Melissa Block

Melissa Block joined NPR in 1985 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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Around the Nation
5:35 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

On Nebraska's Farmland, Keystone XL Pipeline Debate Is Personal

Susan and Bill Dunavan own 80 acres of land in York County.
Melissa Block NPR

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 2:46 pm

Drive down gravel Road 22 in Nebraska's York County, past weathered farmhouses and corn cut to stubble in rich, black loam soil, and you'll find a small barn by the side of the road.

Built of native ponderosa pine, the barn is topped with solar panels. A windmill spins furiously out front.

Known as the Energy Barn, it's a symbol of renewable energy, standing smack on the proposed route of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline — a project of the energy giant TransCanada.

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Around the Nation
5:12 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Nebraska Landowners Sit At The Heart Of Keystone Controversy

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 7:58 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Keystone XL - for years now, the pipeline has been tied up in polarizing argument about energy, jobs and the environment. Keystone's been argued in the U.S. Congress, in state court, at protests around the country and on late-night television.

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News
4:36 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Shark Encounter Wasn't 'Jaws,' Exactly — But It Was Still Jarring

Originally published on Fri September 5, 2014 2:01 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This will not be your average kayaking story.

IDA PARKER: I did see the shark grab the kayak and flip it over.

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Law
7:21 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Federal Judge Blocks Texas Abortion Restrictions

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 8:40 pm

Regulations passed in Texas, which affected clinics that perform abortions there, were set to go into effect on Sept. 1. On Friday, a federal judge blocked those regulations, on the grounds that they unconstitutionally restricted access to legal abortion.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

All Things Considered
4:45 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Foley's Mother: We Didn't Want Him To Go Back To Syria

Journalist James Foley in 2011. He was killed by Islamic State militants in Syria earlier this month.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 7:28 pm

The mother of slain journalist James Foley says in an interview with NPR's All Things Considered that the family did not want him to return to Syria after a brief trip back to the United States in 2011.

"We really did not want him to go back," Diane Foley tells host Melissa Block. "I must be honest about that," she says of her son, who was killed by Islamic State militants in Syria earlier this month.

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Around the Nation
4:09 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

The Beltway's Beaten Path: From Simple Road To Symbolic Borderland

Originally published on Sat August 16, 2014 10:15 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

It has become a cliche for news reporters and anchors.

(SOUNDBITE OF VARIOUS NEWSCASTS)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: We are inside the Beltway.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: Inside the Beltway.

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Law
8:02 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Federal Judge Rules Some College Players Are Entitled To Payment

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 9:52 pm

College athletes scored a major victory in court Friday. A federal judge issued a ruling that the NCAA violated antitrust law by prohibiting athletes from payment for the use of their names, images and likenesses. The ruling addressed football and basketball players in particular.

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Men In America
4:59 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

What's The Big Screen Recipe For A Good Guy-Cry? You Tell Us

Originally published on Tue August 5, 2014 3:50 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

OK, grab the tissues, get a firm shoulder to lean on. It's time for a big cry.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "ANCHORMAN")

WILL FERRELL: (As Ron Burgundy) (Crying).

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Politics
6:16 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Obama's Request For Immigration Funds Meets Pushback On The Hill

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 7:04 pm

President Obama has asked Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency funds to address the influx of immigrant children at the U.S.-Mexico border. The Senate Appropriations Committee is holding a hearing Thursday about the request.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Around the Nation
4:11 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Humpty's 2nd Fall Calls For An Artist, Not An Army

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 10:39 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Now to a modern twist on an old tale of an anthropomorphic egg.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

We're talking, of course, about Humpty Dumpty. You know, the one who sat on a wall and had a great fall. And then there was the mess with all the king's horses and all the king's men. And Robert, you know the rest. They couldn't put Humpty together again.

SIEGEL: But Mr. Dumpty may have a happier ending at the Enchanted Forest theme park in Salem, Oregon. This real-life nursery rhyme starts out in a similar way.

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Sports
4:17 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

U.S. Readies To Step Onto Stage For Knockout Round Drama

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 7:01 pm

In its first match of the knockout round, the U.S. soccer team plays Belgium on Tuesday. NPR's Tom Goldman previews the game, explaining what to expect from the matchup.

