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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10:52am

Fri April 11, 2014
The Two-Way

'I Knew It Wouldn't Be Easy,' Outgoing Health Secretary Sebelius Says

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

Vice President Biden (from left), Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, President Obama and Budget Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell at the White House Friday. Sebelius is stepping down. Burwell is being nominated to replace her.
Charles Dharapak AP

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who has borne the brunt of criticism for the troubled rollout of the HealthCare.gov website, said Friday that as she prepares to leave that agency she is thankful to have had the chance to work on "the cause of my life."

Her agency, Sebelius said, has been "in the front lines of a long overdue national change — fixing a broken health system."

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10:12am

Fri April 11, 2014
The Two-Way

Pope Francis Asks Abuse Victims' Forgiveness

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 10:45 am

Pope Francis on Wednesday in St. Peter's Square, Vatican City.
Claudio Peri EPA/Landov

Pope Francis asked Friday for forgiveness from the victims of pedophile priests in some of his strongest words to date about the Catholic Church's sex abuse crisis.

NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports from Rome that:

"The pope has come under fire from advocacy groups for a perceived lack of attention to the issue.

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9:27am

Fri April 11, 2014
The Two-Way

Optimism, But No Breakthrough In Search For Malaysian Jet

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 10:06 am

Sgt. Trent Wyatt looks out an observation window on Friday from aboard a Royal New Zealand air force P-3 Orion maritime search aircraft as it flies over the southern Indian Ocean. So far there's been no sign of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. But officials are hoping that sounds detected below the surface are coming from one or both of the plane's black boxes.
Richard Wainwright Reuters/Landov

Hopes were both raised and lowered Friday by officials involved in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The jet and the 239 people on board have now been missing for five weeks.

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8:11am

Fri April 11, 2014
The Two-Way

VIDEO: Woman Throws Shoe At Hillary Clinton; No Harm Done

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 5:10 pm

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ducks after a woman threw a shoe at her while she was delivering remarks at the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries conference on Thursday in Las Vegas.
Isaac Brekken Getty Images

Hillary Clinton was not struck Thursday when a woman threw a shoe at the former secretary of state while she was on stage in Las Vegas giving the keynote speech at conference hosted by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.

"What was that, a bat? Was that a bat?" Clinton said moments after the footwear flew by.

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6:59am

Fri April 11, 2014
The Two-Way

Tragedy In California: Truck Hits Bus Full Of Students

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 2:31 pm

Flames devoured both vehicles just after a FedEx truck hit a charter bus Thursday in Northern California. At least 10 people were killed. The bus was carrying high school students who were going to visit a college.
Jeremy Lockett AP

A highway in Northern California was turned into an inferno Thursday when a FedEx truck slammed into a charter bus full of high school students.

The California Highway Patrol says at least 10 people, including both drivers and five of the teenagers, were killed. An additional 30 or so people were injured. Those who survived escaped through smashed windows.

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12:33pm

Thu April 10, 2014
The Two-Way

Stephen Colbert Will Take Over 'Late Show'

Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 1:38 pm

Stephen Colbert: He's moving on up, from basic cable to the big time.
Theo Wargo Getty Images

Breaking news on CBS-TV's Twitter feed:

"Stephen Colbert to be next host of 'The Late Show'...press release coming"

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11:29am

Thu April 10, 2014
The Two-Way

'Will I Survive, Or Will I Die?' Stabbing Survivor Wondered

Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 1:37 pm

Brett Hurt, 16, a sophomore at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville, Pa., and a victim of the stabbings there Wednesday, talks with reporters about what happened. With him is his mother, Amanda Hurt, and some of the doctors at Forbes Regional Hospital in Monroeville, Pa.
Keith Srakocic AP

As he bled from a stab wound to his back Wednesday morning, the first thoughts that went through his mind were "will I survive, or will I die?" one of the high school students injured Wednesday in Murrysville, Pa., told reporters Thursday.

Brett Hurt was among the first of more than 20 people (most of them students) injured when a young man wielding two steak knives began stabbing and slashing at other teens.

