Russell Lewis Russell Lewis is the Southern Bureau Chief for NPR News.
Beau Gustafson/Big Swede Inc.
Russell Lewis
Beau Gustafson/Big Swede Inc.

Russell Lewis

Southern Bureau Chief

As NPR's Southern Bureau Chief, Russell Lewis covers issues and people of the Southeast for NPR — from Florida to Virginia to Texas, including West Virginia, Kentucky and Oklahoma. His work brings context and dimension to issues ranging from immigration, transportation and oil and gas drilling for NPR listeners across the nation and around the world.

In addition to developing and expanding NPR's coverage of the region, Lewis assigns and edits stories from station-based reporters and freelancers that air on NPR's news programs, working closely with local correspondents and public radio stations. He spent a year in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, coordinating NPR's coverage of the massive rebuilding effort and the reverberations of the storm in local communities. He joined NPR in 2006 and is based in Birmingham, Alabama.

Lewis is also a key member of NPR's 'Go Team' — a small group of experienced NPR producers and reporters who respond to major disasters worldwide. He is often among the first on the scene for NPR — both reporting from these sites as well as managing the logistics of bringing additional NPR reporters into disaster areas that lack functioning transportation systems, basic utilities, food, water and security.

He was dispatched to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, where he helped manage a group of NPR journalists. He created an overland supply line for the NPR team between the Dominican Republic and Haiti and brought listeners stories about the slow pace of supply distribution because of border bottlenecks. In Japan in 2011 he was quickly on the scene after the earthquake and tsunami to help coordinate NPR's intensive coverage. In 2013, he was on the ground overseeing NPR's reporting in the Philippines in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan. Covering the impact of the massive earthquake in Nepal in 2015, he field-produced NPR's coverage and also reported how a lack of coordination by the government and aid workers slowed response. Lewis managed NPR's on-the-ground coverage in 2015 of the terrorist attacks in Paris, France, and reported from Brussels, Belgium. He returned to Brussels in 2016 after the terrorist bombings at the airport and metro station. He helped field-produce NPR's coverage and also reported several stories about the response and recovery.

Lewis's international coverage also includes spending six weeks in Brazil in 2014 handling logistics and reporting on the World Cup. In 2015, he did the same in Canada for the Women's World Cup. In 2016, Lewis reported and oversaw NPR's team of journalists at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

In 2010, the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University awarded him a prestigious Ochberg Fellowship. The Fellowship is designed to improve reporting on violence, conflict and tragedy. Lewis has continued his work with the Dart Center and has trained reporters on behalf of the organization in Trinidad and Tobago and the Cayman Islands.

Lewis began his public radio career in 1992 as reporter and executive producer at NPR member station WUFT in Gainesville, Florida. He also spent time at WSVH in Savannah, Georgia and was Statehouse Bureau Chief at Kansas Public Radio. For six years he worked at KPBS in San Diego as a senior editor and reporter. He also was a talk show host and assistant news director at WGCU in Fort Myers, Florida.

When he's not busy at work, Lewis can be found being creative in the kitchen or outside refereeing soccer games.

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Story Archive

Astronaut Alan Bean was photographed by Charles "Pete" Conrad Jr., who is reflected in Bean's helmet visor, during the Apollo 12 moonwalk in 1969. Charles "Pete" Conrad Jr./NASA hide caption

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Charles "Pete" Conrad Jr./NASA

Alan Bean, Apollo 12 Astronaut Who Walked On The Moon, Dies At 86

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Meet The Southwest Pilot Who Landed A Plane After An Engine Exploded

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Olympics Begin With Opening Ceremony

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On the moon in 1972, Apollo 16 astronaut John Young jumps off of the lunar surface to salute the U.S. flag. Charles M. Duke, Jr./NASA hide caption

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Charles M. Duke, Jr./NASA

Astronaut John Young, Who Flew In Space 6 Times, Dies At 87

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On Feb. 12, 1984, Bruce McCandless ventured away unrestrained from the safety of his spaceship, which no previous astronaut had done. He could do it because of a brand-new, jet-powered backpack. NASA hide caption

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NASA

Bruce McCandless, First Astronaut To Fly Untethered In Space, Has Died

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Remarkable Win Sends Democratic Candidate To U.S. Senate

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Astronaut Dick Gordon, a member of the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, attends a 2009 event at Cape Canaveral, Fla. NASA/Jim Grossmann hide caption

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NASA/Jim Grossmann

NASA Astronaut Dick Gordon Has Died At Age 88

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Authorities Are Still On The Scene Of Sunday's Mass Shooting In Texas

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Democratic Lawmaker Calls For 'Serious Conversation' On Root Of Mass Shootings

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Texas Community Is The Latest To Suffer A Shooting Attack

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Parts Of South Florida Still Underwater

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Trump Visits Southwestern Florida Amid Hurricane Irma Recovery Efforts

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President Trump Will Travel To Florida To Assess Hurricane Damage

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