Linton Weeks

Linton Weeks joined NPR in the summer of 2008, as its national correspondent for Digital News. He immediately hit the campaign trail, covering the Democratic and Republican National Conventions; fact-checking the debates; and exploring the candidates, the issues and the electorate.

Weeks is originally from Tennessee, and graduated from Rhodes College in 1976. He was the founding editor of Southern Magazine in 1986. The magazine was bought — and crushed — in 1989 by Time-Warner. In 1990, he was named managing editor of The Washington Post's Sunday magazine. Four years later, he became the first director of the newspaper's website, Washingtonpost.com. From 1995 until 2008, he was a staff writer in the Style section of The Washington Post.

He currently lives in a suburb of Washington with the artist Jan Taylor Weeks. In 2009, they created The Stone and Holt Weeks Foundation to honor their beloved sons.

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Participation Nation
6:33 am
Thu August 30, 2012

Teaching Reading In Clarksburg, W.Va.

Addressing illiteracy in West Virginia.
Courtesy of LVHC

So far this year 21 tutors — under the aegis of Literacy Volunteers of Harrison County — have helped 80 students in and around Clarksburg and Harrison County.

"Many of the adults we tutor have lost their jobs, and now find themselves ill-equipped to find employment in today's job market," says Director Kim Payne. "Most of them are working toward a GED, but many of them have high school diplomas. However, the workplace has changed over the years, and now most jobs require not only higher reading and math levels, but computer skills as well."

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Participation Nation
2:33 pm
Wed August 29, 2012

Foamy Philanthropy In Spanish Fork, Utah

Sliding through Foam Fest.
Justin Nathaniel Kenderes Courtesy of 5kFF

Dave Ballard got the idea of a wacky charity race while watching a YouTube video of someone slip-sliding through a slough of foam. The first 5K Foam Fest was held in the fall of 2011 in Idaho.

A year and more than a dozen events later, Ballard says his group has raised more than $10,000 for charity, with most of those funds being donated to Shared Hope International, an organization that combats human trafficking.

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Participation Nation
12:33 pm
Wed August 29, 2012

Protecting Families In Fort Thompson, S.D.

A handmade poster at Wiconi Wawokiya.
Courtesy of WWI

In Crow, Wiconi Wawokiya means "helping families."

The Wiconi Wawokiya, Inc. shelter — also known as Project SAFE — is on the Crow Creek Sioux Indian Reservation in central South Dakota. It serves more than 350 victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse.

"The needs are great," says the program's director Lisa Thompson-Heth. The center provides an array of services, including crisis counseling, medical assistance and legal advocacy.

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Participation Nation
1:04 pm
Tue August 28, 2012

Circles Of Friends In Cheyenne, Wyo.

A caring circle in Wyoming.
Courtesy of Connections Corner

The mission of Circles Wyoming, part of a national anti-poverty movement, is "to build intentional, diverse and long-term relationships as people move from barely surviving to thriving."

Trained "intentional friends" are matched with someone who is looking to escape poverty, explains Director Tim Thorson. They do everything "from having coffee once a month to talk about financial goals to going to the gym together ... things that any friends would do."

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Participation Nation
10:34 am
Tue August 28, 2012

Home Away From Home In Bismarck, N.D.

Tracy's Sanctuary House
Courtesy of TSH

Originally published on Tue August 28, 2012 5:00 pm

In August 2004, Tracy Rittel was in a fatal car accident near Fargo. While Tracy battled for her life, her family had trouble finding a place to stay near the hospital.

From that experience, the Rittels created Tracy's Sanctuary House in Bismarck for families who find themselves in a similar situation. Since 2005, some 1,500 families have used the home.

A dozen volunteers "put their hearts and souls into making sure the house is kept up," says Tracy's daughter Kelsey Zottnick.

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Participation Nation
8:04 am
Tue August 28, 2012

Saying Thanks In Hattiesburg, Miss.

Capt. Michael Davidson of the Hattiesburg Fire Dept. and Jaycee Marquise Slator.
Picasa Courtesy of Hattiesburg Jaycees

Every year since 1994, volunteers from the Hattiesburg Jaycees have been holding a blood drive to replenish the area's blood supply. This Friday, the group will be grilling burgers and hot dogs for anyone willing to kick off Labor Day Weekend by donating at the Labor of Love Blood Drive.