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9:24am

Thu April 10, 2014
The Two-Way

The Story Flips: Burger King Says It Isn't Moving Into Crimea

Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 1:38 pm

A Burger King restaurant in Moscow. The company's Russian arm says it will extend its reach into Crimea.
Zurab Dzhavakhadze ITAR-TASS/Landov
We updated this post with a major development at 1:15 p.m. ET.

Reports that Burger King is looking to open restaurants in Crimea now that McDonald's has decided to pull out of that region were overcooked, a Burger King spokesman says.

Responding to the stories that we saw across the news media and posted about earlier today, Burger King spokesperson Bryson Thornton emailed to say that "neither Burger King Worldwide, nor any of its franchisees, have plans to open Burger King restaurants in Crimea."

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8:48am

Thu April 10, 2014
The Two-Way

Weekly Jobless Claims Drop To Near 7-Year Low

Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 12:50 pm

There were 300,000 first-time claims for unemployment benefits filed last week, the fewest since mid-May 2007, the Employment and Training Administration reported Thursday.

Claims were down 32,000 from the week before, the agency adds.

Reuters says the news "could bolster views of an acceleration in job growth after a cold winter dampened hiring."

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8:09am

Thu April 10, 2014
The Two-Way

'Stay With Me, Bud,' Mom Told Baby After Mudslide Trapped Them

Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 12:26 pm

The pain, anguish and fear comes through as a young mother who held on to her baby boy as their Oso, Wash., home was swallowed by a mudslide on March 22 describes the harrowing ordeal.

Here's how our colleagues at Seattle's KPLU begin their story:

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7:19am

Thu April 10, 2014
The Two-Way

School Stabbing Suspect Was 'Nice Young Boy,' Attorney Says

Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 12:21 pm

At Mother of Sorrows Catholic Church in Murrysville, Pa., on Wednesday evening, worshipers held candles as they prayed for those injured in a stabbing attack at the local high school.
Connor Mulvaney Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/Landov

Until Wednesday, the 16-year-old Pennsylvania boy who's charged with multiple counts of attempted murder and aggravated assault after a stabbing attack at his high school was known as "a nice young boy," his attorney said this morning. Now the sophomore is in custody after the attack that left more than 20 people — nearly all of them fellow students — injured.

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2:30pm

Wed April 9, 2014
The Two-Way

More Force May Be Used To Move Pro-Russia Protesters, Ukraine Says

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 5:38 pm

A pro-Russia protester stands at a barricade outside a regional government building in Donetsk, Ukraine, on Wednesday.
Reuters/Landov

Tensions that wouldn't seem capable of rising even further are threatening to do just that with the news that Ukrainian authorities say they're ready to use force if necessary to remove pro-Russia protesters from government buildings they're occupying in eastern Ukraine.

From The Wall Street Journal:

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9:30am

Wed April 9, 2014
The Two-Way

Dose Of Caution Prescribed When Evaluating New Medicare Data

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 4:05 pm

Data released Wednesday about Medicare payments to doctors in 2012 have raised questions, but some experts warn against drawing "sweeping conclusions" from the numbers.
iStockphoto

The headlines about one of Wednesday's big stories — the release of data from 2012 about Medicare payment to doctors around the nation — are certainly serious sounding:

-- "Sliver of Medicare Doctors Get Big Share of Payouts." (The New York Times)

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9:22am

Wed April 9, 2014
The Two-Way

At Least 20 Students Injured In Knife Attack At Pa. High School

Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 6:48 am

Emergency responders gather in the parking lot on the campus of Franklin Regional High School in Murraysville, Pa., on Wednesday after an attack there left at least 20 people, nearly all of them students, injured. Most suffered stab wounds or lacerations.
Keith Srakocic AP

(This post is being updated as news comes in.)

At least 20 teenagers and one adult were injured, two of them critically, Wednesday morning at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville, Pa., when a 16-year-old fellow student attacked them with two knives.

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7:58am

Wed April 9, 2014
The Two-Way

UConn Women Win, Making School Center Of College Hoops World

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 9:58 am

They're No. 1: Breanna Stewart of the Connecticut Huskies reacts after a score during Tuesday night's game against Notre Dame. Her team won its ninth national championship.
Andy Lyons Getty Images

By routing Notre Dame 79-58 Tuesday night in Nashville, the University of Connecticut women's basketball team won its ninth NCAA championship — which means that coach Geno Auriemma is no longer tied with legendary Tennessee coach Pat Summitt for the most titles among women's coaches.

But that's not the only milestone that highlights UConn's place in the upper echelon of college basketball programs. Check this out:

Before Tuesday, only one school had won both the men's and women's Division I basketball titles in the same year.

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7:12am

Wed April 9, 2014
The Two-Way

New Pings Have Head Of Search Optimistic Jet Will Soon Be Found

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 2:28 pm

"I'm now optimistic that we will find the aircraft, or what is left of the aircraft, in the not-too-distant future," the head of the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 told reporters on Wednesday after an Australian ship detected two more pings that may be signals from the plane's black boxes.

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3:31pm

Fri April 4, 2014
The Two-Way

Federal Judge Says He'll Require Ohio To Recognize Same-Sex Marriages

A federal judge in Cincinnati said Friday that he will soon rule that Ohio must recognize gay marriages performed in other states.

WVXU reporter Ann Thompson writes that Judge Timothy Black said he will issue that ruling on April 14. She adds that:

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12:48pm

Fri April 4, 2014
The Two-Way

Bush's 'Art Of Leadership' Puts Putin And Others On Display

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 1:01 pm

Former President George W. Bush says his favorite from among the portraits he's painted of world leaders is the one he did of his father, former President George H.W. Bush. "I painted a gentle soul," he says.
George W. Bush Presidential Center

"The Art of Leadership: A President's Personal Diplomacy" officially opens Saturday at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas.

As the nation's 43rd president says: "Who woulda thought it?"

Talking with his daughter Jenna Bush Hager during a pre-recorded interview on NBC-TV's Today show, the self-deprecating Bush says:

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10:11am

Fri April 4, 2014
The Two-Way

Racing's Michael Schumacher Has 'Moments Of Consciousness'

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 10:22 am

Michael Schumacher in April 2012.
Eugene Hoshiko AP

A little more than three months after he suffered a severe head injury while skiing in France, Formula One racing legend Michael Schumacher is experiencing "moments of consciousness and awakening" his agent says.

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8:07am

Fri April 4, 2014
The Two-Way

Jobless Rate Holds Steady As Employers Add 192,000 Jobs

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 1:09 pm

This recruiter was waiting to meet with job seekers at a career fair last year in King of Prussia, Pa.
Matt Slocum AP
This post has been updated.

The nation's unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7 percent in March, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

Meanwhile, there were 192,000 more jobs on public and private payrolls last month — a bit under the 200,000 or so economists had expected but still above the average growth in previous months.

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7:45am

Fri April 4, 2014
The Two-Way

Fort Hood MP Hailed As Hero For Confronting Shooter

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 10:16 am

Bob Butler (left) and Bob Gordon paint crosses they placed in front of American flags at Central Christian Disciples of Christ church in the city of Killeen, Texas, which is home to Fort Hood.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

As investigators try to determine why Army Spc. Ivan Lopez would open fire on his fellow soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, stories are emerging about the harrowing minutes on the post Wednesday and what are being described as the heroic actions of the military police officer who confronted the gunman.

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6:47am

Fri April 4, 2014
The Two-Way

AP Photographer Killed, Reporter Wounded By Gunman In Afghanistan

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 10:16 am

Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus is seen in a 2005 photo taken in Rome. She was killed Friday in Khost, Afghanistan. AP reporter Kathy Gannon was injured. A gunman opened fire on them as they sat in a car.
Peter Dejong AP

"A veteran Associated Press photographer was killed and an AP reporter was wounded on Friday when an Afghan policeman opened fire while they were sitting in their car in eastern Afghanistan," the wire service reports.

