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.

WYPR's Joel McCord and Karen Hosler talk about why Governor O'Malley's trip to Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian territories is similar to domestic visits to Iowa and New Hampshire.


The indictments unsealed Tuesday alleging widespread gang operations aided by corrupt corrections officials in Maryland prisons is the latest in a series of such cases that stretch back at least ten years. 

The charges followed a familiar pattern: the female correctional officers smuggled cell phones to gang members, who used them to place orders for marijuana, drugs and other contraband with gang members on the outside. The correctional officers then smuggled the Xanax, Percocet and other drugs into the prison for sale. Money flowed in and out of the prison by the use of pre-paid debit cards, known as green dot cards.

Here is a timeline of some of those indictments.

Chesapeake Bay Program

The Chesapeake Bay’s underwater grasses, vital to life in America’s largest estuary, have declined for the third year in a row, Bay scientists announced today. The grasses, which help juvenile crabs hide from predators, slow erosion and filter pollution from the water, had been staging a slow comeback in the first few years of this century. But traumatic weather events have cut the beds back to 1986 levels.

Joel McCord / WYPR

A group of ninth graders from Baltimore’s Maritime Industries Academy gets a taste of life in another century through an exhibit on the War of 1812 at the Naval Academy museum in Annapolis and a sail on Pride of Baltimore II, a replica of a Baltimore clipper of that era. They learn, for example, the difference between pirates—just plain crooks—and privateers, who sailed with government issued licenses to steal.  And some students got to take a turn at the helm.

WYPR begins a new project today, “Rockets’ Red Glare: The War, the Song and Their Legacies.” It’s a series of stories examining the continued influence of the War of 1812 and the song it inspired. In this installment, WYPR’s Joel McCord joins a group of Baltimore students as they gain hands-on knowledge.

WYPR's News Director, Joel McCord talks to Statehouse Reporter, Karen Hosler, about the role Senate President Mike Miller played in this General Assembly session.  

Joel McCord / WYPR

After a dozen hours of floor debate--over two long days--the House of Delegates voted last night to approve Governor Martin O’Malley’s sweeping gun control bill, and to send the measure onto the state Senate for a final vote. 

Read the full transcript here.

 The 78 to 61 tally came at the end of difficult negotiations aimed at producing a measure that would convince lawmakers to resist the entreaties of thousands of gun rights advocates who have been frequent visitors to Annapolis this year.

Two House committees conducted emergency meetings yesterday morning to make last minute repairs to the legislation in order to meet Senate objections. Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Vallario said the goal is to win speedy Senate acquiescence before the General Assembly adjourns on Monday. He’s got his fingers crossed in hopes that--

Mr. T in DC via Compfight

The General Assembly toiled its way into Easter weekend, with critical votes to approve an increase the gasoline tax, create a $1 billion program to rebuild city schools and advance the major elements of Governor Martin O’Malley’s gun control proposal.  WYPR News Director Joel McCord gets an update from State House reporter Karen Hosler.

The condition of the beleaguered Chesapeake Bay is improving, if only modestly, according to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. But there are signs of hope. The advocacy group released its State of the Bay report today and WYPR's Joel McCord was there.