National Coverage Our comprehensive coverage of the country's biggest stories across the past year.
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National Coverage

NPR delivers comprehensive coverage of the country's biggest stories and shines a light on critical issues that might otherwise go overlooked. In addition to providing trusted reporting on the national news making headlines last year, our expert team introduced new ways to keep audiences informed during an intense midterm election cycle and produced in-depth investigations that uncovered truth and effected change.

NPR Congressional correspondent Susan Davis interviews Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) as he makes his way through the U.S. Capitol building. Allison Shelley/NPR hide caption

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Allison Shelley/NPR

Empowering Citizens To Cast Informed Votes

NPR expanded reporting efforts last year to provide listeners and readers with trusted information needed to decide their votes in high-stakes midterm elections. The Politics Show, a new nine-part weekly radio show, offered listeners a deep dive into election news from the trusted hosts of the popular NPR Politics Podcast. The hosts of Morning Edition and All Things Considered visited communities around the country to speak with voters about the issues important to them. On election night, NPR's live blog provided readers with breaking news coverage, analysis and reporting from Member station journalists across the country.

For the first time, NPR partnered with The Associated Press to enable Member stations to share live digital updates of the election results, bolstering more localized coverage of the races. Finally, one week after the elections, NPR and Member station WAMU hosted the NPR Political Roundup, a free public event in the nation's capital to take our audience deeper into the issues behind the ballots and the implications of outcomes in key races. Altogether, these efforts comprised one of public radio's most substantial coordinated approaches to election coverage, setting the stage for the upcoming presidential election in 2020.

Department Of Education Takes Action After NPR Report

In March, NPR correspondents Chris Arnold and Cory Turner released "The Trouble With TEACH Grants," an investigative report uncovering gross mismanagement of a federal grant program run by the U.S. Department of Education. Arnold and Turner's reporting revealed that thousands of educators who received federal grants for teaching in low-income areas had their grants converted into loans because of minor paperwork errors or mistakes by the loan companies. Shortly after our story aired, 19 senators signed a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos citing NPR's reporting, and in May the Department of Education issued a full review of the program.

Arnold and Turner continued to follow the story throughout the year, and in December, they filed an exclusive report revealing plans from the Education Department to erase the debts of the affected teachers and fix the TEACH Grant program. By the end of January 2019, the Department made good on its promise and teachers may now apply to have their grants reinstated.

Federal Data Reveals Preventable Epidemic Affecting Over 2,000 Coal Miners

NPR correspondent Howard Berkes has reported on the dangers of coal mining since 2010, including launching an investigation into the resurgence of black lung disease in 2012.

Over the years, Berkes's reporting on black lung has raised awareness, prompted studies and led to legislative change. After almost four decades in journalism and nearly three dozen awards, Berkes recently retired—but not before sharing one final, poignant chapter in his black lung coverage.

Through an extensive review of over 20 years of federal data, NPR and PBS's Frontline found that, despite growing evidence and warnings, federal regulators failed to prevent miners from being exposed to toxic silica dust that causes a severe form of black lung disease. Now, more than 2,000 miners are dying from an epidemic linked to that toxic dust. Berkes and Frontline shared these findings along with the stories of some of the miners in a December report on NPR, as well as in the Frontline documentary Coal's Deadly Dust, which aired in January 2019.

Sticking With The Story In Puerto Rico

When Hurricane Maria hit in 2017, media organizations from across the globe sent correspondents to Puerto Rico, but NPR was one of the only news outlets that stayed. NPR's Adrian Florido remained in Puerto Rico for over a year, keeping the public aware of recovery efforts by telling stories from inside the communities struggling to rebuild.

In January 2018, Florido's reporting revealed that FEMA planned to end food and water distribution in Puerto Rico, despite the continued need in many communities still recovering. The story was cited on the Senate floor by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), and within 48 hours, FEMA backtracked on its plan to end food and water distribution.

In addition to Florido's on-the-ground assignment, in May, NPR's Laura Sullivan and Frontline investigated how the federal response in Puerto Rico left millions in the dark for months even before Hurricane Maria, resulting in the worst blackout in U.S. history.