One Square Mile

About once a year, our newsroom will devote an entire week to award-winning reporting that covers "one square mile," somewhere in Rhode Island.  One town/location gets in-depth look at variety of stories from a diversity of angles: politics, education, health care, the economy, its character and history.  

OSM locations have included:

Catherine Welch / RIPR

We’re launching our series One Square Mile and this time we’re focused on Narragansett Bay. The bay plays an enormous role in making Rhode Island a sailing mecca.

Sail Newport’s Executive Director Brad Read hops on one of the organization’s sailboats and starts pulling the line connected to the main sail. “You picked a perfect day, you couldn’t have asked for a dryer more perfect wind, beautiful blue sky,” said Read. “And you’re here at Sail Newport about to sail on one of our J-22’s.”

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Narragansett Bay has encircled Rhode Island’s history and culture since the colonial era. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay kicks off our One Square Mile series on the bay.

Narragansett Bay was ours before we were Rhode Island. In 1524, the Italian explorer Giovanni de Verrazano sailed into the uncharted waters of the bay. He was impressed with what he saw, says Christopher Pastore, a professor at the SUNY at Albany and author of the new book `Between Land and Sea’ a history of the bay.

Rhode Island Public Radio’s Environmental Reporter, Ambar Espinoza will host a public forum and conversation on the changing fisheries in Narragansett Bay.

This forum will be broadcast live on Thursday, October 9, 2014 from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM on Rhode Island Public Radio: 88.1 FM/102.7 FM/91.5 FM and RIPR.ORG.

Aaron Read / RIPR

A forum featuring Bristol boat builders and industry leaders discussing how the boat building industry is recovering from the bottom dropping out during the financial crisis of 2008.  Recorded Thursday, October 10th at the Bristol Elks Lodge.

One Square Mile: Bristol's Quahoggers

Oct 11, 2013
John Bender / RIPR

Quahoging has long been a major industry in the town of Bristol, situated right on the waterfront.  But as the population of local fishermen ages, and market prices plummet, the industry faces some serious threats.

Rhode Island Public Radio’s John Bender went out on a boat with a young quahogger to find out more about the town's historic industry.

One Square Mile: Bristol, A Town In Photos

Oct 11, 2013
Courtesy Manuel C. Correira

Throughout his career Bristol native Manuel "Manny" C. Correira has been a sports journalist, columnist, and photographer, in Rhode Island for the East Bay Newspapers and the Providence Journal.

As part of our One Square Mile: Bristol series, he graciously curated some of his best shots of his hometown for use in the series.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Bristol, Rhode Island is home to one of the largest consolidated school districts in the state, the Bristol-Warren Regional School District. For today’s installment of our series One Square Mile Bristol, Rhode Island Public Radio’s education reporter, Elisabeth Harrison, wanted to find out whether regionalizing has been a success.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The Bristol boat building industry has its roots in the late 19th Century, when the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company built boats for the Navy and yachts that successfully defended the America’s Cup. A lot has changed since then, but maritime industries still form an important part of Bristol’s economy. The work being done by Bristol’s current generation of maritime companies ranges from the traditional to the cutting edge.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

A forum featuring Bristol boat builders and industry leaders discussing how the boat building industry is recovering from the bottom dropping out during the financial crisis of 2008.

Thursday, October 10th, 7:00 - 8:00 PM

Bristol Elks Lodge

1 Constitution Street, Bristol RI

PROVIDENCE, RI – Several listeners responded to our request for Block Island memories. One listener gave us more than 20 memories, another told us how he met his wife on the island, and another gave us a fascinating story of adventure on the island.

Not all of the memories made it on the air, so we laced them together for this special addition to our online coverage of One Square Mile: Block Island.


Photo by Bradley Campbell.

Providence, RI – In 1875, workers constructed the Southeast Lighthouse on the edge of the Mohegan Bluffs. It worked for more than a century to help keep sailors safe. But in the 1990s, erosion forced the islanders to make a decision: save the lighthouse, or let it fall into the sea.

Islanders chose the former. And the Southeast Lighthouse continues to shine. But the story of the Southeast Lighthouse is something more.

Photo courtesy of Block Island Conservancy.

Providence, RI – Over the last 40 years or so, residents of Block Island have worked to conserve nearly half of the island. But there's still more work to do. So Justin Lewis who is continuing the effort. Lewis is in his thirties, and a surfer. But he's also the next generation of a family that's synonymous with conservation on the island.

PROVIDENCE, RI – Join us for a forum about research into tick-borne diseases like Lyme Disease and Babesiosis, hosted by RIPR's Kristin Gourlay. It's at Smugglers Cove (next to Payne's Killer Donuts) on Saturday September 8th from 1-2pm.

Woonsocket Community Forum

Woonsocket, RI – Scott MacKay leads a discussion on issues facing Woonsocket.


In their Woonsocket apartment, Bradley Mehlenbacher and his half-brother Brian Ross known to thousands as Draco and the Malfoys play a stripped-down version of their song, "Potions." They're one of the big names in a genre called wizard rock music that's based on the popular Harry Potter book series.