Mark Memmott

Mark Memmott joined NPR News in the spring of 2009 to launch a new blog, "The Two-Way," with co-blogger Frank James.

"The Two-Way" is the place where NPR.org gives readers breaking news and analysis — and where it engages users in conversations ("two-ways") about the most compelling stories being reported by NPR News and other news media.

Memmott came to NPR from USA Today, where for over 20 years he worked as a reporter and editor on subjects ranging from politics and, foreign affairs to economics and the media.

In recent years he helped launch and then led three different news blogs at USATODAY.com, including the website's 2008 presidential campaign blog, On Politics.

Pages

6:53am

Mon April 21, 2014
The Two-Way

It's Time To Run Again In Boston: Here's The Schedule

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 12:15 pm

Runners, their friends and family members posed Sunday for photos at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, which is being run on Monday.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

We don't need to go on at length about why today's running of the Boston Marathon is important.

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11:53am

Fri April 18, 2014
The Two-Way

Here's What Putin Didn't Tell Snowden About Russia's Spying

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who appears not to have told the whole story about his nation's surveillance programs.
Alexei Nikolsky AP

"Does Russia intercept, store or analyze in any way the communications of millions of individuals?" former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden asked Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday.

"We don't have a mass system of such interception, and according to our law it cannot exist," the Russian leader responded.

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10:54am

Fri April 18, 2014
The Two-Way

Pakistani Madrassa Names Its Library For Osama Bin Laden

Osama bin Laden is referred to as a shaheed, or martyr, on a sign outside the library at a girls' school in Islamabad.
Aamir Qureshi AFP/Getty Images

A sign now outside the small library at a religious school for girls in Pakistan's capital says the room has been named for a martyr — Osama bin Laden, whose al-Qaida terrorist network was responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that killed more than 3,000 people in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

"For us he was a hero of Islam," a school spokesman tells Agence France-Presse.

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9:34am

Fri April 18, 2014
The Two-Way

Deal In Doubt As Separatists Refuse To Budge In Ukraine

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 10:49 am

A masked pro-Russia gunman looks through a window of a regional administration building seized earlier in Donetsk, Ukraine.
Sergei Grits AP

"Armed pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine said Friday that they were not bound by an international deal ordering them to disarm and were looking for more assurances about their security before leaving the public buildings they are holding," Reuters reports.

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8:38am

Fri April 18, 2014
The Two-Way

Tragedy Atop The World: Everest Avalanche Kills At Least 12

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 12:58 pm

The sun shines on the peak of Mount Everest in this October 2011 photo. On Friday, an avalanche killed at least 12 Sherpas on the mountain.
Kevin Frayer AP

At least 12 Sherpa guides died Friday on Nepal's side of Mount Everest when an avalanche buried them on the world's tallest mountain.

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7:06am

Fri April 18, 2014
The Two-Way

Captain Of Korean Ferry Arrested As Vessel Sinks Below Surface

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 4:28 pm

Cranes, ships and other rescue equipment are on the scene off the southern coast of South Korea, where a ferry capsized Wednesday. About 270 people, most of them high school students, remain missing.
Kim Hong-Ji Reuters/Landov

The captain of the South Korean ferry that sank earlier this week in the Yellow Sea, leaving at least 28 dead and hundreds missing, has been arrested, along with two other crew members, South Korea's Yonhap news agency says.

The 69-year-old captain, Lee Jun-Seok, faces five counts including negligence of duty and violation of maritime law, Yonhap says.

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11:47am

Thu April 17, 2014
The Two-Way

One Man's Pee Pushes Portland To Flush 38 Million Gallons Of Water

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 1:25 pm

There are signs around the reservoirs in Portland's Mount Tabor Park that warn against putting anything in the water. They apparently didn't dissuade one young man from urinating into the city's drinking supply this week.
Randy L. Rasmussen The Oregonian/Landov

Though they concede it's unlikely the public was endangered, officials in Portland, Ore., have decided to drain 38 million gallons of water from a reservoir after a young man was observed urinating into it on Wednesday.

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9:45am

Thu April 17, 2014
The Two-Way

Fate Of Girls Abducted In Nigeria Now Uncertain

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 12:38 pm

This post was updated at 5:50 p.m. ET.

NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports that Nigeria's defense ministry has retracted its earlier claim that they missing schoolgirls were free.

