Michel Martin

Michel Martin is curious about many things. "I wonder what it's like to leave everything and everyone you know for the promise of a better life, to run for President, to be a professional athlete, to parent children of a different race," she notes. "I am fascinated by people who live lives different from my own. And at the same time, I feel connected to all of these lives being a journalist, a woman of color, a wife and mother."

Michel can be heard across NPR news programs, bringing her deep reporting and interviewing experience to bear on NPR's coverage of relevant topics, including education, families, faith, race and social issues. Outside the studio, she is hosting NPR Presents Michel Martin, an ambitious live event series in collaboration with Member Stations.

Martin came to NPR in 2006 and launched Tell Me More, a one-hour daily NPR news and talk show that aired on NPR stations nationwide from 2007-2014 and dipped into thousands of important conversations taking place in the corridors of power, but also in houses of worship, and barber shops and beauty shops, at PTA meetings, town halls, and at the kitchen table.

She has spent more than 25 years as a journalist — first in print with major newspapers and then in television. Tell Me More marked her debut as a full-time public radio show host. "What makes public radio special is that it's got both intimacy and reach all at once. For the cost of a phone call, I can take you around the world. But I'm right there with you in your car, in your living room or kitchen or office, in your iPod. Radio itself is an incredible tool and when you combine that with the global resources of NPR plus the commitment to quality, responsibility and civility, it's an unbeatable combination."

Martin has also served as contributor and substitute host for NPR newsmagazines and talk shows, including Talk of the Nation and News & Notes.

Martin joined NPR from ABC News, where she worked since 1992. She served as correspondent for Nightline from 1996 to 2006, reporting on such subjects as the Congressional budget battles, the U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, racial profiling and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. At ABC, she also contributed to numerous programs and specials, including the network's award-winning coverage of September 11, a documentary on the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas controversy, a critically acclaimed AIDS special and reports for the ongoing series "America in Black and White." Martin reported for the ABC newsmagazine Day One, winning an Emmy for her coverage of the international campaign to ban the use of landmines, and was a regular panelist on This Week with George Stephanopoulos. She also hosted the 13-episode series Life 360, an innovative program partnership between Oregon Public Broadcasting and Nightline incorporating documentary film, performance and personal narrative; it aired on public television stations across the country.

Before joining ABC, Martin covered state and local politics for the Washington Post and national politics and policy at the Wall Street Journal, where she was White House correspondent. She has also been a regular panelist on the PBS series Washington Week and a contributor to NOW with Bill Moyers.

Martin has been honored by numerous organizations, including the Candace Award for Communications from The National Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Joan Barone Award for Excellence in Washington-based National Affairs/Public Policy Broadcasting from the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association and a 2002 Silver Gavel Award, given by the American Bar Association. Along with her Emmy award, she received three additional Emmy nominations, including one with NPR's Robert Krulwich, at the time an ABC contributor as well, for an ABC News program examining children's racial attitudes.

A native of Brooklyn, NY, Martin graduated cum laude from Radcliffe College at Harvard University in 1980 and has done graduate work at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC.


Mon March 30, 2015

Fear Of The Black Man: How Racial Bias Could Affect Crime, Labor Rates

NPR's Michel Martin speaks with professors Phillip Atiba Goff of UCLA and Harry Holzer of Georgetown University about how fears of African-American men are manifested in the criminal justice system and the labor market, and what that means for the broader African-American community.

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Mon February 23, 2015
Michel Martin, Going There

Becoming American: Immigrants Tweet Their Stories

Originally published on Tue February 24, 2015 4:51 pm

Writer Edwidge Danticat at around 10 years-old with her brother Bob and cousin Nick in Haiti. She joined her parents in the U.S. a couple of years later. She describes it as a tough landing.
Edwidge Danticat

Immigration is a subject of intense political debate but it is also the subject of great art. For centuries, American writers and performers of all backgrounds have grappled with what it means to cross land and water — sometimes by choice, sometimes not — to take up life in a new world.

On Feb. 24, I will be joined in Miami by some of the country's most exciting young writers and performers who have also made such journeys and who have taken up the vital task of telling us what it means.

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Fri February 6, 2015
Michel Martin, Going There

Out Of The Shadows, TV Star Shines A Light On Immigration

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 1:52 pm

On Capitol Hill, the immigration debate is a political story. But for millions of people across the country, it is something deeper. "This is not a political issue; it is a human issue," says Diane Guerrero. "Me and my parents were a family, and now we're not. We're separated."

