Robert Siegel

Host, All Things Considered

Robert Siegel is senior host of NPR's award-winning evening newsmagazine All Things Considered. With 40 years of experience working in radio news, Siegel is still at it hosting the country's most-listened-to, afternoon-drive-time news radio program and reporting on stories and happenings all over the globe. As a host, Siegel has reported from a variety of locations across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Asia.

In 2010, Siegel was recognized by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism with the John Chancellor Award. Siegel has been honored with three Silver Batons from Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University, first in 1984 for All Things Considered's coverage of peace movements in East and West Germany. He shared in NPR's 1994 Silver Baton Award for "The Changing of the Guard: The Republican Revolution," for coverage of the first 100 days of the 104th Congress. He was part of the NPR team that won a Silver Baton for the network's coverage of the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan Province, China.

Other awards Siegel has earned include a 1997 American Bar Association's Silver Gavel Award for the two-part documentary, "Murder, Punishment, and Parole in Alabama" and the National Mental Health Association's 1991 Mental Health Award for his interviews conducted on the streets of New York in an All Things Considered story, "The Mentally Ill Homeless."

Siegel joined NPR in December 1976 as a newscaster and became an editor the following year. In 1979, Siegel became NPR's first staffer based overseas when he was chosen to open NPR's London bureau, where he worked as senior editor until 1983. After London, Siegel served for four years as director the News and Information Department, overseeing production of NPR's newsmagazines All Things Considered and Morning Edition, as well as special events and other news programming. During his tenure, NPR launched its popular Saturday and Sunday newsmagazine Weekend Edition.

Before coming to NPR, Siegel worked for WRVR Radio in New York City as a reporter, host and news director. He was part of the WRVR team honored with an Armstrong Award for the series, "Rockefeller's Drug Law." Prior to WRVR, he was morning news reporter and telephone talk show host for WGLI Radio in Babylon, New York.

A graduate of New York's Stuyvesant High School and Columbia University, Siegel began his career in radio at Columbia's radio station, WKCR-FM. As a student he anchored coverage of the 1968 Columbia demonstrations and contributed to the work that earned the station an award from the Writers Guild of America East.

Siegel is the editor of The NPR Interviews 1994, The NPR Interviews 1995 and The NPR Interviews 1996, compilations of NPR's most popular radio conversations from each year.

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4:44pm

Wed July 23, 2014
From Our Listeners

Confusion With A Chance Of Clarity: Your Weather Questions, Answered

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 10:36 pm

Many listeners and readers felt a concise explanation of "a 20 percent chance of rain" was missing from this story about weather forecasts and probability, so we followed up with two meteorologists.

From meterologist Eli Jacks, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service:

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5:06pm

Mon July 21, 2014
Shots - Health News

What The Odds Fail To Capture When A Health Crisis Hits

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 2:44 pm

Brian Zikmund-Fisher with his wife, Naomi, and daughter, Eve, in 1999, after he had a bone marrow transplant. He says he made the decision to have the treatment based on factors he couldn't quantify.
Courtesy of Brian Zikmund-Fisher

How well do we understand and act on probabilities that something will happen? A 30 percent chance of this or an 80 percent chance of that?

As it turns out, making decisions based on the odds can be an extremely difficult thing to do, even for people who study the science of how we make decisions.

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4:28pm

Mon July 21, 2014
News

Tenuous Progress At Jet's Crash Site, As Clashes Flare Close By

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 6:35 pm

The first Dutch investigators have reached the crash site of the Malaysian airliner shot down in eastern Ukraine. Meanwhile, fighting broke out in the outskirts of Donetsk between separatists and armed groups supporting the government in Kiev.

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

5:47pm

Fri July 18, 2014
News

Wrap-up: The Day's Events In Eastern Ukraine And Gaza

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 7:54 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Now to recap the major stories of the day. The United States is pinning the blame for the crash of a passenger jet in Ukraine on pro-Russian separatists. President Obama said today that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down by a surface-to-air missile from an area controlled by the separatists. Mr. Obama called for a cease-fire to allow for a full investigation.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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4:41pm

Thu July 17, 2014
Middle East

Israel Launches A Ground Campaign Against Hamas In Gaza

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 8:40 pm

According to a statement from the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Defense Force has been instructed to begin a ground offensive into the Gaza Strip. The move comes 10 days after violence renewed between Hamas and Israel.

