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Joan Cartan-Hansen


Chapter Presidents’ Elected Director

Joan Cartan-Hansen is an Idaho native. She started reporting for a wire service and a radio station while still in college. After graduating with honors from the University of Utah, she spent five years as a reporter/midday anchor for a CBS affiliate before joining Idaho Public Television as a producer/reporter/writer/host. Early in her career, Cartan-Hansen wrote and produced Visions of Idaho, a history of the state for Idaho’s 4th graders. She has been the lead producer/host for Idaho Reports, which covers state government. She currently produces for Outdoor Idaho, Idaho Experience. Her nationally oriented documentaries have aired on the BBC and PBS, and she occasionally reports for The PBS Newshour.  Her longest-lasting effort is as the creator/producer/host of Science Trek ( This digital-first project teaches science to elementary age students and provides support for educators and parents. The site has more than 100 topics and covers the Next Generation standards for elementary age children. The website receives more than 3 million users a school year and reaches tens of thousands of students each month on its other social media platforms. The project started its 25th season in the fall of 2023.

She sits on the board of directors for the National Academy of Television Arts and Science, is a past president and trustee of the NATAS Northwest Chapters and past president and current treasurer for the Idaho Press Club. She also sits on two committees for the Idaho Supreme court. She sits on the standing committee for the Capitol Communicators Association, the accrediting body for the media covering the statehouse. She is also a member of the Television Academy in the Children’s Peer Group.

Cartan-Hansen has won numerous awards including the Kavli Science Journalism Silver Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, several regional Emmys, New York Festival awards, Telly Awards, CINE awards, The James K Batten Award for Excellence in Civic Journalism and has been honored by the National Education Association. She was given a Silver Circle award from NATASNW for her work to improve Idaho’s open government laws. She is called the “Mother of Idaho’s Public Records Laws” for what she calls her trifecta: to re-write the state’s open records laws, to establish an open meeting process for the state of Idaho and establish the right to allow cameras in Idaho courtrooms.