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Carmen Kohlruss

Carmen's favorite stories connect people and initiate exploration. A Renaissance woman of news, her journalism takes her everywhere, from writing narrative features that focus on our shared humanity to spotlighting problems by digging into challenging issues. A love of nature and discovery inspires her enthusiastic travels and obsessive writing + research — compelled to take on anything in pursuit of bringing the most pertinent information to light in a way that resonates. 

Some of her latest assignments are stories for Sierra, Audubon, and Tricycle magazines, along with Prism Reports, Good Beer Hunting, Civil Eats, Livability Media, and Medscape. Carmen previously worked as a staff reporter and columnist for 14 years at several newspapers — The Fresno Bee, Sierra Star, and Montana Kaimin — before deciding to resign to take up freelance writing starting in early 2023, pursuing more of the storytelling she loves as a freelancer. Career highlights include serving in The Bee's features department, where she had a human-interest column, Heart in the San Joaquin, and being the McClatchy Company’s go-to reporter for news about Yosemite National Park and surrounding areas


Carmen is based in the heart of California, in the central San Joaquin Valley, and grew up in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. At age 17, she headed north in search of a good journalism school + more mountains and adventure, what she found as a print journalism major at the University of Montana, Missoula. Carmen returned to California four years later to again live and write near her favorite place, Yosemite, where she’s been telling stories since childhood.


Her storytelling is greatly enhanced by her favorite co-creator, Craig Kohlruss, a Fresno Bee staff photojournalist, videographer and drone pilot who also works as a freelancer. The duo live in Fresno, CA and became a CK team in 2021, when Carmen changed her byline from Carmen George to Carmen Kohlruss after they were married. She loves this wild, wonderful world dearly!



Carmen's stories have been recognized by:


Carmen received several dozen awards in a wide range of contest categories, including:

  • Writing

  • Profiles

  • Features

  • News

  • General interest column writing

  • Environmental reporting

  • Wildfire features

  • Land-use reporting

  • Public service journalism

  • Sports features

  • Coverage of protests and racial justice news or feature stories

  • Investigative reporting

  • Coverage of youth and education

  • Coverage of local government

  • COVID-19 pandemic profiles

  • Breaking news

  • Photography

  • Page layout and design


Newsrooms that Carmen worked in were recognized with coveted General Excellence awards more than half a dozen times while she was on staff.



Best of the West — a contest that draws entries from newspapers, magazines and online publications from the Rockies to Alaska and Hawaii, and does not divide categories by a publication’s circulation size — awarded Carmen second place in the category of general interest column writing. 

Best of the West said Carmen “paints portraits of people with words. Through well-placed quotes and rich descriptions, she reveals subtleties of human behavior. Lovely prose and writing.” The contest honored her "Heart in the San Joaquin" columns. Her three entries told the stories of a double-amputee Marine cycling across America, a 102-year-old Fresno benefactor who was friends with writer William Saroyan, and inmates who train shelter dogs.

awards anchor in bio

Carmen Kohlruss is a journalist who uses her love of writing to tell stories that promote greater understanding. Her stories have been recognized with many journalism awards, including a Best of the West.


I'm always looking for new adventures.

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