Melissa Block

Melissa Block is a 26-year veteran of NPR 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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4:14pm

Wed June 20, 2012
Around the Nation

Saving Calif. State Parks: The End Of Public Funding?

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 6:23 pm

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

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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4:18pm

Mon June 18, 2012
All Tech Considered

You Know You Want One: Personal Robots Not Ready For You Yet

Originally published on Mon June 18, 2012 11:06 pm

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

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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3:00pm

Mon March 26, 2012
Health Care

Health Care Arguments Center On Taxes

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Well, if the arguments inside the courtroom today were not as exciting as what was going on outside the court, they were, of course, important. In fact, today's arguments will determine whether the case even gets to proceed.

We're joined now by NPR health policy correspondent Julie Rovner to explain more about what happened today and what will happen over the next two days. Julie, welcome back.

JULIE ROVNER, BYLINE: Nice to be here.

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12:18pm

Tue November 15, 2011
Author Interviews

Mark Kelly Tells Of Giffords' 'Courage' In Recovery

Originally published on Tue November 15, 2011 8:35 pm

Mark Kelly has a new book about his wife, Rep. Gabby Giffords, and her road to recovery since she was shot in the head on Jan. 8.
Courtesy of P.K. Weis

Earlier this year, on Jan. 8, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was shot in the head as she met with constituents in Tucson, Ariz. She was one of 13 people injured that day. Six people were killed.

It had been four years since Giffords arrived in Washington as a wide-eyed freshman and told NPR: "Life's good and [I'm] very, very excited — so optimistic about taking our country in a new direction."

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5:41pm

Fri October 14, 2011
Politics

Voters In Spartanburg, S.C., Say They Favor Cain

Originally published on Fri October 14, 2011 7:28 pm

Members of the Palmetto Statesmen, a barbershop chorus, say they think the Republican Party has lost its way. Currently, many say they favor candidate Herman Cain.

Melissa Block NPR

One of the earliest primary states is South Carolina, which holds its primary on Jan. 21. South Carolina is a Republican stronghold — with a strongly conservative voting base.

In Spartanburg, S.C., a handful of Republican voters share what's on their minds — and many are leaning toward Herman Cain.

Perry Aims To Win Voters

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is trying to win hearts and minds in the Palmetto State right where it counts — with food.

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6:20pm

Thu October 13, 2011
Economy

In Spartanburg, S.C., Jobs Are Especially Scarce

Volunteer Dean Ford prepares bags of food to be distributed at the First Baptist Spartanburg's food pantry program.

Melissa Block NPR

The job market is barely treading water. The Labor Department Thursday reported that 404,000 people filed for unemployment benefits last week — pretty much unchanged from the week before. Overall, there are 14 million people looking for work in the U.S.

One of those places where jobs are especially hard to find is Spartanburg, S.C.

On Thursday, the Occupy Wall Street protests spread to the heavily conservative corner of the heavily conservative state. It was a small turnout — about 20 people got some honks of support and some catcalls from people who shouted, "Get a job!"

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4:14pm

Tue September 13, 2011
Movie Interviews

Ebert: A 'Life' Still Being Lived, And Fully

Originally published on Tue September 13, 2011 10:17 pm

Ebert, with Chaz Ebert, accepts a career-achievement award at the theater-owners' convention ShoWest in 2009.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

"I was born inside the movie of my life."

Those words open the new memoir Life Itself from the film critic Roger Ebert, who has made movies his life for more than four decades now. He and his sparring partner, the late Gene Siskel, had the most famous thumbs on television. Now, at age 69, Ebert depends on the same thumbs-up that he and Siskel made famous to help him communicate in daily life. Five years ago, after multiple cancer surgeries, he lost the ability to speak.

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3:00pm

Fri August 12, 2011
NPR Story

Appeals Court Rejects Part Of Health Care Law

A federal appeals court in Atlanta has ruled against the individual mandate contained in the new health care law, saying it is unconstitutional to require citizens to buy health insurance.

5:22pm

Wed August 10, 2011
Media

Murdoch To Take Questions From Investors, Media

Rupert Murdoch is expected to take questions from analysts, investors and reporters during a conference call Wednesday. The call follows Tuesday's meeting of the News Corp. board — the first such meeting since the phone hacking scandal that has roiled the company.

3:05pm

Wed July 6, 2011
Beginnings: Pregnancy, Childbirth and Beyond

In Mozambique, A Fight To Keep Babies HIV-Free

Lucrecia Silva and her daughter, Helena, are both HIV-positive. They wait as a nurse in Macia writes a prescription for Helena's anti-retroviral drugs.
Andrea Hsu NPR

The southeastern African nation of Mozambique has some of the highest HIV rates in the world. Within Mozambique, Gaza province in the south of the country is a hot zone for HIV infection. There, 25 percent of people ages 15 to 49 are HIV-positive. Among women in Gaza, the number is even higher: Thirty percent are infected with HIV.

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4:25pm

Mon June 27, 2011
Beginnings: Pregnancy, Childbirth and Beyond

In Mozambique, Grim Prospects For Mother And Child

Many of the women in the community called "The 25th of June" began childbearing as teenagers in Mozambique. They all say that soon after their first periods, they took part in an initiation ritual called okanone that taught them about sex.
Andrea Hsu NPR

As part of "Beginnings," a summer-long series on All Things Considered, Melissa Block traveled to Mozambique to explore maternal health. This is the first of three reports.

In Mozambique in southeastern Africa, the rates of maternal and infant mortality are among the highest in the world.

In her lifetime, a Mozambican woman has a 1 in 37 chance of dying during pregnancy or within a short time after a pregnancy has ended. One in 10 children won't live past their first year. One in 7 die before they reach the age of 5.

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3:16pm

Tue June 7, 2011
Africa

Mozambique's Struggles Fueled By The Price Of Bread

The Padaria Allianca, a bakery in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, turns out 12,000 loaves of bread a day. But the Mozambican government is planning to end food subsidies it can't afford, putting the bakery's business in doubt.
Melissa Block NPR

Everywhere you go in Mozambique, you see people at bakeries buying their daily bread — delicious crusty loaves or eggy sweet rolls.

At the Padaria Allianca, a bakery in the capital, Maputo, customers wait in a long line for their bread. Workers are busy slapping and shaping golden mounds of dough. The bakery turns out 12,000 loaves a day.

The story of bread in Mozambique — as in much of the developing world — turns out to be a tale of poverty, food security and social unrest.

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3:16pm

Fri April 8, 2011
History

150 Years Later, America's Civil War Still Divides

On April 12, 1861, the first shots of the Civil War rang out in South Carolina.

Confederate forces, firing on the Union garrison at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, helped launch a four-year war that would kill more than 620,000 soldiers.

It's been nearly 150 years since the war began. But even now, the city of Charleston is still figuring out how to talk about the war and commemorate the anniversary.

Defending The Confederate Story

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