Russell Lewis Russell Lewis is the Southern Bureau Chief for NPR News.
Russell Lewis
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Russell Lewis

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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. In 2018, he went to Indonesia to field-produce and edit coverage following the earthquake and tsunami in Palu.

Lewis also oversees NPR's sports coverage. He spent 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. He also led NPR's coverage from Pyeongchang, South Korea, at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

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, the Cayman Islands, and Puerto Rico.

A graduate of the University of Florida, 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

Satellite images of storms forming in the Atlantic Ocean. Tropical Storm Wilfred is the last named storm of the 2020 season using the English alphabet. Courtesy of NOAA hide caption

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Courtesy of NOAA

This graphic, provided by NASA, shows abnormally warm ocean temperatures. Forecasters believe this will continue to fuel an already above-average Atlantic hurricane season. NASA hide caption

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NASA

A bronze baseball player stands outside Coors Field in Denver, one of the stadiums idled during the coronavirus outbreak. The league and players association have agreed to league is waiting for the players' union to respond to whether it will agree to play a shortened season beginning in late July. David Zalubowski/AP hide caption

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David Zalubowski/AP

Pilot training is some of the most rigorous of all modes of transportation. Elizabeth White (L) practices landings with instructor Megan Brown at the airport in Auburn, Ala. Russell Lewis/NPR hide caption

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Russell Lewis/NPR

The Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash: Aviation Wrestles With Decades-Old Problem

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Encore: 50 Years Ago, Apollo 13 Set Off For The Moon

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On Sunday, the International Olympic Committee said that it was starting to look into scenarios for "modifying" the current plans for the games, which are scheduled to start on July 24 in Tokyo. Jae C. Hong/AP hide caption

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Jae C. Hong/AP

Astronaut Al Worden circled the moon during the Apollo 15 mission. NASA hide caption

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NASA

Retired Apollo 15 Astronaut Al Worden Dies At 88

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Basketball fans react after it is announced that an NBA basketball game between Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz in Oklahoma City has been postponed on Wednesday, March 11. Kyle Phillips/AP hide caption

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Kyle Phillips/AP

Minnesota and Northwestern played before fans on Wednesday in the first round of the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Joe Robbins/Getty Images hide caption

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Joe Robbins/Getty Images

NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, pictured at the 2017 Academy Awards, was one of the women profiled in the book and film Hidden Figures. She died Monday at 101. Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP hide caption

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Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Katherine Johnson, NASA Mathematician And An Inspiration For 'Hidden Figures,' Dies

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National Transportation Safety Board examine wreckage on Jan. 27 of the crash that killed NBA star Kobe Bryant and eight other people near Calabasas, Calif. James Anderson/AP hide caption

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James Anderson/AP

Probe Of Helicopter Crash That Killed NBA Star Will Take Months, NTSB Says

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Boeing Loses Billions Of Dollars And The Public's Trust In 2019

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