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Mon January 26, 2015
Michel Martin, Going There

Rising Football Star: Prepare For The Worst, Pray For The Best

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 9:17 am

Varsity football captain Nahshon Ellerbe is a senior at Trinity Christian Academy in Addison, Texas.
Jeffrey McWhorter Trinity Christian Academy

As the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots prepare to face off at the Super Bowl on Sunday, a scandal about under-inflated footballs is still dominating headlines.

While that subject has been a trending topic on Twitter, it is just the latest in a series of controversies this season. So many recent stories about the nation's most popular sport have focused on domestic abuse and sexual assault allegations, as well as the dangerous effects of concussions and other long-term health consequences for players.

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Sat December 20, 2014
Michel Martin, Going There

'Going There' In 2014

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 1:57 pm

Ferguson resident Frankie Edwards shows a rubber bullet wound he suffered during one of the nights of protests to NPR's Michel Martin (right) and Ferguson Mayor James Knowles (second from right) during the community conversation at Wellspring Church.
Whitney Curtis for NPR

We've been privileged in these last few months to share the stories of many Americans, some of them famous, but most of them not. We came together through some avenues we know well — books, music and theater. Sometimes, we found each other through pathways that have only recently become a big part of our lives, such as the #BeyondFerguson hashtag that brought so many young people to an August community meeting in that city. Our New Year's Resolution is to keep these honest and vital conversations going. We are going there.

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Sun December 7, 2014
Michel Martin, Going There

In Troubled Times, Does 'The Black Church' Still Matter?

Originally published on Sun December 7, 2014 12:34 pm

A woman raises her hands during an interfaith service at Ebenezer Baptist Church, the church where The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. used to preach.
David Goldman AP

African-American clergy, academics and activists will hold a march on Washington this week, protesting the grand jury decisions in Ferguson, Mo. and New York City and call on the federal government to intervene in the prosecutions of police officers accused of unjustified use of force.

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Sun November 2, 2014
Michel Martin, Going There

Ahead Of Midterms, Voting Rights And Wrongs In North Carolina

Originally published on Sun November 2, 2014 10:04 am

Olivia Sedwick, student government president of Winston-Salem State University, and Tom Hanchett, historian of the Levine Museum of the New South, offered perspective about voting rights.
Travis Dove NPR

The run up to midterm elections has sparked many heated legal and ideological arguments over voting procedures and requirements. To understand the debate, I went to Charlotte, North Carolina for a live community conversation around these voting laws. The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed a North Carolina law to go into effect that eliminates same-day voter registration and reduces the number of early voting days.

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Thu October 23, 2014
Michel Martin, Going There

In North Carolina, Latino Voters Could Decide Tight Senate Race

Originally published on Fri October 24, 2014 12:22 pm

Lacey Williams (from left), Mary Espinosa, Jaime Villegas, Armando Cruz Martinez and Elisa Benitez talk inside the offices of the Latin American Coalition in Charlotte, N.C. According to a 2011 Pew Hispanic report, the median age of Latinos in North Carolina is 24.
Andy McMillan for NPR

Ahead of the midterm elections, Michel Martin is visiting Charlotte, N.C., to learn more about Latino voters' growing influence in the state. Join Michel for a Facebook chat from 4:30-5 p.m. ET today as she answers questions and shares more on her reporting.

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Sun September 21, 2014
Code Switch

Adding Color To 'The Great White Way'

Originally published on Sun September 21, 2014 11:15 am

Sharp observations about race, class and gender plus pure passion for the theater: That's what get when you ask a distinguished panel of playwrights whether "The Great White Way" is still too white.
Getty Images

Sharp observations about race, class and gender plus pure passion for the theater: That's what you get when you ask a distinguished panel of playwrights whether "The Great White Way" is still too white.

Award-winning dramatists David Henry Hwang, Lydia Diamond, Kristoffer Diaz and Bruce Norris are some of America's most critically acclaimed contemporary playwrights. Their work captures the tensions and aspirations of an increasingly diverse America, but they all acknowledged that it was a challenge to bring a more diverse audience to theaters.

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Thu September 18, 2014
Code Switch

Look, Mom, I Finally Made It To Broadway!

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 12:56 pm

Broadway, New York City.
Neilson Barnard Getty Images

OK, I sort of made it to Broadway. It's WNYC's Greene Space in SoHo, the New York City neighborhood.

Friday is date night. But even if you are flying solo, come join us in person, or on Twitter.

We have a terrific lineup of some of the most exciting playwrights working today to talk about Broadway.

