Amy Walters

Amy Walters is a producer for NPR based at NPR West in Los Angeles.

After graduating from Earlham College with a Bachelor's degree in English, Walters interned at NPR in the Middle East. After returning to the states she joined the staff of Morning Edition in 2000. Soon Walters was recruited to All Things Considered and spent two years on the show. On September 11, 2001, Walters stood on top of NPR's Washington, DC, headquarters watching the smoke float by from the attack on the Pentagon. Walters contributed to NPR's award-winning coverage of that day. The following year she interviewed and produced several minute long segments of survivors remembering the loved ones they lost that day.

As NPR expanded west, Walters followed. A native of Southern California, Walters returned to the golden state as a field producer at NPR's new production facility near Los Angeles. She produced NPR's coverage of the Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's election, award-winning coverage of California's prison system, and the death of pop legend Michael Jackson

Breaking news takes up much of her time but she has also been recognized for her investigative work. With NPR's crime and punishment correspondent Laura Sullivan, Walters was honored with the DART Award for Excellence in coverage of trauma, the RTNDA Edward R. Murrow Award for Investigative Reporting, and the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award for their NPR series, "The Sexual Abuse of Native American Women."

The next year Walters and Sullivan received both The Peabody Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Journalism for their series uncovering the truth about the 1972 murder in Angola, Louisiana.

She still travels around the country and the world for NPR. She spent time in Baghdad and produced much of NPR's post-Katrina coverage in New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico. Recently, Walters has spent her time uncovering the life and culture of Los Angeles' notorious Skid Row neighborhood, exploring the culture and economics of the marijuana industry in Humboldt County and reporting from Fort Hood, Texas after the shooting massacre there.

"The common conception is that suicide is a problem for high-income countries," says Dr. Shekhar Saxena, director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at the World Health Organization.

But WHO's first ever report on suicide prevention offers a startlingly different perspective: three-fourths of the world's 800,000 yearly suicide deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. We spoke with Saxena about the findings.

When you sign up for a reporting fellowship to learn about the health of newborns in Ethiopia, you expect things to be a little different from what you're used to in the U.S. To be perfectly honest, a little worse. But Ethiopia actually surprised me, even before I took off.

I did my research, and it turns out that Ethiopia's health care system is getting better — significantly better. It's meeting international goals, winning awards from the United States and, more important, babies are living longer and fewer mothers are dying in childbirth.

In the world of fast fashion, two U.S.-based companies loom large: Forever 21 and American Apparel. Both are based in Los Angeles, but the two could not be more different.

American Apparel proudly boasts that the clothes it sells are "made in the USA." In contrast, Forever 21 subcontracts with factories all over the world.

Dov Charney, American Apparel's Canadian-American founder and CEO, has a reputation. "I knew from a very early age — in elementary school — that I was going to rub some people the wrong way," he says.

What is Nordic cool?

Right now, it's a massive festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., with artists and designers displaying art and culture from their very top sliver of the globe.

The festival arrives at what seems like just the right moment for Americans.

From the Danish modern furniture of the 1950s to the omnipresence of Ikea, Americans have long been attracted to the austere design of Nordic countries.

Lots of companies make products that don't have much in common, but AeroVironment specializes in two products that are very different — electric vehicle chargers, which keep cars like the Nissan Leaf on the road, and military drones. The Los Angeles-area firm is a leading manufacturer of small unmanned aircraft.

Summertime is beach time in Southern California, even at night. Locals gather around bonfires, roast marshmallows and enjoy each other's company. On some very special nights, there's even sex — at least for the fish.

The grunion run happens only in the spring and summer months. Late at night, under the full and new moons, thousands of tiny, silvery fish swim to shore for a very peculiar mating ritual.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Oh, the famed Sturgis motorcycle rally is wrapping up its 72nd year in South Dakota this weekend. And as the rally ages, so do many of the riders. NPR's Amy Walters was there with some rally old-timers - rally old-timers - checking out what's new on three wheels.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOTORCYCLE ENGINE)