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

Transcript

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4:27pm

Thu July 17, 2014
News

Malaysian Airliner Crashes In Eastern Ukraine

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 8:40 pm

A Malaysia Airlines flight carrying nearly 300 people has crashed in eastern Ukraine, near the Russian border. In the immediate aftermath, it is not clear whether the plane was shot down, but Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is calling for a swift investigation.

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

Transcript

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4:18pm

Thu July 10, 2014
Medical Treatments

HIV Returns In Infected Toddler, Dashing Hopes Of Imminent Cure

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

Federal officials have announced that a young Mississippi girl, once thought to have been cured of HIV, now once again has detectable levels of the virus. This is a setback not just for the child, but also for hope of eradicating HIV in infants with a potent mix of drugs at birth.

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8:29pm

Wed July 9, 2014
News

Obama Turns To Gov. Perry In Seeking A Solution To Border Crisis

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 10:40 pm

After a meeting with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, President Obama addressed the influx of migrant children on the U.S.-Mexico border. He signaled his openness to Perry's solutions, saying he'd consider deploying the National Guard, but also called on Congress to offer solutions of its own.

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4:51pm

Tue July 8, 2014
Sports

In One-Sided Semifinal, Germany Hands Brazil A Devastating Loss

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 10:46 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The images out of Brazil right now are of fans in tears, faces with looks of disbelief, hands covering mouths in shock. In the first of two semifinal World Cup matches, the home team is losing and it's losing big. Germany is leading 5-0. Let's go to NPR's Tom Goldman in Rio de Janeiro. Tom, what's the scene where you are in Rio?

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4:13pm

Tue July 8, 2014
Middle East

In Battle Over Gaza, A Slow Build-up Shows No Signs Of Ending

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 6:13 pm

Israel stepped up its air assault on the Gaza Strip, following the killings of Israeli and Palestinian teens. Unlike air strikes in the past, Israel has tempered its initial show of force for several reasons, but the situation appears to be steadily intensifying.

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

Transcript

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4:25pm

Tue July 1, 2014
Remembrances

Remembering Paul Mazursky, A Filmmaker With An Ear For His Era

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 7:37 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. Filmmaker Paul Mazursky has died. The writer and director captured the spirit of his times in such comedies as "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice" and "An Unmarried Woman." Mazursky died yesterday in Los Angeles at the age of 84. And joining us now to talk about him is our film critic, Bob Mondello. Hi, Bob.

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: Hi.

SIEGEL: Mazursky had a very extensive career. Tell us about it.

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5:03pm

Mon June 30, 2014
Politics

Obama Vows To Flex Executive Authority On Immigration Policy

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 7:01 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR news, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. President Obama came out to the White House Rose Garden today to plead, once again, for Congress to act on the bipartisan immigration bill the Senate passed a year ago. Since then, it's been stalled in the House.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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4:42pm

Thu June 19, 2014
Politics

GOP Completes Leadership Shuffle, As McCarthy And Scalise Step Up

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 7:12 pm

House Republicans voted Thursday on leadership positions in the party's caucus. While House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy stepped up to the role of majority leader, Rep. Steve Scalise overcame a more crowded competition to replace McCarthy.

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

5:26pm

Wed June 18, 2014
Business

Amazon Raises The Curtain On A Fire Of Its Own

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 7:08 pm

At an unveiling in Seattle, online retail giant Amazon announced its entry into the smartphone market with a new device called "Fire." NPR's Martin Kaste was at the unveiling in Seattle, and he offers his take on the event.

