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NPR listeners often ask, "What is her name anyway — Keema Leski, Kim Alesky, Kay Marlenski, or what?" Her name is Kee Malesky, nee Christine Mary Shields, of Brooklyn, N.Y. The "Christine" became "Kee" when her youngest sister learned to talk, and because she thought it was a really cool name, she stuck with it.
With her colleagues in the Reference Library, Kee Malesky performs background research, answers fact-checking questions, finds experts and story ideas, and provides guidance to staff on grammar, usage, and pronunciations (but don't blame her when someone says "nook-yoo-ler"). She coordinates the library's internal News Wiki, and has also worked on special projects for NPR — producing Election Night briefing books, documenting the early history of the network, and assisting with journalist training projects.
Kee has been married since 1970 to Robert Malesky, who was the senior producer of NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday for twenty years. However, they are not on the official "NPR Couples" list because they met and married before either of them came to NPR.
After several years as an administrative drudge for NPR, Kee abandoned the network to get her Masters degree in Library Science from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. She had planned to find a position deep in an archive somewhere with no human contact, but was lured back to NPR by her friends in the Broadcast Library in 1984. After cataloguing NPR programs for three years, Kee became the staff librarian for the original version of NPR's arts magazine program, Performance Today, and then moved to the News Reference Library in 1990.
Breaking the Mold: The Kee Malesky Story (2003) is a completely fictional account of Kee's early life. Producer Josh Seftel, working on a documentary about environmental science, asked Kee for permission to use her name for the character, a high school girl who enjoys research and finds the solution to a house mold problem that is making people sick. Aired on PBS and at film festivals around the country, the short film has been well-received by reviewers and audiences. The Providence Journal called it "a zanily eccentric tale."
In 2009, Kee took some time off to write All Facts Considered; The Essential Library of Inessential Knowledge (Wiley 2010), a compendium of interesting and unusual facts that she has accumulated during more than two decades answering questions for NPR reporters, editors, and hosts. She followed that volume with a second collection, Learn Something New Every Day, 365 Facts to Fulfill Your Life (Wiley 2012).
Kee has received several awards in recognition of her contributions to the profession, include the 2012 Dow Jones Leadership Award presented by the Special Libraries Association. She is an active member of SLA and of Beta Phi Mu, the international honor society of librarianship.
Award-winning journalist Neal Conan is the host of Talk of the Nation, the national news-talk call-in show from NPR News. Conan brings three decades of news and radio experience to the show, which reaches 3.4 million listeners a week on more than 300 NPR member stations.
A familiar voice on NPR for the past quarter century, Conan has worked as a reporter based in New York, Washington, and London-he served as NPR's Bureau Chief in both New York and London-and anchored NPR live coverage of events including national political conventions, inaugurations, and an impeachment. For five years, he hosted Weekly Edition: The Best of NPR News. Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Conan played a major role anchoring NPR's continuous live coverage, a part he reprised during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2004, in Des Moines, Iowa, he hosted the first radio-only presidential candidates' debate since 1948.
On the other side of the microphone, Conan has also served as editor, producer, and executive producer of NPR's flagship evening newsmagazine, All Things Considered and, at various times, acted as NPR's foreign editor, managing editor, and news director.
Conan's awards include a Major Armstrong award for his coverage of the Iran-Iraq War, a prestigious Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University award as part of NPR's coverage of the Gulf War, another duPont and a George Foster Peabody Award for his part in NPR's Coverage of Sept. 11 and yet another duPont for NPR's coverage of the war in Iraq. During his time at All Things Considered, the program won numerous awards, including the Washington Journalism Review's Best in the Business award.
During the 2001 baseball season, Conan took a leave of absence from NPR News to work as the play-by-play announcer for the Aberdeen Arsenal of the independent Atlantic League. He filed a series of commentaries about life on the fringe of professional sports for Morning Edition and later wrote a book about his experiences, Play By Play: Baseball, Radio and Life in the Last Chance League.
Conan tours nationally with Ensemble Galieli as the narrator and host of the National Geographic production "First Person: Stories from the Edge of the World," and "A Universe of Dreams," produced in co-operation with the Space Telescope Institute.
Conan was born in Beirut, Lebanon.
Bill wrote his first commentary for WBUR in 1984, and shortly thereafter his work began airing on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” where, for a few years, he hit second in a line-up that included Red Barber and Frank Deford.
A graduate of Yale University and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Bill continues to teach one course each semester at Curry College, where he also serves as writer-in-residence.
Bill’s most recent book is “Only A Game.” He refuses to say where he got the title. Anyway, it’s a collection of radio commentaries and magazine articles published by University of Nebraska Press in 2007. His other books include “Fall Classics” (Crown Press, 2003), a collection of the best writing about the World Series which he edited with Richard Johnson; “The Circus in the Woods” (Houghton Mifflin, 2002); “Prospect” (Houghton Mifflin, 1989; paperback, 2000); “Baseball Days” (Houghton Mifflin, 1993; paperback Pond Press, 2000); “Champions: The Stories of Ten Remarkable Athletes” (Little, Brown, 1993; paperback, 1999); and “Keepers: Radio Stories from ‘Only A Game’ and Elsewhere” (Peninsula Press, 1999). He was the guest editor for Houghton Mifflin’s Best American Sports Writing in 1998.
For more information on Only A Game, visit the program website.
Matt Ryan is an award-winning television producer, writer, videographer, and editor. He is currently the managing editor and host of the weekly, statewide public affairs program New York NOW, produced by Innovation Trail partner station WMHT. Matt is also the producer, writer, editor, and host of WMHT's documentary "Presidents in Our Backyard."
Matt has been honored with national awards for programs in public affairs, documentary and historical programming categories and received an Emmy nomination this spring (or 2011) for New York NOW. He is a graduate of the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh.