Melissa Block Melissa Block is a special correspondent and guest host of NPR's news programs.
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Melissa Block

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Melissa Block at NPR- Vertical
Allison Shelley/NPR

Melissa Block

Special Correspondent and Host

As special correspondent and guest host of NPR's news programs, Melissa Block brings her signature combination of warmth and incisive reporting. Her work over the decades has earned her journalism's highest honors, and has made her one of NPR's most familiar and beloved voices.

As co-host of All Things Considered from 2003 to 2015, Block's reporting took her everywhere from the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to the heart of Rio de Janeiro; from rural Mozambique to the farthest reaches of Alaska.

Her riveting reporting from Sichuan, China, during and after the massive earthquake in 2008 brought the tragedy home to millions of listeners around the world. At the moment the earthquake hit, Block had the presence of mind to record a gripping, real-time narration of the seismic upheaval she was witnessing. Her long-form story about a desperate couple searching in the rubble for their toddler son was singled out by judges who awarded NPR's earthquake coverage the top honors in broadcast journalism: the George Foster Peabody Award, duPont-Columbia Award, Edward R. Murrow Award, National Headliner Award, and the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi Award.

Now, as special correspondent, Block continues to engage both the heart and the mind with her reporting on issues from gun violence to adult illiteracy to opioid addiction.

In 2017, she traveled the country for the series "Our Land," visiting a wide range of communities to explore how our identity is shaped by where we live. For that series, she paddled along the Mississippi River, went in search of salmon off the Alaska coast, and accompanied an immigrant family as they became U.S. citizens. Her story about the legacy of the Chinese community in the Mississippi Delta earned her a James Beard Award in 2018.

Block is the recipient of the 2019 Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism, awarded by the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University, as well as the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Fulbright Association.

Block began her career at NPR in 1985 as an editorial assistant for All Things Considered, and rose through the ranks to become the program's senior producer.

She was a reporter and correspondent in New York from 1994 to 2002, a period punctuated by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. Her reporting after those attacks helped earn NPR a George Foster Peabody Award. Block's reporting on rape as a weapon of war in Kosovo was cited by the Overseas Press Club of America in awarding NPR the Lowell Thomas Award in 1999.

Block is a 1983 graduate of Harvard University and spent the following year on a Fulbright fellowship in Geneva, Switzerland. She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband — writer Stefan Fatsis — and their daughter.

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Story Archive

Writer John McPhee Explains His 'Old-Man Project'

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Iranian Americans Anxiously Follow Events In Iran

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Main Street, St. Clairsville, Ohio (population about 5,000), the county seat of Belmont County. Melissa Block/NPR hide caption

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Drug Overdoses Contribute To Rise In Midlife Mortality In Ohio River Valley

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Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced last week that he will leave his position by the end of the year. Perry urged President Trump to make the July phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that's at the heart of the impeachment inquiry. Jacquelyn Martin/AP hide caption

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How Rick Perry Became A Key Figure In The Trump Impeachment Probe

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Canvassing for votes in Virginia Beach, Democrat Missy Cotter Smasal meets voter Mildred Manger. "It's just stupid that everybody has to have a gun," Manger says. "I mean, give me a break!" Melissa Block/NPR hide caption

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Gun Control Is Front And Center In Virginia Races

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Holy Trinity Music School's youth choir and chamber orchestra perform in the Smithsonian's Enid A. Haupt garden in Washington, D.C. Melissa Block/NPR hide caption

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10 Years After Haiti's Earthquake, 'This Music School Will Never Stop'

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Political Roundup: The Whistleblower, The Democrats And The White House

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'Blinking Guy' Channels Meme Fame Into Multiple Sclerosis Fundraiser

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Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have passed red flag laws. LA Johnson/NPR hide caption

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In Vermont, A Case Of One Man Whose Gun Was Seized Under Red Flag Law

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World Cup Semifinal Match: U.S. Versus England In Lyon, France

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U.S. Women Defeat France In Hard-Fought Quarterfinal Victory

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Caster Semenya of South Africa races to the line to win the Women's 800 meters during the IAAF Diamond League event at the Khalifa International Stadium on May 03, 2019 in Doha, Qatar. Semenya has appealed a ruling that requires her to reduce her testosterone levels by drugs or surgery. Francois Nel/Getty Images hide caption

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'I Am A Woman': Track Star Caster Semenya Continues Her Fight To Compete As Female

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Tom Petty performs with the Heartbreakers in Belgium in 1992. Gie Knaeps/Getty Images hide caption

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'A Song For Any Struggle': Tom Petty's 'I Won't Back Down' Is An Anthem Of Resolve

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Tim Foley, the founder of Arizona Border Recon and Maggie Milinovitch, the co-owner of La Gitana Cantina, both live in the small border town of Arivaca, Ariz. The recent militia group presence has put strains on a town that has long prided itself on its live-and-let-live, cooperative spirit. Dominic Valente for NPR hide caption

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Militias Test The Civility Of An Arizona Border Town

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