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

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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4:06pm

Tue June 17, 2014
National Security

U.S. Commandos Catch Alleged Leader Of Benghazi Attack

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

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, BYLINE: This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. The United States has, in custody, a man they say was behind the terrorist attack in Benghazi. His name is Ahmed Abu Khatallah. President Obama announced the development earlier today.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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5:33pm

Tue June 3, 2014
Sports

'A Change-up On Steroids:' The History Of A Sky-Scraping Pitch

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 12:20 am

In a recent Nippon Professional Baseball game in Japan, Kazuhito Tadano threw a slow, arcing pitch that caught the batter by surprise. Video of the play quickly went viral on the Internet, but the pitch has a history — and a name: the eephus pitch. Paul Dickson, author of the Dickson Baseball Dictionary, offers more details.

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4:16pm

Fri May 30, 2014
National Security

An American Suicide Bomber In Syria

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

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. The State Department has confirmed that a U.S. citizen was involved in the suicide bombing in Syria earlier this week. Today, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed the man's identity in response to a reporter's question.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you confirm, at least, the name that he went by - as was published - Abu Huraya al-Amriki?

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4:16pm

Fri May 30, 2014
From Our Listeners

Letters: Maya Angelou And Doc Holliday

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

Robert Siegel and Melissa Block read letters from listeners about a mistaken Wild West reference and the death of the poet Maya Angelou.

4:21pm

Fri May 2, 2014
Music

On Auction Block: Draft Of 'Like A Rolling Stone,' And Some Doodles

Originally published on Sat May 3, 2014 11:17 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

It's not all politics here in Washington. On Pennsylvania Avenue, there used to be a hotel called the Roger Smith. The top of the hotel's stationery proclaimed it was just one block from the White House. And it's under that heading that one of rock 'n roll's most important figures scribbled out the lyrics to one of his biggest songs.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LIKE A ROLLING STONE")

BOB DYLAN: (Singing) Once upon a time you dressed so fine, you threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn't you?

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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4:04pm

Thu May 1, 2014
Remembrances

Al Feldstein, Helmsman At 'Mad' Magazine, Dies At 88

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 4:29 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

A true mad man has died. Al Feldstein steered MAD Magazine to the height of its madness as its editor. It's a role he held for nearly 30 years, developing the iconic image of the magazine's mascot, Alfred E. Neuman.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

What, me worry? When MAD magazine's first editor left and took the whole staff with him, Feldstein recruited a sharp new group of artists and writers. Al Jaffee, who is now in his 90s, was among them. He's the guy who created MAD's fold-in back cover.

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5:12pm

Tue April 29, 2014
Business

From Waltz To '90s Icon: The Unforgettable Life Of The Nokia Ringtone

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 12:06 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

There was a time when cell phones were used to make calls and many of the calls were defined by this.

(SOUNDBITE OF NOKIA RINGTONE)

SIEGEL: The Nokia ringtone, it was introduced in 1994. Last Friday, Nokia - once the world's cell phone leader - sold its dwindling phone business to Microsoft for a lot of money, seven and a half billion dollars.

Until today, no one had said what becomes of that ringtone, a tune Nokia says is played about 20,000 times a second worldwide.

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4:43pm

Thu April 3, 2014
News

What's Known — And Still Unclear — About The Fort Hood Shooting

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 7:34 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. We're continuing to follow developments in yesterday's deadly shooting at Fort Hood that left four people dead and 16 wounded. This afternoon, the commander of Fort Hood, Lieutenant General Mark Milley, confirmed the identity of the shooter.

LIEUTENTANT GENERAL MARK MILLEY: We are able to release, his next kin have been notified. The alleged shooter is Specialist Ivan A. Lopez. He is 34 years old, originally from Puerto Rico.

