Rachel Martin

Rachel Martin is the host of Weekend Edition Sunday.

Prior to moving into the host position in the fall of 2012, Martin started as National Security Correspondent for NPR in May 2010. In that position she covered both defense and intelligence issues. She traveled regularly to Iraq and Afghanistan with the Secretary of Defense, reporting on the U.S. wars and the effectiveness of the Pentagon's counterinsurgency strategy. Martin also reported extensively on the changing demographic of the U.S. military – from the debate over whether to allow women to fight in combat units – to the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. Her reporting on how the military is changing also took her to a U.S. Air Force base in New Mexico for a rare look at how the military trains drone pilots.

Martin was part of the team that launched NPR's experimental morning news show, The Bryant Park Project, based in New York — a two-hour daily multimedia program that she co-hosted with Alison Stewart and Mike Pesca.

In 2006-2007, Martin served as NPR's religion correspondent. Her piece on Islam in America was awarded "Best Radio Feature" by the Religion News Writers Association in 2007. As one of NPR's reporters assigned to cover the Virginia Tech massacre that same year, she was on the school's campus within hours of the shooting and on the ground in Blacksburg, Va., covering the investigation and emotional aftermath in the following days.

Based in Berlin, Germany, Martin worked as a NPR foreign correspondent from 2005-2006. During her time in Europe, she covered the London terrorist attacks, the federal elections in Germany, the 2006 World Cup and issues surrounding immigration and shifting cultural identities in Europe.

Her foreign reporting experience extends beyond Europe. Martin has also worked extensively in Afghanistan. She began reporting from there as a freelancer during the summer of 2003, covering the reconstruction effort in the wake of the U.S. invasion. In fall 2004, Martin returned for several months to cover Afghanistan's first democratic presidential election. She has reported widely on women's issues in Afghanistan, the fledgling political and governance system and the U.S.-NATO fight against the insurgency. She has also reported from Iraq, where she covered U.S. military operations and the strategic alliance between Sunni sheiks and the U.S. military in Anbar province.

Martin started her career at public radio station KQED in San Francisco, as a producer and reporter.

She holds an undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, and a Master's degree in International Affairs from Columbia University.

Ten years ago this month, the monster storm Hurricane Katrina thundered through New Orleans and coastal Mississippi and Alabama. Many who survived the storm and its aftermath are still feeling its terrible impact.

This week on For the Record: Hurricane Katrina's mark on one family, 10 years later.

In 2005, sisters Regina and Talitha Halley had just moved out of the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans into a new house on Spain Street. Regina, now 33, took care of her sister full time while their mom worked as a professional caregiver.

In a speech last week, President Obama made a case for overhauling the criminal justice system.

"Mass incarceration makes our country worse off, and we need to do something about it," he said.

Then he took his message to the people his proposals could affect most. On Thursday, he met with six inmates at the Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Okla. — all convicted of nonviolent drug offenses — and became the first sitting president to ever visit a federal prison.

In cities with high crime rates, like Newark, N.J., figuring out the right balance of police engagement is especially hard.

In 2013, Newark had 40 homicides per 100,000 residents, the third-highest homicide rate in the country.

Last fall, the new mayor, Ras Baraka, announced a plan to tackle the crime and neglect that have plagued the city's worst neighborhoods. He started by focusing on two of the toughest: Clinton Hill and the Lower West Ward. I asked him in January how he'll know the program is working.

There is a grim kind of math that comes with war.

Most of the troops who died during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were flown to Dover Air Force base in Delaware. And for most of the wars, those dignified transfers were off limits to the press. That changed in 2009, when President Obama lifted the media ban and paid a visit to Dover himself.

Bruce Jenner's national TV interview with Diane Sawyer in April ended months of speculation. The former Olympian turned reality TV star revealed that he now identifies as a transgender woman — though he still prefers to be called "he" for the time being.

Jenner was hailed as a hero for his openness on an issue that has caused real heartache for many. National surveys show an unusually high rate of attempted suicide among people who are transgender.

Public perceptions of marijuana have come a long way. Once a symbol of the counterculture, pot has become part of the culture.

In Colorado, it's part of everyday culture.

