Michel Martin

Michel Martin is curious about many things. "I wonder what it's like to leave everything and everyone you know for the promise of a better life, to run for President, to be a professional athlete, to parent children of a different race," she notes. "I am fascinated by people who live lives different from my own. And at the same time, I feel connected to all of these lives being a journalist, a woman of color, a wife and mother."

Michel can be heard across NPR news programs, bringing her deep reporting and interviewing experience to bear on NPR's coverage of relevant topics, including education, families, faith, race and social issues. Outside the studio, she is hosting NPR Presents Michel Martin, an ambitious live event series in collaboration with Member Stations.

Martin came to NPR in 2006 and launched Tell Me More, a one-hour daily NPR news and talk show that aired on NPR stations nationwide from 2007-2014 and dipped into thousands of important conversations taking place in the corridors of power, but also in houses of worship, and barber shops and beauty shops, at PTA meetings, town halls, and at the kitchen table.

She has spent more than 25 years as a journalist — first in print with major newspapers and then in television. Tell Me More marked her debut as a full-time public radio show host. "What makes public radio special is that it's got both intimacy and reach all at once. For the cost of a phone call, I can take you around the world. But I'm right there with you in your car, in your living room or kitchen or office, in your iPod. Radio itself is an incredible tool and when you combine that with the global resources of NPR plus the commitment to quality, responsibility and civility, it's an unbeatable combination."

Martin has also served as contributor and substitute host for NPR newsmagazines and talk shows, including Talk of the Nation and News & Notes.

Martin joined NPR from ABC News, where she worked since 1992. She served as correspondent for Nightline from 1996 to 2006, reporting on such subjects as the Congressional budget battles, the U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, racial profiling and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. At ABC, she also contributed to numerous programs and specials, including the network's award-winning coverage of September 11, a documentary on the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas controversy, a critically acclaimed AIDS special and reports for the ongoing series "America in Black and White." Martin reported for the ABC newsmagazine Day One, winning an Emmy for her coverage of the international campaign to ban the use of landmines, and was a regular panelist on This Week with George Stephanopoulos. She also hosted the 13-episode series Life 360, an innovative program partnership between Oregon Public Broadcasting and Nightline incorporating documentary film, performance and personal narrative; it aired on public television stations across the country.

Before joining ABC, Martin covered state and local politics for the Washington Post and national politics and policy at the Wall Street Journal, where she was White House correspondent. She has also been a regular panelist on the PBS series Washington Week and a contributor to NOW with Bill Moyers.

Martin has been honored by numerous organizations, including the Candace Award for Communications from The National Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Joan Barone Award for Excellence in Washington-based National Affairs/Public Policy Broadcasting from the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association and a 2002 Silver Gavel Award, given by the American Bar Association. Along with her Emmy award, she received three additional Emmy nominations, including one with NPR's Robert Krulwich, at the time an ABC contributor as well, for an ABC News program examining children's racial attitudes.

A native of Brooklyn, NY, Martin graduated cum laude from Radcliffe College at Harvard University in 1980 and has done graduate work at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC.

We've been privileged in these last few months to share the stories of many Americans, some of them famous, but most of them not. We came together through some avenues we know well — books, music and theater. Sometimes, we found each other through pathways that have only recently become a big part of our lives, such as the #BeyondFerguson hashtag that brought so many young people to an August community meeting in that city. Our New Year's Resolution is to keep these honest and vital conversations going. We are going there.

African-American clergy, academics and activists will hold a march on Washington this week, protesting the grand jury decisions in Ferguson, Mo. and New York City and call on the federal government to intervene in the prosecutions of police officers accused of unjustified use of force.

The run up to midterm elections has sparked many heated legal and ideological arguments over voting procedures and requirements. To understand the debate, I went to Charlotte, North Carolina for a live community conversation around these voting laws. The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed a North Carolina law to go into effect that eliminates same-day voter registration and reduces the number of early voting days.

Ahead of the midterm elections, Michel Martin is visiting Charlotte, N.C., to learn more about Latino voters' growing influence in the state. Join Michel for a Facebook chat from 4:30-5 p.m. ET today as she answers questions and shares more on her reporting.

Sharp observations about race, class and gender plus pure passion for the theater: That's what you get when you ask a distinguished panel of playwrights whether "The Great White Way" is still too white.

Award-winning dramatists David Henry Hwang, Lydia Diamond, Kristoffer Diaz and Bruce Norris are some of America's most critically acclaimed contemporary playwrights. Their work captures the tensions and aspirations of an increasingly diverse America, but they all acknowledged that it was a challenge to bring a more diverse audience to theaters.

OK, I sort of made it to Broadway. It's WNYC's Greene Space in SoHo, the New York City neighborhood.

Friday is date night. But even if you are flying solo, come join us in person, or on Twitter.

We have a terrific lineup of some of the most exciting playwrights working today to talk about Broadway.

The Atlanta Hawks are in the headlines again after General Manager Danny Ferry apologized and received an undisclosed punishment for disparaging comments he made about prospective player Luol Deng — who was born in Sudan — were made public. Ferry reportedly said that Deng "has a little African in him. Not in a bad way, but he's like a guy who would have a nice store out front and sell you counterfeit stuff out of the back."

In the weeks since the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., families across the country are discussing how they approach "the talk" — not the one about sex, but the talk about safety and how young people should conduct themselves in encounters with the police. This difficult conversation has been part of the black family experience for generations.

