Mark Memmott

Mark Memmott is one of the hosts of NPR's "The Two-Way" news blog.

"The Two-Way," which Memmott helped to launched when he came to NPR in 2009, focuses on breaking news, analysis, and the most compelling stories being reported by NPR News and other news media.

Before joining NPR, Memmott worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor at USA Today. He focused on a range of coverage from politics, foreign affairs, economics, and the media. He's reported from places across the Unites States and the world, including half a dozen trips to Afghanistan in 2002-2003.

During his time at USA Today, Memmott, helped launch and lead three USAToday.com news blogs: "On Deadline," "The Oval" and "On Politics," the site's 2008 presidential campaign blog.

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The Two-Way
8:02 am
Mon July 22, 2013

VIDEO: 'Grandma Drummer' Says She Loves To Play

"Grandma Drummer" — Mary Hvizda — in action.
Coalition Drum Shop video

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 8:52 am

We can't start the new week without posting more video of the "grandma drummer" who captured so much attention on Friday.

As we said in an update Saturday, the mystery woman who became a YouTube hit thanks to video of her rocking out at a La Cross, Wis., drum shop has been ID'd as Mary Hvizda, 63, of Onalaska, Wis.

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The Two-Way
7:40 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Dozens Killed, Hundreds Injured By Earthquakes In China

Rescuers clear debris Monday in China's Gansu province, where dozens of people were killed when earthquakes struck the region.
Guo Gang Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 8:50 am

The death toll is climbing after two earthquakes that struck western China early Monday.

More than 70 people are dead and at least 400 others are injured in Gansu province, the BBC says. According to The Associated Press, China's state media say the death toll stands at 75.

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The Two-Way
7:08 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Search For More Murder Victims Ends In Cleveland Suburb

Police tape outside a garage in East Cleveland, Ohio. A woman's body was found inside. Two other victims were also discovered in the neighborhood.
Kim Palmer Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 7:04 pm

The search for more more bodies ended late Sunday in a Cleveland suburb where the remains of three women were found wrapped in plastic over the weekend.

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The Two-Way
6:34 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Royal Arrival: It's A Boy!

Crowds of tourists gather on the steps of the Queen Victoria Memorial Statue outside Buckingham Palace in central London on Monday.
Justin Tallis AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 6:55 pm

The Duchess of Cambridge, better known to most of the world as the former Kate Middleton, has given birth to a baby boy, the crown announced in a press release.

The baby was born at 4:24 p.m., London time on Monday, and weighed 8 pounds 6 ounces. The baby, whose name we still don't know, is third in line for the throne.

The announcement continues:

"The Duke of Cambridge [Prince William] was present for the birth.

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The Two-Way
6:17 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Not All The News About Detroit Is Bad

This Detroit store's neon sign sends a message.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Even as newscasts and newssites are using Detroit's bankruptcy filing to talk about Motown's "meltdown," we've found these stories:

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The Two-Way
5:14 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

How President Obama 'Showed His Brother Card'

President Obama during his appearance at the White House on Friday.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 8:25 pm

(Click here for updates we added after this post was published.)

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The Two-Way
3:52 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Look Up And Smile: NASA's Taking More Photos Of Earth

That little blue dot is how Earth will likely appear in a photo shot from a spacecraft that is studying Saturn.
NASA/JPL-Caltech simulation

As Robert Krulwich says, "it's going to be a very small picture, but we're all going to be in it — all trillions of us on Earth."

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The Two-Way
2:21 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Obama: 'Trayvon Martin Could Have Been Me 35 Years Ago'

President Obama at the White House on Friday, as he spoke about the death of Trayvon Martin and the national discussion that the case has generated.
Larry Downing Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 7:15 pm

"When Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son," President Obama told reporters Friday afternoon. "Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago."

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The Two-Way
1:43 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Asiana Crash Victim Was Alive When Hit By Emergency Vehicle

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 8:47 pm

Ye Meng Yuan, one of two Chinese teenagers who died at the scene of Asiana Flight 214's crash in San Francisco, was alive when she was struck by an emergency vehicle responding to the disaster, San Mateo County (Calif.) coroner Robert Foucrault told reporters Friday.

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The Two-Way
7:26 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

New Photos Show 'Real Face' Of Tsarnaev, Police Sgt. Says

Boston bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on April 19 as he emerged from a boat stored in a Watertown, Mass., backyard. The red dot of a police sharpshooter's laser sight can be seen on his forehead.
Mass. State Police Sgt. Sean Murphy Boston Magazine

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 11:47 pm

(Updated 11:45 p.m. ET)

Massachusetts State Police Sgt. Sean Murphy, who released images that depict the capture and arrest of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, has reportedly been "relieved of duty," Boston Magazine reported Thursday night.