"[A] report was filed in from the field indicating that a major breakthrough had been recorded in the search," the ministry said in a statement.

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9:11am

Thu April 17, 2014
The Two-Way

Ukraine Crisis: Russia Endorses Call For Protesters To Disarm

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 9:04 am

Armed men wearing military fatigues gathered on armored personnel carriers Wednesday in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk, where they and other pro-Russia gunmen took control of some key locations.
Genya Savilov AFP/Getty Images
This post was updated with a new top at 4:10 p.m. ET.

Diplomats from the U.S., Ukraine, Russia and the European Union emerged Thursday from a meeting that wasn't expected to accomplish much saying they had made progress toward resolving the crisis in Ukraine.

"We worked hard and we worked in good faith in order to narrow our real differences," Secretary of State John Kerry said following the meeting in Geneva. He and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced that the four parties at the negotiating table agreed:

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8:38am

Thu April 17, 2014
The Two-Way

Weekly Jobless Claims Stay Near 7-Year Low

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 1:42 pm

There were 304,000 first-time claims filed for unemployment insurance last week, up just 2,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 302,000, the Employment and Training Administration said Thursday.

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7:59am

Thu April 17, 2014
The Two-Way

Putin Tells Snowden That Russia Doesn't Do Mass Surveillance

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 11:25 am

Russian President Vladimir Putin as he answered questions on national TV Thursday in Moscow.
Alexey Nikolsky/RIO Novosti/Kremlin pool EPA/Landov

Saying that because they're both former spies they can speak the same language, Russian President Vladimir Putin told "NSA leaker" Edward Snowden on Thursday that his nation does not have a "mass system" that collects data about Russian citizens' phone calls and other electronic communications.

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7:03am

Thu April 17, 2014
The Two-Way

No Sign Yet Of Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Disaster

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 6:45 pm

Holding out hope, fearing the worst: A man looks out from the shore in Jindo, South Korea, toward where a passenger ferry sank Wednesday and nearly 300 people are still missing.
Kim Kyung-Hoon Reuters/Landov
This post will be updated as news comes in.

A second day of dangerous efforts to reach any survivors has ended with still no sign of the nearly 300 people — most of them high school students — believed to be trapped aboard a South Korean ferry that has capsized in the Yellow Sea.

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1:56pm

Wed April 16, 2014
The Two-Way

Boston Bombing Defendant Can See Victims' Autopsy Photos, Judge Says

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 3:24 pm

Blue and yellow are the colors for tributes to victims of the Boston Marathon. Street lights on the route of this year's race are among the places they're showing up.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

A federal judge said Wednesday that Boston Marathon bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev may see autopsy photos of the three people who died after the explosions near the finish line of last year's race.

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11:09am

Wed April 16, 2014
The Two-Way

Most Of The Dozens Of Girls Abducted In Nigeria Reportedly Free

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 9:48 am

9:45 a.m. ET, April 17: The latest developments have changed this story. We've put up a news post with this headline: Fate Of Girls Abducted In Nigeria Now Uncertain.

Our post from April 16:

Most of the 100 Nigerian schoolgirls who were kidnapped have been freed, Nigeria's military reports. Only eight are still unaccounted for.

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9:14am

Wed April 16, 2014
The Two-Way

43-Year-Old Cold Case Closed: South Dakota Girls Died In Accident

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 2:02 pm

Cheryl Miller's driver's license was among the evidence collected from the car she and Pamela Jackson were last seen in. The two South Dakota girls disappeared in 1971. Now, authorities say it appears they accidentally drove into a creek. It wasn't until last year that low waters revealed the vehicle.
South Dakota Attorney General's office AP

Families and friends who have wondered since 1971 about what happened to two South Dakota girls now have some closure.

Authorities said Tuesday that they believe Pamela Jackson and Cheryl Miller died when their 1960 Studebaker Lark accidentally went off a gravel road and into a local creek. "All the evidence would appear to indicate an accident," South Dakota Attorney Gen. Marty Jackley said.

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8:02am

Wed April 16, 2014
The Two-Way

In Ukraine: Reports Of Soldiers Switching To Pro-Russia Side

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 2:49 pm

Men sit on an armored personnel carrier in Slovyansk, Ukraine, on Wednesday. A Russian flag flies from it. When some Ukrainian forces approached the city, locals say, they were persuaded to hand over their vehicles to pro-Russia protesters.
Gleb Garanich Reuters/Landov

Confusion continues to reign in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russia gunmen remain in control of many government offices even as the Ukrainian military sends in troops, tanks and armed aircraft in an attempt to dislodge them.

