HPPR hosts & contributors
Nancy Pearl is a regular commentator about books on NPR's Morning Edition and NPR affiliate stations KUOW in Seattle and KWGS in Tulsa.
The New York Times calls her “the talk of librarian circles.” Readers can’t get enough of her recommendations while bookstores and libraries offer standing room only whenever she visits. Since the release of the best-selling Book Lust in 2003 and the Librarian Action Figure modeled in her likeness, Nancy Pearl has become a rock star among readers and the tastemaker people turn to when deciding what to read next.
Having worked as a librarian and bookseller in Detroit, Tulsa, and Seattle, Pearl's knowledge of and love for books is unmatched. In 1998, she developed the program "If All of Seattle Read the Same Book," which spread across the country. The former Executive Director of the Washington Center for the Book, Pearl celebrates the written word by speaking at bookstores and libraries across the country and on her monthly television program Book Lust with Nancy Pearl on the Seattle Channel.
In 2004, Pearl became the 50th winner of the Women’s National Book Association Award for her extraordinary contribution to the world of books. In the moments when Pearl finds herself without a book, she is an avid bicyclist and happy grandmother of two. She lives in Seattle with her husband Joe.
Frank Langfitt is NPR's international correspondent based in Shanghai. He covers the epic story of China's economic rise and its implications at home and abroad for Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Talk of the Nation and Planet Money. Along with Beijing Correspondent Louisa Lim, he also covers Japan and the Koreas.
Before moving to China, Langfitt was NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi. He covered Somalia's civil war from the front-lines in Mogadishu, where he learned to run fast in Kevlar. He interviewed cattle rustlers in South Sudan and chatted up imprisoned Somali pirates, who insisted they were just misunderstood fishermen. During the Arab spring, Langfitt covered the uprising and crushing of the reform movement in Bahrain.
Prior to Africa, Langfitt was a labor correspondent based in Washington, D.C. He covered the 2008 financial crisis, roamed the hills of West Virginia investigating coal mine disasters and worked the union halls of Detroit as General Motors and Chrysler collapsed into bankruptcy.
Shanghai is Langfitt's second posting in China. Before coming to NPR, he spent five years as a correspondent in Beijing for The Baltimore Sun. During that time, he covered the Hong Kong handover, the fall of Suharto in Indonesia and reported from Taiwan, South Korea and Vietnam. In the opening days of the Afghan War, Langfitt also reported from Pakistan and Kashmir.
In 2008, Langfitt covered the Beijing Olympics as a member of NPR's team, which won an Edward R. Murrow Award for sports reporting. Langfitt's print and visual journalism have also been honored by the Overseas Press Association and the White House News Photographers Association.
Langfitt spent his early years in journalism stringing for the Philadelphia Inquirer and living in Hazard, Kentucky, where he covered the state's Appalachian coalfields for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Before becoming a reporter, Langfitt drove a taxi in Philadelphia and dug latrines in Mexico. Langfitt is a graduate of Princeton and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard.
Joe Neel is NPR's deputy senior supervising editor and a correspondent on the Science Desk.
As a leader of NPR's award-winning health and science coverage, Neel focuses on stories about medical research and health-care delivery. Neel assigns stories to reporters and correspondents, helps them produce the stories and edits the pieces for broadcast or publication on NPR.org. He is a frequent guest or contributor to NPR's programs, blogs, and podcasts.
Currently, Neel oversees the Monday "Your Health" segment on Morning Edition. He supervises the NPR-Kaiser Health News-Member Station Reporting Project on Health Care in the States, which aims to strengthen and deepen local coverage of health care issues. Neel directs coverage of breaking news in health and science including the swine flu pandemic, medical relief efforts after the Haitian earthquake and cholera outbreaks, and health concerns after the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Neel led the network's coverage of the debate over the 2010 health care overhaul in Congress and he continues to direct coverage of the law's implementation and efforts to overturn it. He edited series including "Are You Covered? A Look at Americans and Health Insurance." In recent years, Neel launched NPR's "Your Health" podcast and helped launch and grow "Shots," NPR's health blog.
During his tenure as editor, NPR's health reporters and correspondents have won numerous awards, including the Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society for Professional Journalists, the Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for Distinguished Reporting on Congress, the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Journalism Prize, and the Association of Health Care Journalism award. Neel won the prestigious Kaiser Family Foundation Media Fellowship in 2007.
In 1994, Neel started filing stories about medicine and health as a freelancer for NPR and joined staff two years later.
Neel earned bachelor degrees from Washington University in St. Louis in both biology and German literature and language. He studied biology at the Universitaet Tuebingen in Germany.