Colorado has allowed medical marijuana since 2001, but voters amended the state constitution in 2012 to allow private marijuana consumption for adults aged 21 or older. The first-ever stores to sell state-regulated recreational pot opened their doors on Jan. 1, 2014.

The law has raised serious concerns for parents and those working with kids to keep young people away from drugs.

When a pilot crashed a Germanwings plane into a mountainside in the French Alps last month, one word kept coming up over and over in the media coverage: depression. What did the airline know about the pilot's mental health, and what was he required to tell them?

Of course, being depressed is a very different thing from wanting to take the lives of others. But experts we talked with said that an event like this one — a violent act carried out by someone with a mental illness — increases the stigma for everyone with mental illness.

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

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

#NPRreads is a new feature we're testing out on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers throughout our newsroom will share pieces that have kept them reading. They'll share tidbits on Twitter using the #NPRreads hashtag, and on occasion we'll share a longer take here on the blog.

This week, we bring you threes reads and — we're cheating — one watch.

First, from Rachel Martin, host of Weekend Edition Sunday:

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

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Police in Farmington, N.H., are issuing tickets all over town. But these are tickets you might not mind getting.

CHIEF JOHN DRURY: They're for a slice of pizza or a small French fry.

We all lie sometimes. But if you're in the public eye, the lie can take on a life of its own.

NBC's Brian Williams became the victim of his own story last month, exaggerating the danger he faced while reporting in Iraq in 2003. It lead to an on-air mea culpa and a temporary suspension from the anchor desk.

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

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Detroit's Orchestra Hall is one of the best symphony concert halls in the country. The acoustics are top-notch. The theater itself is grand. Important music is made there by some of the country's most talented classical musicians.

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TAKE ME HOME, COUNTRY ROADS")

JOHN DENVER: (Singing) Almost heaven, West Virginia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River...

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

One year ago Tuesday, Hurricane Sandy bore down on the East Coast, devastating shoreline communities from Florida to Maine.

Many of these areas have been rebuilt, including the Long Beach boardwalk, about 30 miles outside New York City. Officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new boardwalk Friday.

Ninety percent of the funding for the restoration came from the federal government. The Federal Emergency Management Agency paid $44 million to repair the devastation.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The Martin Luther King Junior memorial in Washington, D.C. will be ready for the 50th anniversary of the civil rights March on Washington. The sculpture, which looks out on the city's tidal basin has been covered in scaffolding to correct an inscription on the monument. Since it was put up in 2011, it has had a truncated version of a quotation from a speech King gave in 1968.

When President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney meet for their third presidential debate on Monday, there will be some rules for the candidates — and the audience.

In the first debate, Jim Lehrer of PBS demanded "Absolute silence!" Although Lehrer caught some flack for letting the candidates freewheel in that debate, he meant business when it came to keeping the audience quiet.

"If you hear something that's really terrific, sit on it!" he told the audience. "If you hear something you don't like, sit on it!"

But that's not the only debate rule — not by far.

Last year, members of the 182nd National Guard regiment marked Father's Day far away from their loved ones. This year, they're home with their kids after a year in Afghanistan.

Spc. Bryan Tolley, 29, knows the challenges of being both a soldier and a dad. His son, Ryan, is a shy, blond 18-month-old who happily clings to his dad.

"Seeing his face light up when he sees Dada come through his bedroom door instead of Mama — because he's so used to his mother — it's awesome. I love it," says Tolley of Plymouth, Mass.

The 182nd Infantry Regiment of the Army National Guard landed back in the U.S. last March after a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan.

After two months of leave, however, their official transition time is over and the deployment paychecks have stopped. It's now time to get back to regular life, and for the members from Massachusetts, that means a mandatory check-in with the unit's leadership.

From Soldier To Civilian

Before the soldiers of the 182nd Regiment of the Army National Guard came home, they were asked how many were unemployed or looking for work. The answer: about one in three.

As more soldiers return to civilian life, a civilian job may not be there waiting. Service members with the National Guard have the extra challenge of convincing employers to hire them when they may be called to active duty for a year or more. There are laws designed to protect vets from losing their jobs or promotions because of their service, but it's hard to prove when it happens.