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.

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11:35am

Wed January 18, 2012
The Two-Way

Homeless Teen Who's Up For Science Prize To Be At State Of The Union

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 11:39 am

Intel semifinalist Samantha Garvey, 17.
John Dunn AP

The good news story of Samantha Garvey, a New York high school student who has been living with her family in a homeless shelter and recently found out she's a semifinalist in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search competition, keeps getting better.

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9:50am

Wed January 18, 2012
The Two-Way

In Snow-Weary Alaskan Towns, Sun And Smiles Emerge

Jan. 9: An Alaska National Guardsman clears a roof in Cordova.
Spc. Balinda O'Neal Alaska National Guard Public Affairs

"Life is back to normal for two towns deeply buried in snow along Alaska's Prince William Sound," The Associated Press says. "The National Weather Service said Tuesday the weather is supposed to remain clear in both Valdez and Cordova this week."

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9:00am

Wed January 18, 2012
The Two-Way

LIVE: Jewel (A Bear) May Soon Give Birth; A Webcam Lets Us Watch

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 9:04 am

A very close view of Jewel, taken Tuesday.
Wildlife Research Institute

As we learned last year with our posts about the Decorah "eagle cam," there's a lot of interest in watching animals in the wild. Especially when there are babies involved.

So here's some important information for nature lovers:

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8:13am

Wed January 18, 2012

7:55am

Wed January 18, 2012
The Two-Way

Seattle, Western Washington Hunker Down As Snow Arrives

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 12:01 pm

Bags of a deicing product were being stacked outside a hardware store in Seattle on Tuesday, as folks prepared for today's bad weather.
Elaine Thompson AP

While Seattle may not get hit quite as hard as previously thought by a winter storm that's moving across the Northwest, the National Weather Service has issued some ominous sounding updates about how large that storm is turning out to be.

There's this message:

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7:25am

Wed January 18, 2012
The Two-Way

If You Really Need Wikipedia Today, You Can Get To It

Originally published on Wed January 18, 2012 8:57 am

Wikipedia's blackout.
Wikipedia.org

Just to be clear:

Wikipedia's English pages have indeed "gone black" until midnight ET tonight — part of an organized protest by it and many other websites over pending anti-online piracy legislation in Congress.

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7:05am

Wed January 18, 2012
The Two-Way

In Italy, Search Of Stricken Cruise Ship Suspended

"Divers searching the capsized Italian cruise liner Costa Concordia suspended work on Wednesday after the vast wreck shifted slightly but officials said they are hoping to resume as soon as possible," Reuters reports.

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2:00pm

Tue January 17, 2012
The Two-Way

One Of World's Oldest Cypress Trees, 'The Senator,' Burns In Florida

Originally published on Tue January 17, 2012 2:03 pm

On Monday (Jan. 16, 2012) Seminole County firefighter Al Caballero applied water to the smoldering base of The Senator.
Phelan M. Ebenhack AP

Investigators are now saying arson was not the likely cause of a fire that on Monday destroyed a cypress tree in Central Florida that was an estimated 3,500 years old — making it perhaps the oldest such tree in the nation and one of the oldest in the world.

Known as "The Senator," the tree that once stood 165 feet tall (before a hurricane lopped off about 45 feet in 1925) was more likely brought down by a fire that had been smoldering inside it — without being detected — since a lightning strike about a week ago, investigators say.

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12:35pm

Tue January 17, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney Says He's Taxed At 15 Percent Rate

Originally published on Tue January 17, 2012 5:51 pm

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney at a campaign rally in Florence, S.C., earlier today (Jan. 17, 2012).
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

He has probably paid an effective federal income tax rate of about 15 percent in recent years, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told reporters in South Carolina a short time ago.

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11:15am

Tue January 17, 2012
The Two-Way

$45 Million Hospital Bill: It's Enough To Really Make You Sick

With a bill that big, you'll need quite a stack of these.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Morning Edition's staff noticed a story from over the long holiday weekend that's just too much of a "no-way!" not to pass along.

