Melissa Block

Melissa Block joined NPR in 1985 and has been hosting All Things Considered since 2003, after nearly a decade as an NPR correspondent.

Frequently reporting from communities in the center of the news, Block was in Chengdu, China, preparing for a weeklong broadcast when a massive earthquake struck the region in May 2008. Immediately following the quake, Block, along with co-host Robert Siegel and their production team, traveled throughout Sichuan province to report extensively on the destruction and relief efforts. Their riveting coverage aired across all of NPR's programs and was carried on major news organizations around the world. In addition, the reporting was recognized with the industry's top honors including a Peabody Award, a duPont-Columbia Award, a National Headliner Award and the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi Award.

Throughout her career, Block has covered major news events for NPR ranging from on-the-scene reporting from the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the days following Hurricane Katrina to a series from Texas gauging the impact of the Iraq War on the surrounding communities. Her reporting after the September 11, 2001 attacks was part of coverage that earned NPR a George Foster Peabody Award. Block's reporting from Kosovo in 1999 was cited among stories for which NPR News won an Overseas Press Club Award.

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5:43pm

Thu July 10, 2014
Politics

Obama's Request For Immigration Funds Meets Pushback On The Hill

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 7:04 pm

President Obama has asked Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency funds to address the influx of immigrant children at the U.S.-Mexico border. The Senate Appropriations Committee is holding a hearing Thursday about the request.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

4:06pm

Tue June 17, 2014
Iraq

The Shape Of Extremist Ambitions In Iraq And Beyond

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 8:33 pm

NPR's Deborah Amos, author of Eclipse of the Sunnis, talks to Melissa Block about the extremist vision for establishing a new Sunni caliphate, as well as what it might look like if a group like ISIS managed to do so.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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4:16pm

Fri May 30, 2014
News

Spelling Co-Champs Beat The Bee, Leaving Judges Without Words

Originally published on Fri May 30, 2014 7:07 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Melissa, can I have a word for a moment?

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Absolutely. How about, thymelici?

SIEGEL: Oh, the dancing chorus in ancient Greek plays?

BLOCK: Yeah.

SIEGEL: No, I was thinking more of, encaenia.

BLOCK: Encaenia. The academic ceremony for conferring honorary degrees?

SIEGEL: Well, of course. Those two everyday words figured in the Scripps National Spelling Bee that ended in a rare tie yesterday.

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4:27pm

Thu May 29, 2014
Television

TV Offerings Are Hotter Than Usual This Summer

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 7:11 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, BYLINE: This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, BYLINE: And I'm Melissa Block. Instead of taking their usual summer vacation, the TV networks are working to get your attention this summer. They're hoping to lure your eyes away from cable channels and online shows. To talk about some of the hot summer programming that will be on the schedule, I'm joined now by NPR TV critic Eric Deggans. And Eric, summer is usually when the networks slow down, but not this year. What's going on?

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5:17pm

Mon May 26, 2014
Education

Who's Using The Data Mined From Students?

Originally published on Mon May 26, 2014 5:43 pm

Information tracked by educational software can be of great help to teachers. But as Politico's Stephanie Simon explains, private companies can also monetize the data by selling it to marketers.

5:17pm

Mon May 26, 2014
Remembrances

On Memorial Day, Revisiting Stories Of The Fallen In Afghanistan

Originally published on Mon May 26, 2014 5:43 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

At Arlington National Cemetery on this memorial day President Obama paid tribute to the country's war dead. The President had just returned from a weekend visit to Afghanistan.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVAL RECORDING)

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5:17pm

Mon May 26, 2014
U.S.

What We Know About The Man Behind The Isla Vista Killings

Originally published on Mon May 26, 2014 5:43 pm

Scott Gold, senior writer for The Los Angeles Times discusses Elliot Rodger, the man who police say went on a stabbing and shooting rampage in Isla Vista, Calif., last week before killing himself.

5:17pm

Mon May 26, 2014
Remembrances

Singing Star Of All-Black Cowboy Movies, Herb Jeffries, Dies

Originally published on Mon May 26, 2014 5:43 pm

Herb Jeffries was the first singing star of all-black cowboy movies in the late 1930s, garnering him the nickname the "Bronze Buckeroo." The jazz baritone had a seven-decade career, including singing with Duke Ellington's Band. He died Sunday in California, at age 100.

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4:01pm

Fri May 16, 2014
Health Care

To Pay For Hepatitis C Drugs, Medicare Might Face A Steep Bill

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 8:00 pm

The federal Medicare program for the elderly and disabled will cover two new drugs that can cure hepatitis C, a liver disease that can cause cancer and lead to death. The drugs are very expensive, but they cure hepatitis C in most cases. The government and insurers are concerned about these costs; three million Americans have hepatitis C, most of whom don't know they have it.

