Name: Ryan Sabalow
Title: Environment Reporter
Affiliation: The Sacramento Bee
For half a decade, it has been the same story in California: drought. Legislators push and pull on policy; farmers and homeowners wrestle with water restrictions.
Starting this summer, however, there is a new voice telling the old tale. Ryan Sabalow returned to his home state of California in June 2015 as the environmental reporter for The Sacramento Bee, covering water and drought news for the state. The position was previously held by Matt Weiser.
“I wanted to write about the most significant issue in the state at the capital paper,” Sabalow says.
He has gotten his wish—since Sabalow was hired by the Bee, he has written numerous articles on the effects of California’s four-year drought.
Some concern the controversial Delta tunnels, others cover the state’s water restrictions. One recent story details the loss of water in Sacramento’s utility system.
Before The Sacramento Bee, Sabalow worked at the The Indianapolis Star in a similar capacity.
“Journalism is journalism, no matter where you are,” he says. “I wrote more regulatory, more investigative stories there. Here [in Sacramento], it’s more explanatory.”
While working for the Star, Sabalow wrote “Buck Fever”, which he calls his “signature piece”. An 18-month investigation into the captive deer industry led to a four-chapter multi-media story that analyzes the medical, ethical and legal pitfalls of breeding and hunting deer on private farms for trophy antlers.
A graduate of Chico State with degrees in English and Journalism, Sabalow says the environmental issues in Sacramento are contentious. As a journalist, he knows the value of balanced reporting.
“You have to deal with people trying to get their own way, sort out who’s bending facts to benefit themselves,” he says. “You have to tell a complete story without being manipulated.”
Sabalow grew up in Northern California, and for many years wrote for the Redding Record-Searchlight, so he is no stranger to the region’s natural water system and the drought.
“Trying to learn the state plumbing system is a crash course, though,” he says.
Sabalow says he drifts toward environmental coverage because he’s interested in it—he enjoys fishing and hunting, among other outdoor sports.
“I write about it because it’s what I care about,” he says. “I like being outdoors—whether I’m out on the water or wading waist deep in it.”
Ryan Sabalow can be contacted at The Sacramento Bee at (916) 321-1264 or at email@example.com.