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10:30am

Tue January 17, 2012
The Two-Way

'Get On Board!' Coast Guard Officer Rages At Italian Cruise Ship Captain

The cruise ship Costa Concordia, earlier today (Jan. 17, 2012).
Laura Lezza Getty Images
  • NPR's Sylvia Poggioli, reporting on the dramatic phone call

Dramatic audio has emerged of an irate Italian Coast Guard officer ordering the captain of the cruise ship Costa Concordia to "get back on board!" as the stricken vessel lay crippled off the coast of Tuscany on Friday night.

As NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports, in the telephone call Coast Guard Capt. Gregorio De Falco shouts as he accuses Costa Concordia Capt. Francesco Schettino of abandoning his ship. Schettino was apparently sitting in a row boat at the time.

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9:55am

Tue January 17, 2012

8:25am

Tue January 17, 2012
The Two-Way

Fuel Is Flowing To Nome Through Half-Mile Hose Laid Over Ice

There's good news to report about the struggle to get much-needed gasoline and diesel fuel to the 3,500 people of Nome, Alaska:

"Crews on Monday afternoon began transferring 1.3 million gallons of fuel from a Russian fuel tanker" to the "iced-in" city, The Associated Press reports.

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7:45am

Tue January 17, 2012
The Two-Way

Egypt's Wael Ghonim: 'Revolutions Are Processes ... It Will Take Time'

Originally published on Tue January 17, 2012 7:50 am

Wael Ghonim talking with reporters on Feb. 8, 2011, in Cairo's Tahrir Square as protests there continued.
Khaled Desouki AFP/Getty Images
  • NPR's Steve Inskeep talks with Wael Ghonim

It's been nearly a year since Google executive Wael Ghonim became one of the faces of the Arab Spring as his online organizing efforts and his arrest helped draw people and attention to the demands by many Egyptians for reform — a movement that led to the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak's regime.

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7:15am

Tue January 17, 2012
The Two-Way

Hopes Are Fading For Missing In Italian Cruise Ship Disaster

  • NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports

Divers and other rescue personnel are still trying to reach areas of the cruise ship Costa Concordia that haven't yet been explored in a bid to see if any of the 29 people who remain unaccounted for after Friday's crash off the Italian coast of Tuscany might be alive.

But as the BBC reports, hopes are fading. As of this hour, six people are known to have died. More than 4,200 passengers and crew were on board when it struck rocks, took on water and listed on to its starboard side.

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2:50pm

Fri January 13, 2012
The Two-Way

John Edwards Has Life-Threatening Condition, Doctor Says

A cardiologist says former Democratic presidential candidate and senator John Edwards has a life-threatening condition that will require surgery next month, a judge in Greensboro, N.C., announced today.

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2:15pm

Fri January 13, 2012
The Two-Way

'Washington Post' Touts First Extensive Post-Scandal Interview With Paterno

Originally published on Fri January 13, 2012 2:16 pm

The Washington Post just put out the word that it had an "exclusive interview with Joe Paterno, his first extensive comments on the Penn State scandal and its fallout," and expects to post a report about what he had to say on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.

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1:25pm

Fri January 13, 2012
The Two-Way

IBM Says It Stored A Bit Of Data On Just 12 Atoms

Originally published on Fri January 13, 2012 3:26 pm

Twelve atoms can hold one bit, IBM says.
IBM Research Almaden

This sounds impossible, but here it is:

"Scientists from IBM Research have successfully demonstrated the ability to store information in as few as 12 magnetic atoms," the company says.

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12:20pm

Fri January 13, 2012
The Two-Way

Suspect In Natalee Holloway Case Gets 28-Year Sentence For Murder In Peru

Joran van der Sloot, the 24-year-old Dutchman who remains the prime suspect in the still-unsolved 2005 disappearance of Alabama teen Natalee Holloway in Aruba, was just sentenced to 28 years in prison for the 2010 murder of a woman in Peru.

