As special correspondent and guest host of NPR's news programs, Melissa Block brings her signature combination of warmth and incisive reporting. Her work over the decades has earned her journalism's highest honors, and has made her one of NPR's most familiar and beloved voices.
As co-host of All Things Considered from 2003 to 2015, Block's reporting took her everywhere from the Mississippi 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 in 2008 brought the tragedy home to millions of listeners around the world. At the moment the earthquake hit, Block had the presence of mind to record a gripping, real-time narration of the seismic upheaval she was witnessing. Her long-form story about a desperate couple searching in the rubble for their toddler son was singled out by judges who awarded NPR's earthquake coverage the top honors in broadcast journalism: the George Foster Peabody Award, duPont-Columbia Award, Edward R. Murrow Award, National Headliner Award, and the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi Award.
Now, as special correspondent, Block continues to engage both the heart and the mind with her reporting on issues from gun violence to adult illiteracy to opioid addiction.
In 2017, she traveled the country for the series " Our Land," visiting a wide range of communities to explore how our identity is shaped by where we live. For that series, she paddled along the Mississippi River, went in search of salmon off the Alaska coast, and accompanied an immigrant family as they became U.S. citizens. Her story about the legacy of the Chinese community in the Mississippi Delta earned her a James Beard Award in 2018.
Block is the recipient of the 2019 Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism, awarded by the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University, as well as the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Fulbright Association.
Block began her career at NPR in 1985 as an editorial assistant for All Things Considered, and rose through the ranks to become the program's senior producer.
She was a reporter and correspondent in New York from 1994 to 2002, a period punctuated by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. Her reporting after those attacks helped earn NPR a George Foster Peabody Award. Block's reporting on rape as a weapon of war in Kosovo was cited by the Overseas Press Club of America in awarding NPR the Lowell Thomas Award in 1999.
Block is a 1983 graduate of Harvard University and spent the following year on a Fulbright fellowship in Geneva, Switzerland. She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband — writer Stefan Fatsis — and their daughter.
There have been dramatic spikes in demand for sedatives, pain medications, paralytics and other drugs that are crucial for patients who are on ventilators.
In New Orleans, arguably the most far-out pre-Mardi Gras parade is staged by the Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus: home to "revelrous Star Wars freaks, Trekkies, Whovians... and all super-nerds."
Life expectancy in the U.S. has taken a significant downward turn. This is especially true in Ohio and West Virginia, which have the highest rates of overdose deaths among people ages 25 to 64.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry urged President Trump to make that now-infamous July phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. But what's Perry's connection to Ukraine?
A mass shooting there this spring that left 12 dead has put the issue into sharp focus. Democrats — bolstered by large cash infusions from gun control groups — hope to turn the state legislature blue.
While the political focus may be on mass shootings, states are far more often using red flag laws to prevent cases of individual gun violence, including suicide.
Male and female athletes compete in separate categories because of advantages that come with testosterone. But what should be the rules for women who have naturally high testosterone levels?
Out-of-state militias have arrived to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border, raising tensions and fear in tiny Arivaca, Ariz.
"Everybody should consider what it would mean to lose their child, their spouse," says Philip Schentrup. His daughter Carmen was among the 17 students and staff killed in Parkland, Fla., last year.
More than half the states passed dozens of gun control measures in 2018, including what are known as "red flag" laws, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.