Tom Banse

Regional Correspondent

Tom Banse covers national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from 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 found online and heard on-air 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.  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.

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.


Science and Technology
6:15 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

Northwest Drone Businesses Get FAA Clearance For Takeoff

Hundreds of private drone operators across the U.S. have been granted permission by the FAA to fly unmanned aircraft, like this quadcopter.
Vicki Burton Flickr

The Federal Aviation Administration has recently granted clearance for takeoff to big batches of commercial drone operators.

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6:15 pm
Mon May 18, 2015

Wyoming Governor Makes Personal Appeals To Inslee, Brown For Coal Ports

File photo of a coal export terminal.
Peabody Energy

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead is in the midst of his second tour in less than a year to drum up support to export coal through the Northwest.

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7:09 am
Fri May 15, 2015

Freight Railroads In Northwest Unlikely To Meet Deadline To Install Safety Upgrade

File photo of a Union Pacific train passing downtown Auburn, Washington.
Karatematthew Wikimedia

Freight railroads in the Northwest appear unlikely to meet an end-of-the-year deadline to install the type of system safety regulators say could have prevented Tuesday's deadly Amtrak crash in Philadelphia.

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Lifestyle, Leisure, and Sport
4:56 pm
Thu May 14, 2015

Inaugural Race To Alaska Likened To 'Iditarod With Chance Of Drowning'

Joe Bersch prepping the Team Pure & Wild proa to sail to Ketchikan.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

A souped-up paddle board, custom rowing craft and high performance, carbon fiber sailboats are just some of the eye-catching entries in the inaugural Race to Alaska.

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Government and Politics
4:53 pm
Fri May 8, 2015

Tribes, Washington State Open Door To Cooperate On Legal Marijuana

Puyallup Tribal Chairman Bill Sterud stands third from left behind Gov. Jay Inslee at a bill signing ceremony on Friday.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

There's a process in place now for Indian tribes and the state of Washington to jointly regulate marijuana should any tribes choose to legalize and sell it.

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Government and Politics
5:16 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

Washington Nixes Powdered Alcohol, Similar Oregon Ban Moving Ahead

Palcohol creator Mark Phillips pours the powdered alcohol equivalent of one shot of vodka into a glass in a promotional video on the company's website.

Pouches of alcohol in granular or powder form will not appear in Washington stores, nor at this rate in Oregon either.

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Food, Agriculture, and Animals
4:45 pm
Wed May 6, 2015

Oregon Business Serves Up Crickets As A Food Choice

Cricket Flours Co-Founder Omar Ellis offers product samples in Portland.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Of all the things you're considering for your next meal today, bugs are probably not on the menu.

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8:35 am
Mon May 4, 2015

Road-Tripping On The West Coast Electric Highway

A stretch of coastline accessible via the West Coast Electric Highway, in Curry County, Oregon.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

The call of the open road beckons to electric car owners now that Washington and Oregon have completed their portions of the West Coast Electric Highway, a network of rapid recharging stations to enable long distance electric-powered travel.

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Crime, Law and Justice
3:58 pm
Mon April 27, 2015

Hero Teacher Saved Students' Lives, Possibly School Shooter's Too

Social studies teacher Brady Olson tackled the alleged school shooter.
North Thurston Public Schools

When a 16-year-old student fired shots at North Thurston High School Monday morning, Lacey, Washington, Police Commander Jim Mack said an armed officer assigned to the school was nearby and ran toward the noise.

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Disasters and Accidents
9:25 am
Mon April 27, 2015

Washington Teacher Tackled Shooter, Preventing Any Injuries

Kiana Larsen reunited with her mother Angie outside North Thurston High School in Lacey, Washington after a teacher reportedly stopped a student from shooting at the school.
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Witnesses on the scene at North Thurston High School in Lacey, Washington said shots were fired on campus Monday morning by a student.

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