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4:12pm

Wed March 12, 2014
From Our Listeners

Letters: 'The Big Broadcast' And Laughing Down The Hall

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 8:14 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Time now for your letters. First, two corrections. On Monday, we took you to the South by Southwest Festival in Austin to tell you about something called Oculus Rift. It is a virtual reality headset. And in our story, we mistakenly said that it would be available to consumers in 18 to 20 months. In fact, there is no release date yet for a consumer model. Only the development kit is currently available.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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4:06pm

Tue March 11, 2014
Politics

To Sell Health Care To Young People, Obama Steps 'Between Two Ferns'

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 6:51 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Long-time fans of the comedy website, "Funny or Die," know this already. But for the rest of you, this is the theme song of "Between Two Ferns." The Web series mimics a low-budget, cable-access interview program.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

It's the brainchild of actor and comedian Zach Galifinakis. He plays an unprepared host who fumbles through awkward conversations with celebrities. But the guest of his latest episode, released today, was a little different.

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4:49pm

Wed February 19, 2014
Health

'Bluish' Light May Help Alzheimer's Patients Find Bearings

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 9:59 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Now, health and electrical lighting. Last month, Mariana Figueiro showed me something she has developed to help seniors avoid falls in the night. Figueiro researches health applications at the Lighting Research Center at Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. Her project is a nightlight. But it's not just a single bulb. It's a string of yellow lights that border the darkened entrance to, say, a bathroom.

It's a doorway and around the frame of the doorway are the yellow LEDs?

MARIANA FIGUEIRO: That's correct.

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4:47pm

Wed December 25, 2013
Parallels

Instead Of Sending Students Abroad, Qatar Imports U.S. Colleges

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 10:53 pm

A man walks along a pathway at the Texas A&M University campus in Doha, Qatar.
Osama Faisal AP

In Qatar's rapid race to modernity, the emirate has created a distinctive approach to educating its young: It has effectively imported a host of American universities.

Dr. Sheikha Aisha bint Faleh bin Nasser Al-Thani, a member of Qatar's ruling family, sits on the Supreme Education Council and owns a few independent schools. For her own children, she wanted a top-flight college education. Her sons were educated in Britain.

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2:11pm

Tue December 24, 2013
Parallels

As World Cup Looms, Qatar's Migrant Worker System Faces Scrutiny

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 8:02 pm

Over the past decade, Qatar's population has soared from 660,000 to more than 2 million. Here's the catch: Qataris themselves number only around 260,000.

The rest, more than 85 percent of the population, are not citizens. As Professor Mehran Kamrava, an American scholar at Georgetown University's campus in Qatar, says, they are all migrant workers of varying types.

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1:40pm

Mon December 23, 2013
Parallels

How Tiny Qatar 'Punches Above Its Weight'

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 9:31 am

Soldiers on camels take part in a military parade on Qatar's National Day in the capital Doha last Wednesday. The city's rapidly growing skyline is in the background. Despite its small size, Qatar has used its wealth to play an outsized role in regional affairs.
Chen Shaojin/Xinhua/Landov

Qatar is a tiny place that insists on being heard.

The Arab nation just off the coast of Saudi Arabia has made itself a major diplomatic player, a generous donor of foreign aid, and a leader in modernizing education in the region. The ultra-modern capital Doha is full of skyscrapers, museums and history, much of it dating as far back as ... the 1990s.

Qatar is also a commercial capital that aims to become a cultural, sports and tourist center for the Gulf region despite having just 260,000 citizens.

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5:18pm

Tue September 10, 2013
NPR Story

New Head Of Olympic Committee Faces A Number Of Challenges

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 6:05 pm

The International Olympic committee (IOC) has elected a new president, Thomas Bach of Germany. He assumes leadership of an organization that faces criticism over politics, costs and what some view as its insular approach to which sports are offered during the games. The new president succeeds Jacques Rogge, who lead the IOC for 12 years.

4:59pm

Fri July 26, 2013
Sports

The Yankees Want Him Out But Alex Rodriguez Wants To Stay

Originally published on Mon July 29, 2013 12:01 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. One criticism of baseball is that it's too prone to long stretches of inaction, players sitting around not doing much. Well, if that's what baseball is, then Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees has been Mr. Baseball this season. He's been on the disabled list, but he claims he's healthy enough to play. His team begs to differ. Here to talk about the confusion is NPR's Mike Pesca, who joins us from New York. Hi, Mike.

MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: Hello.

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