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.

7:46am

Sun September 21, 2014
Code Switch

Adding Color To 'The Great White Way'

Originally published on Sun September 21, 2014 11:15 am

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

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.

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5:52pm

Thu September 18, 2014
Code Switch

Look, Mom, I Finally Made It To Broadway!

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 12:56 pm

Broadway, New York City.
Neilson Barnard Getty Images

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.

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2:50pm

Wed September 10, 2014
Code Switch

'Ask The White Guy' About The Hawks

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 8:58 am

Bruce Levenson's racially charged comments about the Atlanta Hawks' diversity — including their cheerleaders — got him in trouble.
Jason Getz AP

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."

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9:35am

Fri September 5, 2014
Code Switch

What's Your Take On #NPRTheTalk?

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 12:15 pm

Many African-American parents feel it's essential to have "the talk" with their children.
iStockphoto

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.

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9:04am

Fri August 29, 2014
Code Switch

Plea To Ferguson's Leaders: To Help Heal, Acknowledge Our Hurt

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 12:13 pm

The Rev. Willis Johnson (left), pastor of Wellspring Church in Ferguson, speaks to the Rev. Michele Shumake-Keller after the panel discussion in Ferguson, Mo., on Thursday. Johnson said he hoped the event would be a step to healing a "community in trauma."
Whitney Curtis for NPR

(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.)

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1:37pm

Wed July 30, 2014
Can I Just Tell You?

Making Space For People Who Are Out Of the Spotlight

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 9:02 am

Tell Me More host Michel Martin.
Amy Ta NPR

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.

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8:52am

Wed October 10, 2012
Education

Tell Me More: Education Special and Twitter Forum

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 4:46 pm

NPR

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.

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12:53pm

Wed August 1, 2012
NPR Story

Does Access To Good Health Trickle Down?

istockphoto.com

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.

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12:52pm

Wed June 20, 2012
Can I Just Tell You?

Rodney King's Personal Struggle With Alcohol

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 12:03 pm

Matt Sayles AP

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:

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1:40pm

Wed May 2, 2012
Can I Just Tell You?

Asking The Uncomfortable Questions

Michel Martin in Tell Me More's studio.
NPR

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.

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10:50am

Wed March 21, 2012
Can I Just Tell You?

Trayvon Martin Was Afraid, Too

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.

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12:00pm

Wed February 29, 2012
Can I Just Tell You?

The Power Of Memoirs, Biographies

Books of Tell Me More's Black History Month memoir series and Women's History Month biography series.
Amy Ta

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.

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9:52am

Wed February 22, 2012
Can I Just Tell You?

What Enslaves Us That We Won't Give Up?

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 1:41 pm

Nineteenth century bilboes typically found on slave ships are displayed at the Smithsonian's new exhibit: "Slavery at Jefferson's Monticello: Paradox of Liberty."
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

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.

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12:00pm

Mon January 9, 2012
Can I Just Tell You?

Sparking A Better Political Discourse

Originally published on Mon January 9, 2012 1:05 pm

How can Americans make political debates more civil and relevant to the issues at stake?
iStockphoto.com

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.

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12:00pm

Mon January 2, 2012
Can I Just Tell You?

In Michel Martin's House: Spirit Of Revolt

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.

1:38pm

Mon December 19, 2011
Can I Just Tell You?

The Continuing Lessons Of A Bad Break

Sometimes, a helping hand can make all the different to someone in need.
istockphoto.com

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.

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12:06pm

Mon December 5, 2011
Can I Just Tell You?

Wanted: Advice For Recent Grad In Tough Economy

Many recent graduates are struggling to find their way through today's tough economic landscape.
iStockphoto.com

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.

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12:00pm

Mon November 28, 2011
Can I Just Tell You?

Lessons From Michel Martin's Bad Break

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.

12:00pm

Fri October 14, 2011
BackTalk

Listeners Weigh In On 'Tanning Of America'

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.

12:00pm

Fri September 23, 2011
BackTalk

Listeners Weigh In On Wealth, Cherokee Nation

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.

Tell Me More

From the opinions of global newsmakers to listeners, personal experiences of life-changing travel, the wisdom of renowned thinkers, activists and spiritual leaders,and intimate dispatches of daily life around the world from NPR News correspondents on the ground- the NPR talk show Tell Me More brings fresh voices and perspectives to public radio.

You can find more information about Tell Me More on their website.

12:00pm

Mon August 1, 2011
Can I Just Tell You?

Debt Talks: Getting Locked In And Driving Out

How is negotiating a federal spending plan like getting out of a crowded parking lot?
iStockphoto

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.

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