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

Quotation Of The Week: Late Night MBTA, We Hardly Knew Ye?

November 20, 2015

MBTA fiscal control board members this week expressed frustration with the current late night service — its low ridership and thus its high per-trip subsidy.

Mass. Added 11,00 Jobs In Oct.; Jobless Rate Remains At 4.6 Percent

November 19, 2015

With October’s gains, Massachusetts has added an estimated 62,800 jobs so far this year, the state said.

Quotation Of The Week: Teaching Vets New Skills

November 13, 2015

One in five students at the North Bennet Street School, which offers training in trades and craftsmanship, is a military veteran.

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.

Cambridge Explores A $15 Minimum Wage

November 02, 2015
Shahera Zallum, 19, of Cambridge, currently works at a McDonald's in the city and makes $9.50 an hour. “I think $15 an hour and a decent amount of work hours a week would provide me with stability, and that’s all I really want at this point," she told WBUR. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

But before Cambridge debates the issue, there’s a more basic question: Do cities and towns in Massachusetts have the power to set their own minimum wage?

Quotation Of The Week: Remembering Tom Menino

October 30, 2015

It’s been a year since Menino, Boston’s longest-serving mayor, passed away.

Quotation Of The Week: Uncertain Future For Green Line Extension

October 23, 2015

State officials acknowledged that the long-promised Green Line extension to Somerville and Medford is likely to be delayed.

Quotation Of The Week: The Urban Renewal Debate, Renewed In 2015

October 16, 2015

It’s a subject weighed down by history, as Boston’s West End was infamously razed in the 1950s and ’60s in the name of urban renewal.

Mass. Lost An Estimated 7,100 Jobs In September

October 15, 2015

The state unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent, but that drop was driven by a decline in the labor force.

43-Year-Old Pilgrim Nuclear Plant In Plymouth To Close Permanently

October 13, 2015
Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth will close no later than June 1, 2019. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Entergy Corp. said in a statement it will close the plant “because of poor market conditions, reduced revenues and increased operational costs.”

Mass. Job Seekers Call For Aid For Long-Term Unemployed

October 07, 2015

A few dozen mostly older and well-educated individuals urged state legislators to support bills aimed at getting them back to work.

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

“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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