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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Around the Nation
4:19 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Weiner Says He Won't Drop Campaign For NYC Mayor

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block. Disgraced former congressman - and current New York City mayoral candidate - Anthony Weiner is apologizing again, this time after the publication of still more lewd messages and photos that Weiner exchanged online with a woman who is not his wife.

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Music Interviews
3:27 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Guy Clark, Music's Master Craftsman, On Making Songs Last

Tools line the walls of Guy Clark's basement workshop at his home in Nashville, where he still builds guitars.
Jinae West NPR

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 4:16 pm

If you want to learn how to write a song — one that's built to last, with vivid characters and images that plant you squarely inside a scene — listen to Guy Clark.

Songwriters who revere Clark will tell you he crafts songs with the same precision and attention to detail he uses when he builds guitars. But Clark has a simpler, blunter explanation, as he told me with a glint in his eye when I visited him recently at his home in Nashville, Tenn.

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Middle East
5:37 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Chemical Weapons Use In Syria Crosses U.S. 'Red Line'

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. The Obama administration has now joined France and Britain in concluding that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against its own people. That crosses a red line that President Obama has repeatedly warned would change the U.S. calculation in Syria.

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NPR Story
8:35 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Feds Drop Opposition To Restriction On Sales Of Morning-After Pill

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 6:11 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. The morning-after pill will soon be available - without a prescription - on pharmacy shelves, with no restrictions on age. That's because the Obama administration has dropped a long-running battle to keep age restrictions on emergency contraception. NPR's Julie Rovner joins me to explain this policy change. And Julie, this was an unexpected development. It came tonight. What happened?

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Around the Nation
3:28 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

The Low-Tech Way Guns Get Traced

ATF Special Agent Charles Houser runs the National Tracing Center in Martinsburg, W.Va.
Melissa Block NPR

Originally published on Mon May 20, 2013 7:06 pm

Opponents of expanding background checks for gun sales often raise the fear that it would allow the government to create a national gun registry — a database of gun transactions. In fact, federal law already bans the creation of such a registry. And the reality of how gun sales records are accessed turns out to be surprisingly low-tech.

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Business
3:59 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Boeing's 787 Dreamliners To Fly Again After FAA Approval

Originally published on Fri April 19, 2013 8:51 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And as we continue to cover the events in the Boston area, we want to also talk about one other story, Boeing 787. The jet known as the Dreamliner will be back in the air soon. This afternoon, the FAA approved Boeing's redesign of the plane's battery system. Fifty 787s have been grounded for the last three months following two serious battery failures, one which led to a fire.

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Asia
4:07 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Report: North Korea May Be Able To Deliver Nuclear Weapons

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. A stunning revelation today from a member of Congress. It came from Republican Doug Lamborn, of Colorado, during an exchange on Capitol Hill with Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Lamborn cited a Defense Intelligence Agency report on North Korea's military capability, one that had not yet been released. Here's what Rep. Lamborn said.

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Guns In America: A Loaded Relationship
4:00 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

On Gun Ownership And Policy, 'A Country Of Chasms'

Gun enthusiast Paul Gwaltney at Blue Ridge Arsenal, in Chantilly, Va. Gwaltney, an NPR listener, agreed to host a discussion about guns with friends and colleagues.
Becky Lettenberger NPR

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 5:55 pm

The ideological gulf between gun owners and non-gun owners is a wide one — made all the more obvious by the ongoing debate over what, if any, gun control measures should be adopted in the U.S.

Sometimes, the debate feels like people are coming from different worlds, even for people within the same family. And while Americans are often willing to discuss their own views, it's rarer to hear conversations between people who own and love guns and those who do not.

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U.S.
3:13 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Among Thousands Of Gun Deaths, Only One Charles Foster Jr.

Led by the Rev. Willie Phillips (center), protesters march in February against violence in and around Club Majestic.
Mike Haskey Courtesy of The Ledger Enquirer

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 7:45 pm

The Morris Missionary Baptist Church is nestled down a red dirt road, in Morris, Ga., set among pine trees near the Alabama state line. Next to the small white church lies its most recent grave site: that of Charles Foster Jr.

While the mass killings in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., garnered a frenzy of news coverage, statistically, they are not the norm. Each year, thousands of gun homicides in the U.S. — 11,000 in 2010 alone — attract little or no media attention.

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Around the Nation
5:11 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Fugitive Ex-LAPD Officer Apparently Barracaded In Cabin

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 11:19 am

Kirk Siegler talks to Melissa Block for an update on the search for former Los Angeles Police Department officer Christopher Dorner. A man that authorities identified as Dorner was holed up in a cabin near Big Bear Lake, Calif., on Tuesday evening. Hundreds of officers surrounded the home. Dorner is wanted for questioning in three murders and one attempted murder.

Africa
2:35 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

U.S. May Build Base For Drones In Northwest Africa

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 12:29 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

We're going to head west now, from Egypt across Libya to Niger. The Pentagon has signed a deal with the government there. The agreement could allow the U.S. to establish a forward base in Niger so that it could operate drone aircraft across northern and western Africa. NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman has been reporting on the U.S. military's growing presence on the continent. He joins me now here in the studio.

And Tom, how close is the U.S. to actually setting up a drone base in Niger?

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Fine Art
3:20 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

In 'According To What?' Ai Weiwei Makes Mourning Subversive

Grapes, a spiky cluster of wooden stools from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), is part of Ai Weiwei's repurposed furniture series.
Cathy Carver Courtesy Hirshhorn Museum

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 2:48 pm

How do we honor the dead? How do we commit them to memory? And how do we come to terms with the way they died?

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Around the Nation
5:19 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

Inaugural Balls Downsized The Second Time Around

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

So 9-year-old Lauren Kanabel there has a dream: a girl president elected in 2016. And whether or not that dream comes true, there will be inaugural balls. The tradition dates back to George Washington. Four years ago, President Obama attended ten inaugural balls, this year only two, both at the convention center here in Washington. And NPR's Allison Aubrey is there. She joins us by phone. Allison, the ball has been going on for a few hours now. What's the scene?

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Politics
8:18 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

House Pulls 'Plan B' Tax Measure From The Floor

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

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Politics
2:27 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Republicans Counter With $2.2 Trillion Deficit Plan

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 4:08 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

I'm Melissa Block.

And today there is a counter offer. Republicans have put forward the broad strokes of their proposal to avert the automatic tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled at the end of the year. It should sound familiar to those who followed the presidential campaign. House Speaker Jon Boehner offered a plan that borrows heavily from ideas put forth by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.

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The Salt
2:52 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

A Dash Of Latin Flavor On The Thanksgiving Table

Chef Jose Garces' quinoa soup.
Jason Varney

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 2:59 pm

When Chef Jose Garces, the Philadelphia-based restaurateur and author of The Latin Road Home, thinks back to the Thanksgiving table of his youth, he remembers the turkey, and his father's chicken giblet gravy.

But his parents, who emigrated to Chicago from Ecuador in the 1960s, whipped up Ecuadorean staples as well.

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Election 2012
6:08 pm
Tue November 6, 2012

Ohio Already Reporting Solid Voter Turnout

Melissa Block talks with Don Gonyea as polls close in Ohio.

Around the Nation
3:23 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

Atlantic City Starts To Dig Out From Sandy

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 4:53 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

The massive storm that battered the East Coast this week is now fading, but Sandy's toll has become all too clear. In the U.S., at least 66 people are not confirmed dead, eight of them in New Jersey where we begin this hour.

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Election 2012
3:41 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 4:53 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
4:05 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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Around the Nation
2:14 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 4:23 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
2:18 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 9:06 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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