Technology
4:07 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

3-D Printing Lends Doctors A Hand, Building Tailor-Made Body Parts

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 8:07 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

That's the sound of another 3-D technology, that's increasingly being used in medicine, 3-D printing. Doctors are now using 3-D printers to make replacement body parts, among other things. The printer we're hearing is at the Food and Drug Administration offices, outside Washington D.C. This is an area they are starting to regulate. So NPR's Rob Stein went and got a little tour of the FDA lab.

ROB STEIN, BYLINE: Is that white, plastic thing, below the nozzle there - is that what's being made?

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Television
4:27 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

TV Offerings Are Hotter Than Usual This Summer

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 7:11 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, BYLINE: This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, BYLINE: And I'm Melissa Block. Instead of taking their usual summer vacation, the TV networks are working to get your attention this summer. They're hoping to lure your eyes away from cable channels and online shows. To talk about some of the hot summer programming that will be on the schedule, I'm joined now by NPR TV critic Eric Deggans. And Eric, summer is usually when the networks slow down, but not this year. What's going on?

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Education
5:17 pm
Mon May 26, 2014

Who's Using The Data Mined From Students?

Originally published on Mon May 26, 2014 5:43 pm

Information tracked by educational software can be of great help to teachers. But as Politico's Stephanie Simon explains, private companies can also monetize the data by selling it to marketers.

Remembrances
5:17 pm
Mon May 26, 2014

On Memorial Day, Revisiting Stories Of The Fallen In Afghanistan

Originally published on Mon May 26, 2014 5:43 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

At Arlington National Cemetery on this memorial day President Obama paid tribute to the country's war dead. The President had just returned from a weekend visit to Afghanistan.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVAL RECORDING)

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Health Care
4:01 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

To Pay For Hepatitis C Drugs, Medicare Might Face A Steep Bill

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 8:00 pm

The federal Medicare program for the elderly and disabled will cover two new drugs that can cure hepatitis C, a liver disease that can cause cancer and lead to death. The drugs are very expensive, but they cure hepatitis C in most cases. The government and insurers are concerned about these costs; three million Americans have hepatitis C, most of whom don't know they have it.

Environment
5:11 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Stanford Dumps Its Holdings In Coal, With Climate In Mind

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 9:59 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Technology
4:21 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

New Browser Plug-in Would Literally Annihilate This Headline

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 12:49 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This next story is literally about the word...

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Literally.

CORNISH: ...literally. As in a literal sense or manner.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

That's also the name of a free Internet browser extension created by New York programmer Mike Lazer-Walker.

MIKE LAZER-WALKER: So all it does, you install it in your Web browser, and then any website you visit, any time the word literally is printed, it instead replaces it with figuratively.

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Deep In The Heart Of (A Transforming) Texas
4:30 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

LBJ Carried Poor Texas Town With Him In Civil Rights Fight

Long before he was president, Lyndon Johnson taught in Cotulla, Texas. He is pictured here with students in 1928.
Courtesy of LBJ Library

Originally published on Sat April 12, 2014 1:34 am

Today Cotulla, Texas, is reaping the benefits of an oil and natural gas boom in the Eagle Ford Shale. But in 1928, the South Texas town was incredibly poor — and that's how Lyndon Johnson saw it when he had his first job there at age 20.

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Deep In The Heart Of (A Transforming) Texas
4:08 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Drilling Frenzy Fuels Sudden Growth In Small Texas Town

This nighttime NASA satellite image from 2012 shows lights from drilling sites and natural gas flaring along the Eagle Ford Shale.
NASA

Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 8:12 pm

South Texas is in the midst of a massive oil boom. In just a few years, it has totally transformed once-sleepy communities along a crescent swoosh known as the Eagle Ford Shale formation and has brought unexpected prosperity — along with a host of new concerns.

Among the towns drastically changed by the drilling is Cotulla, southwest of San Antonio, about 70 miles up from the border with Mexico. The area is called brush country — flat, dry ranch land, scrubby with mesquite and parched by drought.

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The Two-Way
5:55 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Another Tragedy For A City All Too Familiar With Extreme Gun Violence

Bob Butler (left) and Bob Gordon work on a memorial Thursday at Central Christian Church in Killeen, Texas, for the victims of the Fort Hood shooting.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 8:15 pm

Flags are fluttering at half-staff across Killeen, Texas, after yesterday's shooting at Fort Hood. This is a city that's all too familiar with spasms of extreme gun violence: a shooting rampage at Luby's Cafeteria in 1991 that left 23 dead.

