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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Politics
4:06 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Michelle Obama Bests Ann Romney In Cookie Contest

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 4:12 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Time now for an accounting of a different and sweeter kind.

(SOUNDBITE OF SHOW, SESAME STREET)

FRANK OZ: (as Cookie Monster) Cookie, whoa-num-num. Oh, no. Thank you, Oh...

CORNISH: The votes are in and Michelle Obama's White and Dark Chocolate Cookies have bested Ann Romney's M&M Cookies.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

But just barely. Nine thousand people voted and Mrs. Obama won with a margin of just 287 votes. The two women submitted their recipes as part of Family Circle magazine's First Lady Cookie Contest.

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Music News
2:52 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Waylon Jennings: The 'Last Recordings' Of A Dreamer

Goin' Down Rockin': The Last Recordings is a new album of songs by Waylon Jennings, who died in 2002.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 5:14 pm

Known for his gritty baritone, Waylon Jennings embodied the outlaw side of country music. He was 64 when he died of complications from diabetes, leaving behind a collection of vocal tracks that remained unfinished until now.

"It was almost shocking when I first heard it," says the singer Jessi Colter, who was married to Jennings for more than 30 years. "It took me several times to be able to listen to it. It sounded like he was there, that he's opening his heart to you, and he's telling you how he feels."

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Election 2012
4:09 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

Early Voting Grows In Popularity Across Country

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 4:11 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

So six weeks to go before Election Day, but in-person early voting has already started in a handful of states. Many others will begin soon, and more and more of us are choosing to vote early. In Colorado, for example, where we just heard from Ari Shapiro, nearly 80 percent of votes were cast early in the 2008 presidential election.

Michael McDonald tracks these trends with the U.S. Elections Project at George Mason University and he joins me now. Welcome to the program.

MICHAEL MCDONALD: Oh, thank you for having me.

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Election 2012
4:41 pm
Fri September 21, 2012

In Wisconsin, Political Circus Leaves Voters Wounded

Heidi Accola works a stand at the farmers market in Baraboo, Wis. She runs a 1-acre organic farm with her husband, but she says they don't talk politics at home because it gets too heated.
Melissa Block NPR

Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 5:53 pm

Wisconsin is a prime battleground state in this year's presidential election.

Republicans hope the pick of native son Paul Ryan as their vice presidential nominee will bolster their chances to turn the state red in November. Wisconsin hasn't voted for a Republican for president since 1984. Barack Obama won the state by a blowout 14 points in 2008. And a run of Wisconsin polls this week shows him widening his lead over Mitt Romney.

So what do Wisconsin voters have to say about their choices — and their mood?

Economic Strain

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Election 2012
5:05 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Senate Race Tough To Call As Wisconsin Swings

Wisconsin Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin sits with state delegates during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 5.
David Goldman AP

Republicans hoping to gain control of the U.S. Senate in November's elections are banking on Wisconsin where they want to flip the seat held by Democrat Herb Kohl, who's retiring.

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Sports
4:04 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

Same-Sex Marriage Finds New Support In NFL

Originally published on Wed September 12, 2012 4:58 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. Support for same-sex marriage has come from what seems an unlikely corner - the NFL. Two NFL players have been vocal in urging support for same-sex marriage in ballot initiatives this fall. Well, that position from linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo of the Baltimore Ravens drew the ire of a Maryland delegate, Emmett Burns, who urged the Ravens to silence their player.

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Presidential Race
3:29 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Obama Stresses Education In Ohio, Nevada

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 6:36 pm

President Obama campaigned in Ohio on Tuesday. His message was personal and aimed at college students. The president said he too had been saddled with student loans, and that he understands the burden and the value of education. He also criticized his Republican rivals Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan for supporting a budget that would make deep cuts in Pell Grants and other programs important to young people. Melissa Block talks with Scott Horsley.

Around the Nation
3:14 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

Saving Calif. State Parks: The End Of Public Funding?

Brad Beadell (right) takes his 11-year-old son, William, on his first backpacking trip through Henry W. Coe State Park in Morgan Hill, Calif.
Melissa Block NPR

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 5:23 pm

On July 1, 15 California state parks are slated to be closed permanently to the public — the first such closures in the state's history. They're the victim of budget cuts in a state with a $16 billion shortfall.

Over the past year, park enthusiasts have scrambled to save dozens of parks from closure, including Henry W. Coe State Park, California's second-biggest state park, located about 30 miles south of San Jose.

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All Tech Considered
3:18 pm
Mon June 18, 2012

You Know You Want One: Personal Robots Not Ready For You Yet

Research scientist Leila Takayama poses with a PR2 robot at Willow Garage, a robotics company in Menlo Park, Calif., that produces programmable robots.
Melissa Block NPR

Originally published on Mon June 18, 2012 10:06 pm

Meet Jake. At 500 pounds, he stands 4 feet 4 four inches tall, with a spine that stretches another foot. He has white urethane skin, a flat head sporting an array of camera lenses, and a laser scanner in his throat.

And he may be coming to a home near you.

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