Joel McCord | WYPR

Joel McCord

News Director

Joel McCord is a trumpet player who learned early in life that that’s no way to make a living.

He began his reporting career while still a music major at what then was West Chester State College in West Chester, Pa., filing reports for WCSC, the campus radio station. He transferred to the School of Communications and Theater at Temple University in Philadelphia, where he managed to earn a degree in journalism in 1973, despite having spent an inordinate amount of time playing pinochle in the student union.

He worked as a reporter and editor at The Maryland Gazette, America's oldest continuously publishing newspaper, and the Annapolis Capital, where he covered education and county government.  He also spent 23 years as a metro staff reporter and occasional editor at the Baltimore Sun, covering local governments, land use issues, transportation and environment before he became one of the old farts who Tribune Company, the paper’s owners, offered a semi-reasonable amount of money to leave.

McCord worked as a freelance writer and editor until joining WYPR as a reporter, where he has covered the Maryland General Assembly and two governors.  Joel also reprised his role as an environmental reporter, only this time, he used the sounds one hears on God's green earth to help tell the stories of commercial watermen, farmers, hunters and people who are laboring to save the planet.

He became WYPR’s news director in October 2012.

And he still plays the trumpet with your occasional big band or small jazz group, just not as often or as well as he would like.

Joel McCord

Crisfield, on Maryland’s lower Eastern Shore, is probably best known for the annual J. Millard Tawes Crab and Clam Bake, a political schmooze fest of legendary proportions. But the town soon will have another claim to fame. It’s about to be the first municipality in the Delmarva region powered by a windmill.

News Director Joel McCord and Karen Hosler, of the WYPR news team, examine Maryland Congressman John Delaney's plan to cut corporate taxes and raise trillions for repairs to the national infrastructure.

Brendan Reynolds

Advocates for death with dignity bills—one in the House and one in the Senate--launched a renewed drive in Annapolis Wednesday, optimistic their bills will pass this year.

The bills, which would allow physicians to prescribe lethal drugs to terminally ill patients, died in the face of stiff opposition during the last two General Assembly sessions. But Kim Callinan, chief program officer for Compassion and Choices, the group backing the bills, said polls show that a majority of Marylanders favor the bill.

Joel McCord and John Lee, of the WYPR News team, examine the early start in the race for Baltimore County Executive and for funds to run the campaigns.

Joel McCord and Rachel Baye, WYPR's State House reporter, discuss the sharply partisan exchanges between Gov. Larry Hogan, Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Mike Busch.

Joel McCord

A recent study from EPA’s Chesapeake Bay program has confirmed that the water quality in the nation’s largest estuary is improving, thanks to a pollution diet for states in the Bay’s watershed.

But there’s one part of one state—the five counties of South Central Pennsylvania—that lags behind in reaching its pollution reduction goals, mostly because of fertilizer that runs off farm fields into Bay tributaries.

P. Kenneth Burns

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake has banned WYPR’s metro reporter Kenneth Burns from her Wednesday press availabilities. She said Wednesday Burns is "welcome" at any of her other public events, but that the ceremonial conference room on the second floor of City Hall is "very close quarters." 

Joel McCord

A few years ago, scientists began worrying that blue catfish, the much larger cousins of those squirmy, yellowish bottom feeders, might take over in Chesapeake Bay. They’re big—better than 100 pounds in some cases--voracious eaters and they’re prolific. So, at least one seafood wholesaler appropriated a slogan applied to other invasive fish--eat ‘em to beat ‘em—and began aggressively marketing them. And local watermen have found a new market and seemingly endless supply. 

    

News Director Joel McCord and Rachel Baye, of the WYPR reporting team, take on the latest chapter in the feud between Gov. Larry Hogan and the General Assembly over transportation funding.

The day after former Mayor Sheila Dixon announced she wouldn’t seek a recount in Baltimore’s Democratic mayoral primary, the state Board of Elections de-certified those results and began a review. 

    

News Director Joel McCord and WYPR's Karen Hosler talk about the Donna Edwards--Chris Van Hollen race to be the Democratic nominee to replace retiring Barbara Mikulski; what a recent poll suggests and the prospects for the General Election in November.

The end of the General Assembly’s 2016 session is looming, and legislation is flying at a rapid clip. WYPR’s Rachel Baye joined News Director Joel McCord to discuss veto overrides, taxes and redistricting.

