Scott Simon

From Ground Zero in New York to ground zero in Kabul, to police stations, subway platforms, and darkened theaters, NPR's Peabody-Award-winning correspondent Scott Simon brings a well-traveled perspective to his role as host of Weekend Edition Saturday.

Simon joined NPR in 1977 as chief of its Chicago bureau. Since then, he has reported from all 50 states, covered presidential campaigns and eight wars, and reported from Central America, Africa, India, the Middle East, and the Caribbean. In 2002, Simon took leave of his usual post at Weekend Edition Saturday to cover the war in Afghanistan for NPR. He has also reported from Central America on the continuing wars in that region; from Cuba on the nation's resistance to change; from Ethiopia on the country's famine and prolonged civil war; from the Middle East during the Gulf War; and from the siege of Sarajevo and the destruction of Kosovo.

Simon has received numerous honors for his reporting. His work was part of the Overseas Press Club and Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards NPR earned for coverage of Sept. 11 and its aftermath. He was part of the NPR news teams that won prestigious Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards for covering the war in Kosovo as well as the Gulf War. In 1989, he won a George Foster Peabody Award for his weekly radio essays. The award commended him for his sensitivity and literary style in coverage of events including the murder of six Jesuit priests in El Salvador and the San Francisco earthquake. Simon also accepted the Presidential End Hunger Award for his series of reports on the 1987-1988 Ethiopian civil war and drought. He received a 1986 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for his coverage of racism in a South Philadelphia neighborhood, and a 1986 Silver Cindy for a report on conditions at the Immigration and Naturalization Service's detention center in Harlingen, Texas.

Simon received a Major Armstrong Award in 1979 for his coverage of the American Nazi Party rally in Chicago, and a Unity Award in Media in 1978 for his political reporting on All Things Considered. He also won a 1982 Emmy for the public television documentary The Patterson Project, which examined the effects of President Reagan's budget cuts on the lives of 12 New Jersey residents.

Simon has been a frequent guest host of the CBS television program Nightwatch and CNBC's TalkBack Live. In addition to hosting Weekend Edition Saturday, Simon has appeared as an essayist and commentator on NBC's Weekend Today and NOW with Bill Moyers. He has hosted many public television programs, including "Voices of Vision," "Life on the Internet," "State of Mind," "American Pie," "Search for Common Ground," and specials on privacy in America and democracy in the Middle East. He also narrated the documentary film "Lincoln of Illinois" for PBS. Simon participated in the Grammy Award-nominated 50th anniversary remake of The War of the Worlds (co-starring Jason Robards), and hosted public television's coverage of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. Simon has hosted the BBC series Eyewitness, which was seen in the United States on the Discovery Channel, and a BBC special on the White House press corps. Simon was also a featured co-anchor of PBS's millennium special broadcast in 2000.

Simon has written for The New York Times' Book Review and Opinion sections, the Wall Street Journal opinion page, the Los Angeles Times, and Gourmet Magazine.

The son of comedian Ernie Simon and actress Patricia Lyons, Simon grew up in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Montreal, Cleveland, and Washington, DC. He attended the University of Chicago and McGill University, and he has received a number of honorary degrees.

Simon's book Home and Away: Memoir of a Fan was published in the spring of 2000 by Hyperion, a division of Disney. It topped the Los Angeles Times nonfiction bestseller list for several weeks, and was cited as one of the best books of the year in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, and several other publications. His second book, Jackie Robinson and the Integration of Baseball, kicked off the prestigious Wiley Turning Points series in September of 2002, and was the Barnes & Noble "Sports Book of the Year." Simon's first novel, Pretty Birds, about female teenaged snipers in Sarajevo, was released in May 2005 and acclaimed as "the start of a brilliant new career." His most recent novel, a political comedy called Windy City, was chosen by the Washington Post as one of the best novels of 2008.

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Simon Says
8:57 am
Sat March 3, 2012

Politics Gets Dirtier: Attack Ad Goes After Cat

Not even pets can hide from the political caterwauling; a superPAC has attacked the candidacy of Hank the Cat.
YouTube

Originally published on Sat March 3, 2012 1:38 pm

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Sports
8:00 am
Sat March 3, 2012

Bounties Uncovered: Paying For Pain In The NFL

Originally published on Sat March 3, 2012 10:48 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

A National Football League investigation revealed yesterday that the New Orleans Saints had a bounty program. Players were paid bonuses off the books for putting game-ending hits on opposing players. The NFL says bounties were paid for the past three seasons, including 2009 when the Saints won the Super Bowl. Defensive players were offered $1000 for a cart off - an injury so bad a player would be carted off the field - and $1,500 for a knockout, which needs no explanation.

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Simon Says
8:00 am
Sat February 25, 2012

Other People's Atrocities: None Of Our Business?

Protesters demonstrate against Foxconn, which manufactures Apple products in China, outside an Apple retail outlet in Hong Kong.
Antony Dickson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 5:18 pm

Events as disparate as the cruel, escalating violence in Syria and the congested, unnerving conditions where Apple's iPads and iPhones are made at the Foxconn assembly plants in China raise a recurring question:

When do a country's internal affairs become the business of the world? And when do we make that our personal business?

You can take that question back through atrocities, crimes and outrages of recent history.

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Simon Says
8:19 am
Sat February 18, 2012

John Glenn, A Hero Well Before Orbiting Earth

Marine Lt. Col. John Glenn demonstrates operations inside a Mercury capsule on Jan. 11, 1961.
AP

Originally published on Sat February 18, 2012 3:29 pm

Fifty years ago, John Glenn was alone on top of a rocket waiting to blast into space and around the Earth. In these times, when people can become suddenly famous for doing so little, it may be good to recall the daring and imagination of that moment on Feb. 20, 1962.

Two Russians, Yuri Gagarin and Gherman Titov, had already dauntlessly orbited the Earth. The Soviets kept their missions secret until they were under way, but John Glenn would fly with the eyes of the world watching every second.

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The Salt
7:16 am
Sat February 18, 2012

At Gates Bar-B-Q, The Ultimate Flavor Lies in Burnt Ends

The brisket and ribs are on the fire at Gates Bar-B-Q for ... as long as it takes.
Tom Bullock NPR

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 11:54 am

How do you know you're in Kansas City, Missouri? Follow the smoke, and listen for this:

"Hi, may I help you?"

At the famed Gates Bar-B-Q in Kansas City, "May I help you?" is a kind of mantra.

It's how people standing in front of the barbecue pits greet all who walk in the door, while ribs, brisket, turkey, and for all I know, pillow stuffing sizzle, pop, and get saturated with smoke and the signature sauce of Ollie Gates, the barbecue master.

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Simon Says
8:54 am
Sat February 11, 2012

Ralph Nader's $2,680 Airplane Aisle Seat

When Americans traveled by stagecoach, they had to worry about rocks, rattlesnakes, robbers and other varmints. But I wonder if there weren't fewer passenger complaints.

Ralph Nader is not running for president this year. But he's giving a couple of speeches in Dallas this weekend and booked an American Airlines flight a couple of weeks ago for a $750 fare.

The flight takes three hours. Mr. Nader is 6 feet, 4 inches tall. His longtime travel agent tried to select an aisle seat, which is more comfortable for Mr. Nader. Probably for whoever might be next to him, too.

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Opinion
6:55 am
Sat January 7, 2012

Iowa, New Hampshire: Small States With Big Roles

Iowa and New Hampshire are not demographic snapshots of America. They are smaller, less diverse and more rural than California, New York or Illinois, which have a lot more votes.

But Iowa and New Hampshire win a lot of attention early in an election year. As an old political columnist, now departed, once told me over the din of clinking cups in an Iowa diner, "If the first presidential caucuses were in Hawaii, congress would give federal subsidies to make gasoline out of pineapples."

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Simon Says
8:00 am
Sat December 24, 2011

How Much Is That Purple Heart In The Window?

Originally published on Sat December 24, 2011 8:38 am

There's a Purple Heart in the window of the A-Z Outlet pawnshop in Holland, Mich., right between a silver necklace and an inexpensive watch.

Bryan VandenBosch says a young man walked into his shop just before Thanksgiving to pawn a medal that the U.S. government awards to soldiers who have been "wounded or killed in any action" while serving.

He says that he doesn't know why the young man needed or wanted to pawn his medal.

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Simon Says
7:36 am
Sat December 17, 2011

Christopher Hitchens And The Delight Of Defying Labels

It may be telling that Christopher Hitchens should die in this season. I don't mean the holiday season but a contentious season in Congress and on the campaign trail, with politicians jabbing fingers and accusing each other of inconsistency.

