|For immediate release
September 17, 2002
NPR: Laura Gross,
NPR Selects Veteran NPR News Correspondent
as Co-Host of All Things Considered
WASHINGTON, DC - Melissa Block, veteran NPR News correspondent will join Robert Siegel as a permanent host of All Things Considered, NPRŽ's daily, evening newsmagazine. Block, a familiar voice to NPR listeners as a correspondent based in New York, has nearly two decades of experience in public radio. She is to begin hosting All Things Considered in February 2003, after returning from maternity leave.
"It will be a huge privilege to help shape the conversation that joins All Things Considered and its listeners," said Block, 40. "Hosting the show is a reporter's dream - an opportunity to explore everything from foreign policy to folk music to politics to baseball. Serving NPR's deeply engaged and loyal audience will be a thrill and challenge."
First broadcast in 1971, All Things Considered has become public radio's second most listened-to program after Morning Edition with Bob Edwards, attracting a weekly audience of almost 12 million. It is the longest-running national program in the history of public radio.
Since joining NPR in 1985, Block has worked as a producer, editor, director and reporter, covering both breaking news and human-interest stories. She was on the staff of All Things Considered for nine years, including three as the show's senior producer, before moving to New York as a reporter in 1994. Block has covered many high-profile news events, from police-brutality and terrorism trials in New York to the aftermath of the 2000 presidential election to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center. Her 9/11 reporting was part of coverage that earned NPR a George Foster Peabody Award. She has turned out distinctive features, as well - a trip through lower Manhattan with a trio obsessed with removing plastic bags from trees; a ride with a New York City subway buff who hears music in the rails; an on-field deconstruction of the strike calls of Major League Baseball umpires.
Block also has reported overseas for NPR News. Her 1999 report investigating rape as a weapon of war in Kosovo was cited among stories for which NPR News won an Overseas Press Club Award.
Block graduated from Harvard University in 1983 with a degree in French history and literature and spent the following year as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Geneva. Block, who is married to Wall Street Journal reporter and NPR contributor Stefan Fatsis, will relocate to Washington, DC, from New York. For more information about Melissa, please visit NPR's Web site at www.npr.org/news/specials/block/.
"I look forward to working with Melissa again," said the current host of the show, Robert Siegel, "She is a great choice - someone who knows this program well and who has done great reporting, at home and abroad, in the years she left the producer's desk at All Things Considered. She is smart, funny and, thanks to a story idea I had for her a few years ago, a devout Yankees fan. It doesn't get much better than that."
The search for two new All Things Considered hosts began last winter when Linda Wertheimer became NPR's first senior national correspondent for NPR News and Noah Adams went on hiatus to write a book about the Wright brothers. A search for a third host position continues. Through the end of the year, temporary hosts will join Siegel at the helm including NPR's Lynn Neary, Jacki Lyden and John Ydstie.
"Melissa and Robert will be a superb team," said NPR's vice president of news Bruce Drake. "There are three core values that define the fundamental appeal of public radio's best-known programs - celebration of the mind and intellect, celebration of the heart and spirit and mastery of craft. We chose Melissa because her experience exemplifies all of these."
Offering listeners a comprehensive review of the day's top stories plus news, interviews, features and cultural reviews, All Things Considered is produced by NPR News in Washington, DC, with reports from NPR bureaus located throughout the U.S. and around the world. NPR member stations and reporters across the country are key to the program's comprehensive national coverage.
All Things Considered debuted on 90 public radio stations on May 3, 1971. Today, All Things Considered airs on 553 stations and is heard by nearly 12 million people every week. Its audience has tripled since 1990. The program has garnered broadcasting's highest honors, including the George Foster Peabody Award and the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award.
NPR, renowned for journalistic excellence and standard-setting news, information and cultural programming, serves a growing audience of nearly 20 million Americans each week via more than 680 public radio stations. NPR Online at www.npr.org brings hourly newscasts, news features, commentaries and live events to Internet users through original online reports, audio streaming and other multimedia elements. NPR also distributes programming to listeners in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa via NPR Worldwide, to military installations overseas via American Forces Network and throughout Japan via cable.