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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6:19pm

Tue July 23, 2013
Around the Nation

Weiner Says He Won't Drop Campaign For NYC Mayor

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block. Disgraced former congressman - and current New York City mayoral candidate - Anthony Weiner is apologizing again, this time after the publication of still more lewd messages and photos that Weiner exchanged online with a woman who is not his wife.

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4:41pm

Tue July 23, 2013
Music Interviews

Guy Clark, Music's Master Craftsman, On Making Songs Last

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 6:16 pm

Tools line the walls of Guy Clark's basement workshop at his home in Nashville, where he still builds guitars.
Jinae West NPR

If you want to learn how to write a song — one that's built to last, with vivid characters and images that plant you squarely inside a scene — listen to Guy Clark.

Songwriters who revere Clark will tell you he crafts songs with the same precision and attention to detail he uses when he builds guitars. But Clark has a simpler, blunter explanation, as he told me with a glint in his eye when I visited him recently at his home in Nashville, Tenn.

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7:37pm

Thu June 13, 2013
Middle East

Chemical Weapons Use In Syria Crosses U.S. 'Red Line'

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. The Obama administration has now joined France and Britain in concluding that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against its own people. That crosses a red line that President Obama has repeatedly warned would change the U.S. calculation in Syria.

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10:35pm

Mon June 10, 2013
NPR Story

Feds Drop Opposition To Restriction On Sales Of Morning-After Pill

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 8:11 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. The morning-after pill will soon be available - without a prescription - on pharmacy shelves, with no restrictions on age. That's because the Obama administration has dropped a long-running battle to keep age restrictions on emergency contraception. NPR's Julie Rovner joins me to explain this policy change. And Julie, this was an unexpected development. It came tonight. What happened?

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6:01pm

Mon May 20, 2013
Around the Nation

The Low-Tech Way Guns Get Traced

Originally published on Mon May 20, 2013 9:06 pm

ATF Special Agent Charles Houser runs the National Tracing Center in Martinsburg, W.Va.
Melissa Block NPR

Opponents of expanding background checks for gun sales often raise the fear that it would allow the government to create a national gun registry — a database of gun transactions. In fact, federal law already bans the creation of such a registry. And the reality of how gun sales records are accessed turns out to be surprisingly low-tech.

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5:59pm

Fri April 19, 2013
Business

Boeing's 787 Dreamliners To Fly Again After FAA Approval

Originally published on Fri April 19, 2013 10:51 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And as we continue to cover the events in the Boston area, we want to also talk about one other story, Boeing 787. The jet known as the Dreamliner will be back in the air soon. This afternoon, the FAA approved Boeing's redesign of the plane's battery system. Fifty 787s have been grounded for the last three months following two serious battery failures, one which led to a fire.

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6:07pm

Thu April 11, 2013
Asia

Report: North Korea May Be Able To Deliver Nuclear Weapons

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. A stunning revelation today from a member of Congress. It came from Republican Doug Lamborn, of Colorado, during an exchange on Capitol Hill with Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Lamborn cited a Defense Intelligence Agency report on North Korea's military capability, one that had not yet been released. Here's what Rep. Lamborn said.

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5:44pm

Thu March 21, 2013
Guns In America: A Loaded Relationship

On Gun Ownership And Policy, 'A Country Of Chasms'

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 7:55 pm

Gun enthusiast Paul Gwaltney at Blue Ridge Arsenal, in Chantilly, Va. Gwaltney, an NPR listener, agreed to host a discussion about guns with friends and colleagues.
Becky Lettenberger NPR

The ideological gulf between gun owners and non-gun owners is a wide one — made all the more obvious by the ongoing debate over what, if any, gun control measures should be adopted in the U.S.

Sometimes, the debate feels like people are coming from different worlds, even for people within the same family. And while Americans are often willing to discuss their own views, it's rarer to hear conversations between people who own and love guns and those who do not.

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5:13pm

Mon March 18, 2013
U.S.

Among Thousands Of Gun Deaths, Only One Charles Foster Jr.

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 9:45 pm

Led by the Rev. Willie Phillips (center), protesters march in February against violence in and around Club Majestic.
Mike Haskey Courtesy of The Ledger Enquirer

The Morris Missionary Baptist Church is nestled down a red dirt road, in Morris, Ga., set among pine trees near the Alabama state line. Next to the small white church lies its most recent grave site: that of Charles Foster Jr.

While the mass killings in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., garnered a frenzy of news coverage, statistically, they are not the norm. Each year, thousands of gun homicides in the U.S. — 11,000 in 2010 alone — attract little or no media attention.

