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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4:55pm

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 7:15 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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3:02pm

Thu April 3, 2014
News

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

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 5:22 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.

3:33pm

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 4:45 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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3:04pm

Mon March 31, 2014
Shots - Health News

Orthotic Brace Takes Soldiers From Limping To Leaping

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 2:31 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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3:06pm

Fri March 14, 2014
News

Tell Your Bestie: The OED Has New Words

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 5:33 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.

3:36pm

Tue March 4, 2014
Strange News

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

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 5:31 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.

3:07pm

Thu February 27, 2014
From Our Listeners

Letters: Genetic Experiments And Hopes For Saving Voices

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 6:57 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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3:29pm

Wed February 12, 2014
Health

More Findings, More Questions About Value Of Mammograms

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 7:00 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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5:13pm

Fri January 31, 2014
Health

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

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 6:51 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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4:16pm

Fri November 8, 2013
The Salt

The Enigmatic Pecan: Why So Pricey, And How To Pronounce It?

Originally published on Sat November 9, 2013 2:08 pm

Where In the U.S. do people say pee-kahn over pi-kahn? Joshua Katz answered your burning question by mapping Bert Vaux's dialect survey on regional variations in the continental United States.
Courtesy of Joshua Katz

The price of pecans is going up, up, up, which may mean that if you're planning a pecan pie for Thanksgiving, the time to buy them is now. The reasons behind that escalating price all come down to natural forces: supply and demand and weather.

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5:48pm

Fri October 25, 2013
NPR Story

JPMorgan Chase Agrees To Pay $5.1 Billion To Feds

Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 6:55 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.

4:28pm

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 7:01 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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3:35pm

Tue August 20, 2013
The Salt

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

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 10:34 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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3:31pm

Wed August 7, 2013
Law

Attorneys Assigned To Fort Hood Shooter Want To Back Out

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 4:48 pm

There was an unexpected hold-up on day two of the court martial of Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, accused of gunning down fellow soldiers at Fort Hood. His "standby" attorneys have told the judge that don't believe it's ethical for them to keep assisting a man who they believe is trying to get the death penalty.

4:11pm

Mon August 5, 2013
NPR Story

Amazon CEO To Buy 'Washington Post' And Sister Papers

Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 5:24 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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