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Wed September 10, 2014
Code Switch

'Ask The White Guy' About The Hawks

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 8:58 am

Bruce Levenson's racially charged comments about the Atlanta Hawks' diversity — including their cheerleaders — got him in trouble.
Jason Getz AP

The Atlanta Hawks are in the headlines again after General Manager Danny Ferry apologized and received an undisclosed punishment for disparaging comments he made about prospective player Luol Deng — who was born in Sudan — were made public. Ferry reportedly said that Deng "has a little African in him. Not in a bad way, but he's like a guy who would have a nice store out front and sell you counterfeit stuff out of the back."

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Fri September 5, 2014
Code Switch

What's Your Take On #NPRTheTalk?

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 12:15 pm

Many African-American parents feel it's essential to have "the talk" with their children.

In the weeks since the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., families across the country are discussing how they approach "the talk" — not the one about sex, but the talk about safety and how young people should conduct themselves in encounters with the police. This difficult conversation has been part of the black family experience for generations.

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Fri August 29, 2014
Code Switch

Plea To Ferguson's Leaders: To Help Heal, Acknowledge Our Hurt

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 12:13 pm

The Rev. Willis Johnson (left), pastor of Wellspring Church in Ferguson, speaks to the Rev. Michele Shumake-Keller after the panel discussion in Ferguson, Mo., on Thursday. Johnson said he hoped the event would be a step to healing a "community in trauma."
Whitney Curtis for NPR

(Editor's Note: NPR's Michel Martin was invited by St. Louis Public Radio to moderate a community conversation on Thursday around race, police tactics and leadership following the shooting death of Michael Brown. The following story is based on what happened at the event.)

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Mon August 1, 2011
Can I Just Tell You?

Debt Talks: Getting Locked In And Driving Out

How is negotiating a federal spending plan like getting out of a crowded parking lot?

I was trying to keep track of the negotiations over raising the debt ceiling this weekend, and all of a sudden, it reminded me of an incident I had in a parking garage near my house last year.

It was late spring or summer, and it was hot. I had the kids with me, and we were finished doing whatever it was we were doing, and we were ready to go home. We jumped into the car and tried to head out. But we could not.

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Fri June 17, 2011

Listeners Connect With Father's Day Essays

Host Michel Martin and Tell Me More Editorial Assistant Lena Moses-Schmitt comb through listener responses from past stories. A grandfather responds to the program's week-long Father's Day essays, and one listener offers a correction to the conversation with Puerto Rican governor Luis Fortuno.


Fri June 10, 2011

Listeners Take Issue With 'Patriotic Millionaires'

Host Michel Martin and producer Veronica Miller comb through listener feedback to conversations from the week. Listeners raise their own questions after hearing about a 200-member group of millionaires asking Obama and Congress to raise their taxes. A former runner also shares her cross country days after listening to a story surronding Teens Run D.C.


Fri May 13, 2011

Listeners Relate To Moms Juggling Kids And ADHD

Host Michel Martin and NPR digital news editor Tanya Ballard Brown comb through listener feedback to this week's recent conversations. Listeners weighed in on Tell Me More's segments about "enhanced interrogation techniques" and parents who manage Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Ballard Brown also gives an update that the "Anti-Homosexuality Bill" was dropped today from Uganda's parliamentary talks.


Fri May 6, 2011

Listeners Reflect On Freedom Riders' Struggles

Host Michel Martin and NPR digital media editor Tanya Ballard Brown comb through listener feedback and offer updates to recent conversations on Tell Me More. This week, listeners weigh in on the death of Osama bin Laden and the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Riders. Brown also gives an update that Apple has announced a reduction in how long its iPhones store location tracking data.


Mon May 2, 2011
Can I Just Tell You?

Keeping Focus During Loss

On Friday, I talked to the pastor of a church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He was trying to figure out what to say on Sunday to comfort and encourage people in his community who had lost people they love and the homes they had built because of those devastating tornados that ripped through the American South last week.

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Mon May 2, 2011
NPR Story

Keeping Focus During Loss

Host Michel Martin explains that events like Osama Bin Laden's death and the devastating storms in the South bring much needed perspective in the battle between the imperative and the petty in public debate. She questions whether President Obama's call for unity will keep America focused on the issues that matter.


Fri April 29, 2011

Listeners Weigh In On Filmakers' Feud And More

A transgender woman identifies with the brutal beating at a Baltimore McDonald's. Listeners also weigh in on the continuing feud between filmmakers Tyler Perry and Spike Lee. Finally, host Michel Martin speaks with Tell Me More's outgoing "digital media guy" Lee Hill about his new job in Denver.