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9:35am

Fri January 13, 2012

9:05am

Fri January 13, 2012
The Two-Way

VIDEO: Eggs Fly As Apple Cancels Store Sales Of iPhone 4S In Beijing

Police tried to seal off the area as thousands of customers gathered outside an Apple store in Beijing's upmarket Sanlitun shopping district today.
AFP/Getty Images

Everybody knows things can get a little crazy at Apple stores in the U.S. when the company unveils a new product.

But things got extra crazy in Beijing today when a thousand or more would-be iPhone 4S customers gathered outside Apple's store. They got rather angry when they learned that the company was postponing its plan to start selling the new phone there.

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7:55am

Fri January 13, 2012

7:30am

Fri January 13, 2012
The Two-Way

Reports: Obama To Seek Power To Merge Agencies, Streamline Government

(A new lede was put on this post at 11:30 a.m. ET.)

Saying "the government we have is not the government we need" and that it's still organized for the 20th Century, President Obama is asking Congress to give him the power to do some streamlining and merging of agencies that overlap.

"I'm calling on Congress to reinstate the authority that past presidents have had" to reorganize the government, the president just said at the White House. He pledged to only use the authority to make the government more efficient and leaner.

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7:15am

Fri January 13, 2012
The Two-Way

Marines Worried About Desecration Video's Impact On Afghan Operations

The uproar over a video that appears to show four U.S. Marines urinating on the bodies of three dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan continues, and as we reported yesterday investigators believe they've identified two of the men and are vowing that if they're guilty of what seems to have happened they will be brought to justice.

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2:40pm

Thu January 12, 2012
The Two-Way

In Alaska: Nome Still Waits For Fuel, Big Shovels Headed To Cordova

Originally published on Mon January 16, 2012 8:55 am

A member of the Alaska National Guard clearing a walkway in Cordova earlier this week.
Spc. Balinda O'Neal, Alaska National Guard AP
  • Tony Gorman, reporting from Valdez

It's hard to fathom from afar just how rough the weather has been in parts of Alaska for the past month or so. It's winter, sure. But things have been particularly brutal. And there seems to be no end in sight.

Here's some of the latest news about how thing are going:

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10:50am

Thu January 12, 2012
The Two-Way

VIDEO: 'Sofia The Lion Tamer' Goes Nose-To-Nose With Big Cat

"Sofia the Lion Tamer."
YouTube.com

When 3-year-old Sofia Walker was with her family at New Zealand's Wellington Zoo last week, she had quite a close encounter with, as The New Zealand Herald says, a grumpy lion who didn't like having his breakfast disturbed.

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10:05am

Thu January 12, 2012
The Two-Way

Stephen Colbert Looks For Fresh Face In GOP Race And Sees Himself

A Colbert candidacy?
ColbertNation.com

We've been through this with him before, so talk from Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert about running for president needs to be viewed with suspicion.

But he's at it again and promises a "major announcement" on his show tonight (it airs at 11:30 p.m. ET).

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9:35am

Thu January 12, 2012
The Two-Way

Mine's Smaller! Claim About Tiny Frog Is Challenged

The tiny frog called Paedophryne amauensis, sitting on a dime.
Christopher Austin AFP/Getty Images

Sure, it's tiny. But is it the tiniest?

There's a frog in Papua New Guinea that researchers announced this week is "the smallest known vertebrate species" (that is, a creature with a spine).

It's so small, in fact, that the picture posted by the journal PLoS One with the scientists' report shows the little Paedophryne amauensis sitting on a dime with plenty of room to spare.

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9:00am

Thu January 12, 2012

8:45am

Thu January 12, 2012
The Two-Way

Jobless Claims Jump Up By 24,000

Originally published on Thu January 12, 2012 10:24 am

The number of people filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance rose by 24,000 last week from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reports. There were 399,000 such claims.

Also, "the 4-week moving average was 381,750, an increase of 7,750 from the previous week's revised average of 374,000," the agency says.

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