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.
NPR's Melissa Block speaks with two friends from Hong Kong born 25 years ago, when China resumed control over the city. They've faced difficult decisions since, personally and politically.
An NPR/Ipsos poll shows a stark partisan split on laws that prevent transgender youth from accessing medical care for gender transition.
Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., chaired a hearing on new laws that restrict classroom discussion of gender, sexual orientation and race. Students, parents and teachers are among those who spoke.
Old accusations of LGBTQ people "grooming" and "recruiting" children have gained new traction. When have we heard this before? What counternarrative are activists using to win over public opinion?
Old accusations of LGBTQ people "grooming" and "recruiting" children have gained new traction. When have we heard this before? What's the most persuasive counter-narrative to win over public opinion?
2022 is set to break records for anti-LGBTQ legislation, with hundreds of bills introduced across the U.S. Who's behind this wave of legislation, and why is this becoming such a potent wedge issue?
The Biden administration soon will allow people to indicate their gender as X on U.S. passports. Until now, non-binary, intersex and gender non-conforming people had to choose male or female.
Now that Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed the Parental Rights in Education bill into law, teachers fear it will muzzle speech and further stigmatize LGBTQ youth.
Florida's governor has signed what critics call the "Don't Say Gay" bill. Teachers share how they plan to comply and how it will affect classroom discussions on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Women's colleges have changed policies for a generation that increasingly identifies as nonbinary, but Hollins University in Roanoke has not. (Story originally aired on ATC on Nov. 26, 2021.)