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

A group of anthropology majors from Washington College in Chestertown has spent the summer not at the beach, but as research assistants roaming the Eastern Shore, talking to residents about the risks of flooding and projected sea level rise. They’ve traveled through Talbot, Dorchester and Somerset counties talking to local residents about their communities, changes and their experiences with flooding.

And on a recent trip, Kirsten Webb and Hayley Hartman were visiting Roland and Sheilah Bradshaw at their home on Smith Island. Kirsten was hardly into her opening spiel about community response to flooding when Roland jumped in.

Chris Moe / UMCES

Dr. Helen Bailey, who did her PhD work on bottle nose dolphins, says she heard reports of occasional sightings of the marine mammals when she came to work as an associate professor at the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science in Solomons.

But then the underwater microphones the lab was experimenting with began picking up the tell-tale squeaks and clicks of dolphins foraging in the Chesapeake and its tributaries. Now, the scientists are finding out the dolphins are pretty regular visitors to the bay.

"We were discovering that we were actually detecting dolphins quite frequently during June, July and August," she said. "And so then put another hydrophone in the Potomac River and there we were detecting dolphins every day."

Succeeding the speaker?

Jun 7, 2017

Joel McCord and Bryan Sears, of the Daily Record, ponder potential successors for ailing Mike Busch as speaker of the House of Delegates.

The politics of sick leave

May 31, 2017

News Director Joel McCord and Rachel Baye, WYPR's state government reporter, discuss the political implications of Gov. Larry Hogan's veto of the General Assembly's paid sick leave bill.

Brendan Reynolds

Chesapeake Bay advocates got a shock when President Donald Trump proposed zeroing EPA’s Chesapeake Bay program out of the federal budget.

Don Boesch, president of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, said efforts to restore the oyster population, are "very heavily dependent on the continued federal investment."

And Will Baker, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, said the loss of those funds would hurt economically when it comes to the burgeoning oyster industry in Maryland and Virginia. It wouldn’t be just the watermen who harvest those oysters who would take a hit, but also the "shuckers, wholesalers, retailers, those who move the material, restauranteurs," he said.

Joel McCord, WYPR's news director, and Karen Hosler, of the WYPR news team, discuss the changed political of Chesapeake Bay restoration.

MD Manual

U.S. District Judge James Bredar approved Friday a police reform agreement negotiated between Baltimore City and the U.S. Justice Department, despite Trump administration requests to hold off on that approval.

Bredar’s ruling came only a day after an hours-long hearing in which Justice Department lawyers asked for a 30-day delay to re-evaluate the agreement finalized in the last days of the Obama administration. 

Fraser Smith, WYPR's retiring senior news analyst, joins news director Joel McCord to thank those who joined him on this segment over the years.

Sprint to the finish

Mar 31, 2017

Joel McCord and WYPR's Rachel Baye look at the rush of bills the General Assembly has sent to Gov. Larry Hogan's desk just in time for an override vote in case he vetoes any of them.

Joel McCord and Rachel Baye, WYPR's state government reporter, talk about Maryland Democrats' efforts to capitalize on public sentiment for redistricting reform. And about how it's going nowhere.

Joel McCord and Karen Hosler, of the WYPR News team, talk about the $300 million price tag for restoring Pimlico Race Course and preserving The Preakness.

Joel McCord and Kenneth Burns, of the WYPR news team, try to figure out why a state senator wants to increase the residency requirements to run for mayor and city council in Baltimore.

Joel McCord and John Lee, of the WYPR news team, discuss a measure making its way through the General Assembly that would keep landlords from automatically turning down renters with housing vouchers.

Joel McCord

The Maryland Senate adopted a measure Friday that would expand the state attorney general’s power to sue the federal government on an almost party line vote.

Three Democrats, James Brochin and Katherine Klausmeier of Baltimore County and James Mathias, of Worcester County, voted with all 14 Republicans against the measure. It allows the state attorney general to sue the federal government without getting approval of the governor or the General Assembly, as the law now requires.

WYPR's State House Reporter Rachel Baye joins News Director Joel McCord to explain a fast moving bill to allow state Attorney General Brian Frosh to sue the federal government without buy in from the governor or general assembly.

Joel McCord and WYPR's John Lee talk about some apparent friction between Baltimore County's House delegation and the county's executive.

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.

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