Mark Memmott

Mark Memmott is one of the hosts of NPR's "The Two-Way" news blog.

"The Two-Way," which Memmott helped to launched when he came to NPR in 2009, focuses on breaking news, analysis, and the most compelling stories being reported by NPR News and other news media.

Before joining NPR, Memmott worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor at USA Today. He focused on a range of coverage from politics, foreign affairs, economics, and the media. He's reported from places across the Unites States and the world, including half a dozen trips to Afghanistan in 2002-2003.

During his time at USA Today, Memmott, helped launch and lead three USAToday.com news blogs: "On Deadline," "The Oval" and "On Politics," the site's 2008 presidential campaign blog.

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The Two-Way
2:36 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Before This Blogger Moves On, He Wants To Say Thanks

Mark Memmott: All packed up and ready to move on to a new role at NPR.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

The Two-Way is just shy of its fifth anniversary, on May 13.

This blogger has written just over 9,700 posts for NPR — almost 9,500 of them for The Two-Way.

It seems like a good time to move on.

Next week, I'll be on vacation. When I return to work May 5, I'll be taking on the duties of "standards and practices" editor at NPR and no longer blogging for The Two-Way.

According to our ethics handbook:

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The Two-Way
12:43 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

New Manchester United Skipper Vows To Make Fans Smile Again

Ryan Giggs, who is filling in as manager of Manchester United, one of the world's most valuable and most popular soccer clubs. He's vowing to make fans proud of the team again.
Alex Livesey Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 1:22 pm

The biggest sports story of the week for millions of football (soccer) fans around the world was the sacking of David Moyes as manager of England's Manchester United, one of the two most valuable sports franchises on the planet.

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The Two-Way
11:44 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Recovery Of Bodies From Sunken Ferry Growing More Difficult

Crews aboard ships involved in the recovery effort at the site where a South Korean ferry sank continued to work as night fell Thursday.
Nicolas Asfouri AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 12:59 pm

The news Friday from the site of South Korea's ferry disaster includes word that:

-- "At least 185 passengers had been confirmed dead, with 117 others still missing." (Yonhap News)

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The Two-Way
10:22 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Russia's Credit Rating Cut To Just Above 'Junk'

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 12:18 pm

Saying that "the tense geopolitical situation between Russia and Ukraine" could accelerate the already heavy flow of money coming out of Russia, Standard & Poor's on Friday cut that nation's credit rating to just above "junk" level.

What's more, S&P says it doesn't expect things to improve anytime soon:

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The Two-Way
9:14 am
Fri April 25, 2014

VIDEO: At White House, Girl Hands Father's Resume To First Lady

First lady Michelle Obama hugs Charlotte Bell, 10, after the girl handed the first lady her dad's resume on Thursday.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 11:17 am

In case you missed it, much is being made of what happened Thursday at the White House when a 10-year-old girl stepped forward at a take-your-children-to-work event with first lady Michelle Obama to say:

"My dad's been out of a job for three years and I wanted to give you his résumé."

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The Two-Way
8:18 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Fresh Avalanches On Everest Appear To End Climbs In Nepal

A Nepalese government delegation met with Sherpa mountain guides near Mount Everest's base camp on the south side of the mountain Thursday. The government was hoping to persuade the guides to continue working even though 16 Sherpas had died a week earlier. But fresh ice avalanches on Friday appear to have doomed Nepal's climbing season.
Adrian Ballinger/Alpenglow Expeditions AP

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 11:24 am

High up on the Nepalese side of Mount Everest, fresh ice avalanches on Friday made it "almost certain that no one will summit the world's highest mountain from Nepal during this year's climbing season," Reuters writes.

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The Two-Way
7:03 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Russia Wants To Start World War III, Ukrainian Leader Charges

On guard: a Ukrainian soldier at a roadblock near Slovyansk, in eastern Ukraine.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 7:52 pm

The crisis in Ukraine showed no signs of cooling Friday. Harsh rhetoric was flying:

-- "Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk accused Russia on Friday of wanting to start World War III by occupying Ukraine 'militarily and politically,' " Reuters reports.

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The Two-Way
1:51 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Pope OKs Communion For The Divorced? Not So Fast, Vatican Says

Pope Francis as he celebrated Communion last July in Brazil.
Buda Mendes Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 3:38 pm

The Vatican on Thursday sought to tamp down speculation that Pope Francis wants to reverse church teachings and allow divorced and remarried Catholics and their spouses to take Communion.

