Gabriel Spitzer

Health & Science Reporter / Assistant News Director

Gabriel Spitzer covers health and science at KPLU, after a year covering youth and education. He joined KPLU after years covering science, health and the environment at WBEZ in Chicago. There, he created the award-winning mini-show, Clever Apes. Having also lived in Alaska and California, Gabriel feels he’s been closing in on Seattle for some time, and has finally landed on the bullseye.

Gabriel received his Master's of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, and his degree in English at Cornell University. He’s been honored with the Kavli Science Journalism Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and won awards from the Association of Health Care Journalists, the National Association of Black Journalists and Public Radio News Directors, Inc. He lives in West Seattle with his wife Ashley and their two sons, Ezra and Oliver.

Gabriel’s most memorable KPLU moment was: “In just my second week here, I found myself covering the unfolding story of a mass shooting and citywide manhunt. It was a tragic and chaotic day, when the public badly needed someone to sort the facts from the rumors. It made me proud of our profession.”

Pages

Education
5:00 am
Thu April 18, 2013

Seattle school district considers extending elementary school day

Seattle Public Schools is exploring adding a half-hour to the elementary school day.
ecastro Flickr

Seattle Public Schools wants to add a half-hour to the school day for elementary students by as early as the next school year. But the district must first align a number of variables, including funding and union support.

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marathon bombing
12:11 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Police: Boy, 8, among 3 killed in Boston Marathon blasts

Medical workers aid an injured woman at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon following two explosions there, Monday, April 15, 2013 in Boston
Charles Krupa Associated Press

Hear Gabriel Spitzer's interview with Seattle runner Amy Roe.

Two bombs exploded in the packed streets near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing three people—including an 8-year-old boy—and injuring more than 140 in a bloody scene of shattered glass and severed limbs that raised alarms that terrorists might have struck again in the U.S.

A White House official speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still unfolding said the attack was being treated as an act of terrorism.  

A senior U.S. intelligence official said two other bombs were found near the end of the 26.2-mile course.

President Barack Obama said the U.S. does not yet know "who did this or why" but vowed that whoever is responsible "will feel the full weight of justice." 

"We will find out who did this and we will hold them accountable," he said. 

WBZ-TV reported late Monday that law enforcement officers were searching an apartment in the Boston suburb of Revere. Massachusetts State Police confirmed that a search warrant related to the investigation into the explosions was served Monday night in Revere but provided no further details.

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Education
5:00 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Coaches help students with attention deficits stay engaged

Katie Beckham works hard to keep up in math class.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

As spring fever sets in, teachers are struggling to keep their students focused on the classroom. That can be a challenge even on the best of days for kids with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Their brains work differently from the students most schools were designed for, and nearly a third end up dropping out or delaying graduation.

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Zombies in the classroom
5:00 am
Wed April 10, 2013

How to survive a zombie apocalypse? Learn geography

Zombie-based learning teaches geography skills against the backdrop of a zombie apocalypse.
David Hunter

Our story begins in an ordinary suburban middle school with a group of unsuspecting students, and one smart-alecky question to the teacher: “Mr. Hunter, did you hear about the zombie that attacked some guy the other day?”

Of course, the other students dismiss it, all except for one. He’s intrigued enough to dig a little deeper.

The student and Mr. Hunter begin plotting reported attacks on a map, and trying to discern a pattern in the outbreak’s spread.

“They’re getting closer to us,” the student concludes.

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Early Education
4:00 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Feds cut off two Seattle-based Head Start programs

United Indians' Head Start program, based at their Daybreak Star building, will end after this June.
sea turtle Flickr

Two Seattle-based Head Start providers are losing their funding, as part of a wider crackdown within the federal preschool program.

Other agencies will take over the contracts, so the move won’t reduce the number of early education slots available to low-income kids in Seattle. But to the providers who are being cut off, it’s devastating.

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Education
12:01 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Rainier Beach High works to make elite IB program serve all students

Rainier Beach principal Dwane Chappelle talks to sophomores about the IB program.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

An elite academic program developed at a Swiss private school is coming to a beleaguered Seattle high school where officials hope it will boost enrollment and attract high-achieving students. Now they face the challenge of making the program serve the whole school instead of just a privileged few.

