Joel Rose

Joel Rose is a National Desk reporter based at NPR's New York Bureau.

Since joining NPR in 2011, Rose has covered the political, economic, and cultural life of the nation's biggest city. He's reported on the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement, the fall of the compact disc, and the fast-changing fortunes of New York's elected officials. He's also contributed to NPR's coverage of the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida, and the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal in Pennsylvania.

When pressing news doesn't keep him busy, Rose likes to report on the collision of the Internet and the entertainment industries, and to profile obscure musicians who should be more famous.

Rose has held a long list of jobs in public radio. Before coming to NPR, he spent ten years in Philadelphia, six of them as a reporter at NPR Member Station WHYY. He's also worked as a producer at KQED in San Francisco and American Routes in New Orleans. His writing has appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer, GOOD Magazine, and the Philadelphia Independent.

His radio reporting has won numerous awards, including a Golden Reel from the National Association of Community Broadcasters for his story about the unlikely comeback of soul singer Howard Tate.

Rose has a bachelor's degree in history and music from Brown University, where he got his start in radio as an overnight jazz DJ at the college station.

Lawmakers in New Jersey heard testimony today about one of the biggest environmental cases in that state's history.

ExxonMobil recently agreed to pay $225 million in damages for contamination at two oil refineries. Gov. Chris Christie called it a "good deal." But environmentalists complain the state is getting pennies on the dollar compared to the billions it was seeking in court.

The proposed settlement still requires approval by a state judge, and the public will have a chance to comment once the details are released — probably in the next few weeks.

After a decade of debate, the federal government is poised to change how it regulates Internet access, to make it more like telephone service and other public utilities.

The movie Birdman is favored to pick up several major Academy Awards Sunday night, but it will not be taking home the Oscar for best original score. That's because it was declared ineligible for Oscar consideration.

Birdman has one of the year's more distinctive musical scores, propelled by the unaccompanied jazz drumming of Antonio Sanchez, a bandleader and longtime drummer for guitarist Pat Metheny.

James Comey's speech on race and policing last week was a big departure for a sitting FBI director. For one thing, Comey quoted a lyric from the Broadway musical Avenue Q: "Maybe it's a fact we all should face: Everyone makes judgments based on race."

The restaurant economy of New York City may be nearing a tipping point.

State officials are recommending a big hike in the minimum hourly wage for people who work for tips. But that idea is giving many restaurateurs indigestion in New York City, home to more than 20,000 restaurants. Some say a tipped-wage hike could upend the whole system of tipping.

And many servers say tips are the No. 1 reason they started waiting tables.

A dozen states are considering something that was rarely discussed a few years ago: raising gas taxes. Low prices at the pump have emboldened state officials to think about raising new revenue to repair crumbling roads and bridges.

It's a scene that's all too familiar in much of the country — construction workers performing emergency repairs on a bridge. In Franklin Township, N.J., one bridge closed abruptly last month when it was deemed unsafe.

This week figures to be a big one in the debate about how to regulate the Internet.

Yesterday the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission announced he'll try to overrule laws in two states that restrict community-owned broadband networks. Later this week, he's expected to propose exactly what President Obama asked for last year: reclassifying the Internet under regulations known in the parlance of telecom wonks as Title II.

In Tuesday night's State of the Union address, President Obama offered a number of ideas for improving the economy. Among them was a nod to the role the Internet plays in economic development.

"I intend to protect a free and open Internet, extend its reach to every classroom, and every community, and help folks build the fastest networks," Obama said.

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Sara Back, a nurse practitioner at a public hospital in the Bronx, is not the kind of person to turn down a tough assignment. This month she's heading to Sierra Leone to work a short stint caring for Ebola patients.

"I am beyond ready," she says.

Back is passionate about treating patients suffering from the deadly disease. But she's not so keen on the mandatory 21-day quarantine she faces when she gets home.

