John Ryan | KUOW News and Information

John Ryan

Reporter

Year started with KUOW: 2009

John welcomes story ideas and feedback from listeners. Email him at jryan@kuow.org or call him at 206-543-0637. For secure, confidential communication, he's at 1-401-405-1206 on the Signal messaging app, or you can send snail mail (but don't put your return address on the outside) to John Ryan, KUOW, 4518 Univ. Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105.

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. 

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

Ways to Connect

Seattle police patrol cars.
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.

Flickr Photo/InSapphoWeTrust (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/9L3kcm
Flickr Photo/InSapphoWeTrust (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/9L3kcm

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Bryan Runbert
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.

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.

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.

Swedish hospital entrance
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.

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.

62-year-old Jeff Poppe (in red) at the 26-mile mark.
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.

Seattle Channel

Seattle’s police chief stepped down on Monday. John Diaz announced his retirement 33 years after starting with the Seattle Police Department – and one week after a pair of outside reviews criticized SPD under his tenure.

KUOW/John Ryan

The Shell Oil Co. refinery in Anacortes, Wash., sprang a leak last week. Shell quickly shut down the equipment that was boiling oil to make gasoline, but the shutdown led to a release of toxic gases.

U.S. Attorney's Office

A Seattle man received an 18-year prison sentence on terrorism charges on Monday after plotting to attack a military installation in South Seattle.

More than 500 workers at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia are on strike.

KUCB Photo/Stephanie Joyce

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar had some tough words for Shell Oil Thursday as he announced the results of an investigation into Shell's Alaskan accidents in 2012. But he did not announce the tough consequences that environmentalists were hoping for in the wake of Shell’s year of Arctic mishaps.

KUOW Photo/John Ryan

The Tea Party has become a fixture in American politics. But the Sanka Party? Not so much. Other than an interest in hot beverages, the two activist groups have little in common. The Sanka Party got started last summer near Tacoma, Wash., in the unlikeliest of places: inside the walls of the state’s largest psychiatric institution.

U.S. Coast Guard Photo/Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis

Shell Oil Co. has put Arctic drilling on hold. The company announced Wednesday that it will not attempt to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean this year. The announcement comes after a year of accidents and setbacks for Shell’s Arctic drilling efforts.

Wikimedia Commons

UPDATE: Shell plans to use three tugs to tow the damaged Kulluk oil rig to Dutch Harbor in Alaska's Aleutian Islands, where it will await a longer trip to an unnamed Asian drydock. Shell and the US Coast Guard have disbanded the joint command formed after the Seattle-bound rig broke free from its sole tugboat, then ran aground. Officials said the Kulluk's outer hull was damaged but not breached. They did not specify the degree of damage, saying only, "The outer hull did receive damage as expected with a vessel being aground during adverse weather." 

Whitehouse.gov

President Barack Obama has nominated Sally Jewell, the head of Kent, Wash.-based retail chain Recreational Equipment Inc., to lead the Interior Department. 

John Ryan

Close to half of the garbage generated in America doesn’t come from individual homes or businesses. It comes from construction sites.

U.S. Coast Guard

The Obama administration launched a sweeping inquiry into Shell Oil’s Arctic drilling program on Tuesday. The probe, to be completed within 60 days, will look at the company’s mishaps in Alaska and in Puget Sound.

The announcement from Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar comes a week after Shell’s Kulluk oil rig ran aground in the Gulf of Alaska.

U.S. Coast Guard/Travis Marsh

A shipwrecked oil rig that was bound for Seattle has been floated off the rocks and towed to a safe harbor in the Gulf of Alaska. A fleet of nine ships accompanied Shell Oil’s Kulluk drill rig on the 45-mile tow. Shortly before noon Pacific Time, the rig reached its anchorage in sheltered Kiliuda Bay on Kodiak Island.  

Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis / US Coast Guard

UPDATE: The Kulluk ran aground late Monday night, with 150,000 gallons of diesel and oil on board.

A floating oil rig that was abandoned on Saturday in heavy seas in the Gulf of Alaska is being towed away from land — a second time.

Historic gas pump
John Ryan

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn wants the city to get its money out of fossil fuels. He has called on the city’s two main retirement funds to divest millions of dollars invested in oil and gas companies.

2017 is the first full summer the Sea-Tac airport is using displays that show the wait time for each security checkpoint.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

The Transportation Security Administration has been quietly replacing passenger-screening machines at some of the nation’s largest airports. The TSA has been moving them to smaller airports and replacing them with security scanners that don’t use X-rays.

T.J. Guiton

The Arctic Challenger left Puget Sound's Bellingham Bay Wednesday night and arrived at a deep-water anchorage near Anacortes, Wash., Thursday morning. The barge is part of Shell Oil’s fleet of vessels aimed at exploring the Arctic Ocean for oil.

The Arctic Challenger’s oil-spill containment system failed its first field test off Anacortes in September. Since then, Shell has rebuilt a 20-foot oil-containment dome that was “crushed like a beer can” in the first test.

Pages