John Ryan

Reporter

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 professional 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.

In the past decade, he's freelanced for shows such as All Things Considered, Living on Earth, Marketplace and The World. He also continued his print career by reporting for newspapers including the Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times and Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce.

In 2009, John moved back to Seattle after two exciting years covering avalanches, political intrigue and just about everything in between for KTOO FM, the NPR station in Alaska's capital city.

John has won national awards for KUOW as a freelancer (check out "As the Sound Churns") and now as a staff reporter, including the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi awards for Public Service in Radio Journalism and for Investigative Reporting. He believes democracy only works when journalism holds the powerful accountable for their words and actions. He says he's happy to have one of the few investigative reporting jobs in public radio and to get to explore new ways of telling investigative stories at KUOW.org.

John welcomes story ideas and feedback from listeners.

In addition to the recent stories below, John's KUOW stories from September 2012 and before are archived here.

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Ebola
11:13 am
Wed October 15, 2014

Seattle Nurses, Hospital Housekeepers Feel Unprepared For Ebola

Swedish Medical Center housekeeper Carmencita Smith.
Credit KUOW Photo/John Ryan

If today is a typical day in the United States, about 200 hospital patients will die with an infection they picked up while they were in the hospital.

Only one patient in the United States has ever died of Ebola, and many deadly diseases spread much more easily than Ebola.

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Capitol Hill
11:35 am
Tue October 7, 2014

Gays Most Frequently Targeted In Seattle Hate Crimes

Seattle Police, including Chief Kathleen O'Toole, far right, appear before Seattle City Council Monday to discuss hate crimes. Police are focusing on Capitol Hill where attacks on gays has increased.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Hate crimes are up in Seattle despite the increasing efforts of Seattle Police to fight them.

Capitol Hill and downtown Seattle are hotspots for crime that involves hatred of targeted groups of people, according to Seattle Police.

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Oso Landslide
1:54 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Landslide Safety All Over The Map In Washington

Jim Simon looks over the Ledgewood Beach bluff from the unmowed lawn of a condemned home on Whidbey Island.
Credit KUOW Photo/John Ryan

The deadly Oso landslide in March sparked a debate over Snohomish County’s apparent failure to protect residents at the base of a known landslide zone.

But Washington state is dotted with landslide-prone slopes, and many counties and cities do less than Snohomish County to keep homes away from harm.

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Protest Tents
7:59 am
Wed September 24, 2014

Homeless Camp Pops Up On Busy U-District Sidewalk

Jackie O'Bryan in front of her family's tent at the University District homeless camp.
KUOW/John Ryan photo

A homeless camp has popped up on a busy sidewalk in Seattle’s University District. Members of the small tent community say 20 people live here.

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Ferguson Connection
9:58 am
Mon August 25, 2014

How Military Surplus Worked In Oso’s Favor

The North Fork Stillaguamish River and the headwall left behind by the Oso landslide.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

You might not think there's much of a connection between the deadly Oso landslide and this month's racially charged unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

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Workplace Safety
12:57 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

No Criminal Charges In Deadly Tesoro Refinery Explosion

Lew Janz of Anacortes was one of seven Tesoro workers killed by an April 2010 explosion at a refinery in Anacortes, Washington.
Credit Courtesy of Gordon Janz

The U.S. Department of Justice has closed its four-year criminal investigation into whether environmental and worker safety laws were broken leading up to the fatal Tesoro refinery blast.

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Energy
1:35 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

Years After Tragedy, Tesoro Ducks Penalties For Refinery Deaths

Originally published on Wed August 13, 2014 6:14 pm

Workers at American oil refineries die on the job about three times as often as their counterparts in Europe. As John Ryan of KUOW reports, when accidents do kill American workers, the companies they work for rarely pay a heavy price. Case in point: Tesoro, which hasn't incurred a significant penalty since its Washington state refinery exploded in 2010, killing seven people.

Environment
2:44 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Cantwell: Shellfish Growers Are The Canary In The Coal Mine

Sen. Maria Cantwell speaks at a press conference next to a "wave glider" of the kind currently being used to monitor ocean acidification in the Gulf of Alaska.
Credit KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Senators Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska) are calling for a national strategy to respond to ocean acidification and protect the nation's fishing industry.

On Monday, the senators called for federal funding for a national network of ocean-going devices — from high-tech buoys to aquatic drones that resemble small yellow missiles — to track just how fast the world’s oceans are turning sour.

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Wildfires
7:39 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Climate Change Means More Massive Wildfires Ahead, Gov. Inslee Says

The Washington wildland fires in eastern Washington have so far cost the state more than $50 million.
Credit Flickr Photo/Washington Department of Natural Resources

Fighting this summer’s wildfires in eastern Washington has cost the state more than $50 million, and Governor Jay Inslee said the state can expect even more expensive fires in years ahead.

The ongoing fires are the “tip of the iceberg," Inslee said, because warmer climate likely means more fires.

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Lessons From Oso
5:21 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Independent Commission To Probe Oso Landslide

Grocery owner Kevin Ashe of Darrington
John Ryan KUOW

An independent commission will delve into the deadliest landslide in Washington history. The commission will seek statewide lessons from the Oso landslide, land use in the Oso area before the slide and the emergency response in the days and weeks afterward.

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Work Safety
9:20 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Feds Ban Free Climbing By Electric Utility Workers

Seattle City Light lineworkers 180 feet above the Seattle Ship Canal in 2011.
Credit KUOW Photo/John Ryan

The Obama Administration is putting an end to the common practice of "free climbing" by electrical lineworkers. Seattle City Light and other electric utilities let their lineworkers climb transmission towers without using safety harnesses.

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Megaprojects
9:58 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Seattle Tunnel Partner Wins $80 Million Dispute Over Boston’s Big Dig

Road signs from Boston's Big Dig.
Flickr Photo/Nantaskart!

One of the two companies attempting to dig a highway tunnel beneath the Seattle waterfront has won an $80 million dispute with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

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Delivery Testing
3:57 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Amazon: Send In The Drones (And The Lobbyists)

This undated image provided by Amazon.com shows the so-called Prime Air unmanned aircraft project that Amazon is working on in its research and development labs.
Amazon handout

Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, is seeking permission to send unmanned aircraft into the skies. The company has asked the Federal Aviation Administration for permission to test its delivery-by-drone system.

The Seattle retailer has been testing drones indoors in Seattle, but it needs a federal exemption to test them outside. The company tells the FAA it wants to test drones on its own property “near Seattle.”

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Shoreline
10:15 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Lottery Winner Fined For Illegal Land Clearing On San Juan Island

The cleared property in December.
Washington Department of Ecology

Washington state officials have fined a Virginia man $79,000 for illegal clearing of a San Juan Island shoreline.

It’s trouble Dave Honeywell of Fredericksburg, Virginia, wouldn’t have gotten into if he hadn’t just won the lottery.

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Industrial Disaster
8:37 pm
Sun July 6, 2014

Four Years After Deadly Blast, Tesoro Mostly Unscathed

Charred towers and machinery at the Tesoro Corp. refinery in Anacortes, Washington, following the blast.
Credit AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

It was the state’s worst industrial accident in nearly 50 years.

On a chilly April night in 2010, a giant fireball lit up the sky above Anacortes, Washington. A southeast wind pushed a plume of black smoke toward the heart of this seaside town an hour north of Seattle.

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