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.

Pages

Campaign Finance
8:43 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Washington Billionaires Staying Out Of State Politics This Year

Nine men and one woman from Washington state made this year's list of American billionaires, recently updated by Forbes magazine.

The group of 10 had an oversized influence on Washington state politics in 2012. But so far this year, the billionaires are mostly sitting on the sidelines.

Read more
Excessive Force Review
5:27 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Seattle Police Get High Marks From White, Asian Residents, But Panned By Blacks, Latinos

Flickr Photo/Brittney Bollay (CC BY-NC-ND)

Three out of four Seattle residents think the Seattle Police do a good job keeping the public safe.  But the police get much worse reviews from the city’s African-American and Latino communities. Seventy percent of African-Americans and 62 percent of Latinos think the department often uses excessive force.

Read more
Fuel Emissions
4:09 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Study: Alaska Airlines Pollutes Less Than Other US Airlines

Flickr Photo/InSapphoWeTrust

Mile for mile, Seattle-based Alaska Airlines pollutes less than any other US airline. That's one of the findings of a new study of fuel efficiency in the aviation sector from a nonprofit group.

Read more
Elections 2013
5:39 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Monsanto Pours $4.6 Million Into Anti-GMO Labeling Campaign

With one major donation, Monsanto has become, by far, this year's largest campaign contributor in Washington state.
Monsanto logo

The Monsanto Co. has jumped into Washington state politics in a big way.

With a check for nearly $4.6 million, the St. Louis-based Fortune 500 company has more than doubled the money raised by opponents of Initiative 522, which would require labeling genetically modified foods.

The No on 522 campaign has now raised about $7.9 million, giving it a $3.5 million advantage over backers of the measure to label GMO foods.

Read more
Medical Mistakes
6:26 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Hospitals, Nurses Clash Over How To Keep Patients From Falling

Cancer survivor and fall victim Gene White of Des Moines, Wash.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Gene White of Des Moines, Wash., has had a litany of health problems in recent years: testicular cancer; cancer in his nervous system; pneumonia; the fungus Aspergillus infecting his lungs. The retired airline pilot says he got great care at Swedish Medical Center and the other Seattle hospitals that helped him survive those life-threatening diseases.

Read more
Gas Tax
5:57 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Gov. Inslee: Special Session On Transportation Needed

Washington Governor Jay Inslee.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Governor Jay Inslee held a press conference on Tuesday to announce that he wants to call a special session of the state Legislature this fall.

The session would address what Inslee and King County Executive Dow Constantine described as the state’s urgent transportation needs.

Read more
Genetic Engineering
5:51 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

GMO Labeling Backers Outspend Foes In Washington

The busy labels of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Correction 8/22/13: A previous version of this story contained errors. It overstated the contributions received by the Yes on 522 campaign and the share of donations received from Washington state. The Yes campaign has amassed $3.5 (not 3.9) million, with 79 (not 71) percent of the funds coming from out of state. The nonprofit MapLight, based in Berkeley, Calif., informed us on Aug. 21 that it had double-counted some contributions, which led to the errors.

Read more
Medical Mistakes
6:17 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Caution: Patients Falling At Washington Hospitals

Lester Reed of MultiCare models one of the wrist bands given to hospital patients at high risk of falling.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Medical mistakes are a leading cause of death and injury in America. One of the most frequent mishaps in Washington hospitals: patients who fall. A fall in a hospital can lead to serious complications, even death. Medical experts say that kind of fall should never happen.

One Small Step, One Big Fall

Helen Funston lies on her back in a darkened room. She pushes her shoulder down into physical therapist Stella In’s hand until she gasps with pain.

Funston tells In the pain is an eight out of 10.

Read more
Medical Mistakes
6:09 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Sponges, Tools And More Left Inside Washington Hospital Patients

Sponges and tools about to be used in a hernia surgery at University of Washington Medical Center.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

About 30 times a year, a hospital in Washington state leaves a sponge or surgical instrument inside one of its patients. The accident known as a “retained foreign object” is one of the state’s most commonly reported medical mistakes.

Read more
Alaskan Way Viaduct
8:11 am
Wed July 31, 2013

Problems And Progress For Seattle's Waterfront Tunnel

Architect Brian Runberg climbing onto the roof of the building he owns, with a building motion detector above him and the Alaskan Way Viaduct directly behind him.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

The world’s largest tunneling machine started grinding into the soil beneath downtown Seattle Tuesday afternoon. The machine known as Bertha is digging a 58-foot-wide tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

Read more
Eurasian milfoil
8:38 am
Tue July 16, 2013

Bellevue Closes Beaches To Fight Invasive Species

Signs (and an unseen lifeguard) deter swimmers at Bellevue's Meydenbauer Beach Park until herbicide sprayed nearby has had 24 hours to settle to the bottom of Lake Washington.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

The city of Bellevue, Wash., closed two public beaches to swimming Monday as it sprayed herbicide into Lake Washington’s Meydenbauer Bay. It plans to close a third beach on Wednesday.

Bellevue is fighting an invasive weed known as Eurasian watermilfoil.

Read more
Puget Sound Energy
5:41 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Washington’s Largest Coal User Unfazed by Obama’s Climate Plan

President Barack Obama wipes his face as he speaks about climate change, Tuesday, June 25, 2013, at Georgetown University in Washington.
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

President Barack Obama’s wide-ranging plan for action on climate change, announced Tuesday at Georgetown University, includes regulating carbon emissions from existing coal-burning power plants for the first time. In the Pacific Northwest, relatively little coal is used, but one of the region’s biggest coal consumers is sticking with its plans to keep relying on the dirtiest of all fossil fuels.

Read more
Medical Mistakes
10:40 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Little Sign Of Washington Hospitals Becoming Less Error-Prone

Swedish Medical Center trumpets its safety record. Swedish's First Hill and Ballard locations received safety scores of "A" from the nonprofit Leapfrog Group in May. Swedish's Cherry Hill and Edmonds locations received "C" scores. The Leapfrog Group says hospitals pay it up to $12,500 for the right to advertise their safety designations.
Credit John Ryan / KUOW

US hospitals harm one out of every seven patients they aim to help. So-called “adverse events” inside hospitals are one of the leading causes of death in America.

Read more
Ready For Arctic Oil Spill
5:16 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Shell's Arctic "Beer Can" Passes Federal Test In Puget Sound

The Arctic Challenger lowering its containment dome into Puget Sound during tests in March
TJ Guiton

Shell Oil Co. had to postpone its Arctic drilling until 2014 after one of its oil rigs ran aground off the Alaska coast this winter, but Shell’s efforts to open a new frontier of oil exploration in the Arctic Ocean continue in Puget Sound.

The oil giant passed a key test with federal regulators in March in the waters off Anacortes, Wash., north of Seattle.

Read more
Deadly Blast
7:06 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Seattle Area Marathoners Recount Explosions In Boston

62-year-old Jeff Poppe (in red) at the 26-mile mark--about 2 minutes before the explosions.
Photos courtesy Jeff and Anita Poppe

Runners from the Seattle area spoke to KUOW about the explosions at Monday’s Boston Marathon. Please write weekday@kuow.org or call 206.685.2526 with your stories.

Read more

Pages