Tom Banse

Regional Correspondent

Tom Banse covers business, environment, public policy, human interest and national news across the Northwest. He reports from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events are unfolding. Tom's stories can be heard during "Morning Edition," "Weekday," and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

Before taking his current beat, Tom covered state government and the Washington Legislature for 12 years. During the early 1990s, he worked in the Seattle bureau of United Press International. He got his start in radio at WCAL–FM, a public station in southern Minnesota. Reared in Seattle, Tom graduated from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota with a degree in American Studies. In 1996, he spent two months reporting from Bonn and Berlin, Germany on an Arthur F. Burns Fellowship. In 1999, he traversed the globe to cover the Pacific Rim (Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan) on a Jefferson Fellowship.

When not sifting through press releases, listening to lobbyists, or driving lonely highways, Tom enjoys exploring the Olympic Peninsula backcountry and cooking dinner with his wife and friends. Tom's secret ambition is to take six months off work and travel to a faraway place where there are no radios.

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Olympic Pole Vaulter
6:57 am
Mon June 25, 2012

Ex-Collegians And Prepsters From Northwest Win Summer Olympic Berths

Former UW Husky and Renton High School grad Aretha (Hill) Thurmond is headed to her fourth Olympics.
Photo by Tom Banse Northwest News Network

A dark horse in the sprints. A mother who’s competed at three prior Olympics. And a former NCAA pole vault champion from the University of Oregon. Those are your three newest U.S. Olympians with Northwest ties. Correspondent Tom Banse has their stories from the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for track and field in Eugene.

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Olympic Sprinter
6:54 am
Mon June 25, 2012

Oregon Sprinter With Turbulent Past Dashes His Way Onto Team USA

Oregon native Ryan Bailey showed early potential on the track. But few would’ve predicted a trip to the Summer Olympics for this formerly troubled football and track athlete from Salem. Yet that’s the unlikely turnabout Bailey can tell you now that’s he sprinted his way onto Team USA. Correspondent Tom Banse reports from the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in track and field in Eugene.

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Olympic Qualifying Trials
5:15 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

Olympic Track Trials Could Stock Team USA With Northwest Athletes

Hayward Field in Eugene is the site of the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.
Wolfram Burner Flickr

Qualifying action for the 2012 Summer Olympics is happening in three Northwest cities this week. The U.S. Olympic Trials in diving are underway in Federal Way, Wash. Meanwhile, track and field qualifying starts with a hammer throw competition on the Nike campus in Beaverton, Ore., Thursday. The rest of the track team selection unfolds in Eugene starting on Friday. Team USA is likely to be well-stocked with Northwest athletes.

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Olympic Power Couple
7:06 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

Oregon's Olympic Power Couple Loyal To Two Countries

Canadian Brianne Theisen, one member of the couple hoping to compete for Olympic gold for their respective countries.
Erik van Leeuwen Wikimedia Commons

Dozens of Northwest runners, jumpers and throwers will compete for slots on the 2012 U.S. Olympic team starting this weekend. Once again Eugene, Ore., is hosting the U.S. Olympic Trials for track and field. The qualifying action could help determine whether the London Games this summer feature a love story.

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Tsunami Debris Tested
5:18 pm
Mon June 18, 2012

Tsunami Debris That Washes Ashore Tested For Radiation

Lynn Albin with Washington's Dept. of Health tests a piece of foam insulation of unknown origin for radiation.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Oregon State Parks managers have two new Geiger counters to scan possible tsunami debris that floats in from Japan. On the Washington coast, state health department scientists are now regularly checking marine debris and fish for possible radiation from last year's Japanese nuclear meltdown. The testing is mostly just to reassure the public, not out of grave concern that radiation will get here.

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Tsunami Debris
4:30 pm
Mon June 18, 2012

Wash. And Oregon Say Federal Dollars Needed To Handle Tsunami Debris

Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire spoke in Ocean Shores on Monday.
Office of the Governor Wikimedia Commons

Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire said her state doesn't have enough money to clean up tsunami debris that started washing ashore. And she wants the federal government to chip in. Gregoire made the remarks Monday during a news conference in Ocean Shores.

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Emergency Alert System
4:50 pm
Fri June 15, 2012

Mobile Emergency Alert Capability Coming To Cell Phone

Emergency managers and National Weather Service forecasters can now issue warnings and alerts by text message.
Alex Ragone Northwest News

Emergency managers and National Weather Service forecasters have a new way to alert you to imminent danger. They've teamed up with all of the Northwest's major cellular providers on a system to broadcast emergency alerts to mobile devices. You don't need to sign up for anything; it's automatic.

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Wash. Employment
4:09 pm
Wed June 13, 2012

Washington Jobs Picture Brightens, But Unemployment Up Too

Washington state showed strong job growth in May in the private sector, but a slight increase in the unemployment rate.
Wash. Employment Security Dept.

The latest jobs report for Washington state contains a paradox. It shows strong job growth in the private sector. But at the same time, the state unemployment rate also rose.

Washington's Employment Department Wednesday reported a May jobless rate of 8.3 percent, up slightly from the revised 8.2 percent rate of April.

State labor economist Anneliese Vance-Sherman said in a conference call that the higher unemployment rate was caused primarily by once-discouraged workers resuming their job hunts.

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Fish Investigation
6:23 am
Wed June 13, 2012

Fish Fraud Sweep Mostly Good News For Consumers

Dozens of state Fish and Wildlife officers fanned out to seafood retailers, wholesalers and exporters late last week. It was a coordinated West Coast sweep. The cops were looking for mislabeled fish, poached product and banned seafood. Correspondent Tom Banse reports if you're a fish consumer, the results are mostly encouraging.

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Undersea Volcano
6:45 am
Mon June 11, 2012

Caught On Tape! Undersea Volcano Erupts Off Northwest Coast

Hydrophone deployed at Axial Seamount.
Photo by Bill Chadwick OSU

For the first time, we're getting to listen to the eruption of an undersea volcano off the Northwest coast. Correspondent Tom Banse got a hold of unusual recordings made at a place called Axial Seamount. It's about 300 miles out to sea from Cannon Beach, Oregon.

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