4:00pm

Wed May 14, 2014
Media

'The New York Times' Announces Surprise Change Of Management

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 7:59 pm

The New York Times has announced that Dean Baquet, the newspaper's managing editor, will replace Jill Abramson as the executive editor. Both Abramson and Baquet were named to their current jobs in 2011. NPR's media correspondent David Folkenflik comments on the move.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

5:11pm

Wed May 7, 2014
Environment

Stanford Dumps Its Holdings In Coal, With Climate In Mind

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 9:59 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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4:53pm

Thu April 24, 2014
Middle East

In Answer To Palestinian Unity, Israelis Step Away From Peace Talks

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 7:17 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Elsewhere in the Middle East, Israel has broken off peace talks with the Palestinian Authority. Israeli leaders say they're doing that because the Palestinian Authority is forming a joint government with the militant group Hamas.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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4:21pm

Wed April 23, 2014
Technology

New Browser Plug-in Would Literally Annihilate This Headline

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 12:49 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This next story is literally about the word...

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Literally.

CORNISH: ...literally. As in a literal sense or manner.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

That's also the name of a free Internet browser extension created by New York programmer Mike Lazer-Walker.

MIKE LAZER-WALKER: So all it does, you install it in your Web browser, and then any website you visit, any time the word literally is printed, it instead replaces it with figuratively.

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4:52pm

Fri April 11, 2014
Deep In The Heart Of (A Transforming) Texas

LBJ Carried Poor Texas Town With Him In Civil Rights Fight

Originally published on Sat April 12, 2014 1:34 am

Long before he was president, Lyndon Johnson taught in Cotulla, Texas. He is pictured here with students in 1928.
Courtesy of LBJ Library

Today Cotulla, Texas, is reaping the benefits of an oil and natural gas boom in the Eagle Ford Shale. But in 1928, the South Texas town was incredibly poor — and that's how Lyndon Johnson saw it when he had his first job there at age 20.

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4:08pm

Thu April 10, 2014
Deep In The Heart Of (A Transforming) Texas

Drilling Frenzy Fuels Sudden Growth In Small Texas Town

Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 8:12 pm

This nighttime NASA satellite image from 2012 shows lights from drilling sites and natural gas flaring along the Eagle Ford Shale.
NASA

South Texas is in the midst of a massive oil boom. In just a few years, it has totally transformed once-sleepy communities along a crescent swoosh known as the Eagle Ford Shale formation and has brought unexpected prosperity — along with a host of new concerns.

Among the towns drastically changed by the drilling is Cotulla, southwest of San Antonio, about 70 miles up from the border with Mexico. The area is called brush country — flat, dry ranch land, scrubby with mesquite and parched by drought.

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4:23pm

Mon April 7, 2014
Sports

In NCAA Finals, Two Recent Champions On Unlikely Rides

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 7:29 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

It's Huskies versus Wildcats as the Men's Division I college basketball season comes to an end tonight. Facing off are two recent champions: the University of Connecticut, who won in 2011, and the University of Kentucky who won in 2012. They've both had improbable rides to tonight's title game.

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6:27pm

Thu April 3, 2014
The Two-Way

Another Tragedy For A City All Too Familiar With Extreme Gun Violence

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 8:15 pm

Bob Butler (left) and Bob Gordon work on a memorial Thursday at Central Christian Church in Killeen, Texas, for the victims of the Fort Hood shooting.
Eric Gay AP

Flags are fluttering at half-staff across Killeen, Texas, after yesterday's shooting at Fort Hood. This is a city that's all too familiar with spasms of extreme gun violence: a shooting rampage at Luby's Cafeteria in 1991 that left 23 dead.

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4:43pm

Thu April 3, 2014
News

On Base And In Town, Shooting Summons A Dread All Too Familiar

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 6:22 pm

From Killeen, Texas, where Fort Hood is based, Melissa Block talks to soldiers who were on base during the shooting, as well as with Killeen's mayor. The mayor explains how the town is trying to cope.

4:33pm

Tue April 1, 2014
Deep In The Heart Of (A Transforming) Texas

As Texas Gets More Diverse, Educators Grab The Bull By The Horns

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 5:45 pm

Students participate in orchestra practice at Dr. John Folks Middle School in suburban San Antonio. The school is brand new and was built with explosive growth in mind — the student population is expected to double to 1,200 within five years.
Melissa Block NPR

Texas is in the midst of a population boom and demographic sea change. It's grown faster than any other state and has more than doubled its population in just 40 years, from 11 to 26 million people.

And overwhelmingly, the fastest growth is among Hispanics who now make up 38 percent of the state's population and will be the largest single group in Texas by 2020.

Majority Minority State

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3:57pm

Mon March 31, 2014
Shots - Health News

Orthotic Brace Takes Soldiers From Limping To Leaping

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 3:31 pm

Soldiers participate in physical therapy while using a prosthetic brace called the Intrepid Dynamic Exoskeletal Orthosis (IDEO), which allows them to use and strengthen severely injured legs.
John Moore Getty Images

A deceptively simple leg brace is changing the lives of hundreds of wounded service members. Soldiers with badly injured legs who thought they'd have to live with terrible pain can walk and run again, pain-free.

Earlier this month, Army Spc. Joey McElroy took his first steps in the Intrepid Dynamic Exoskeletal Orthosis, or IDEO (pronounced: eye-DAY-oh). The device squeaked a bit as he stepped briskly on an indoor track.

