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.”

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Teen Drivers
4:31 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Washington bucks national trend with fewer teen driver deaths

State Farm Flickr

A new report finds more teen drivers are dying around the country, but not in Washington. So while nationwide there’s been a 19 percent increase in 16- and 17-year old drivers dying in the first half of last year, deaths dropped sharply in Washington

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Politics
4:08 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Snohomish Co. Executive's resignation shocks fellow officials

Snohomish County

The Snohomish County Executive’s abrupt resignation announcement came as a shock to his fellow public officials. Aaron Reardon has been under the gun for more than a year, dating back to revelations of an extramarital affair.

But audience members were caught off guard when, at the end of an otherwise unremarkable “State of the County” speech, he announced he would step down May 31.

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Law
5:18 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Seattle officials urge police not to switch on surveillance cameras yet

A Seattle Police Dept. map shows the locations of cameras in West Seatte, where all but two have been installed.
Det. Monty Moss SPD

Seattle city council members said today they want new laws on the books before police turn on a string of surveillance cameras. The network of 30 or so waterfront cameras is being installed in the name of port security, but citizens say those cameras could also turn around and peek into neighborhoods.

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Law
4:27 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Seattle surveillance cameras have ACLU's antennas up

A surveillance camera sits atop a light pole along Seattle's Alki Avenue.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

Civil liberties advocates are raising concerns about a network of 30 surveillance cameras installed along Seattle’s shoreline, purchased with a $5 million dollar federal grant. When the measure first came up in city council last year, Seattle Police Assistant Chief Paul McDonagh said it was all about Port security.  

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Education
4:55 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Hearing in a noisy classroom gets better with training

inuii Flickr

New research out of the University of Washington finds hearing-impaired kids can train their ears and brains to hear better in a noisy classroom. Students with limited hearing have an especially tough time making out what someone is saying if, say, kids in the back are whispering, or a classmate has a cough.

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Education
5:00 am
Tue February 12, 2013

Why are kids in Federal Way playing with a nuclear reactor?

High school senior Raymond Maung poors liquid nitrogen into the reactor.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

Hear the full story

In a quiet Federal Way garage, a group of students is getting the chance to do something they’d never get away with at school – build and run a thermonuclear reactor. 

The project aims to reimagine what science class might look like, and nudge dozens of kids into careers in science and technology.

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Environment
12:08 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

For Interior nominee Sally Jewell, NW landscapes are in her blood

Sally Jewell came full circle when she became CEO of the compnay that sold her dad his frist tent.
REI

President Barack Obama’s nominee for Secretary of the Interior is an unusual choice. Sally Jewell is not a politician – she’s CEO of the outdoor gear company, REI. But those who know her say she has savvy, social conscience, and a deep respect for the open spaces she’ll be managing if the Senate confirms her.

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Education
5:24 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Washington colleges top lists for most Peace Corps volunteers

Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet congratulates the presidents of the University of Washington and Western Washington University.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

Maybe it’s something in the water: Washington schools top the lists of large, medium and small colleges producing the most Peace Corps volunteers. It’s the first time one state has dominated all three categories of the Peace Corps’ list.

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Education
5:12 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

Homeless students on the rise in Washington

Keeping homeless kids in school means you have to make sure they can get there.
freefotouk Flickr

Some 27, 390 homeless students went to public school in Washington last year — up more than 5 percent over the year before, according to new numbers released by the state superintendent’s office. In the past, increases like that have been explained by school districts getting better at counting. But spokesman Nathan Olson said this time, based on what he’s heard from district officials, it looks like there just really are more homeless students.

“The data collection is fine now. People know about this, the homeless liaisons that every district has know about this, it’s not an issue. The issue really is the economy right now,” Olson said.

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Gun Control
4:52 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

Public health at forefront of King County's gun initiative

A King County public health effort might put pressure on gun retailers.
Divine Harvester Flickr

The debate over gun control may be focused on the nation’s capital, but one local official says King County will soon take measures of its own.

About 125 people die each year of gun violence in King County. Executive Dow Constantine says the way a county government can chip away at that number is through a public health approach. He announced in his state of the county address that he is directing the health department to collect new data on gun deaths and injuries.

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Health
5:01 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Natural living: 5 myths about nature vs. technology

Is the "other white meat" actually healthy pork?

Technology has made us healthier in a lot of ways. It’s beaten back old threats from smallpox to stillbirth to scarlet fever. But many think the march of progress has gone too far, and we need to get back to nature. 

Author Nathanael Johnson says most of us are in the middle – suspicious of technology run amok, but unwilling to trade the condo for a mud hut. He investigates whether the natural approach is really better for us in his book, “All Natural.” 

Nathanael also laid out five common myths about nature versus technology. Get the gist below, or click below and listen to the full conversation:

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Education
9:58 am
Thu January 31, 2013

Seattle test boycotters rally national support

Teachers are trying to generate a show of support for their boycott of teh MAP tests.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

A group of Seattle teachers is trying to rally national support behind its boycott of a required test, even as they face reprisals from the school district. Teachers protesting the Measures of Academic Progress, or MAP tests, asked their supporters to besiege district headquarters with phone calls and emails. They say the tests waste class time and give misleading information, and they object to MAP scores being used in their own professional evaluations.

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Education
5:01 am
Mon January 28, 2013

Billions in school funding on February ballots

Arbor Hts. Principal Christy Collins shows her schools restrooms, where the water is unsafe to drink. The school will be overhauled if Seattle's capital levy passes.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

Washington voters have begun receiving ballots for a special election on February 12th, with billions of dollars for schools at stake.

Seattle Public Schools is asking voters to approve more than $1.2 billion in construction and operating funds, much of which would go toward overhauling or replacing old buildings, like the 1950s-vintage Arbor Heights Elementary in West Seattle. Principal Christy Collins recently showed off a chilly special education classroom there.

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Education
6:01 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Standoff escalates over test boycott

Teachers and their backers rallied outside district headquarters before a school board meeting.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

The standoff over a series of tests mandated by Seattle Public Schools heated up Wednesday, as another high school joined a growing boycott of the tests and district leaders threatened protesters with suspension.

Teachers say the Measures of Academic Progress, or MAP tests, assess material not covered in class, give poor results and swallow up teaching time. Four schools have rebelled against the tests, with Chief Sealth High the latest to join. Superintendent Jose Banda made clear Wednesday what the consequences of that boycott could be: up to 10 days' suspension without pay.

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Education
6:01 am
Tue January 22, 2013

Critics say alternative learning program raises red flags

The Alternative Learning Experience program helps students like fifth grader Gabriel Johnson get the non-traditional education he needs, but some districts have drawn scrutiny over how they administer it.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

Not every student thrives in a traditional classroom, but changing technology and new research on learning mean Washington kids have more alternatives than ever. They can homeschool part-time or go to class online, even if it means enrolling in a district clear across the state. But that’s allowed a whole raft of questionable practices, and set up a dilemma for policymakers.

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