(Editor's Note: NPR's Michel Martin was invited by St. Louis Public Radio to moderate a community conversation on Thursday around race, police tactics and leadership following the shooting death of Michael Brown. The following story is based on what happened at the event.)

A very smart person I know, a long time civil rights activist, told me once that "gratitude is overrated."

Now, I know that sounds harsh, but what I think she meant was that some people, especially, in her view, women, are too often too quick to settle for less than they deserve. She was talking about people who are so conditioned to have nothing, that they are just too happy when they get even a little.

For generations, education has been key to the American dream of advancement and opportunity. Today, NPR's Tell Me More with Michel Martin (@TellMeMoreNPR) is broadcasting from member station WLRN and hosting a Twitter education forum on where the nation's schools now stand.

I got a chance to travel a little bit recently — and no I won't be showing slides, no matter how much you beg me. And call me a nerd but on our little car trip I found myself thinking about health care.

Certain provisions of last year's health care overhaul are going into effect today and they remain controversial...but that's not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about something deeper, about our country's attitudes about health and wealth, which are in front of us even when we aren't looking for them.

I still cannot stop thinking about Rodney King, whose drowning death in his swimming pool this weekend seemed like the kind of ending only the authors of a Greek tragedy would write. It's as if the Gods are sending some sort of message.

But what message? Was it really too much to ask that this man, who made mistakes in his life, but who knew what they were, who openly mourned the suffering of others, could end his life peacefully in his own bed?

Still, it's worth remembering just how that whole Greek tragedy got started. Let's let him tell it:

All week, we've been celebrating our fifth anniversary on the air. We actually hit that milestone on Monday, and we've been trying to have some fun with it — talking with 5-year-olds about what's fun about being 5; about five-year financial plans; and we checked in with some of the guests who were with us at the very beginning.

At this point, I realize you might be saying to yourself: Five? Big whoop! Come back to me when you're in double digits at least.

Do you mind if I take a few minutes to tell you about my son? He has three beautiful sisters but right now I'll just tell you about him. He is 8 now and he loves anything that involves dirt, any ball, and running around. He still has deliciously long eyelashes and long musician's fingers; he is learning to play the guitar. He likes to act like he's older than he is — a couple days ago he asked me if I thought his Nerf basketball set was "old school" and if his next babysitter could be "hot"; whatever that means.

We hope you enjoyed digging into our Black History Month memoirs as much as we did.

And if you are hungry for more good, true stories about people you may not know much about ... for Women's History Month, which starts on Thursday, we will be doing much the same thing.

We will be checking out recent biographies of famous and not so famous women whose life stories have been explored by talented writers.

I was thinking about a conversation I had with a friend of mine who teaches very low-income kids. He talks about his kids a lot, as teachers I know often do. And he was telling me about a discussion he had with the wife of another friend.

It's here. It's really here. The presidential election, I mean. And if you like politics or love it as I do, then this is the best of times ... and the worst.

In her weekly commentary, host Michel Martin shares that to her chagrin, her stepdaughters proposed to skip the china and use plastic plates for their holiday feast. The episode made Martin empathize with the deficit-cutters in Congress, and consider how tough it is to change the status quo until good-willed people choose to do so.

Finally, since so many people have been nice enough to ask me how I am doing with my arm since I broke it a month ago, I thought I would give an update.

First, it still hurts, a lot. I don't know what I expected since the last time I broke a bone. I think I was in fourth grade and all I remember about it was how wonderful it was to be able to get the cutest boys in my class to carry my books with little more than a crook of my finger and a toss of my pigtails. This time? Well, this is a little different.

I'd like to tell you about an email I've been carrying around for a month now. It is from a young man whom I know, a fairly recent college graduate. He was writing in response to a column I wrote a while back that argued that the discussions about who is rich and who isn't struck me as disingenuous, given just how it is that some people get to six figures these days — including a police officer married to a nurse. And I said that slicing the onion that way doesn't begin to address the kind of staggering inequality and sense of unfairness that so many people feel these days.

In her weekly commentary, host Michel Martin discuses the courage of people who have endured physical and emotional pain without help or acknowledgement. Her reflection comes after an injury she had last week when ice skating.

Host Michel Martin and Tell Me More Editor Ammad Omar comb through listener feedback on this week's segment about Steve Stoute's new book that explores hip-hop's influence on big business. They also discuss updates to the Cherokee Nation election, the elections in Liberia and a new development for 'Real Life Super Hero' Phoenix Jones.

Listeners Weigh In On Wealth, Cherokee Nation

Sep 23, 2011

Host Michel Martin and Senior Editor Alicia Montgomery comb through listeners' comments about Tell Me More's coverage of political debates surrounding wealth and class, as well as tribal citizenship for those who descended from African slaves of Cherokees. They also share updates on the online series 'The Mis-Adventures of Award Black Girl,' and the case of the transgender woman who was assaulted at a Baltimore McDonalds.

I was trying to keep track of the negotiations over raising the debt ceiling this weekend, and all of a sudden, it reminded me of an incident I had in a parking garage near my house last year.

It was late spring or summer, and it was hot. I had the kids with me, and we were finished doing whatever it was we were doing, and we were ready to go home. We jumped into the car and tried to head out. But we could not.