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7:11pm

Tue February 12, 2013
Around the Nation

Fugitive Ex-LAPD Officer Apparently Barracaded In Cabin

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 1:19 pm

Kirk Siegler talks to Melissa Block for an update on the search for former Los Angeles Police Department officer Christopher Dorner. A man that authorities identified as Dorner was holed up in a cabin near Big Bear Lake, Calif., on Tuesday evening. Hundreds of officers surrounded the home. Dorner is wanted for questioning in three murders and one attempted murder.

4:35pm

Tue January 29, 2013
Africa

U.S. May Build Base For Drones In Northwest Africa

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 2:29 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

We're going to head west now, from Egypt across Libya to Niger. The Pentagon has signed a deal with the government there. The agreement could allow the U.S. to establish a forward base in Niger so that it could operate drone aircraft across northern and western Africa. NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman has been reporting on the U.S. military's growing presence on the continent. He joins me now here in the studio.

And Tom, how close is the U.S. to actually setting up a drone base in Niger?

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5:50pm

Wed January 23, 2013
Fine Art

In 'According To What?' Ai Weiwei Makes Mourning Subversive

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 4:48 pm

Grapes, a spiky cluster of wooden stools from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), is part of Ai Weiwei's repurposed furniture series.
Cathy Carver Courtesy Hirshhorn Museum

How do we honor the dead? How do we commit them to memory? And how do we come to terms with the way they died?

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7:19pm

Mon January 21, 2013
Around the Nation

Inaugural Balls Downsized The Second Time Around

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

So 9-year-old Lauren Kanabel there has a dream: a girl president elected in 2016. And whether or not that dream comes true, there will be inaugural balls. The tradition dates back to George Washington. Four years ago, President Obama attended ten inaugural balls, this year only two, both at the convention center here in Washington. And NPR's Allison Aubrey is there. She joins us by phone. Allison, the ball has been going on for a few hours now. What's the scene?

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10:18pm

Thu December 20, 2012
Politics

House Pulls 'Plan B' Tax Measure From The Floor

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

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5:15pm

Thu November 15, 2012
The Salt

A Dash Of Latin Flavor On The Thanksgiving Table

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 4:59 pm

Chef Jose Garces' quinoa soup.
Jason Varney

When Chef Jose Garces, the Philadelphia-based restaurateur and author of The Latin Road Home, thinks back to the Thanksgiving table of his youth, he remembers the turkey, and his father's chicken giblet gravy.

But his parents, who emigrated to Chicago from Ecuador in the 1960s, whipped up Ecuadorean staples as well.

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7:57pm

Tue November 6, 2012
Election 2012

Ohio Already Reporting Solid Voter Turnout

Originally published on Tue November 6, 2012 8:08 pm

Melissa Block talks with Don Gonyea as polls close in Ohio.

5:41pm

Fri September 21, 2012
Election 2012

In Wisconsin, Political Circus Leaves Voters Wounded

Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 6:53 pm

Heidi Accola works a stand at the farmers market in Baraboo, Wis. She runs a 1-acre organic farm with her husband, but she says they don't talk politics at home because it gets too heated.
Melissa Block NPR

Wisconsin is a prime battleground state in this year's presidential election.

Republicans hope the pick of native son Paul Ryan as their vice presidential nominee will bolster their chances to turn the state red in November. Wisconsin hasn't voted for a Republican for president since 1984. Barack Obama won the state by a blowout 14 points in 2008. And a run of Wisconsin polls this week shows him widening his lead over Mitt Romney.

So what do Wisconsin voters have to say about their choices — and their mood?

Economic Strain

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6:05pm

Thu September 20, 2012
Election 2012

Senate Race Tough To Call As Wisconsin Swings

Wisconsin Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin sits with state delegates during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 5.
David Goldman AP

Republicans hoping to gain control of the U.S. Senate in November's elections are banking on Wisconsin where they want to flip the seat held by Democrat Herb Kohl, who's retiring.

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4:14pm

Wed June 20, 2012
Around the Nation

Saving Calif. State Parks: The End Of Public Funding?

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 6:23 pm

Brad Beadell (right) takes his 11-year-old son, William, on his first backpacking trip through Henry W. Coe State Park in Morgan Hill, Calif.
Melissa Block NPR

On July 1, 15 California state parks are slated to be closed permanently to the public — the first such closures in the state's history. They're the victim of budget cuts in a state with a $16 billion shortfall.