McElroy was hit by a car and thrown from his motorcycle on Dec. 5, 2012.

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4:06pm

Fri March 14, 2014
News

Tell Your Bestie: The OED Has New Words

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 6:33 pm

The Oxford English Dictionary is adding some 900 new words and phrases to its pages, with wackadoodle, bestie and DIYer among them. Melissa and Robert review some of the new entries.

4:18pm

Tue March 4, 2014
Strange News

Fake Chef, Real Recipes — And The Food's Disgusting

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 6:31 pm

Nick Preuher is no chef; he only plays one on TV. More accurately, he has pretended to be one, appearing on various local morning television shows as a prank.

4:07pm

Thu February 27, 2014
From Our Listeners

Letters: Genetic Experiments And Hopes For Saving Voices

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 7:57 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Finally this hour: Your letters. We heard from Aaron Berger, a high school biology teacher in Minneapolis. He listened closely to our conversation this week about mitochondrial DNA. A debate is raging over whether women who want to have children but have errors in their DNA should be allowed to get a healthy transplant.

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4:14pm

Wed February 12, 2014
Health

More Findings, More Questions About Value Of Mammograms

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 8:00 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

There's new evidence out today that's raising questions about whether women in their 40's and 50's should routinely undergo mammography to detect breast cancer. A new analysis of a big Canadian study found no evidence that regular mammograms save lives. The study even suggests that for many women, regular breast X-rays may do more harm than good.

NPR's Rob Stein joins us now to talk about this report. It appears in the British medical journal BMJ.

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5:48pm

Fri January 31, 2014
Health

Sidelined By Brain Injury, Ex-NFL Player Copes With 'Desperation'

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 7:51 pm

Sean Morey, then with the Arizona Cardinals, celebrates after blocking a punt against the Seattle Seahawks in 2007. Morey, who suffers from post-concussion syndrome, retired from the NFL in 2010 on the advice of doctors.
Stephen Dunn Getty Images

The home of Sean Morey bears the impressive signposts of his 10-year career in the NFL: a Vince Lombardi trophy for his Super Bowl championship with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2006. A hefty Super Bowl ring. A framed photograph showing Morey in midair, launching himself like a missile to block a punt. With that play in 2008, his Arizona Cardinals became the only team in NFL history to win a game in overtime with a blocked punt.

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6:28pm

Fri October 25, 2013
NPR Story

JPMorgan Chase Agrees To Pay $5.1 Billion To Feds

Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 7:55 pm

JPMorgan Chase agreed pay $5.1 billion to settle litigation over mortgage assets sold during the housing bubble. The deal, announced late Friday afternoon, is to resolve claims the company misled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac before the housing market crashed. It is part of a tentative $13 billion deal the company is trying to reach with federal and state agencies over its mortgage liabilities.

5:28pm

Wed September 18, 2013
Latin America

Brazil's New Middle Class: A Better Life, Not An Easy One

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 8:01 pm

Roberto de Carvalho (left), who maintains a truck fleet in Recife, Brazil, is shown here with his daughter Sandra, 22, wife Enilda and daughter Susana, 16. The family makes just enough to belong the rapidly expanding ranks of the country's middle class, though they still can't afford a house or even a car.
Melissa Block NPR

Tens of millions of Brazilians have risen out of poverty over the past decade in one of the world's great economic success stories. The reasons are many: strong overall economic growth, fueled by exports. A rise in the minimum wage. A more educated workforce. And big government spending programs, including direct payments to extremely poor families.

But becoming middle class in Brazil means a better life, not an easy one. The new, lowest rung of the middle class is what in the U.S. would be called the working poor, with monthly incomes of between $500 and $2,000.

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4:57pm

Tue September 17, 2013
NPR Story

The Secret To One Brazilian Street Treat: Make It With Love

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 5:34 pm

Melissa Block is in Olinda, Brazil where a street vendor teaches her the secret to making Brazilian-style tapioca.

4:29pm

Tue August 20, 2013
The Salt

'Treme' Cookbook Captures The Flavor Of A Show And A City

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 11:34 am

Microwave pralines are easier to make than stovetop pralines, and just as tasty.
Ed Anderson Chronicle Books

If you find yourself craving New Orleans food, you could go there and melt in the sweltering heat for a dose of gumbo or praline bacon. Or you could settle in on your couch, as I've been doing, and torture yourself watching reruns of the HBO series Treme. It's set in post-Katrina New Orleans and, along with the music, it puts the city's food on center stage.

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5:11pm

Mon August 5, 2013
NPR Story

Amazon CEO To Buy 'Washington Post' And Sister Papers

Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 6:24 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The man who pushed the book publishing industry into the digital age is now buying one of the country's most storied newspaper companies. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com, is acquiring The Washington Post and its small sister papers. The news broke after the markets closed today. NPR's David Folkenflik covers the newspaper industry, and he joins me now. And, David, this was, I think, the best-kept secret in Washington. Tell us some details of this transaction and how it came about.

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