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Simon Says
10:09 am
Sat December 10, 2011

Laura Nyro's Lasting, Eclectic Musical Legacy

Laura Nyro performs at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

Most of the names announced for induction to the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame this week are familiar: Guns N' Roses, Beastie Boys and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The name Laura Nyro may need some explaining.

She was the daughter of a New York jazz trumpeter, who took her along to his gigs. She sold her first song, And When I Die, to Peter, Paul and Mary for $5,000 when she was just a teenager; left New York's School of Music and Art; and became a star at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival at the age of 20.

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Simon Says
7:33 am
Sat December 3, 2011

What's In a (Baby) Name?

So many end-of-the year lists detail something trivial. But sometimes those lists can help us appreciate something obvious.

BabyCenter.com has just released their list of the most popular names for American babies in 2011.

The most popular girl's names: Sophia, Emma, Isabella, Olivia, and Ava, which sound like they could be lifted, letter by letter, from 1960s movie marquees. The most popular boy's names: Aiden, Jackson, Mason, Liam and Jacob, which could be the name of a Boston or Chicago law firm.

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Remembrances
8:00 am
Sat November 26, 2011

Tom Wicker Dies, Top Reporter Covered JFK Assassination

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

As a young reporter, Tom Wicker covered a beaver dam for the Sandhill, North Carolina Citizen. He went on to travel the world as a White House reporter and columnist for the New York Times and was in Dallas on November 22nd, 48 years ago this week when John F. Kennedy was shot. It was in a world before cell phones and text messages.

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Simon Says
8:00 am
Sat November 26, 2011

What Black Friday Crowds Are Really Shopping For

A holiday shopper at the Toys R Us in New York's Times Square.
Andrew Burton AP

Originally published on Sat November 26, 2011 5:17 pm

It's hard not to look at some of the pictures of people surging into stores as they opened at the stroke of midnight for Black Friday sales and see some kind of crass, mindless mob.

The crowds in Cairo's Tahir Square clamor for democracy and free speech. Crowds in American shopping malls seem to clamor for Blu-rays, Xboxes and Wii consoles.

There were even a few reported instances of violence Friday among unruly shoppers, hell-bent for bargains.

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Simon Says
8:00 am
Sat November 5, 2011

America's Stake In A United Europe

President Obama salutes service members from both sides of the Atlantic as he walks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy during the G-20 summit in Cannes, France, last week.
Markus Schreiber AFP/Getty Images

It is always tempting for Americans to look at problems in Europe and ask, "What does that have to do with me?"

Well, U.S. banks hold almost $17 billion in Greek debt and billions more bought through European banks. Billions of dollars that Americans have saved for retirement, college — or the rainy days that may be — are now invested in Greece.

But we also might remind ourselves why the euro and the European Union were created.

The problems of Europe led to two world wars in the 20th century, and America got involved in each.

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Simon Says
8:00 am
Sat October 15, 2011

Baseball's New Bling Is Made For Believers

In this week's essay, host Scott Simon reflects on the comforting superstitions of athletes.

The Impact of War
7:53 am
Sat October 8, 2011

Now Serving In Uniform, Teacher Seeks To Inspire

Darryl St. George was a high school teacher on Long Island before becoming a Navy corpsman. In June, he was serving in southern Afghanistan. He's back in the U.S. for the time being and has visited his former school.

David Gilkey NPR

Darryl St. George has served his country both in and out of uniform. He left his high school teaching job on Long Island in 2010 to become a U.S. Navy corpsman, a medic for the U.S. Marines.

"I loved teaching. It was a great job, but I felt like something was missing. I kind of — I felt compelled to serve," he told NPR's Tom Bowman in July.

At the time, he was at a dusty combat outpost in southern Afghanistan. St. George had one month left in his deployment to Afghanistan, and said that when he came home, he planned to visit the school where he had taught.

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Simon Says
8:00 am
Sat October 1, 2011

White House Visit No Happy Ending For '85 Bears

The Chicago Bears showed some skills off the field and on the stage in 1985 when they recorded the "Super Bowl Shuffle."
Paul Natkin NFL via Getty

Next week, the Chicago Bears, who won the 1985 Super Bowl, will finally be received at the White House — now that a Bears fan lives there. Their original visit was canceled when the Challenger Space Shuttle exploded in January 1986.

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