Melissa Block Melissa Block is a special correspondent and guest host of NPR's news programs.
Melissa Block at NPR- Vertical
Stories By

Melissa Block

Allison Shelley/NPR
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.

Story Archive

Hollins University was founded in 1842 on the principle that "young women require the same thorough and rigid training as that afforded to young men." Melissa Block/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Melissa Block/NPR

Who belongs at a women's college in 2021? Students want admissions policies to change

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1057254462/1060608514" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The national reckoning over race and history is playing out in the world of birds

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1055749092/1055749093" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

An Nguyen sits for a portrait at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Nguyen had just turned four when his father died in the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon. Ian Morton/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Ian Morton/NPR

They Don't Remember Their Parents Dying On 9/11. But They'll Never Forget

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1031794811/1034439325" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Caster Semenya competes in the women's 5000-meter final in Pretoria, South Africa, on April 15. Her attempt to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in an event exempt from new testosterone rules fell short. Phill Magakoe/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Phill Magakoe/AFP via Getty Images

Olympic Runner Caster Semenya Wants To Compete, Not Defend Her Womanhood

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1021503989/1021892862" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Federal Judge Blocks Arkansas Ban On Gender Confirming Treatments For Trans Youth

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1018924610/1018924633" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Asia Kate Dillon as Taylor in Billions Jeff Neuman/Showtime hide caption

toggle caption
Jeff Neuman/Showtime

Best Actor Or Actress? Gender-Expansive Performers Are Forced To Choose

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1015863360/1016093463" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

People attend a rally denouncing antisemitic violence on May 27 in Cedarhurst, New York. Following a surge in antisemitic hate crimes triggered by last month's Israel-Gaza conflict, some Jews are wondering why the condemnation hasn't been stronger. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Antisemitism Spikes, And Many Jews Wonder: Where Are Our Allies?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1003411933/1004076021" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Lutherans Elect First Openly Transgender Bishop Megan Rohrer

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/997259453/997259454" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Madison Kenyon (left), who is cisgender, runs track and cross-country at Idaho State University. She supports Idaho's transgender sports ban. Lindsay Hecox (right) is transgender and hopes to make the women's track and cross-country teams at Boise State University. Alliance Defending Freedom; Joshua Roper/American Civil Liberties Union hide caption

toggle caption
Alliance Defending Freedom; Joshua Roper/American Civil Liberties Union

Idaho's Transgender Sports Ban Faces A Major Legal Hurdle

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/991987280/992993674" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Syrus Hall, 17, at his home in Mobile, Ala. "I didn't have the words for what I felt," says Hall, who is transgender. "I didn't fully have a grasp on gender until I found the words I needed." Edmund D. Fountain for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Edmund D. Fountain for NPR

'It's Hurtful': Trans Youth Speaks Out As Alabama Debates Banning Medical Treatment

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/981225604/982184914" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
NPR

'To Me He's Not A Number': Families Reflect As U.S. Passes 500,000 COVID-19 Deaths

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/968754578/970435321" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

President Biden has promised that gender equity will be at the forefront of his administration's policies. To help achieve that goal, he is creating a new Gender Policy Council within the White House. Matt Slocum/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Matt Slocum/AP

Biden Administration Resurrects Office To Help Women 'At The Breaking Point'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/963639440/963913610" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The women of the Brown Girls Book Club could not miss the opportunity to join together for this historic moment: the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Melissa Block/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Melissa Block/NPR

Brown Girls Book Club Comes Together To Celebrate And Watch Historic Inauguration

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/958824967/959113364" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript