Jason Dearen

Knight Science Journalism Fellow @ M IT

Cambridge, MA

Jason Dearen

Knight Science Journalism Fellow @ MIT. AP Correspondent.
Features, investigative and breaking news stories.
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6 inseparable friends now even closer after school shooting

PARKLAND, Fla. It was the final period of the day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High and Jonathan Blank was in history class, learning about the Holocaust. Across campus, five of his friends, pals since grade school, sat in different classrooms watching the clock. In 19 minutes, school would be out and the buddies had plans this Valentine's Day: a little basketball and boys' time.
The Associated Press Link to Story

'I'M A GONER': El Faro's final hours

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Danielle Randolph squinted through rain-splattered windows as the sea freighter lunged upward sharply, then fell into the trough of a 30-foot-tall wave. The skies were black. The second mate stood on the navigation bridge high above El Faro's main deck, which spread out before her like an aircraft carrier stacked high with red, white and blue cargo containers.

Irma wipes out dreams across independent-minded Florida Keys

Tim Stanton emerged from his ruined workshop off Highway 1 on Big Pine Key and collapsed to the ground, his sunburned, tear-covered face contorted in anguish. The skeleton-thin 58-year-old with long, stringy gray hair sat under an old gas station awning, overcome by his personal loss in this idyllic place that was one of the hardest hit by Hurricane Irma.
Pacific Northwest Link to Story

AP finds climate change risk for 327 toxic Superfund sites

An investigative series looking into damage at toxic waste sites from hurricanes.
The Associated Press Link to Story

Why U.S. farmworkers keep getting poisoned by pesticides

BELLE GLADE, Fla. Dozens of farmworkers looked up at the little yellow plane buzzing over the Florida radish field, a mist of pesticide falling from its wings. Farmworkers are supposed to be protected by government rules regulating exposure to toxic farm chemicals. But in this case, the breeze pushed the pesticide over the crew in a neighboring field, where it fell mostly on women, including at least one who was pregnant.
The Associated Press Link to Story

Weeks after Pulse rampage, medical examiner faces his trauma

ORLANDO, Fla. The flashback hit nearly three weeks after Joshua Stephany and his staff carried dozens of bodies in bags out of the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. The Orange County chief medical examiner thought he was ready to return to normal life, to socialize, to have dinner in public for the first time since the June 12 rampage that left 49 victims and the shooter dead.
The Associated Press Link to Story

Oil companies fracking off California coast

While debate has raged over fracking on land, prompting efforts to ban or severely restrict it, offshore fracking has occurred with little attention in sensitive coastal waters where for decades new oil leases have been prohibited. Hundreds of pages of federal documents released by the government to The Associated Press and advocacy groups through the Freedom of Information Act show regulators have permitted fracking in the Pacific Ocean at least 12 times since the late 1990s, and have recently approved a new project.

Teed off: Critics say Trump water rule helps his golf links

GAINESVILLE, Fla. President Donald Trump's recent executive order calling for a review of a rule protecting small bodies of water from pollution and development is strongly supported by golf course owners who are wary of being forced into expensive cleanups on their fairways. It just so happens that Trump's business holdings include a dozen golf courses in the United States, and critics say his executive order is par for the course: yet another unseemly conflict of interest that would result in a benefit to Trump properties if it goes through.
Yahoo! Link to Story

Population boom creates environmental consequences in Florida lagoon

The Indian River Lagoon is repeatedly being choked with oxygen-robbing algae, its surface increasingly dotted with thousands of dead fish, manatees, birds and other creatures. The culprits: farm runoff and a huge influx of people that has sent lawn fertilizer and other pollutants into the lagoon, which runs 156 miles along Florida's Atlantic Coast, almost to Palm Beach, and includes the Cape Canaveral area.
The Christian Science Monitor Link to Story

Mind. Blown. Brain-controlled drone race pushes future tech

Wearing black headsets with tentacle-like sensors stretched over their foreheads, the competitors stare at cubes floating on computer screens as their small white drones prepare for takeoff. "Three, two, one ... the announcer hollers, and as the racers fix their thoughts on pushing the cubes, the drones suddenly whir, rise and buzz through the air.
The Charlotte Observer Link to Story

California's flawed water system can't track usage

Call them the fortunate ones: Nearly 4,000 California companies, farms and others are allowed to use free water with little oversight when the state is so bone dry that deliveries to nearly everyone else have been severely slashed. Their special status dates back to claims made more than a century ago when water was plentiful.

Mercury still leaking at closed Calif. mine sites

Abandoned mercury mines throughout central California's rugged coastal mountains are polluting the state's major waterways, rendering fish unsafe to eat and risking the health of at least 100,000 impoverished people. But an Associated Press investigation found that the federal government has tried to clean up fewer than a dozen of the hundreds of mines — and most cleanups have failed to stem the contamination.
NBC News Link to Story


Jason Dearen

Jason Dearen is a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT and reporter and writer for the Associated Press. His work for AP appears regularly in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, and Guardian. Dearen covers breaking news, writes features, and conducts data-driven investigations on the environment, criminal justice, and technology. Dearen’s accountability journalism has led to policy changes at both state and federal levels. His investigation into a forgotten California mine leaking mercury into a rural community's water supply spurred a cleanup by the Environmental Protection Agency. His exposure of oil companies quietly fracking off the coast of California sparked new federal rules for reporting the release of fracking chemicals into ocean waters. His work exposing flooded toxic waste sites in Houston during Hurricane Harvey exposed inaction by the Trump administration's EPA during the storm and led to a $115 million cleanup commitment for a site in the San Jacinto River and was a finalist for a 2018 IRE-NICAR award in investigative breaking news. Dearen was among a team of AP journalists whose work covering the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 earned a George Polk Award. His narrative story about the final hours of the doomed cargo ship El Faro won the 2018 APME award for feature writing. Dearen is a graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.



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