According to NPR's Ari Shapiro, who is in eastern Ukraine, locals who are pushing to separate from the central government and join the Russian Federation claim that at least some Ukrainian troops are refusing to move against them.

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7:03am

Wed April 16, 2014
The Two-Way

Rescue Crews Dive For Hundreds Still Missing After Ferry Accident

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 12:12 pm

Rescuers head toward the ferry Sewol off the southern coast of South Korea on Wednesday. It sank while on a trip to a resort island. Several hundred people, most of them high school students and teachers, are missing.
Yonhap News EPA/Landov
This post is being updated as news comes in.

Unsuccessful in their attempts to find the missing in a sunken ferry off the southern coast of South Korea overnight, rescue divers resumed their search at day break Thursday, Jason Strother reports from Seoul.

A day after the boat began to sink, the cause of the accident is unclear and less than half of the passengers who were on board have been rescued, Strother tells NPR's Newscast Desk.

Most of those unaccounted for are high school students who were on a trip to a resort island.

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1:12pm

Tue April 15, 2014
The Two-Way

Think You Can Mail Your Taxes At Midnight? Think Again, Gramps

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 4:42 pm

Mailing your taxes in just before midnight: That's so 2002.
Tim Boyle Getty Images

One of the least imaginative, but always popular, stories for an editor to assign in years past was the annual Tax Day frenzy at the local post office.

Younger Two-Way readers may not know this, but before e-filing was the thing to do, many procrastinators would wait until the last possible moment to finish their federal tax returns. And many post offices would keep staff on hand until midnight so that those returns could be postmarked before April 15 turned into April 16.

Now?

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10:11am

Tue April 15, 2014
The Two-Way

Berlusconi Ordered To Do Community Service At Senior Center

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 11:21 am

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was all smiles last month at Ciampino Airport near Rome.
Andreas Solaro AFP/Getty Images

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was ordered Tuesday to spend at least four hours a week for the next year doing community service at a center for the elderly, NPR's Sylvia Poggioli tells our Newscast Desk.

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9:13am

Tue April 15, 2014
The Two-Way

An 'Idiot With A Gun' Leaves Families In Kansas Reeling

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 11:52 am

Mindy Corporon speaks during a news conference, flanked by Will Corporon (left) and Tony Corporon, at their church in Leawood, Kan., on Monday. Their father, Dr. William Corporon, and Mindy Corporon's 14-year-old son were killed during Sunday's shooting at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kan.
Orlin Wagner AP

7:28am

Tue April 15, 2014
The Two-Way

Ukrainian Military Says It Is Moving Against Pro-Russia Protesters

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 2:26 pm

One of the pro-Russia protesters who have taken over the police headquarters in Slovyansk, Ukraine, watched from the barricades on Tuesday. Ukrainian authorities said special forces were beginning an operation against the demonstrators.
Gleb Garanich Reuters/Landov

Ukraine's acting president says his nation's military has begun "an anti-terrorist operation" aimed at pushing armed pro-Russia demonstrators out of the government buildings in eastern Ukraine that they have occupied for several days.

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6:44am

Tue April 15, 2014
The Two-Way

Did You See It? If Not, Here's The 'Blood Moon'

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 9:34 am

The "blood moon" as seen from Koreatown, west of Los Angeles, early Tuesday. The next total eclipse of the moon comes on Oct. 8.
Joe Klamar AFP/Getty Images

There were "whistles, cheers and howls" early Tuesday on the grounds of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles as the moon turned red during a total lunar eclipse.

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1:33pm

Mon April 14, 2014
The Two-Way

Russian Attack Jet Repeatedly Overflies U.S. Warship In Black Sea

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 3:07 pm

The USS Donald Cook, a guided-missile destroyer, on patrol Saturday in the Black Sea.
Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Edward Guttierrez III U.S. Navy

The crisis in Ukraine has taken on even more of a Cold War-era feel after a Russian warplane made nearly a dozen low passes over the weekend of a U.S. destroyer that was sailing in the Black Sea.

Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, calls the Russian flybys "provocative and unprofessional," NPR's Tom Bowman reports.

According to the Pentagon, the Russian SU-24 attack aircraft came within several thousand feet of the USS Donald Cook on Saturday and ignored multiple radio warnings from the ship.

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12:21pm

Mon April 14, 2014
The Two-Way

Ohio Ordered To Recognize Out-Of-State Gay Marriages

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 1:12 pm

Nicole Yorksmith (left) holds her son while standing with her partner, Pam Yorksmith. They were among four legally married couples who filed a federal civil rights lawsuit seeking to compel Ohio to recognize same-sex marriages on birth certificates.
Al Behrman AP

The state of Ohio was told by a federal judge Monday that it must recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states, Ohio Public Radio and TV's Jo Ingles reports.

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11:32am

Mon April 14, 2014
The Two-Way

Deficit Forecasts Shaved, But Likely Won't Shrink For Much Longer

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 1:49 pm

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Monday that it expects the federal deficit will be about $22 billion less this fiscal year than previously thought, and about $9 billion less than had been anticipated next year.

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9:44am

Mon April 14, 2014
The Two-Way

Search For Jet Goes Underwater; Oil Slick Also Being Analyzed

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 11:28 am

The U.S. Navy's Bluefin-21 Artemis autonomous underwater vehicle as it was being hoisted on board the Australian Navy vessel Ocean Shield earlier this month. The Bluefin is being deployed to map the sea floor in the area of the southern Indian Ocean where the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is concentrated. It will look for any sign of the missing jet.
MC1 Peter D. Blair U.S. Navy

On Day 38, the latest developments in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 come from the surface of the Indian Ocean and more than 2 miles beneath on the sea floor.

-- Search Goes Below. "Underwater vehicle Bluefin-21 deployed to find plane's wreckage." (The Sydney Morning Herald)

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8:29am

Mon April 14, 2014
The Two-Way

Dozens Dead, Scores Injured After Bomb Blast In Nigeria

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 2:00 pm

A bomb blast and explosions that followed killed more than 70 people and injured more than 120 on Monday near Nigeria's capital, Abuja. Early speculation is that the attack was the work of the Boko Haram extremist group.
EPA/Landov

A rush-hour bomb blast Monday at a bus station near Nigeria's capital and other explosions that followed are thought to have killed more than 70 people and injured more than 120.

An Islamist group that believes Western education is sinful and takes other extremist stands is being blamed.

"Fingers are being pointed at Boko Haram, the terrorist network that has been threatening to attack Nigeria's capital," NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton tells our Newscast Desk.

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7:38am

Mon April 14, 2014
The Two-Way

In Ukraine: Pro-Russia Occupiers Defy Deadline, War Fears Grow

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 11:57 am

Armed men in military fatigues stood guard Monday outside a regional administration building they seized in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk.
Genya Savilov AFP/Getty Images

"A deadline set by the Ukrainian government for pro-Russian gunmen to leave government buildings in eastern Ukraine and surrender weapons passed early Monday," The Associated Press writes, "with no immediate sign of any action to force the insurgents out."

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6:57am

Mon April 14, 2014
The Two-Way

'This Was A Hate Crime,' Police Say Of Kansas City-Area Killings

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 5:38 pm

Frazier Glenn Cross, also known as Glenn Miller, is accused of killing three people Sunday in Kansas City. He allegedly attacked them at a Jewish community center and a Jewish retirement facility.
Johnson County, Kan., Sheriff's Office
(This post was updated at 1 p.m. ET.)

The man who shot and killed three people Sunday near Kansas City will face federal hate crime charges for the attacks at a Jewish community center and a Jewish retirement home, authorities said Monday.

"This was a hate crime," Overland Park, Kan., Police Chief John Douglass told reporters at a midday news conference.

Frazier Glenn Cross, also known as Glenn Miller, is already in jail. The 73-year-old man was taken into custody shortly after the attacks and is accused of premeditated murder.

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12:52pm

Fri April 11, 2014
The Two-Way

Singer-Songwriter Jesse Winchester Dies

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 1:53 pm

Jesse Winchester, whose "blend of folk, blues and country ... embodies the spirit of American music," has died.

His manager, Keith Case, tells NPR's Jacob Ganz that Winchester died Friday morning in Charlottesville, Va., where he lived. He was 69 and had been battling cancer.

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