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Melissa Block

As special correspondent, Melissa Block produces richly reported profiles of figures at the forefront of thought and culture, as well as stories and series on the critical issues of our day. Her reporting spans both domestic and international news. In addition, she is a guest host on NPR news programs, and develops podcasts based on her reporting.

Great reporting combined with compelling storytelling is vital to NPR's future. No one exemplifies that blend better than Block. As listeners well know, she has an amazing ability for telling the important stories of our age in a way that engages both the heart and the mind. It is why she has earned such a devoted following throughout her 30-year career at NPR.

As co-host of All Things Considered from 2003 to 2015, Block's reporting took her everywhere from the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to the heart of Rio de Janeiro; from rural Mozambique to the farthest reaches of Alaska. Her riveting reporting from Sichuan, China, during and after the massive earthquake there in 2008 helped earn NPR broadcast journalism's top honors, including a George Foster Peabody Award, duPont-Columbia Award, Edward R. Murrow Award, National Headliner Award, and the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi Award.

Block began at NPR in 1985 as an editorial assistant for All Things Considered and rose to become senior producer. From 1994 to 2002, she was a New York reporter and correspondent. Her reporting after the attacks of September 11, 2001, helped earn NPR a Peabody Award.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: Until Tuesday, a Republican presidential candidate hadn't won the state of Wisconsin since Ronald Reagan did it back in 1984. Donald Trump eked out a very narrow victory there, adding to his tally of Rust Belt states that turned red this year and put him over the top. NPR's Melissa Block went to a traditionally blue Wisconsin county to ask why. MELISSA BLOCK, BYLINE: Kenosha County is the kind of place Democrats...

A week away from turning 99 years old, Frances Kolarek has a long view of life and presidential elections. Born in 1917, three years before women won the right to vote, she cast her first presidential vote for Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Now, in 2016, she has cast her vote early for Hillary Clinton. "I think she is undoubtedly the most qualified candidate for the presidency that we have seen in my lifetime," she says from her home at the retirement community where she lives, independently,...

Imagine: the chance to live on an uninhabited tropical island for a month, off the grid, creating art. No phone, no television, no Internet. Instead, spectacular night skies, crystalline turquoise waters and extraordinary marine life on the coral reef just a short swim from your back door. For one month a year, Dry Tortugas National Park is home to a pair of artists in residence . The park is made up of seven islands in the Gulf of Mexico , 70 miles from Key West, Fla., accessible only by...

You might assume that with the thawing of relations between Cuba and the U.S., Cubans would see positive change at home, and less reason to attempt the perilous water crossing to Florida. You'd assume wrong. U.S. law enforcement authorities are confronting a surge of Cuban migrants trying to make the journey by boat across the Florida Straits; it's the highest numbers they've seen in two decades. "It's gotten busier and busier," says U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Jeff Janszen, commander of sector...

The Rio Olympics are in the rear-view mirror. Thousands of athletes have returned home to resume their lives. But for many, this post-Olympic period can be a rough one, with depression and anxiety haunting them after the games. That depression can affect both stars and lesser-known athletes alike. Swimmer Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, has talked candidly about his downward spiral after the 2012 London games that led to a DUI arrest and time in rehab. "I still...

One story that's simmering at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro has to do with sex: in particular, the controversy over intersex athletes, who are anatomically and genetically ambiguous. At issue: Is it fair to allow those athletes, who often have high levels of testosterone, to compete with women? Much of the attention has focused on South African runner Caster Semenya, the favorite to win gold in the women's 800 meters on Saturday. Semenya has been identified as intersex in many media reports,...

At the Rio Olympics, there are the usual powerhouses: Team USA, with 554 athletes. Australia, with 420. China, with 401. And then there are the tiny countries: overwhelmed, but proud. I went on a quest to find the tiniest of the tiny countries at the Summer Games. And I happened to find the delegation at the Olympic athletes' village, speaking a mashup of English and Nauruan. That's right, the south Pacific nation of Nauru, the world's smallest island state, wins gold for being the smallest...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ttw5g61Bd3E Two new flags will be flying high at the Olympic Games in Rio. For the first time, South Sudan and Kosovo have been recognized by the International Olympic Committee. South Sudan has three runners to its first Olympic Games. Kosovo, which was a province of the former Yugoslavia, will have eight athletes competing. I found one of them, 50 meter freestyle swimmer Lum Zhaveli, 26, at the athletes village, proudly sporting his Team Kosovo shirt and an...