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starbucks & same-sex marriage
1:07 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Did Starbucks' same-sex marriage stance really hurt its bottom line?

Associated Press

Did Starbucks’ stance on same-sex marriage hurt its bottom line?

A shareholder claimed as much during the company’s annual meeting last month, prompting a heated exchange with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. The shareholder, citing a boycott by the National Organization for Marriage of the company, hinted that Starbucks’ stock price had suffered. 

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Education
3:33 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Seattle’s most troubled high school gets elite academic degree program

Rainier Beach High School is seen in this photo.
how3ird Flickr

Rainier Beach High School will become the third Seattle school to offer the International Baccalaureate program, district officials announced.

IB was originally developed to educate the children of diplomats in Europe, but is gaining popularity as a way to help turn around struggling urban schools. And Rainier Beach is one of those, with chronic under-enrollment and the lowest test scores of any comprehensive high school in the district.

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Education
3:38 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

After 26 years, football returns to Tacoma middle schools

Casey Madison Tacoma Public Schools

Middle school football teams hit the gridiron this week in Tacoma for the first time since the Reagan administration. It’s been 26 years since the school district transitioned from a junior high system, and canceled almost all middle school athletics.

Now some creative fundraising has allowed both boys and girls to don pads and helmets, and go knock the stuffing out of each other.

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Transportation
5:00 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Costs said to hamper staffing fixes aboard Washington ferries

Washington ferries sial with the minimum required crew, leaving them no wiggle room to deal with staffing shortages.
Curtis Cronn Flickr

Washington ferry officials blame budget cuts and new rules for Monday’s cancelations, but workers say that kind of disruption could be avoided.

It didn't take much: A crew member called in sick around midnight. A captain took a vacation but still wound up on the schedule. Those routine staffing hiccups resulted in four canceled ferry runs Monday, stranding hundreds of passengers. 

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Conservation
3:26 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

King County reaches deal to preserve 43,000 acres of forestland

King County has reached a preliminary agreement to permanently protect a big chunk of forestland in the Cascade foothills.

The stretch of White River Forest spans 42,962 acres — about the size of Bainbridge Island and “the largest swath of unprotected forestland remaining in King County,” according to King County Executive Dow Constantine.

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Business
4:10 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Schultz defends Starbucks' support of same-sex marriage

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said backing same-sex marriage was not an economic decision.
University of Denver Flickr

The CEO of Starbucks defended his support of same-sex marriage at the company’s annual meeting in Seattle. Starbucks came out in favor last year of Washington’s referendum legalizing same-sex marriage. Opponents of that measure vowed to make Starbucks pay, and the National Organization for Marriage launched a boycott of Starbucks.

At the company’s annual meeting Wednesday, shareholder Tom Strobhar suggested that the boycott had indeed bled the company of value.

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Education
3:51 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Seattle schools freeze hiring, spending as deficit looms

Seattle’s school district has frozen hiring and spending in anticipation of a budget shortfall next year. But since officials say the change won't affect actual classroom resources or essential personnel, you might say the district has put hiring and spending in the fridge.

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Education
6:00 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Should in-demand college degrees cost more to earn?

Protesters chat with police following their march into the Univesrity of Washington president's office.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

Should students earning in-demand degree pay more?

That's the idea behind behind differential tuition, which would allow colleges to raise the price of earning expensive, sought-after degrees like engineering and computer science.

Some local students are rallying against the idea and urging their schools not to boost tuition to match their majors' demand. 

But the schools say differential tuition could help offset deep cutbacks in state funding.

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Transportation
4:34 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Local leaders to state: Let us tax ourselves for transportation

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn joins area business, labor and elected leaders to push for "local options" for funding roads and transit.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

Local leaders from across King County want to tax themselves to pay for bus service, ferries, roads and bridges, but even local measures would need approval from the state.

The coalition, which includes the mayor of Seattle and more than 40 other cities, want to be able to tack on fees to car tab renewals and vehicle transfers, among others. That requires approval from state legislators.

King County Executive Dow Constantine said local governments should be free to invest in their own infrastructure.

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