Tom Banse

Regional Correspondent

Tom Banse covers business, environment, public policy, human interest and national news across the Northwest. He reports from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events are unfolding. Tom's stories can be heard during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

Before taking his current beat, Tom covered state government and the Washington Legislature for 12 years. During the early 1990s, he worked in the Seattle bureau of United Press International. He got his start in radio at WCAL–FM, a public station in southern Minnesota. Reared in Seattle, Tom graduated from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota with a degree in American Studies. In 1996, he spent two months reporting from Bonn and Berlin, Germany on an Arthur F. Burns Fellowship. In 1999, he traversed the globe to cover the Pacific Rim (Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan) on a Jefferson Fellowship.

When not sifting through press releases, listening to lobbyists, or driving lonely highways, Tom enjoys exploring the Olympic Peninsula backcountry and cooking dinner with his wife and friends. Tom's secret ambition is to take six months off work and travel to a faraway place beyond the reach of email.

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Crime, Law and Justice
7:37 am
Tue August 19, 2014

Five Hospitals In Washington And Oregon Among Victims Of Computer Hack

A national hospital chain says it suspects Chinese hackers breached its computer system earlier this year. Patients whose doctors work with any of five hospitals in the Northwest might have had financial data stolen.

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Human Interest
10:47 am
Mon August 18, 2014

What Happens When 911 Callers Don't Speak English?

Dispatch supervisor Brenda Faxon and director Mark Buchholz in the Willamette Valley 911 Communications Center in Salem.
Credit Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

In an emergency, the last thing you want to hear is, "I can't understand you." The reality is emergency dispatchers in the Northwest generally speak one language, English. But in our increasingly polyglot society, some people in distress inevitably can't communicate in English.

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Environment and Planning
4:51 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

Triple Rescue And Rehab Ends Well For Lucky Ospreys

Rehabbed osprey flies away after its release Wednesday in Finley, Washington.
Andrea Berglin

Three young ospreys and a parent are flying free along the Columbia River today after surviving close calls with litter.

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Environment and Planning
3:00 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Feds Decide Wolverine Does Not Merit Threatened Species Status

File photo
Credit Steve Kroschel / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The wolverine is not going on the threatened species list after all. Tuesday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced federal protected status for the fierce and rare carnivore is unwarranted at this time.

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Lifestyle, Leisure, and Sport
7:42 am
Mon August 11, 2014

Seattle Runner Smashes Speed Record For Full Length Of Pacific Crest Trail

Seattle native Joe McConaughy reached the northern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail in record time Sunday.
Credit Michael Dillon / Run For Colin

A 23-year-old Seattle man has smashed the speed record for hiking the full length of the Pacific Crest Trail. Recent college grad Joe McConaughy crossed into Canada on Sunday, exactly 53 days, 6 hours and 37 minutes after leaving the Mexican border on the storied trail.

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Disasters and Accidents
5:27 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Is Wildfire Severity Really Getting Worse?

File photo. Is this year's fire season the worst it has ever been? New research suggest it is not.
Credit InciWeb

It might seem like fire season is as bad as it's ever been. But there's a group of researchers who question that prevailing wisdom.

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Environment and Planning
9:35 am
Wed August 6, 2014

Fatal Attraction: Ospreys In A Bind With Baling Twine, Fishing Line

This is how ospreys' unhealthy affinity for baling twine can kill. Idaho Fish and Game biologist Beth Waterbury rescued this osprey in the nick of time.
Beth Waterbury Idaho Fish and Game

Osprey nests are a common sight near rivers, lakes and bays in the Northwest. If you look closely with binoculars, you might notice some of these large raptors like to line their nests with discarded baling twine or fishing line. The problem is it can kill them.

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Health and Medicine
5:41 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

How A Fat Grizzly Bear Could Help You Avoid Diabetes

Washington State University is home to the nation's only captive grizzly bear research center.
Credit Courtney Flatt / EarthFix

Washington State University’s mascot is the cougar, but the university is also home to the nation’s only captive grizzly bear research center. A new study involving those bears yields insights into possible therapies for human obesity and diabetes.

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Energy
5:07 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Oregon Terminal Developer Gets Blessing For Natural Gas Exports

File photo of an LNG terminal in Nynashamn, Sweden.
Credit Jan Arrhenborg / Wikimedia

A proposed liquefied natural gas terminal near Astoria, Oregon, received the U.S. Department of Energy’s blessing Thursday to export to all overseas markets. It's a necessary approval to make the controversial project pencil out, but many hurdles remain.

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Economy, Business, Finance, and Labor
5:19 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Northwest Farmers Worried About Visa Backup For Legal Migrant Workers

File photo of workers at a berry farm outside of Eltopia, Washington.
Credit Anna King / Northwest News Network

A breakdown in a U.S. State Department computer system that processes foreign worker visas has sowed major worries at some Northwest orchards.

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