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The Two-Way
12:25 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Israel Halts Peace Talks After Palestinian Unity Move

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 1:35 pm

One day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was calling off his side's participation in the next session of peace talks with Palestinian leaders, Israel's Cabinet has endorsed that decision and "unanimously decided to cut off contacts," The Associated Press writes.

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The Two-Way
10:12 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Saddened Students Return To Ferry Disaster Victims' School

Yellow ribbons hang from a fence outside Danwon High School in Ansan, South Korea, as some students return Thursday for the first time since a ferry disaster claimed the lives of scores of their classmates.
Yang Ji-woong EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 6:05 pm

Students at Danwon High School in Ansan, South Korea, began the difficult process of resuming classes on Thursday, eight days after a ferry disaster claimed the lives of more than 200 of their classmates.

According to South Korea's Yonhap News, the seniors (or third-year year students):

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The Two-Way
9:03 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Jobless Claims Bounce Up From Earlier Weeks' Low Levels

More than 3,600 people lined up to apply for about 1,000 openings at a job fair earlier this month in New Orleans.
Ted Jackson The Times-Picayune/Landov

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 11:57 am

After two straight weeks in which the figures tracked near their lowest levels in seven years, the number of first-time applications for jobless benefits rose more than expected last week.

The Employment and Training Administration says there were 329,000 such claims filed, up by 24,000 from the previous week's slightly revised figure.

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The Two-Way
8:39 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Stowaway Teen's Father Was Shocked To Hear Son Was In Hawaii

Hawaiian Airlines Flight 45 after its arrival on Monday at Maui's Kahului Airport. After the same flight landed on Sunday, a California teen emerged from the left rear wheel well.
Oskar Garcia AP

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 1:24 pm

The father of a teen who last weekend survived a 5 1/2-hour flight from California to Hawaii in the wheel well of a passenger jet says:

"When I watched the analysis about the extraordinary and dangerous trip of my son on local TVs and that Allah had saved him, I thanked God and I was very happy."

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The Two-Way
7:33 am
Thu April 24, 2014

No Breakthrough: 'Object Of Interest' Isn't From Missing Jet

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 11:14 am

A large piece of metal found earlier this week on the coast of western Australia, which investigators had called an "object of interest" in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and the 239 people who were on board, is apparently not connected to the missing jet.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau reports that "after examining detailed photographs of material washed ashore 10 kilometers east of Augusta, it is satisfied it is not a lead in relation to the search."

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The Two-Way
6:49 am
Thu April 24, 2014

3 Americans Dead After Shooting At Kabul Hospital

An Afghan police officer kept watch Thursday at the gate of the Cure hospital in Kabul. Earlier, authorities say, a security guard at the hospital opened fire — killing three American citizens.
Shah Marai AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 7:25 pm

Three American citizens were killed Thursday at a Christian organization's hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, when an Afghan security guard opened fire. Another American citizen was reportedly wounded.

One of those killed was an experienced pediatrician from Chicago who had been working at the hospital for seven years, according to media reports. The other two killed were a father and son whose names and ages had not yet been released.

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The Two-Way
11:08 am
Wed April 23, 2014

7 Weeks Before World Cup, Rio Is Rocked By Riot

An officer from Brazilian Police Special Forces took aim Tuesday during the violent protest that broke out in one of Rio de Janeiro's slums. People there blame police for a young man's death, and say authorities are clamping down too hard in advance of this June's World Cup soccer tournament and the 2016 Summer Olympics, both of which will be held in Brazil.
Christophe Simon AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 12:12 pm

"A Rio de Janeiro slum erupted in violence late Tuesday following the killing of a popular local figure, with angry residents setting fires and showering homemade explosives and glass bottles onto a busy avenue in the city's main tourist zone," The Associated Press writes.

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The Two-Way
10:08 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Government Will Try To Persuade Sherpas To Stay On Everest

The sun shines on the peak of Mount Everest in this October 2011 photo. On Friday, an avalanche swept away 16 Sherpas.
Kevin Frayer AP

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 11:17 am

The news from high up the world's tallest mountain continues to be confusing, with some reports implying that a boycott by Sherpas means there will be no climbs to the summit this year and others indicating that there will still be attempts to reach the top.

Based on what we can glean from various news accounts, it appears that some expeditions have indeed canceled their climbs. But it also seems that at least some of the estimated 400 Sherpas on the mountain may be willing to continue on — meaning there will be summit attempts in coming weeks.

