chrisrichard.org




 

I’ve been a journalist for nearly three decades, with experience that extends from metropolitan newspapers and radio news to national and international media. When I started, I wrote on a typewriter. Today, my tools include GIS mapping, sound editing and Internet presentations.

I believe in words, in storytelling, and in journalism as a public service.

 

For Town Made Famous by 'Erin Brockovich,' a Toxic Sequel?

The Christian Science Monitor, 01/10/11
Hinkley, Calif., battled pollution of its ground water by chromium 6 in the 1990s – a case that inspired 'Erin Brockovich.' Now the substance has escaped its containment barrier.
Read the Story

Wells Run Dry in Paso Robles

The California Report, 10/30/13
As vineyard proliferate around Paso Robles, the water table has dropped sharply, causing some residential wells to go dry. Some are calling the plight of Paso Robles a good example of the environmental dangers posed by California's failure to regulate groundwater pumping.
Listen to the Story

Slide

Aging Inmates

Marketplace, 07/23/03
California's prison system is the biggest and most expensive in the country. And it's getting more expensive as the incarcerated population ages.
Listen to the Story

Relaxed Rules at Center of Debate Over Underground Fuel Leaks

California Report, 3/6/14
With efforts to clean up underground fuel leaks dragging on and costing the state millions apiece, regulators decided to leave some spills to nature. Critics say the new rules are dangerously lax.
Listen to the Story
View an Interactive Map

Dry Wells Leave Homes Without Water

The California Report, 08/26/10
Wells are going dry for scores of customers of a rural water district near Bakersfield. The agency blames two big water banks nearby.
Listen to the Story

Groundwater Plan Raises Concerns Over Fragile Aquifer

The California Report, 9/10/12
With the demand for water in the rapidly expanding West expected to overwhelm supply in the next half century, a private water company wants to pump billions of gallons of water from the Mojave Desert.
Listen to the Story

Seismic Safety on Shaky Ground

The Press-Enterprise, 3/31/08
Older buildings across Inland Southern California could crumble in a major earthquake, but money to fix them is scarce. Experts say unreinforced masonry buildings are most dangerous in seismically explosive San Beranardino.
Read the Story
View an Interactive Map

Mapping Nuclear Contamination at Santa Susana

The California Report, 5/20/10
Half a century after the nation's first nuclear meltdown, the EPA launches a study to track the contamination.
Listen to the Story

Cleaning Up a Cold War Legacy

The California Report, 9/09/10
In 1959, a partial nuclear meltdown occurred at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory northwest of Los Angeles, but the accident remained largely unacknowledged for decades. Now, federal authorities have agreed to remove the contamination from the part of the property they control.
Listen to the Story

Bankruptcy 'Not an Option' to help L.A.

Marketplace Morning Report, 4/26/10
Los Angeles' high pension costs are a big budgetary problem for the city, and bankruptcy may be on the horizon. But L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa insists that's not an option.
Listen to the Story

The Buzz on the Border

The Press-Enterprise, 4/14/05
Drawn up for the first time on the Mexican frontier, the Minutemen try to define a movement.
Read the Story

Paddling Down the Los Angeles River

The California Report, 8/13/12
For decades, LA's river has been a drainage ditch and backdrop for Hollywood chase scenes. People really didn't think of it as a river, let alone an ecosystem. Now environmentalists working to restore the river are leading kayak tours.
Listen to the Story

Mom-and-Pop Imports

The Press-Enterprise, 4/14/05
The economic impact of suburban Murrieta's famous garage sales extends far beyond household finances and local fundraisers. In fact, they help to drive a global market.
Read the Story

A Dramatic Pause Over a Dramatic Role

The Christian Science Monitor, 9/18/03
Hollywood watches, deadpan, as Arnold Schwarzenegger enters the race for governor of California.
Read the Story

Simple Solutions Elude Cedar Glen

The Press-Enterprise, 6/6/08
Years after the Old Fire burned 993 homes in the San Bernardino Mountains, rebuilding efforts lag in a mountain community. As lead writer, I based the story in maps developed with the ArcGIS geospatial mapping program and government records.
Read the Story
View Maps and Videos

Jail Payoffs

NPR: All Things Considered, 6/3/97
The Los Angeles County Jail offers cash settlements after keeping inmates locked up too long.
Listen to the Story

Hinkley Water Contamination, Part 1

The California Report, 12/03/10
A decade after the movie "Erin Brockovich" made Hinkley, Calif. synonymous with the concept of toxic contamination, a plume of chromium 6 in the groundwater is spreading.
Listen to the Story

Hinkley Water Contamination, Part 2

The California Report, 12/10/10
State officials may dramatically tighten standards for exposure to the carcinogen chromium 6 in drinking water. But in Hinkley, the community whose name is synonymous with chromium 6 contamination, traces of the heavy metal continue to spread through the aquifer.
Listen to the Story

Can Your Razor Blade Spy on You?

The Christian Science Monitor, 11/6/03
Civil libertarians are wary of Radio Frequency Identification, a technology originally designed to track merchandise.
Read the Story

San Bernardino police sergeant's memo draws reactions

The Press-Enterprise, 5/14/07
A police supervisor has urged officers to downgrade reports on some alleged robberies involving drug transactions, calling the incidents “civil matters.”
Read the Story

Tortilla Sales

NPR: All Things Considered, 1/03/04
Recent statistics show tortilla sales are catching up with that American staple, white bread.
Listen to the Story

Celebrity Sports Stories Hide Sales Pitches

Marketplace, 8/14/01
Pharmaceutical companies pay sports celebrities to promote their products in news interviews and public service campaigns.
Listen to the Story

Health Cures with False Ingredients Turn the Desperate into the Defrauded

The California Report, 6/21/13
Seeking treatment for an illness, you trust that the medicine you buy at the store won’t make you sick; you trust that the medical provider has your best interest at heart. Sometimes neither of those things is true.
Listen to the Story

Radiation Levels Remain High Near Nuclear Meltdown Site

California Health Report, 03/11/12
A federal study at Santa Susana has found ground radiation levels nearly 1,000 times higher than agreed-upon standards for mandatory cleanup.
Read the Story

Father and Son Bond as Shipmates

California Report, 10/26/12
Reporter Chris Richard and his son Sam volunteer together as deckhands on two tall ships owned by the Los Angeles Maritime Institute. Chris filed an audio postcard from aboard the Irving Johnson during a recent tall ship festival in Orange County.
Listen to the Story

Controversial Tool Highlights Polluted, Disadvantaged Communities

California Health Report, 10/1/12
State officials are developing a map showing where poverty and pollution make people most vulnerable to environmental health risks. Business groups warn it will scare away employers.
Read the Story

In Hinkley, Toxic Legacy Sets the Stage for a Ghost Town

California Report, 4/2/13
With poison spreading through its water and Pacific Gas & Electric buying and demolishing houses, the town made famous by the movie "Erin Brockovich" has seen its David and Goliath triumph crumble. Hinkley is dying.
Listen to the Story

Slides

Hinkley Water
Paso Robles Wells
Costs
Fuel Leaks
Dry Wells
Cadiz Water
Shaky Ground
Santa Susana 1
Santa Susana 2
LA Budget
Minutemen
LA River
Garage Sales
Schwarzenegger
Old Fire Rebuilding
LA Jail Payouts
Hinkley Radio 1
Hinkley Radio 2
RFID Fears
Crime Reports
Tortilla Sales
Olympic Pitchmen
False Medicine
Santa Susana 3
Tall Ship Postcard
Environmental Map
Ghost Town