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News
4:02 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

On Base And In Town, Shooting Summons A Dread All Too Familiar

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 6:22 pm

From Killeen, Texas, where Fort Hood is based, Melissa Block talks to soldiers who were on base during the shooting, as well as with Killeen's mayor. The mayor explains how the town is trying to cope.

Deep In The Heart Of (A Transforming) Texas
4:25 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

As Texas Gets More Diverse, Educators Grab The Bull By The Horns

Students participate in orchestra practice at Dr. John Folks Middle School in suburban San Antonio. The school is brand new and was built with explosive growth in mind — the student population is expected to double to 1,200 within five years.
Melissa Block NPR

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 5:45 pm

Texas is in the midst of a population boom and demographic sea change. It's grown faster than any other state and has more than doubled its population in just 40 years, from 11 to 26 million people.

And overwhelmingly, the fastest growth is among Hispanics who now make up 38 percent of the state's population and will be the largest single group in Texas by 2020.

Majority Minority State

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Shots - Health News
4:04 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Orthotic Brace Takes Soldiers From Limping To Leaping

Soldiers participate in physical therapy while using a prosthetic brace called the Intrepid Dynamic Exoskeletal Orthosis (IDEO), which allows them to use and strengthen severely injured legs.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 3:31 pm

A deceptively simple leg brace is changing the lives of hundreds of wounded service members. Soldiers with badly injured legs who thought they'd have to live with terrible pain can walk and run again, pain-free.

Earlier this month, Army Spc. Joey McElroy took his first steps in the Intrepid Dynamic Exoskeletal Orthosis, or IDEO (pronounced: eye-DAY-oh). The device squeaked a bit as he stepped briskly on an indoor track.

McElroy was hit by a car and thrown from his motorcycle on Dec. 5, 2012.

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Strange News
4:05 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Fake Chef, Real Recipes — And The Food's Disgusting

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 6:31 pm

Nick Preuher is no chef; he only plays one on TV. More accurately, he has pretended to be one, appearing on various local morning television shows as a prank.

From Our Listeners
4:07 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Letters: Genetic Experiments And Hopes For Saving Voices

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 7:57 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Finally this hour: Your letters. We heard from Aaron Berger, a high school biology teacher in Minneapolis. He listened closely to our conversation this week about mitochondrial DNA. A debate is raging over whether women who want to have children but have errors in their DNA should be allowed to get a healthy transplant.

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Health
4:00 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

More Findings, More Questions About Value Of Mammograms

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 8:00 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

There's new evidence out today that's raising questions about whether women in their 40's and 50's should routinely undergo mammography to detect breast cancer. A new analysis of a big Canadian study found no evidence that regular mammograms save lives. The study even suggests that for many women, regular breast X-rays may do more harm than good.

NPR's Rob Stein joins us now to talk about this report. It appears in the British medical journal BMJ.

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Health
6:26 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Sidelined By Brain Injury, Ex-NFL Player Copes With 'Desperation'

Sean Morey, then with the Arizona Cardinals, celebrates after blocking a punt against the Seattle Seahawks in 2007. Morey, who suffers from post-concussion syndrome, retired from the NFL in 2010 on the advice of doctors.
Stephen Dunn Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 7:51 pm

The home of Sean Morey bears the impressive signposts of his 10-year career in the NFL: a Vince Lombardi trophy for his Super Bowl championship with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2006. A hefty Super Bowl ring. A framed photograph showing Morey in midair, launching himself like a missile to block a punt. With that play in 2008, his Arizona Cardinals became the only team in NFL history to win a game in overtime with a blocked punt.

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NPR Story
7:04 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

JPMorgan Chase Agrees To Pay $5.1 Billion To Feds

Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 7:55 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Your Health
4:59 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

E-Cigarettes: A Nearly $2bn Industry, A Regulatory Wild West

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 5:37 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. We begin this hour trying to understand the soaring popularity of electronic cigarettes. Anecdotally, you'll hear ex-smokers say e-cigarettes are a godsend that helped them quit tobacco.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: I found these and I was like, wow, that'll get me there. I'll be OK.

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