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.
Trans people in the U.S. have gained more rights in recent years, yet in many states those same rights are under attack. Now they are grappling with their newfound visibility – and vulnerability.
In Soil: The Story of a Black Mother's Garden, Camille Dungy describes her years-long project to transform her weed-filled, water-hogging, monochromatic lawn into a pollinator's paradise.
NPR's Melissa Block talks with South Carolina Sen. Sandy Senn, who was one of six Republican state senators who helped block a near-total abortion ban from advancing.
Poet Camille Dungy made her lawn into an eco-friendly pollinator's paradise of native plants. Her memoir links diversifying the landscape and diversifying the voices who write about the natural world.
NPR's Melissa Block talks with New York Times reporter Brooks Barnes about the feud between Disney and Gov. Ron DeSantis and the power that Disney holds in the state of Florida.
Matika Wilbur was tired of seeing one-dimensional, insipid, degrading depictions of Native Americans in mainstream media and popular culture. So she did something about it.
NPR's Melissa Block talks with Michael Brenner, professor at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, about the review the 1972 Munich Olympics terrorist attack that killed 11 Israeli athletes.
NPR's Melissa Block speaks with actress Rachel Weisz and screenwriter Alice Birch about the new series Dead Ringers, about a pair of celebrity OB/GYN twins in New York.
NPR's Melissa Block talks with Rep. Zooey Zephyr about her ban from attending or speaking in the Montana State House for the rest of the year.
NPR's Melissa Block talks with Gene Sperling, coordinator for the American Rescue Plan, about Republicans' debt ceiling bill that would slash federal spending and undo some of Biden's domestic agenda.