Journalism in the Public Interest


Ryan Knutson

Ryan Knutson was an intern at ProPublica. A graduate of the University of Oregon, he's written for The Wall Street Journal, The Oregonian and The Daily Graphic of Ghana. He's also spent time as a radio reporter for OPBNews in Portland, Ore.


Anatomy of a Cell Tower Death

A half dozen companies, including AT&T, played a role in the cell site project on which William “Bubba” Cotton died. So who controlled the work site? And who was responsible for the safety of subcontractors working on it?

After a Tower Climber Falls, Stand Down Called for on AT&T Projects

Following a worker’s non-fatal 100-foot fall from a Texas cell tower last week, one of AT&T’s construction management firms has instituted a stand down across several states, requiring that its subcontractors review safety practices.

Built for a Simpler Era, OSHA Struggles When Tower Climbers Die

Fifty men have died in accidents on cell sites since 2003, but federal workplace safety regulators have few tools and little will to impose consequences on the companies that count on their labor.

In Race For Better Cell Service, Men Who Climb Towers Pay With Their Lives

Corporate giants have outsourced the dangerous work of building and maintaining communications towers to tiny subcontracting companies. Over the last nine years, nearly 100 workers have died, 50 of them on cell sites.

Methodology: How We Calculated the Tower Industry Death Rate

How we calculated deaths per 100,000 workers for the tower industry using OSHA's methodology.

Oil Spill Commission’s Missing Document Adds Insight to Gulf Investigation

A new document uncovered last week might help to clear up some confusion over comments made earlier this month by the Oil Spill Commission's chief counsel.

Read the Latest Reports on Gulf Spill, Slamming Industry and Regulators

The Documentary BP Wants You to Disregard

BP CEO Robert Dudley warned London's business leaders today that an upcoming report and documentary from ProPublica and PBS FRONTLINE would paint an unflattering picture of the company.

BP Texas Refinery Had Huge Toxic Release Just Before Gulf Blowout

A BP refinery in Texas spewed tons of toxic chemicals just two weeks before the Gulf blowout.

Blast at BP Texas Refinery in ‘05 Foreshadowed Gulf Disaster

A 2005 blast at a BP refinery in Texas has many similarities with the Gulf disaster.

Another (Sigh) Increase in Estimate of Oil Flow

The estimated size of the oil spill in the Gulf rises yet again, to 25,000 to 30,000 barrels a day.

Years of Internal BP Probes Warned That Neglect Could Lead to Accidents

BP's own internal investigations warned that the company had created a culture of disregard for safety and environmental rules and risked a serious accident if it did not change its ways.

A Mystery: When Did Gov’t Exempt Gulf Drilling from Detailed Enviro Reviews?

It's unclear why the Minerals Management Service waived environmental studies for Gulf oil drilling.

New Details Emerge in Glover Case

Cleanup Boats Sent to Shore After More Workers Get Sick

Workers on three vessels cleaning up oil in the Gulf complain of headaches, chest pain, nausea and dizziness.

Missing Persons Report in Glover Case Failed to Receive Attention

Authorities Charge Fifth Former NOPD Officer in Danziger Case

Boy Scouts Slow to Respond to Abuse Allegations

Investigations You Need to Read: Wednesday, May 19

Justice Department Opens Probe of NOPD