Q&A: NPR Journalist Sheds Light on Black Lung Investigation

Dec 19, 2018

Credit West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, NPR’s Howard Berkes reported this week that more than 2,000 coal miners are now suffering from the most severe form of black lung disease, called pulmonary massive fibrosis. And despite clear warnings, industry regulators did not stop it.
The investigation caps a nearly four-decade career for Berkes, who is retiring from NPR this month.
The Ohio Valley ReSource’s Jeff Young spoke with Berkes about how he reported this story, and why his reporting kept taking him back to Appalachia’s coal country.

Also on today’s show, we’ll hear about a new treatment program that’s giving black lung sufferers some relief. There is no cure for black lung and, until recently, treatment options were limited. But as Sydney Boles reports, one coal miner’s daughter is showing that there may be some hope.

And we hear from our fifth-grade youth reporting project at Valley Elementary School. Today, Health Reporter Kara Lofton has another audio postcard, in which we’ll hear from six more of those students about how holiday traditions help them feel connected to their families and their communities.

West Virginia Morning is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting which is solely responsible for its content.

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