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. Email him at jryan@kuow.org or call him at 206-543-0637. (Pro Tip: Do not "reach out to" him -- he hates that vague cliche!)

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

Ways To Connect

The lion's mane jelly taken by KUOW reporter and diver Ann Dornfeld in 2010.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

Little fish are disappearing from much of Puget Sound, according to a new study.

These are the fish that orcas and salmon depend on, and they’re being replaced by ballooning populations of jellyfish, which most fish and seabirds don't eat.

Chelsea Lapointe and her daughter Santa Monica at Bianca's Place shelter in Seattle
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

It’s Monday, a little after 5 p.m., and Chelsea Lapointe and her 7-week-old baby walk into Bianca's Place shelter in Seattle's booming South Lake Union neighborhood.

It’s before dinner, and a few hours before staff will haul mattresses onto the floor to turn the common area from dining room into rough dormitory. Lapointe has just graduated from a six-month drug rehab program in Shoreline.

KUOW / John Ryan photo

Hundreds of people crowded into Seattle City Hall Thursday night to air their concerns about the city's rising cost of housing.

Protesters rally as part of the National Day of Action for Higher Wages on Capitol Hill, Seattle, on April 15, 2015.
KUOW Photo/Todd Mundt

Unions and low-wage workers held rallies around the state Wednesday to push for higher wages.

Twenty-one protesters, including seven Seattle University faculty members, were arrested after occupying an intersection near the university, which has blocked adjunct faculty members' efforts to unionize.

Homeless shelters in Seattle, one of the nation's wealthiest cities, turn people away each night. Wait lists for low-income housing are years-long. Cars and tents serving as makeshift homes can be spotted all over Seattle and the rest of King County.

Across the U.S., more than a million Americans wound up in homeless shelters in 2013, according to the latest numbers from the Obama administration. Homelessness remains widespread, but in most places, it's been decreasing in recent years.

Homeless families outside a shelter in downtown Seattle
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

If you have an emergency, you call 911.

If you need emergency shelter or housing, you can call 211 – but be prepared to wait six months or more.

In the Seattle area, as throughout the United States, there aren’t enough beds.

Troy Kelley, then a Washington state Representative (D-Tacoma), testifying in a deposition in 2010.
Riddell Williams

Before Troy Kelley became the state official most responsible for sniffing out government fraud and waste, he was a state representative.

And like most legislators in Olympia, he had other work.

Vincenzo Floramo / Greenpeace

After nearly two hours of public testimony Tuesday, Seattle port commissioners upheld their decision to let Arctic oil-drilling rigs dock at the Port of Seattle.

They did vote 5-0 to make it harder for Shell Oil to use the Port of Seattle's Terminal 5 beyond the two-year term of the lease the port approved in January.

Robert Robinson listens as Seattle Police Detective D. "Cookie" Bouldin reads a poem at a memorial for his son, Robert Jr.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

The site of Sunday's shooting in Seattle's Beacon Hill neighborhood has turned into a shrine and gathering place for people remembering Robert Robinson, Jr. KUOW's John Ryan reports.

Student activists Angela Feng, Sarra Tekola and Alex Lenferna of Divest UW appear before the UW Board of Regents on March 12, 2015 to urge the university to get rid of its coal investments.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Student activists at the University of Washington urged the Board of Regents on Thursday to dump the university's investments in coal.

Jonathan Murrell said his life spiraled out of control after a car accident in 2012.  He hasn't had housing in years.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Ten years ago this month, King County made a bold promise to end homelessness in 10 years. The ranks of the homeless have declined in Washington state and nationally during that time. But in the Seattle area, the number of people sleeping on the streets and in shelters has only gone up.

Alex Williams, an operator for 211, King County's information line for emergency food or shelter.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

A phone rings in a room full of busy operators at Seattle's Crisis Clinic. Alex Williams answers this one. 

“Good morning, thank you for calling King County 211. My name is Alex. How can I help you today?"

King County 211 is the line members of the public can call for emergency shelter or social services.

A clipboard used for King County's annual One Night Count.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

When a homeless person needs help, they are often asked for a lot of personal information.

For victims of domestic violence, that information could potentially help an abuser track them down. That’s why homeless people in Washington state are given the choice to keep personal information from a big database that service providers keep and share on the people they help.

KUOW Photo/John Ryan

A labor dispute with dock workers has led to slowdowns and backups at West Coast ports. One part of the Port of Seattle's cargo business is booming. KUOW's John Ryan reports.

tesoro workers anacortes
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

About 200 workers at the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, Washington, are on strike. They've had a 24-hour picket line at the plant's main gate for more than a week.

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