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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Gun Laws
5:10 pm
Mon June 18, 2012

Gun offenders in Seattle could do more prison time

Officials, including U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, announce a get-tough strategy on guns.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

Local and U.S. officials say they’re getting more aggressive about prosecuting gun crimes in Seattle, funneling more offenders into the stricter federal system. Law enforcement officials hope the threat of longer sentences and tougher prisons will deter more crimes. U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said it’s a proven strategy.

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Education
5:00 am
Mon June 18, 2012

Seattle finds "virtual" band-aid after axing summer school

As Seattle Public Schools begin their final week of classes, the district is turning to technology to rescue some summer school programs it cut last year. SPS will offer online courses at Franklin and possibly another high school, and three others plan to extend their school-year virtual learning into the summer. Cleveland and Rainier Beach high schools will have limited classroom programming.

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Education
5:00 am
Thu June 14, 2012

A graduate's journey from rural Tibet to Ingraham High School

Choega Thundrup works to master math concepts at Ingraham High School.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

You might say the Dalai Lama was his guidance counselor.

When Choega Thundrup dons his cap and gown Friday, it will be thanks to the spiritual leader who set him on his path, and people who risked their lives to help him get there.

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NBA arena
3:59 pm
Wed June 13, 2012

Arena investors revealed: Ballmer and Nordstroms back the project

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer cheering during a charity basketball game in Seattle last year - he's all in on the new arena.
The Associated Press

The team backing a new sports arena in Seattle began coming into focus today, with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and two members of the Nordstrom family putting their money behind the proposed venue. They’re the first to go public as part of hedge fund manager Chris Hansen’s team of private investors.

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Education
3:57 pm
Thu June 7, 2012

A teary farewell to Seattle schools chief

Interim Superintendent Susan Enfield dabs her eyes as her deputies bid her an emotional farewell.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

It wasn’t on the school board agenda, but members of Susan Enfield’s cabinet paid her a surprise tribute during her final school board meeting Wednesday. Enfield is leaving Seattle Public Schools this month after 16 months as interim superintendent.

Enfield wiped away tears as a string of her deputies praised her, beginning with Enfield’s number-two, Interim Deputy Superintendent Bob Boesche.

“So my word is motivator. There wasn’t a meeting ever, an encounter ever with you, where I didn’t walk out [feeling] motivated to do my best,” Boesche said.

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Education
10:49 am
Thu June 7, 2012

Seattle school counselors slam district over cuts

David Bilides, head counselor at Washington Middle School, gave school board members an earful over cuts that have left many colleagues out of work and 37 elementary schools without a counselor.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

Seattle school counselors say they’re getting hit harder than ever by budget cuts, and a pack of them turned out at Wednesday’s school board meeting to protest the latest round of layoffs.

It all stems from a change three years ago to how Seattle Public Schools funds counselors in elementary schools. The district stopped paying for them as regular employees, and instead gave schools a choice: use your discretionary money, or let them go. Now, almost two thirds of elementary schools don’t have a counselor, and the district has sent pink slips to a dozen counselors at middle-and high schools.

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Education
12:45 pm
Mon June 4, 2012

Bellevue teacher prepares students for zombie apocalypse

Zombie-based learning is the brraaaaaaain-child of Bellevue teacher David Hunter. The inset image is from the alternative history map created by Etsy.
Courtesy of David Hunter and Etsy

So, when the zombie apocalypse comes, where will you flee? Should you hunker down on a remote island or blend into the urban landscape? Will the undead funnel onto bridges and viaducts?  Do they like low ground or high ground?

So many questions … now don’t you wish you’d paid more attention in geography class?

"Zombies" in the news

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Seattle shooting
4:09 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Police: 'Hero' saved lives in Seattle shootings

This frame grab provided by the Seattle Police Department shows a man believed to be the suspect in a shooting, left, at Cafe Racer on Wednesday in the University district of Seattle.
The Associated Press

“I just threw the frigging stool at him, legs first. My brother died in the World Trade Center. I promised myself,” if something like this ever happened, “I would never hide under a table.”

Four people were slain when Ian Lee Stawicki started shooting Wednesday morning inside Cafe Racer.

At a news conference Thursday, police said a man sitting next to Stawicki was a "hero" because he threw stools at the gunman when he stood up and opened fire. Several people were able to flee the cafe during this time.

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Education
5:34 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

Seattle Central reaches out to military veterans

Seattle Central Student Veterans Association leaders Aaron Scheuerman and Adam Horton helped organized a "Stand Down" event on campus.
Courtesy of Seattle Central Community College

Seattle Central Community College may be well known for Occupy Seattle protests and antiwar activism. But school officials are trying to make the campus more friendly to returning members of the military.

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