WBUR Staff

Benjamin Swasey

Digital Editor, WBUR

Ben is an editor — and occasional blogger — for wbur.org. When he reports, it’s most often on economic and transportation policy, social issues and politics.

Ben is from western Massachusetts, and now lives in Cambridge.

Recent stories

Baker Seeks $5M In Funds For Populations Struggling With Joblesssness

January 25, 2016
Gov. Charlie Baker, left, walks into the House Chamber to deliver his State of the State address on Thursday. (Michael Dwyer/AP)

In its budget proposal, the Baker administration will propose $5 million for populations that face chronically high levels of unemployment.

Mass. Added 7,100 Jobs In December, Finishing State's Best Year For Jobs Since 2000

January 21, 2016
In this Aug. 21, 2015, file photo, people shop the cosmetics section of the CityTarget store in Boston. (Michael Dwyer/AP)

Massachusetts added nearly 74,000 jobs in 2015, according to preliminary estimates released Thursday.

Report: Boston Ranks No. 1 For City Income Inequality

January 14, 2016
Boston's Seaport District on Thursday, a day after General Electric said it will relocate its global headquarters there (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

In 2014, households earning near the top of Boston’s income distribution made nearly 18 times the earnings of households closer to the bottom.

Mass. Minimum Wage Rises To $10 An Hour

January 01, 2016
In this April 2015 file photo, protesters chant slogans as they march in Boston. New laws taking effect on Jan. 1, 2016, will raise the minimum wage in several states, including Massachusetts. (Steven Senne/AP)In this April 2015 file photo, protesters chant slogans as they march in Boston. New laws taking effect on Jan. 1, 2016, will raise the minimum wage in several states, including Massachusetts. (Steven Senne/AP)

Massachusetts now has the highest state minimum wage in the country, along with California. A tax credit for low-income workers in Massachusetts has also increased with the new year.

Mass. Added 5,900 Jobs Last Month; Jobless Rate Ticks Up To 4.7 Percent

December 17, 2015

Despite the slight rise, the state unemployment rate is still below the national rate of 5 percent.

Mass. Pilot Program To Help Worcester Students Start Saving For College Early

December 14, 2015
State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, a Democrat, is seen at a State House menorah lighting last week. (Courtesy of Joanne DeCaro/Governor's Office)

The program from the state treasurer will make college savings accounts available to all kindergartners in Worcester.

Quotation Of The Week: Local Muslims React To Trump

December 11, 2015
quote-there-are-times-when-i

After the Republican presidential front-runner announced his controversial plan to temporarily block Muslims from entering the U.S., WBUR visited the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center for reaction.

Gov. Baker: ‘Multiple Safety Procedures’ Not Followed On Operator-Less Red Line Train

December 11, 2015
An MBTA Red Line train heads toward Braintree Station Thursday. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

“We are confident that this is an isolated incident that a single individual made multiple errors,” Gov. Charlie Baker said.

‘Operator Error’ Investigated After Red Line Train Traveled Without One

December 10, 2015
An MBTA Red Line train barrels down the tracks on its way to Braintree Station on Thursday morning, after another train left the station without an operator. The T is investigating. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

The state transportation secretary called the incident “an unacceptable breach of our responsibility to keep our riders safe.”

6 Greater Boston Municipalities Form Economic Partnership

December 09, 2015

The six — Boston, Braintree, Cambridge, Chelsea, Quincy and Somerville — will jointly hire a coordinator to develop a regional economic strategy.

Baker Announces Campaign To Remove Stigma Of Addiction

November 04, 2015
A screenshot from a new statewide media campaign, created by the state, about addiction (YouTube)

“Studies show that stigmas can prevent people from getting into treatment — holding them back from recovery, stability and success,” Gov. Baker said.

Find The Uninsured Rate In Your Mass. Town

April 02, 2015
(Courtesy of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation)

Massachusetts has the lowest rate of residents lacking health insurance. We know that. But the state figure masks significant variation on a more local level.

Boston Wants Your Ideas For Reimagining City Hall Plaza

March 09, 2015
Have an idea to reimagine the oft-barren landscape that is Boston City Hall Plaza?

Have an idea to reimagine the oft-barren landscape that is Boston City Hall Plaza? Mayor Marty Walsh wants to hear it.

The Smiley Face Was Made In Worcester, And It’s Now 50

October 03, 2014
Smiley face creator Harvey Ball, of Worcester, autographs posters in his office on July 6, 1998. (Paul Connors/AP)

The iconic yellow smiley face was created by Worcester artist Harvey Ball in 1963.

Tom Brady Posted His (Pre-Patriots) Resume

September 18, 2014
0918_brady-resume-crop

“Really thought I was going to need this after the 5th round,” the now-star QB wrote.

Miss Newport Folk Festival? NPR Has You Covered

July 28, 2014
Ryan Adams performs at the Newport Folk Festival. (NPR Music)

The 55th iteration of the iconic music festival happened this past weekend in Rhode Island, and NPR Music, as it does every year, is posting audio and photos.

Doc Says Pedal: Boston Launches ‘Prescribe-A-Bike’ Hubway Program

March 26, 2014
(gobanshee1/Flickr via Compflight)

Boston Medical Center physicians can refer low-income patients for a $5 membership to the area’s bike share system, under a new initiative.

Liner Note Nostalgia And Music Consumption Now

March 19, 2014
Ben found this CD, Soul Asylum's "Grave Dancers Union," from 1992, in WBUR behind the studio. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Was Ben’s love of music deepened because early on he often read while he listened? He mulls it over.

Guatemalan Children Serenade Kerry With ‘Sweet Caroline’

June 07, 2013
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry listens as students in a State Department educational program focused on impoverished and indigenous children serenade him with a rendition of "Sweet Caroline" during a visit to their school in Antigua, Guatemala, on June 5, 2013. (State Department/Flickr)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry got a touching reminder of his Boston roots in Guatemala this week.

Storm Aftermath: Practicing Medicine Without Power

November 02, 2011
A stethoscope (nwxiang/Flickr)

The staff at one North Andover pediatrician’s office is, for the fourth straight day in an outage, “seeing sick kids in the cold, with no computers, no phones and no lights.”

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