"It's definitely a pain in the tush," she says. "I mean, jokingly, my colleagues say, 'Well, we'll see you in, like ... June.' "

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The federal agency that oversees many American healthcare workers volunteering in Ebola-stricken regions of West Africa says there's been a significant decline in the number of people who are willing to go. International aid groups attribute that drop to the mandatory quarantine rules implemented by New York and New Jersey last month.

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A congressional race that sounds like the plot of a crime movie is playing out in Staten Island, N.Y. Republican Congressman Michael Grimm went undercover as 'Mikey Suits' when he was an FBI agent. Now Grimm is the one facing a 20-count federal indictment. But despite the charges, Grimm stands a decent chance of being reelected next week.

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For most of New York, Rikers Island is out of sight and out of mind. It's in the middle of the East River between Queens and the Bronx. There's only one unmarked bridge that leads on and off. But a recent report on violence by correction officers, or COs, was no surprise to those who've spent time there.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo was supposed to cruise past next Tuesday's primary election in New York on his way to a second term.

But the powerful Democratic incumbent may have more trouble than many expected. For one thing, his main opponent, a little-known law professor named Zephyr Teachout, is mounting a respectable challenge from the left. For another, Cuomo could potentially wind up with a running mate he doesn't want.

This week, the local cable news channel NY1 tried to host a debate between Cuomo and Teachout. Teachout was the only one to show up.

This summer, a few hundred men and a handful of women gathered in a VFW hall near Detroit to attend what organizers billed as the first International Conference on Men's Issues.

The crowd wasn't huge, but it was enthusiastic. The event was a real-world gathering organized by the website A Voice for Men, part of an informal collection of websites, chat rooms and blogs focused on what's known as the men's rights movement. Speaker after speaker insisted that history would remember this moment.

New York City is launching the latest salvo in its never-ending war on rats.

City officials are ramping up efforts to teach regular New Yorkers how to make their streets, businesses and gardens less hospitable to rodents — in other words, to see their neighborhood the way a health inspector would.

The deaths of two unarmed black men at the hands of police have shocked the country this summer: Eric Garner, who died after being placed in a chokehold by police in Staten Island, N.Y., and Michael Brown, the 18-year-old who was shot by police in Ferguson, Mo.

Thousands of protesters will march in New York on Saturday to demand justice for Garner, and organizers say Brown's parents will speak at the rally. But while the two cases have some things in common, there are also key differences, including the way police in the local communities reacted.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo swept into office promising to clean up a state government so corrupt he once described it as "a joke." But now Cuomo himself has become the punch line, facing scrutiny over reports that his administration interfered with its own anti-corruption commission.

"Basically, Cuomo formed a commission promising you could even look at me. And then when they looked at him, he said, you looking at me?" joked Jon Stewart, summing up the scandal for The Daily Show.

Funeral services are being held for Eric Garner, a New York City man who died in police custody last week in Staten Island. A video of the incident shows one officer using an apparent chokehold on Garner before he died. The incident is prompting the New York Police Department to rethink how it trains all its officers in the use of force.

Marijuana enthusiasts should still think twice before lighting up in the streets of Brooklyn.

The borough's district attorney announced this week that he'll no longer prosecute most low-level marijuana possession cases. But not all law enforcement officials in New York City are on board. Police Commissioner William Bratton responded to Thompson's decision with a shrug.

"It will not have any impact on our officers and the discretion they have as they go about their business," says Bratton.

It's been nearly a year since a court ruling curtailed the New York Police Department's controversial practice known as stop-and-frisk, but NYPD Commissioner William Bratton says the city can be just as safe without it.

A gun that fires only in the hands of its owner isn't science fiction anymore. A so-called smart gun is already on sale in Europe. But you won't find it on store shelves in this country — in part because of an obscure New Jersey law that's had unintended consequences for the rest of the nation.

Basically, the Childproof Handgun Law of 2002 says that once "personalized handguns are available" anywhere in the country, all handguns sold in New Jersey must be smart guns within 30 months.

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