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.


Dec 13, 2019

No response to a request for information. 

Higginbotham is the Joseph Curtis Professor of Law at the University of Baltimore Law School where he teaches courses on Constitution law and race and the law. He is the author of Race Law: Cases, Commentary and Questions and Ghosts of Jim Crow: Ending Racism in Post-Racial America.


Dec 12, 2019

Hill is a freshman member of the Maryland House of Delegates delegate from Howard County and a plastic and reconstructive surgeon who has practiced in the Baltimore region for almost 30 years. She says on her website she is “uniquely qualified” to represent the district and that her “decades of clinical experience” have made her “an effective listener, problem solver and advocate.”


Dec 12, 2019

He’s a Delegate from Baltimore County who was issued a formal reprimand by The House of Delegates last March accused of berating and emotionally abusing legislative staff for five years and rebuffing requests to attend anger management training. The 16-page ethics report on Jalisi’s behavior details incidents in which aides complained of being yelled at, forced to work long hours without pay, and treated as truant if they went to the restroom or to get lunch.


Dec 12, 2019

Konka identifies himself on his Facebook page as a professor at the University of Maryland Global Campus. He came in second last year in a six-way race to represent District 3 on Baltimore County’s school board. In a candidate survey for that race he said he was a retired Navy captain who had been a substitute teacher in Baltimore County for four years and an adjunct professor at what then was the University of Maryland University College, teaching business finance and personal finance.


Dec 12, 2019
Rachel Baye

Mfume represented the 7th District from 1987 to 1996, when he resigned to lead the NAACP. He left that post in 2004, having stabilized the organization and eradicated a $3 million debt. But his departure came with unconfirmed allegations of sexual harassment. He said in his announcement speech that he has to “find a way to make sure that all (Cummings) and others fought for is not lost, tossed to the side or forgotten."


Dec 12, 2019

No response to a request for information. 

On Petrus' Twitter, he wrote on November 1


Dec 12, 2019

He’s a business strategist with degrees from the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University who says on his website he is committed to “changing the circumstances of District 7 for the better.” He served as an advisor to former President Barack Obama’s transition team and lists job creation, affordable housing, quality education and gun control among the issues he would address in congress. 


Dec 12, 2019

Smith is a Vietnam veteran who finished last in a five-way Democratic primary for the 7th Congressional District seat in 2018 and also ran unsuccessful races for governor in 2014 and U.S. Senate in 2016.


Dec 12, 2019

Spikes served on Cummings’ staff for 15 years, working on sustainable housing issues among others. He has a degree in political science from Morgan State and public policy from the University of Baltimore and is the vice president of the Community Assistance Network, a non-profit in Baltimore that helps homeless families and individuals.


Dec 12, 2019

Stokes ran fourth in a five-way Democratic primary for the 7th district in 2018. 

No response to a request for information.

Anderson describes himself in a Facebook post as an “activist, mentor and religious apologetic” who has fought for the rights of African Americans, religious freedom and expression in Baltimore. He lobbied in 2006 for the “Maryland Marriage Protection Act,” a proposed state Constitutional Amendment that would have defined marriage in Maryland as the union of one man and one woman. In a recent tweet announcing his candidacy, he said he lives in the 7th District and has “seen first-hand the corruption & rats running all over the place. We need change.” He said in a red Maryland survey that the seat “needs to be fought for by the GOP” to “reverse the damage done by gerrymandering & move the district into a better future, not ground it in past failed policies.”

Courtesy of James C. Arnold

Arnold is a political neophyte and part owner of John E. Ruth Co., a family run plumbing and heating business in Catonsville. He concedes in an email that he is “a definite outsider with NO political experience,” but says “new leadership in MD District 7 is necessary now.” He says that as a business owner he is a problem solver and that the district needs “a problem solver with the will to want to solve problems, not another politician with faux promises.” And he says he has a plan called “Seven for the Seventh,” that includes some solutions to the real problems facing the constituents of MD District 7.” 


Dec 12, 2019

Bly describes himself in a Facebook post as a “consecutive runner for the US Congress.” He says the Republican Party doesn’t like him because he’s a “constitutionalist, not a conservative.” He says he’s “outrageous” and “and sues everybody who harms me or my family” and that he's a Vietnam vet who doesn’t have any big medals.

The Maryland Board of Elections lists his filing jurisdiction as Howard County. 


Dec 12, 2019

Brown has not responded to a request for information. 

The Maryland Board of Elections lists Brown's filing jurisdiction as Montgomery County. He filed on Nov. 19, 2019. 


Dec 12, 2019
Courtesy of Reba Hawkins

Hawkins describes herself as a “21st century hybrid conservative” whose philosophy is “an amalgam of Jeffersonian Democracy, justice focused Judeo Christian values and reverence for the Bill of Rights and the United States Constitution.” She says in a Red Maryland survey that she’s running “to change the trajectory of the greatness of the district” and that her top priorities will be “fiscal accountability and the expansion of trade and business and foreign direct investment in the 7th Congressional District.”