When Haley Anderson competes at the Rio Olympics on Aug. 15 , she'll be racing for about two hours in open water off Copacabana Beach. The marathon swim is not for the faint of heart. It's 10 kilometers, or 6.2 miles. What does it take? "A certain kind of crazy," Anderson said with a grin. "You have to be a little weird to wanna put yourself through two hours or more of pain." The marathon swim became an Olympic event in 2008, and four years later, at the London Games, Anderson became the...

Mix swimming and basketball with soccer, toss in some wrestling for good measure, and you have a pretty good description of the exciting, fast-paced sport of water polo. The U.S. women's water polo team is ranked No. 1 in the world and is considered the favorite to bring home the gold medal at the Rio Olympics. Since women's water polo became an Olympic sport in 2000, the U.S. women have medaled every time, and they won their first gold in London four years ago. The intense physicality of...

It's already been a big year for high jumper Vashti Cunningham , and it could soon get even bigger. In March, the high school senior from Las Vegas set a world junior record and decided to forgo college competition and turn pro. Now she has graduated and has her sights set on the Summer Olympics in Brazil, just over a month away. Here are a few numbers to keep in mind: 6-foot-1: her height. 6-foot-6 1/4 (1.99 meters): her world junior record, which captured the U.S. indoor championship in...

Tucked amid the tumult of Lower Manhattan's Financial District, right across from a factory-outlet shoe store promising "probably" the lowest prices in the city, you'll find Alexander Hamilton's grave. With the explosive popularity of the Broadway musical Hamilton , that grave is seeing a surge of new fans coming to pay respects to the Founding Father. Lillian Hasko has seen the musical twice, bought the soundtrack, and felt compelled to make the pilgrimage downtown. "I wanted to see him and...

Guy Clark, one of Nashville's most renowned singer-songwriters, has died at the age of 74. This profile of Clark originally aired on July 23, 2013, on All Things Considered. Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Some Belgians say the terrorist attacks have brought the country together, and that's what the country needs. Others says the bombings show the country needs to split, with one part made of French-speaking Walloons, the other Dutch-speaking Flemish. "We want to get rid of Belgium," says Sam van Rooy, a spokesman for the Vlaams Belang Party, or Flemish Interest Party, on Belgium's far right. "It's actually a non-state. It has two different peoples, two different cultures, and we see it doesn't...

Belgium officials ran a simulation Tuesday at Brussels' Zaventem Airport to figure out if it can at least partially reopen using new security measures demanded by the government. It's been a week since the March 22 suicide bombings at the airport and on a subway several miles away. Since then, no commercial flights have gone in or out of this European capital and it's unclear when air traffic will resume. Parts of the Brussels subway have reopened, though soldiers wearing camouflage and armed...

Turn on the radio in Belgium and you get news of the terrorist attacks in French and in Dutch. Belgium is divided into Dutch-speaking Flanders and French-speaking Wallonia. There's a German-speaking area, too. To make things more complicated, Brussels, the capital, is subdivided into 19 municipalities, each with its own government. And there are six local police forces. It all adds up to a decentralized system, a dismantled federal state. And in light of last week's attacks, some have even...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

It must have seemed like a good idea at the time. Tuesday night — when Hillary Clinton was delivering her victory speech, after she won the primaries in Florida, North Carolina and Ohio — MSNBC host Joe Scarborough live-tweeted this bit of advice to her: "Smile. You just had a big night." Suffice to say, women - were not amused. "Said no one to a man, ever" tweeted one. Another offered: "Women LOVE it when you say this." And on it went, until comedian Samantha Bee was prompted to launch the...

Here's how I knew I liked Patti Trabosh. It goes back to the very first time I called her out of the blue to ask whether I might profile her family for a story on opioid addiction. The very first words out of her mouth were, "I'm pissed off!" Trabosh went on to explain why she was angry. First, it was the struggle to find a bed in a drug treatment program for her 22-year-old son Nikko Adam. He had become addicted to prescription painkillers and then heroin when he was still in high school. He...

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