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The Two-Way
5:14 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

GOP Won't Defend Ban On Veterans Benefits For Same-Sex Couples

U.S. Army Captain Michael Potoczniak (right) embraced his partner of 10 years Todd Saunders as they obtained their marriage license at City Hall in San Francisco on June 29.
Stephen Lam Reuters /Landov

House Republicans, who defended in court the Defense of Marriage Act only to see it struck down by the Supreme Court last month, have now decided not to try to defend a similar law that denies veterans' benefits to married, same-sex couples.

BuzzFeed, which broke the news Thursday of the GOP's decision, reports that:

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The Two-Way
4:27 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Florida Community Asks Mermaid To Swim Elsewhere

Jenna Conti, also known as Eden Sirene, before being asked to stay out of the water.
Courtesy of Bob Abruzzese

Jenna Conti just wants to swim.

In her custom-made mermaid costume.

At the Fishhawk Ranch community pools in Tampa, Fla.

But rules are rules, the local development district board says. And the rules say no swim fins in the pools.

So Conti, or Eden Sirene as she's known when she swims, has been left high and dry.

She "just wanted to really show some magic here in Fishhawk," Conti says.

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The Two-Way
4:07 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

EPA, Labor Nominees Confirmed

By 59-40 vote mostly along party lines, the Senate on Thursday afternoon confirmed Gina McCarthy as the next head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

That followed a 54-46 vote early in the day to confirm Thomas Perez as Labor secretary.

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The Two-Way
3:03 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Man Who Hoped To Testify Against Whitey Bulger Is Found Dead

Stephen Rakes as he arrived at the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Boston on June 12 for the first day of the "Whitey" Bulger's trial.
Brian Snyder Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 6:31 pm

Stephen "Stippo" Rakes, who claimed that notorious Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger forced him — at gunpoint — to sell a liquor store in 1984, was found dead Wednesday in Lincoln, Mass.

According to the Middlesex (Mass.) District Attorney's office, "there were no obvious signs of trauma. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is conducting an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death."

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The Two-Way
5:15 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Cleveland Hero Charles Ramsey: I'm Not Broke Or Homeless

Charles Ramsey on the day three young women (and one of the women's daughters) were rescued from a Cleveland home. He gained fame for his accounts of what happened.
Scott Shaw The Plain Dealer /Landov

If you've seen stories in the past few days about Cleveland's Charles Ramsey supposedly being out of work, broke and homeless, then you'll want to read this update that has word from the man himself:

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The Two-Way
4:36 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

'We're Here To Stay' Says Newly Confirmed Consumer Watchdog

Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Ron Sachs/pool Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 7:11 pm

One day after his two years in limbo ended and he was confirmed by the Senate as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Richard Cordray told NPR that though political bickering held up his nomination he now believes he has bipartisan support for the bureau's work.

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The Two-Way
3:20 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Newly Discovered Dinosaur Sure Had One 'Supersize Schnoz'

An artist's image of Nasutoceratops titusi.
Lukas Panzarin for the Natural History Museum of Utah

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 7:11 pm

The Proceedings of the Royal Society politely refers to it as a "short-snouted horned dinosaur."

National Geographic is less reserved and gets right to the obvious point: "Paleontologists have discovered a new dinosaur, a Triceratops relative with a supersize schnoz that once roamed present-day Utah."

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The Two-Way
2:19 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Economy's Growing At 'Modest To Moderate Pace,' Fed Says

Part I of the news from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday was Chairman Ben Bernanke's signal to the financial markets that the central bank won't be shifting away from its "easy money" policy just yet.

Part II was just released. In its latest "Beige Book" review of economic conditions around the nation the Fed says that:

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The Two-Way
1:59 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Mandela Has Made 'Remarkable Progress,' Daughter Says

On the eve of Nelson Mandela's 95th birthday, street vendors in Pretoria, South Africa, were selling T-shirts to mark the occasion. Madiba is Mandela's tribal name.
Christopher Furlong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 2:42 pm

Nelson Mandela is making "remarkable progress" and could be released from a Pretoria hospital soon, his daughter tells Sky News on the eve of the anti-apartheid icon's 95th birthday.

Zindzi Mandela, 52, also says her father is communicating with his eyes and hands, watching television and that "you can see he is there in his eyes; the same energy and strength."

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The Two-Way
6:12 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Heroin & Alcohol Killed 'Glee' Star Monteith, Coroner Says

Actor Cory Monteith on June 8 in Los Angeles. He died Saturday in Vancouver, Canada.
Jonathan Leibson Getty Images for Chrysalis

An autopsy shows that actor Cory Monteith was killed by "a mixed drug toxicity ... heroin, primarily, and also alcohol," the British Columbia coroner's office announced Tuesday afternoon.

Coroner Barbara McLintock released that conclusion in a short video her office posted on YouTube.

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