Dec 12, 2019

Klacik is a member of the Baltimore County Republican Central Committee from Middle River, who notes on her website that she grew up in “Accokeek, Maryland, once known as the home of the Beretta Gun Manufacture.” It was her videos of Baltimore posted on social media that led to President Trump’s tweets calling the city “disgusting rat and rodent infested.”


Dec 12, 2019

Liz Matory is a Montgomery County resident, the daughter of two surgeons, one African American, the other Philippine, with degrees from Howard University Law School and the University of Maryland Business School. She ran unsuccessfully for the House of Delegates in 2014, Congress from District 8 in 2016 and Congress from District 2 in 2016. She describes herself as an Evangelical Christian and Trump supporter.


Dec 10, 2019

William T. Newton is a member of the Baltimore County Republican Central Committee whose sparse website paraphrases Shakespeare’s Richard III and claims, “Now is the time to send Patriots and Constitutional Conservatives into our halls of government. Let us begin with every state legislature.”

Office of the Governor

Governor Larry Hogan announced Tuesday that Maryland will move forward with the long-delayed State Center project. It was the second time in 17 months he’s made that announcement.

Back in June 2018 the governor issued a call for developers interested in taking over the project, which has been tied up in lawsuits.

He said then he was “pleased to announce that we are finally able to move forward” with the project despite “15 years of inaction and failure.”

Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun

Former Baltimore Mayor Thomas D’Alesandro, III, known locally as “Young Tommy” because he was the son of former Mayor Thomas D’Alesandro, Jr., passed away Sunday from complications of a stroke. He was 90.

WYPR’s senior news analyst emeritus Fraser Smith returned to our studios today to join news director Joel McCord to talk about “Young Tommy.”

Joel McCord

On the one-year anniversary of the shootings in the Annapolis Capital newsroom, the city of Annapolis dedicated a memorial garden to the five victims in a quiet waterfront park, off the beaten path and away from the chaos of the City Dock.

There were five rosebushes, one each for Gerald Fischman, the editorial writer; Rebecca Smith, an advertising associate; assistant editor Rob Hiaasen; Wendi Winters, a feature writer, and reporter John McNamara, and a plaque with their names.

Joel McCord

Two days before the first anniversary of the murders in the Annapolis Capital newsroom, federal lawmakers have introduced legislation to authorize a memorial to fallen journalists in the nation’s capital.

The bill, sponsored by Senators Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, and Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican, would allow the privately funded memorial on federal land in the District of Columbia.

Governor Larry Hogan named 11 new members Wednesday to the scandal plagued board of directors of the University of Maryland Medical System.

The announcement came the same day as the UMMS Board elected a new chair and vice chair and released a consultant’s report that found hospital management made business deals with individual board members without informing the rest of the board or an appropriate board committee.

A Resilient Chesapeake

May 22, 2019
Creative Commons

Despite record rainfall washing pollution and debris into the Chesapeake Bay last year, the bay’s health continues to improve.

Sure, it took a little dip from its 2017 score, say scientists at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, but it still maintained an overall “C,” which the scientists say is a sign of resilience in the nation’s largest estuary.


Mike Busch, Maryland’s long time Speaker of the House of Delegates, was eulogized at his funeral yesterday as an outstanding Marylander, a dedicated public servant and a fearless advocate for the causes he believed in.

During the service at St. John Neumann Church in Annapolis, Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, recalled his last phone conversation with Busch shortly before the speaker’s death April 7 at the age of 72.

The funeral for Michael Busch, the longest serving speaker of Maryland’s House of Delegates, has been scheduled at 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 16, at St. John Neumann Catholic Church on Bestgate Road in Annapolis, a spokesman for the family has announced.

Busch, who was 72, died Sunday after having undergone treatments for pneumonia.

His death cast a pall over the usually frantic, celebratory last day of the General Assembly session. In an unusual move, both Houses stopped work at 11:30 Monday evening, a half hour early, for a joint session to honor the late speaker.

Patrick Semansky/AP

Baltimore City’s House delegation joined the Baltimore City Council last night in calling for Mayor Catherine Pugh to resign because of her role in the Healthy Holly scandal.

Delegation chair Cheryl Glenn said the members moved to support all 14 City Council members who signed a letter calling for Pugh’s resignation.

Rachel Baye

Statements of grief and sympathy at the death of House Speaker Michael Busch came quickly from both sides of the political aisle and all around the state.

"My heart is broken for Mike Busch’s family, the State of Maryland, and the Speaker's extended family - elected officials and staff that he has been a mentor and coach to over his time in public service," Senate President Mike Miller wrote in a statement.

Maryland’s General Assembly heads into the last full week of its 90-day session with a number of issues yet to be resolved, including legislation that would strip trash incinerators of their “green energy” label and  bills to raise the legal smoking age to 21 and to forbid members of the University of Maryland Medical System’s board of directors from doing business with the system.

Gov. Larry Hogan introduced his bill to redraw the state’s Sixth and Eighth Congressional Districts Friday, but the Democratic leaders who drew the original districts don’t appear to be receptive to the Republican governor’s plan.