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10:20am

Thu April 3, 2014
The Two-Way

Thousands Of Artifacts Seized At 91-Year-Old Indiana Man's Home

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 11:32 am

FBI agents work around a home in Rush County to confiscate what the agency is calling artifacts on Wednesday.
Kelly Wilkinson The Indianapolis Star

Federal agents, art experts and museum curators descended on the home of a 91-year-old man in central Indiana on Wednesday to take control of a huge collection of artifacts from Native American, Russian, Chinese and other cultures.

FBI Special Agent Robert Jones told reporters that the collection's cultural value "is immeasurable," reports RTV6 The Indy Channel.

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8:44am

Thu April 3, 2014
The Two-Way

Jobless Claims Rose Last Week

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 1:18 pm

The scene at a job fair last fall in Van Nuys, Calif.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

There were 326,000 first-time claims filed for unemployment insurance last week, up by 16,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reported Thursday morning.

Although the number increased, claims remained at the lower end of the range they've been in for the past year and were running at a pace close to where they were before the economy sank into its latest recession in December 2007.

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8:02am

Thu April 3, 2014
The Two-Way

Early Evidence: Fort Hood Gunman Showed No Warning Signs

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 7:11 pm

SPC Ivan Lopez is pictured in the Sinai Peninsula between 2007 and 2008 during his service with the 295th Infantry of the Puerto Rico National Guard in this undated handout photo.
HANDOUT Reuters/Landov

A picture is beginning to emerge of 34-year-old Army Spc. Ivan Lopez, who officials have said is the man who opened fire Wednesday at Fort Hood and killed at least three people and wounded another 16 before taking his own life.

The early signs indicate that while Lopez was being treated for depression or some other type of mental issue, he had shown no sign he might be a threat to either himself or others.

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7:12am

Thu April 3, 2014
The Two-Way

'We Do Not Expect Any More Fatalities,' Doctor Says Of Fort Hood Victims

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 8:37 pm

Sgt. First Class Erick Rodriguez stood guard at the entrance to Fort Hood as officials prepared to brief the news media about Wednesday's attack at the post.
Erich Schlegel Reuters/Landov

On the day after a deadly shooting incident on the grounds of Fort Hood, Texas, in which a gunman killed at least three people, wounded 16 and then reportedly killed himself, there was this welcome news:

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1:14pm

Wed April 2, 2014
The Two-Way

GM Has 'Culture Of Cover-Up,' Key Senator Says

General Motors CEO Mary Barra as she testified Wednesday on Capitol Hill.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Day Two of General Motors CEO Mary Barra's time testifying before Congress about safety problems with her company's cars has been highlighted by a top senator saying the company "repeatedly lied" about its problems and has fostered a "culture of cover-up."

From The Detroit News:

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11:04am

Wed April 2, 2014
The Two-Way

Drones Will Not Be Hunted In Colorado Town

It's going to remain safe for drones in the skies above Deer Trail, Colo.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection AP

You won't be able to fire away at government drones — if any were to fly by — in Deer Trail, Colo.

A proposal to issue $25 drone hunting licenses was rejected Tuesday by voters in the little town about 55 miles east of Denver.

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9:55am

Wed April 2, 2014
The Two-Way

'Race Card Project' Is Among Peabody Award Winners

Michele Norris
Stephen Voss

This year's Peabody Award winners for excellence in electronic media include The Race Card Project from NPR's Michele Norris.

Her project, which was featured in a series of reports on Morning Edition, invites people to distill their "thoughts, experiences or observations about race into one sentence that only has six words."

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8:56am

Wed April 2, 2014
The Two-Way

Job Growth Picked Up Some Speed In March, Survey Signals

Kiara Crawford, Brittney Winkler and Jessyca Freeman (left to right) were among those applying for work last month at a job fair in Washington, D.C. Early data from that month signal that job growth may have gained some speed.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

The first slice of data about job growth in March offers some hope that the U.S. labor market gained some strength:

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