (Courtesy)
Did you read our article last month about a federal initiative to support federal AI regulation and best practices? If so, you’ve already experienced the work of our newest staff reporter.

That report on the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s new U.S. AI Safety Institute Consortium offers a glimpse of what you can expect from Kaela Roeder, who today officially starts as Technica.ly’s lead reporter in DC.

Roeder is deeply embedded in and connected to the nation’s capital. An alum of American University, they spent the last few years working as an editor with Street Sense Media and WUSA9 and reporting for the Washington Blade and The Hill Events. She also served in prestigious fellowships with the Poynter Institute and the National Press Foundation, and is a member of The Association of LGBTQ Journalists, the Education Writers Association and the Society of Professional Journalists.

Throughout these roles, Roeder got the chance to cover health, homelessness, entertainment, local businesses, politics and more. To get a sense of how deep their experience in many beats goes, here’s just a sampling of their stories:

Learn more about the newest Technical.ly team member in the below Q&A, lightly edited for grammar and style.

You come to this position with a lot of experience covering DC-specific news and people. What do you hope to bring to this role?

I’ve covered many topics in DC, including homelessness and housing, health, politics, LGBTQ issues and the arts. I’ve had the privilege to interview stars like Billy Porter and Laverne Cox, and witnessed history like the Jan. 6 insurrection. In writing in all of these beats, I’ve enjoyed one aspect the most: having conversations and getting the views of people living through these events and policy changes. My ultimate goal is to get the lived perspective. For this role at Technical.ly, founders of startups, for example.

The main question I want to answer is: How are companies and individuals using technology, in any shape or form, to help people?

I’ve been reporting on local news in DC for the past few years and learned a lot about the area. I’ve gotten to know its quirks, its beauty and the amazing people working every day to make DC great. There’s still so much to learn, especially as I am covering a new beat.

What’s exciting to you about the topics Technical.ly covers? What questions are you hoping to answer in your work here?

It’s an amazing opportunity to write about that and speak to the innovators at the helm each day. Technology, as we all know, is in everything we do. This resonated with me the most when I was researching artificial intelligence for a freelance project last summer. AI can help us do amazing things, but it’s not a perfect tool. There’s a lot of room for accountability reporting there, which I hope to do in this role, but there’s also space to show its advantages.

I’ve been reflecting on stories I’ve written, thinking about how technology played into it and possibly how technology could’ve been a possible solution — especially when it comes to education, health and housing. I plan to shed light on companies making lives easier, both for consumers and people working in industries.

The main question I want to answer is: How are companies and individuals using technology, in any shape or form, to help people?

What’s something about yourself that you’d like the readers to know?

This may be obvious, but I absolutely love to learn. It’s why I became a journalist: to learn something new every single day. I’ve seen people online joke that being a journalist means having homework for the rest of your career, and it’s somewhat true. But I love it. As I am coming into this new beat, the learning aspect means a lot to me.

I’m excited to get started in reaching out to people and setting up quick chats to get more educated on the beat. I want to know what you’re excited about in the industry, and also what concerns you have.

What are your favorite spots in the DMV, whether for food, walks or anything else?

There are so many amazing spots and activities in the DMV. I will try to keep it brief. As we are approaching spring, I’m excited to get outside more, but I need to stock up on allergy medicine. I love to read at Malcolm X Park. As we are approaching the cherry blossom’s peak bloom, I am looking forward to heading to the National Arboretum to check out the beautiful trees.

DC has an incredible food scene. My favorite special occasion spot is Floriana for stellar Italian food and homemade pasta. The duck noodle soup at Thai Chef Street Food is one of my favorite meals, and you have to get the chive cakes as an appetizer. My favorite bakery is Bread Furst — the sourdough and the challah are both amazing. Tryst has amazing coffee, Hank’s has amazing brunch and Roaming Rooster has amazing fried chicken sandwiches.

I went to a lot of concerts last year and want to continue that this year, with 9:30 Club as my most frequented venue. I am a big museum-goer, as well. The National Museum of Women in the Arts is my favorite. I am always looking for more places to try, for activities or food, and would love recommendations.

Companies: Technical.ly
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