House overrides vetoes

Apr 13, 2016

    

The House of Delegates voted Thursday to override two of Gov. Larry Hogan’s vetoes; one a key transportation bill, the other a change in the make-up of Anne Arundel County’s school board nominating commission. WYPR’s Rachel Baye joined news director Joel McCord to talk about that and other action as lawmakers close in on the end of this year’s General Assembly session.

Annapolis Wrap: Rushing to pass veto bait

Apr 2, 2016

    

Democrats in the General Assembly rushed to pass some of this session's more controversial bills this week to get them to the governor's desk by the end of the day Friday, leaving just enough time to override any vetoes before the session ends April 11. WYPR's Rachel Baye joins news director Joel McCord to review this week in Annapolis.

The state senate approved a measure Friday requiring employers to pay men and women equally for doing the same jobs.

Colleges, guns and money for schools

Mar 14, 2016

In a busy week, Maryland's General Assembly took on everything from guns to a significant change in the state university system. WYPR's Rachel Baye joins news director Joel McCord to wrap up this week in Annapolis.

The Big Dig Begins

Jan 25, 2016
Jonna McKone

Maryland began digging out from under an historic snowfall yesterday with shovels, snow blowers and in one case, even a dustpan. 

Just because the recent unseasonably warm temperatures might lure you to the water, the Maryland Natural Resources Police and the Coast Guard warn you better be careful. 

Back in the 80s, the Environmental Protection Agency began requiring power companies to install "scrubbers" in the smokestacks of their coal fired plants to capture pollutants before they got into the air. And that did a reasonable job of cleaning up the air we breathe.

But it damaged the water we drink because all that lead and arsenic and selenium trapped in the smokestacks had to go somewhere. It went, unregulated, into thousands of miles of rivers and streams, making power plants the worst water polluters in the nation.


    

Joel McCord and Karen Hosler, of the WYPR news team, discuss Baltimore's loss of statewide power since the glory days when Marvin Mandel was Governor and William Donald Schaefer was mayor.

  It’s a summertime tradition, diving into the nearest creek to cool off on a muggy afternoon. Maybe you want to remain blissfully ignorant of what’s in that water. But the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, in league with three community colleges, has set out to let you know. Not to scare you, but to educate you.

After three decades in prison, 56-year-old Mark Chase recently got his first paycheck, the first car he hadn’t stolen and a job that might give him a good life.  


  State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced today that all six police officers involved in the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray will face criminal charges.

  For the musicians of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, this may have been the ultimate, “Hey, kids, let’s put on a show” moment. They whipped together a free, lunch-time concert on the plaza in front of the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall Wednesday in barely 24 hours.

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president, died at 7:22 a.m. April 15th, 150 years ago. That much is certain. But trying to piece together the story of his murder and the escape of assassin John Wilkes Booth is something like that college stunt where someone runs into a classroom, fires a cap pistol and runs out and the professor asks what happened. 


The water is clearer, the underwater grasses are coming back and so are the oysters, if only incrementally, according to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s latest report on America’s largest estuary.

Pollution is declining and the dead zones are shrinking. And that’s all to the good. But two of the bay’s iconic species—crabs and rockfish—are in trouble. And the scores for other indicators, such as wetlands, toxics and nitrogen pollution did not change.

In his second inaugural address last weekBaltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said that he wants county residents to feel that their local government represents them all. WYPR's Joel McCord and John Lee talk about why this message of inclusion matters in the wake of protests around the country and how Kamenetz hopes to accomplish his goal.

Why Jan Gardner Won Race For Frederick County Executive

In their first election under charter government, voters in Frederick County rejected a conservative radio talk show host for county executive but gave the Democratic winner a majority Republican County Council. Cliff Cumber, the editorial page editor at the Frederick News Post, joins WYPR’s Joel McCord by phone to talk about the results.

Mr. Key's Questions

Sep 15, 2014

As we all know, the first line of the first stanza of Francis Scott Key’s poem, the Defense of Ft. McHenry, talks about the “dawn’s early light.” So, why did the folks at Fort McHenry wait till 9 a.m. Sunday to raise that giant replica of the 1814 flag that inspired Key and say it was going up at the very moment 200 years later that Key saw the flag?

Election 2014: Who Is Russell Neverdon?

Aug 8, 2014

Election 2014: Who Is Russell Neverdon?

Though the primary is over, the race is still on for Baltimore City State's Attorney. WYPR's Joel McCord and P. Kenneth Burns talk about the background and platform of an independent candidate, local defense attorney Russell Neverdon.

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