Mark Memmott

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.

As the NPR Ethics Handbook states, the Standards & Practices editor is "charged with cultivating an ethical culture throughout our news operation. This means he or she coordinates regular training and discussion on how we apply our principles and monitors our decision-making practices to ensure we're living up to our standards."

Before becoming Standards & Practices editor, Memmott was one of the hosts of NPR's "The Two-Way" news blog, which he helped to launch when he came to NPR in 2009. It focuses on breaking news, analysis, and the most compelling stories being reported by NPR News and other news media.

Prior to 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 reported from places across the United 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.

There was a 0.1 percent dip in personal income in August vs. July, the Bureau of Economic Analysis just reported. The Associated Press says that's the "poorest showing since a similar 0.1 percent drop in October 2009."

In addition, "disposable personal income" actually fell 0.3 percent after inflation.

If hoops fans need any more evidence that the NBA lockout means there likely won't be any games anytime soon, here it is:

Good morning.

The top story so far, as we've been reporting, is that authorities in Yemen say U.S.-born anti-American al-Qaida cleric Anwar al-Awlaki is dead. We'll keep following that story as it develops.

Other top stories:

With a nighttime liftoff from a launch pad on the edge of the Gobi Desert, China today put its unmanned Tiangong-1 ("Heavenly Palace-1") module into orbit and started a decade-long project aimed at constructing its own space station.

The module will "conduct surveys of Chinese farmland using special cameras, along with experiments involving growing crystals in zero gravity," The Associated Press says. Then, in coming years:

Bank of America is next year going to start charging most holders of its debit cards $5 a month if they use them to make purchases. It's the biggest sign so far of how new bank regulations are going to mean big changes for the millions of customers who have come to rely on cards that are tied to their checking accounts — and don't rack up potentially huge interest bills.

Word that Germany's parliament today "approved a plan to expand the power of a European bailout fund for troubled countries that use the euro," doesn't mean the crisis across the Atlantic is over, our colleague Jacob Goldstein writes over at the Planet Money blog.

A fake story and a series of tweets this morning by the satirical folks at The Onion "reported" that members of Congress had taken schoolchildren hostage inside the Capitol Building.

Officials at the U.S. Capitol Police don't find any of it funny.

More details are emerging about the alleged plot and the alleged would-be terrorist who the FBI says planned to attack the Pentagon and Capitol Building with explosives-laden small aircraft and thought he had given devices to al-Qaida operatives that could be used to kill U.S. soldiers stationed overseas.

"Pakistan has freed a senior al-Qaeda commander, who served as a bodyguard to Osama bin Laden," Britain's The Telegraph reports, citing a "senior security source."

CBS News says it has been told the same thing by "two senior Pakistani police officials."

The nation's economy grew at a slow 1.3 percent annual rate in the second quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis just reported. That's a slight upward revision from the agency's previous estimate of 1 percent growth vs. first-quarter 2011.

"African-Americans have been brainwashed into not being open minded, not even considering a conservative point of view," Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain said Wednesday on CNN's The Situation Room. "I have received some of that same vitriol simply because I am running for the Republican nomination as a conservative. So it's just brainwashing and people not being open minded, pure and simple."

This might be the morning to go easy on your friends who are fans of the Red Sox or Braves (unless you think it's pay-back time for abuse they've given you in the past).

Until Wednesday night, no Major League Baseball team that had an 8-game lead for a playoff spot in early September had failed to qualify for post-season play, NPR's Tom Goldman says.

A federal judge in Birmingham, Ala., has blocked some provisions of a controversial immigration law in the state — most notably those that would "make it a state crime to harbor immigrants and make it a misdemeanor to work in the state" — the Montgomery Advertiser reports.

From The Associated Press:

"Two days before he died, Michael Jackson appeared strong during one of the final rehearsals for his highly anticipated comeback concerts, a promoter told jurors Wednesday as the involuntary manslaughter trial of the pop superstar's physician entered its second day."

There's much breathless live-blogging going on in the tech world as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveils his company's latest gadgets, including what Bloomberg News first reported will be a $199 tablet computer called Kindle Fire — Amazon's much-anticipated competitor to the iPad.

The controversial "Increase Diversity Bake Sale" sponsored by young Republicans at the University of California, Berkeley, brought a large crowd of students and others to the school's Sproul Plaza on Tuesday, and the student-run Daily Californian says the climax was a counter-demonstration "that saw hundreds of protesters lie on their backs."

The latest issue of Inspire, an English-language magazine believed to be produced by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, chastises the Iranian government and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in particular for spreading "conspiracy theories surrounding the events of 9/11."

The Washington Post writes this morning that "Adm. Mike Mullen's assertion last week that an anti-American insurgent group in Afghanistan is a 'veritable arm' of Pakistan's spy service was overstated and contributed to overheated reactions in Pakistan and misperceptions in Washington, according to American officials involved in U.S. policy in the region."

What is it about Andy Rooney that's kept him on the air with CBS for more than 60 years — the last 33 of them as a regular essayist on 60 Minutes?

Is it his sense of humor?

His distinctive voice?

Those bushy eyebrows?

The questions he's always asking?

"The number of deaths linked to Colorado-grown cantaloupes keeps climbing, and it soon could become the second-deadliest U.S. outbreak of a food-borne illness," The Denver Post reports.

A passing of note:

Helen Reichert, who Morning Edition introduced to listeners in April, died on Sunday. She was 109.

In that April commentary for Morning Edition, Dr. Mark Lachs said of his patient that:

"Unusual longevity often has a genetic basis, and Reichert probably does have a gene that contributes to her unusual longevity. But she also exhibits a powerful trait geriatricians call adaptive competence.

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