I was the Science & Health Reporter for 12 years, and the Environment Reporter for 5 years, at NPR member station KPLU, in Seattle, WA. Today, I’ve left journalism but keep this blog as a place for writing about some of the topics that I tracked over the years.
I grew up in Tacoma, Wash., graduated from Stanford University, and in 2007-08 attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology on a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship.
You can find many of my past stories at the KPLU news page. However, KPLU overhauled its website late in 2010. Some of the older stories can be found here at the older web archives; otherwise, they might be easier to find using the magic of Google (or Bing if you like).
Dear Mr. Seinfeld:
I would like to encourage you to do a full and balanced story on Brightwater treatment plant. There have been some very superficial stories of late on local TV news channels and in the P-I, which are neither in-depth nor balanced. People have a skewed perception about wastewater treatment. It is a fundamental necessity, yet we don’t want to see it, pay for it (hence part of the outrage over budget overruns) or hear about it. It’s something that affects the environment, clean water policy, and the sustainability of our ecosystems in a profound way. As environmentalists, we of course want to insure that our waste is not just being flushed into Puget Sound — but that is in fact what these news stories are implying. We need someone to do a story who understands the complexities of the issue — both from the technical standpoint of what treated effluent is and how it is regulated, as well as the environmental perspective. In light of the new book out by Rose George, The Big Necessity, I think it’s time that we enlighten listeners about something that we all prefer to ignore.
Keith…sorry…got to ask:
Is Jerry your brother?…surely the resemblance is there…
Hi Keith: I am a retired chemical engineer. I recently worked with The Pierce County Y to calculate the carbon footprint changes that are possible by changing the way members choose to reuse their own towels instead of using towels provided by the Y. The effects are large, especially when projected across multiple facilities like this. Are you interested in doing a piece on this? Thanks,
3619 n 34th st
Hi Pat – Thanks for the story idea. I’ll pass it along to our Environment Reporter, Liam Moriarty. I’m sure other people also wonder about the impact of all the paper towels we all use.
You…wrote a story about the Makah Whale Hunt..? How do I access this..Story..?
I wrote several stories back in the late 1990’s, when the Makah’s were resuming the whaling tradition. The only one that’s available on the web is, fortunately, the best of the lot. Here’s the link, via NPR:
Dear Keith, I appreciated your article/report this morning on the Medical Home Approach. Indeed, as you mentioned towards the end, there are a number of other, very small, Retainer or Home Care practices out here. More than a few of us don’t have the luxury of financial backing or a large parent company so are struggling on our own to get a toe-hold and to do our part in improving health care. Our little Guardian Family Care in Mill Creek and Dr. Heidi Rendall’s Anchor Medical Clinic in Mukilteo are examples. Thanks again for your interest and reports on the concept. We do believe in it as at least one answer, among many, to the current health care crisis.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’ve been wondering how the small practice docs are approaching this set of challenges. I’ve heard that a number of small practices are merging into larger groups (such as Swedish Physicians) in order to cover the cost of implementing electronic records and all the other upgrades needed.
The American Journal of Preventive Medicine could not produce the information your article is based on, in reference to the research on Taco Bell nutritional menus.
I want to read more on this waste of money…our taxes at work !
I’m having trouble accepting this is work produced by the Affordable Care Act !
THANK YOU for the article..
Yesterday there was an article (posted on FB) about the budget cuts affecting mothers and newborns care and counseling in the homes. One comment referred to the need for these services to observe home environments and interactions.
I believe there is more to these budget cuts and I want to research the whole proposal. How can I get that info ? Also, most hospitals now have additional classes for nursing moms and on childcare. I believe thase counseling services should be part of prenatal OB care by docs and their staff. Like it USED to be done. And the majority of families did quite well, naturally! I suspect, there is need to study the services that are potentially to be cut, reducing outrage of uninformed folks. Where do I start ?
Hi Patricia –
I think there’s a misunderstanding. The research was not produced by the Affordable Care Act. The law will require nationwide menu labeling similar to what we have in King County. But the research was done separately, and as I indicated, it’s just one study, and this is an unfolding area of research. Whether it’s a waste of taxpayer money remains to be seen. Here’s the abstract/summary of the research, as posted at PubMed:
Am J Prev Med. 2011 Feb;40(2):122-7.
Mandatory menu labeling in one fast-food chain in king county, washington.
Finkelstein EA, Strombotne KL, Chan NL, Krieger J.
Department of Health Services and Systems Research, Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School, Singapore.
BACKGROUND: As part of a comprehensive effort to stem the rise in obesity, King County, Washington, enforced a mandatory menu-labeling regulation requiring all restaurant chains with 15 or more locations to disclose calorie information at the point of purchase beginning in January 2009.
PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to quantify the impact of the King County regulation on transactions and purchasing behavior at one Mexican fast-food chain with locations within and adjacent to King County.
METHODS: To examine the effect of the King County regulation, a difference-in-difference approach was used to compare total transactions and average calories per transaction between seven King County restaurants and seven control locations focusing on two time periods: one period immediately following the law until the posting of drive-through menu boards (January 2009 to July 2009) and a second period following the drive-through postings (August 2009 through January 2010). Analyses were conducted in 2010.
RESULTS: No impact of the regulation on purchasing behavior was found. Trends in transactions and calories per transaction did not vary between control and intervention locations after the law was enacted.
CONCLUSIONS: In this setting, mandatory menu labeling did not promote healthier food-purchasing behavior.
Copyright Â© 2011 American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Hey, Keith! My name is Chanel Smith. I am with a company called Vital Frequency. I wanted to give you an opportunity to write an article about some cutting edge technology in the field of health and medicine. If you’re interested, check out our website at http://www.vitalfrequency.com to get a taste of the unique methodologies we are using. We look forward to hearing from you!
We met at the Journalism That Matters meeting with the Patterson Foundation on Monday 8/8/11. I’m involved with the JTM Global Health working group. We agreed to share audience research but I don’t have your email address. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
Hi Keith. There’s a recording breaking event happening next week you might want to know about. http://www.htisonar.com/Press%20Release%20Largest%20Fisheries%20Assembly%20in%20Seattle.pdf
I think the science and the Seattle parts are my favorite bits.
Best regards, Caroline