Ashley Westerman

Ashley Westerman is an assistant producer with Morning Edition and occasionally directs the show. Since joining the staff in June 2015, she has helped produce coverage of all sorts of notable happenings — including the European migrant crisis and the 2016 presidential campaign. Ashley convinced the show to cover a coal mine closing near her hometown. Ages ago (2011) Ashley was a summer intern with Morning Edition and pitched a story on her very first day. She went on to work as reporter and host for member station 89.3 WRKF in Baton Rouge, La., where she earned awards covering everything from health care to jambalaya. Ashley is a two-time reporting fellow with the International Center for Journalists. Through its programs, she has covered labor issues in her home country of the Philippines for NPR and health care in Appalachia for Voice of America. She tweets @NPRAshley.

A recent string of violent episodes in Southeast Asian countries sheds some light on the challenges facing this region as it grapples with extremism.

In Indonesia last month, two suicide bombers blew themselves up at a Jakarta bus station. The attack was linked to an ISIS-affiliated group.

On April 24, 2013, the eight-story Rana Plaza building outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, collapsed, killing more than 1,100 people and injuring thousands of others. At the time, the building housed five garment factories that manufactured goods for major retail companies in Europe and North America.

Can all hope be lost?

I used to think not.

I used to think that no matter how tough life gets for people, they always have hope to cling to – to get them through it.

Then I met some Rohingya refugees on a trip to Bangladesh last month. Reporter Michael Sullivan and I were there to report on the latest wave of the Muslim minority group to flee over the border from Buddhist-majority Myanmar.

The judge presiding over an open records fight between the University of Kentucky and its own student newspaper, The Kentucky Kernel, has sided with the university.

There are a lot of reasons victims of sexual assault choose not to report it. High on that list is fear of retaliation, so many victims won't come forward unless they can stay anonymous.

The criminal justice system cannot guarantee that kind of confidentiality for accusers and the accused. Further, when sexual assault is reported to law enforcement, a majority of cases never make it to trial. In fact, only 3 percent to 18 percent of sexual assaults lead to a conviction, according to research funded by the Justice Department.

As an Asian-American woman, I've had any number of opportunities to see someone who looked like me on the big and small screen.

Since I was a little girl, I've seen Disney's Mulan, Trini Kwan from Fox Kids' Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Dr. Cristina Yang on Grey's Anatomy, to name a few. And while the portrayal of Asian-American women by Hollywood and television could use some work — too often they're oversexualized or rendered exotic — at least we're present and have some depth.

As journalist and author Kitty Kelley conducted research for her unauthorized biography of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, she became good friends with photographer Stanley Tretick. He is best known for his coverage of President John F. Kennedy’s 1960 campaign and presidency for Look magazine, and for taking iconic pictures like the one of John Jr. playing under his father’s desk in the Oval Office.

After Charity Hospital in New Orleans closed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, community clinics filled the gap in care for the poor and uninsured.

In his new book, “Segregated Soldiers: Military Training at Historically Black Colleges in the Jim Crow South”, historian Marcus Cox argues that African Americans leveraged military service to claim their civil rights.

The state Department of Health and Hospitals is taking preliminary steps to further privatize Medicaid in Louisiana. In August, DHH released a concept paper about reforms to long-term care for the developmentally disabled and low-income elderly.

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