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.

  The big story in Annapolis this legislative session is the budget and, more broadly, the state’s economic climate. WYPR’s Joel McCord sat down with politics reporter Christopher Connelly to wrap up the week in Annapolis, as they often do on Fridays – this week, a budget, tax and business edition.

Barely four hours into office, Governor Larry Hogan angered environmental groups by withdrawing phosphorus regulations they had been seeking for years.  Fraser Smith talks to WYPR's News Director, Joel McCord about environmental policy, the new governor and how The Chesapeake Bay will fare. 

Christopher Connelly/WYPR

In Annapolis, the legislative session is in full swing. Politics Reporter Christopher Connelly sat down with WYPR's Joel McCord to talk about a couple of bills in the hopper, and a move by the newly minted governor that's has some advocates crying foul.

eutrophication&hypoxia / FLICKR

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.

WYPR's Joel McCord talk The Baltimore Sun's Timothy Wheeler about how environmental issues will fare in 2015. 

BCPL Photo via flickr

In his second inaugural address last week, Baltimore 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.

Chesapeake Bay Program via flickr

A coalition of mostly rural Eastern Shore counties has argued in recent months that dredging the silt trapped behind Conowingo Dam on the Susquehanna River would solve many of the Chesapeake Bay’s problems and save them the cost of an expensive clean-up.

Christopher Connelly / WYPR

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.

Christopher Connelly / WYPR

A new poll out Wednesday suggests the Maryland governor's race is closer than many had thought, though for weeks observers have been pointing to signs this contest is more of a squeaker than Maryland is used to seeing.

In a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by a two-to-one margin, Democratic Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown should be a shoe-in to win the Governor’s mansion. But for weeks, readers of political tea leaves have been breathlessly waiting for solid proof that Republican Larry Hogan could pull off an upset.

Mr. Key's Questions

Sep 15, 2014
Sam Manas / WYPR

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?

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