Over the past year, park enthusiasts have scrambled to save dozens of parks from closure, including Henry W. Coe State Park, California's second-biggest state park, located about 30 miles south of San Jose.

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4:18pm

Mon June 18, 2012
All Tech Considered

You Know You Want One: Personal Robots Not Ready For You Yet

Originally published on Mon June 18, 2012 11:06 pm

Research scientist Leila Takayama poses with a PR2 robot at Willow Garage, a robotics company in Menlo Park, Calif., that produces programmable robots.
Melissa Block NPR

Meet Jake. At 500 pounds, he stands 4 feet 4 four inches tall, with a spine that stretches another foot. He has white urethane skin, a flat head sporting an array of camera lenses, and a laser scanner in his throat.

And he may be coming to a home near you.

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12:18pm

Tue November 15, 2011
Author Interviews

Mark Kelly Tells Of Giffords' 'Courage' In Recovery

Originally published on Tue November 15, 2011 8:35 pm

Mark Kelly has a new book about his wife, Rep. Gabby Giffords, and her road to recovery since she was shot in the head on Jan. 8.
Courtesy of P.K. Weis

Earlier this year, on Jan. 8, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was shot in the head as she met with constituents in Tucson, Ariz. She was one of 13 people injured that day. Six people were killed.

It had been four years since Giffords arrived in Washington as a wide-eyed freshman and told NPR: "Life's good and [I'm] very, very excited — so optimistic about taking our country in a new direction."

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5:41pm

Fri October 14, 2011
Politics

Voters In Spartanburg, S.C., Say They Favor Cain

Originally published on Fri October 14, 2011 7:28 pm

Members of the Palmetto Statesmen, a barbershop chorus, say they think the Republican Party has lost its way. Currently, many say they favor candidate Herman Cain.

Melissa Block NPR

One of the earliest primary states is South Carolina, which holds its primary on Jan. 21. South Carolina is a Republican stronghold — with a strongly conservative voting base.

In Spartanburg, S.C., a handful of Republican voters share what's on their minds — and many are leaning toward Herman Cain.

Perry Aims To Win Voters

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is trying to win hearts and minds in the Palmetto State right where it counts — with food.

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6:20pm

Thu October 13, 2011
Economy

In Spartanburg, S.C., Jobs Are Especially Scarce

Volunteer Dean Ford prepares bags of food to be distributed at the First Baptist Spartanburg's food pantry program.

Melissa Block NPR

The job market is barely treading water. The Labor Department Thursday reported that 404,000 people filed for unemployment benefits last week — pretty much unchanged from the week before. Overall, there are 14 million people looking for work in the U.S.

One of those places where jobs are especially hard to find is Spartanburg, S.C.

On Thursday, the Occupy Wall Street protests spread to the heavily conservative corner of the heavily conservative state. It was a small turnout — about 20 people got some honks of support and some catcalls from people who shouted, "Get a job!"

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4:14pm

Tue September 13, 2011
Movie Interviews

Ebert: A 'Life' Still Being Lived, And Fully

Originally published on Tue September 13, 2011 10:17 pm

Ebert, with Chaz Ebert, accepts a career-achievement award at the theater-owners' convention ShoWest in 2009.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

"I was born inside the movie of my life."

Those words open the new memoir Life Itself from the film critic Roger Ebert, who has made movies his life for more than four decades now. He and his sparring partner, the late Gene Siskel, had the most famous thumbs on television. Now, at age 69, Ebert depends on the same thumbs-up that he and Siskel made famous to help him communicate in daily life. Five years ago, after multiple cancer surgeries, he lost the ability to speak.

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All Things Considered

On May 3, 1971, at 5 pm, All Things Considered debuted on 90 public radio stations.

In the 40 years since, almost everything about the program has changed, from the hosts, producers, editors and reporters to the length of the program, the equipment used and even the audience.

However there is one thing that remains the same: each show consists of the biggest stories of the day, thoughtful commentaries, insightful features on the quirky and the mainstream in arts and life, music and entertainment, all brought alive through sound.

3:00pm

Fri August 12, 2011
NPR Story

Appeals Court Rejects Part Of Health Care Law

A federal appeals court in Atlanta has ruled against the individual mandate contained in the new health care law, saying it is unconstitutional to require citizens to buy health insurance.

5:22pm

Wed August 10, 2011
Media

Murdoch To Take Questions From Investors, Media

Rupert Murdoch is expected to take questions from analysts, investors and reporters during a conference call Wednesday. The call follows Tuesday's meeting of the News Corp. board — the first such meeting since the phone hacking scandal that has roiled the company.

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