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The Two-Way
9:04 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Death Toll Rises, Hopes Fade At Site Of Korean Ferry Disaster

As the sun set Wednesday in Jindo, South Korea, a woman kept watch on the waters where the Sewol ferry sank. It's feared the death toll will reach 300.
Nicolas Asfouri AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 11:52 am

The already slim hope that anyone might still be alive aboard the South Korean ferry that sunk a week ago was all but extinguished Wednesday with the news that divers have found no air pockets in key areas of the ship.

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The Two-Way
7:42 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Stowaway Teen May Have Been Trying To Reunite With His Mom

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 7:58 am

The latest word about the teenager who survived a ride Sunday from California to Hawaii in the frigid wheel well of a jet is that he may have hoped to eventually get to Somalia to be with his mother.

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The Two-Way
6:57 am
Wed April 23, 2014

'Object Of Interest' Found In Search For Malaysian Jet

Ships continued to search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 on Wednesday. They were looking in an area about 1,000 miles northwest of Perth. Ocean Shield is an Australian ship that has been looking for the jet's black boxes.
Australian Maritime Safety Authority

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 12:24 pm

After 6 1/2 weeks of false leads and conflicting information about what may have happened to the jet and the 239 people on board, Wednesday's headlines about the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 need to be viewed with considerable caution:

-- " 'Object of interest' found on Western Australian coast." (CNN.com)

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The Two-Way
2:23 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

45 People Were Shot In Chicago Over The Weekend

The Chicago skyline. The city's police chief says his officers can't keep up with the number of illegal weapons on the city's streets.
Carolyn Kaster AP

There are more data to add to Chicago's well-documented problem with gun violence.

Headlines such as this from the Chicago Sun-Times — "In violent weekend, at least 8 dead, 37 wounded in shootings across Chicago" — set us off in search of news reports after previous weekends.

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The Two-Way
12:01 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

'Stop Supporting Men Hiding Behind Masks,' Biden Tells Russia

Vice President Biden and Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk spoke with reporters Tuesday in Kiev.
Sergey Dolzhenko EPA/Landov

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 5:28 pm

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The Two-Way
9:50 am
Tue April 22, 2014

UPDATE: Everest Climbing Season Still In Doubt

Family members of the Mount Everest avalanche victims were lighting oil lamps Sunday at a Sherpa Monastery in Katmandu, Nepal.
Prakash Mathema AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 2:03 pm

Update at 12:30 p.m. ET. Despite Government's Concessions, Many Sherpas May Leave:

The likelihood of the upcoming climbing season on Mount Everest being canceled altogether seemed to veer from very possible to very unlikely to somewhere in between within the space of less than an hour on Tuesday as news reports came in from the world's tallest mountain.

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The Two-Way
8:12 am
Tue April 22, 2014

As Korean Ferry Sank, Some Crew Members Fought To Save Lives

As the sun set on Tuesday, recovery operations continued at the site of the ferry disaster off South Korea's southern coast.
Issei Kato Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 1:57 am

With the death toll continuing to rise and likely to exceed 300, the captain and crew of the ferry that sank last week off the coast of South Korea have been called cowards and accused of murder.

Now, though, we're also hearing about the heroic acts of some among the 29-member crew — seven of whom either are confirmed to have died or are missing.

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The Two-Way
7:10 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Wheel Well Stowaway Was 'Runaway Kid With A Bad Idea'

Hawaiian Airlines Flight 45 after its arrival on Monday at Maui's Kahului Airport. After the same flight landed on Sunday, a California teen emerged from the left rear wheel well.
Oskar Garcia AP

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 12:20 pm

The California teenager who survived a 5 1/2 hour flight to Hawaii in the wheel well of a Boeing 767 was "just a runaway kid with a bad idea," FBI Special Agent Tom Simon says.

Simon also says, according to The San Jose Mercury News, that the unidentified boy's lousy idea wasn't very well thought out: "He ran for the nearest plane. This was not a well-planned thing."

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The Two-Way
2:49 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

You Can Survive A Flight In A Jet's Wheel Well, But Probably Won't

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 9:13 am

The amazing story of a 16-year-old California boy who the FBI says survived a 5 1/2-hour flight in the frigid wheel well of a jet that flew from San Jose to Hawaii on Sunday raises a logical question:

How does one survive a trip like that when the temperature would have dropped to more than 50 degrees below zero and the air would have been thinner than that at the top of Mount Everest?

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