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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Europe
4:08 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Three Little Letters That, When Strung Together, Insult A Nation

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 6:48 pm

A geopolitical language lesson: It's correct to say Ukraine — not the Ukraine. Those three letters make a big difference, and we explain why.

Sports
4:08 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

In NCAA Finals, Two Recent Champions On Unlikely Rides

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 7:29 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.

It's Huskies versus Wildcats as the Men's Division I college basketball season comes to an end tonight. Facing off are two recent champions: the University of Connecticut, who won in 2011, and the University of Kentucky who won in 2012. They've both had improbable rides to tonight's title game.

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The Two-Way
5:55 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Another Tragedy For A City All Too Familiar With Extreme Gun Violence

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

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 8:15 pm

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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News
4:02 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

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

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 6:22 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.

Deep In The Heart Of (A Transforming) Texas
4:33 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

As Texas Gets More Diverse, Educators Grab The Bull By The Horns

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

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 5:45 pm

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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Shots - Health News
4:33 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Orthotic Brace Takes Soldiers From Limping To Leaping

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

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

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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News
4:06 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Tell Your Bestie: The OED Has New Words

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 6:33 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.

Strange News
4:05 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

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

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 6:31 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.

From Our Listeners
4:07 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Letters: Genetic Experiments And Hopes For Saving Voices

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 7:57 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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Health
4:00 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

More Findings, More Questions About Value Of Mammograms

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 8:00 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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Health
5:24 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

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

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

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 7:51 pm

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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Middle East
5:01 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Robert Siegel On Qatar: Tiny Country, Big Influence

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 6:46 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

My co-host Robert Siegel has just returned from a reporting trip in the Middle East, to the nation of Qatar, and next week he'll be bringing us some stories. Robert, welcome back.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Hi, thanks, Audie. How are you?

CORNISH: So first, why Qatar?

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Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013
4:34 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Obama And Former Presidents To Attend Mandela Memorial

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 10:45 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.

President Obama is leading a U.S. delegation to South Africa that includes three former presidents: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, to honor Nelson Mandela at a memorial service tomorrow. It's a unique show of respect for an extraordinary leader. But before he became a global icon, Mandela and his African National Congress had a complicated history with the U.S.

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NPR Story
7:04 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

JPMorgan Chase Agrees To Pay $5.1 Billion To Feds

Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 7:55 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.

Remembrances
5:05 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Remembering Uncle Allan And His Folk-Filled Sandal Shop

Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 7:55 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

A remembrance now, and this time it's a personal one. Allan Block, my uncle, died this week at the age of 90. Now, I mention this because I'll bet there are people listening who will hear that name and they'll remember vividly the Allan Block Sandal Shop on West Fourth Street in Greenwich Village. They'll remember, as I do, the earthy rich smell of leather embedded in that shop, and they'll remember the music that filled the space, as the New York folk scene bubbled into its heyday in the 1950s and the '60s.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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NPR Story
4:35 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Former Detroit Mayor Kilpatrick Sentenced To 28 Years In Prison

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 8:33 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

I really messed up. Those words today from the former mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick, before he was sentenced to 28 years in federal prison on corruption charges. Kilpatrick added: We've been stuck in this town for a very long time dealing with me. I'm ready to go so the city can move on.

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Latin America
5:08 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Brazil's New Middle Class: A Better Life, Not An Easy One

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

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 8:01 pm

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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Politics
5:29 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Middle East, Civil Rights Intersect At White House

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 6:31 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

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Around the Nation
5:01 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

San Diego City Council Considers Mayor's Resignation

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 9:12 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

To San Diego now where, after weeks of accusations of sexual harassment, apologies, denials, a lawsuit and a trip to a treatment center, the saga of Mayor Bob Filner may be coming to a close, or at least one chapter of it may be coming to a close. The San Diego City Council is in session, and it's considering a deal that would lead to Filner's resignation.

Sandhya Dirks of member station KPBS joins me now from San Diego City Hall. And, Sandhya, there have been reports of a resignation deal for a few days now. Where do things stand?

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Law
5:08 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Soldier Who Admitted To Killing Afghans Apologizes In Court

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 11:15 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

In a military court in Washington State today, Army Sergeant Robert Bales offered these words: Sorry just isn't good enough, but I am sorry. Bales agreed to plead guilty to killing 16 Afghan civilians, as part of a deal that spared him the death penalty. Now his sentencing hearing is wrapping up.

And NPR's Martin Kaste is at the hearing at Joint Base Lewis McChord. He joins us now.

Martin, this is the first time that the jury heard from Sergeant Bales at any length. What did he say to explain what he did?

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