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Good thing John was a clumsy traveler.
Otherwise his cheap microcassette recorder wouldn't have fallen out of his pocket in an Indonesian taxi, a generous BBC stringer wouldn't have lent him some recording gear, and he wouldn't have gotten the radio bug. But after pointing a mic at rare jungle songbirds and gong-playing grandmothers for his first radio story, there was no turning back.
Two decades later, he has freelanced for most of the major public radio news shows as well as newspapers and magazines and covered transportation at the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce. He’s been a reporter at NPR stations in southeast and southwest Alaska (KTOO-Juneau and KUCB-Unalaska) as well as Seattle. He became KUOW’s first full-time investigative reporter in 2009 and one of the first shop stewards for KUOW’s SAG-AFTRA newsroom union, as well as KUOW’s full-time environment reporter, in 2018.
John’s stories have won multiple national awards for KUOW, including the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi awards for Public Service in Radio Journalism and for Investigative Reporting, national Edward R. Murrow and PMJA/PRNDI awards for coverage of breaking news and a Society of Environmental Journalists award for in-depth reporting.
He believes democracy only works when journalism holds the powerful accountable for their words and actions.
“We have the right as sovereign nations to say 'yes' or 'no,' and that right must be respected.”
Scientists have used one of the loudest sounds in nature to map Earth’s crust. It’s the song of the fin whale.
At eight and a half feet long, it’s not your average baby.
Seattle Public Schools aims to stop using fossil fuels in the school district’s buildings and buses in the next 20 years. Though that timeline is half as ambitious as a citywide one adopted by Seattle in 2019, backers say it’s the first school district in Washington to commit to phasing out fossil fuels.
A tanker transporting liquefied petroleum gas was coming in too fast and at too steep an angle when it crashed into a wharf at Cherry Point, north of Bellingham, Washington, the National Transportation Safety Board has found. It didn’t help that the ship’s captain and a harbor pilot engaged in two minutes of “non-pertinent conversation” on the bridge as the big ship closed in on the dock.
The city of Seattle has banned most uses of fossil fuels in new buildings.
Washington state has OK'd a plan to allow Navy SEALs to train in up to 17 parks. Parkgoers worry about their safety and peace of mind.
"Our goal is to not lose one single life, and so far, we've met that goal.”
The oil train derailment in the town of Custer last month could have been a lot worse, but for a swift emergency response and some luck. We get the story from KUOW reporter John Ryan.
Why would a train moving 7 miles an hour derail? Why would supposedly puncture-resistant tankers rupture at such a low speed? The FBI wants to know.