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Participation Nation
11:33 am
Mon August 27, 2012

Honoring Elders In Green Bay, Wis.

From the Women Over 90 project.
Courtesy of Kara Counard

When Kara Counard staged a photography exhibit at the ARTgarage in Green Bay this summer, she interviewed and photographed 33 subjects — women from the ages of 89-100 years old. She called it the Women Over 90 Project.

To give more volume to the exhibit, Kara brought in a group of fifth grade girls. The young people visited a nursing home and interviewed and photographed women in their 90s.

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Participation Nation
12:03 pm
Sat August 25, 2012

Replanting Trees In New Orleans, La.

City Park in New Orleans.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 6:18 am

More than 100,000 trees — including many beautiful live oaks and magnolias — were lost when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005.

In response, Hike For KaTREEna — a nonprofit group dedicated to reforesting the Crescent City — was created.

Since 2006, more than 10,000 volunteers have helped to plant 13,400 trees — including oaks, cypress, red maples, crepe myrtles, magnolias, redbuds, Savannah hollies and citrus trees such as navel orange, satsuma, lemon, lime and grapefruit.

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Sports
12:24 pm
Fri August 24, 2012

Lance Armstrong: When A Hero Lets Us Down

Originally published on Sun August 26, 2012 7:54 am

Lance Armstrong. He has a superhero's name, right out of the comic books. He moved from conquering stages of one kind — bike racing — to stages of another kind — cancer. He's chiseled and driven and known all over the world.

But now we learn that the superhero has given up in one of his biggest battles. He says he will no longer continue to fight charges by the United States Anti-Doping Agency that he used performance enhancing drugs to win bicycle races.

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Participation Nation
10:33 am
Fri August 24, 2012

Barrio Basketball In El Paso, Texas

A rainbow of teams at basketball camp.
Mike James Courtesy of AUFP

A summertime basketball camp can cost a kid several hundred dollars. But the Basketball in the Barrio camp — held just two blocks from the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso — costs just one buck.

Actually, only a portion of the camp is about basketball, says co-founder Rus Bradburd. The experience is sponsored by Athletes United for Peace, a group that tries to promote peace and harmony through sports.

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Participation Nation
7:33 am
Fri August 24, 2012

Taking Care In Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Community service in Alabama.
Courtesy of UA

One of the first activities of the new school year at the University of Alabama is Hands On Tuscaloosa, a morning of community service. On Sat., Aug. 25, students can choose to refurbish a neighborhood baseball diamond, clean-up a local high school, create a carnival or do something else worthwhile.

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Around the Nation
4:52 am
Thu August 23, 2012

From Politics To Pestilence: Everything Is Earlier

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 11:17 am

Leaves are falling in the summertime. School starts in early August in many places. Politicos are already talking about the presidential election — of 2016.

Everything is happening earlier.

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Participation Nation
7:32 am
Tue August 14, 2012

Blind Stokers Club In San Diego, Calif.

Captain and stoker in the BSC.
Evan Rasmussen Courtesy of the BSC

In tandem bicycle lingo, the captain is in the front, the stoker in the back.

The San Diego-based Blind Stokers Club, founded by Dave White, pairs sighted captains with blind stokers on high performance tandem bikes. As part of a year-round cycling program, members train for Cycling for Sight, a three-day, 200-mile event that benefits the San Diego Center for the Blind.

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Participation Nation
7:33 am
Wed August 8, 2012

Providing Holistic Care In Durham, N.C.

Sharon Elliott-Bynum is the co-founder of Caare.
Courtesy of Caare

Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 5:11 am

This month we are collecting your stories about the good things Americans are doing to make their community a better place. Some of your contributions will become blog posts and the project will end with a story that weaves together submissions to make a story of Americans by Americans for Americans.

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Participation Nation
2:03 am
Fri August 3, 2012

The Pick Of The Litter In Taos, N.M.

Bruce Boyd helps clean up his community by gathering the litter that collects on the highway.
Linton Weeks

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 5:23 am

This month we are collecting your stories about the good things Americans are doing to make their community a better place. Some of your contributions will become blog posts and the project will end with a story that weaves together submissions to make a story of Americans by Americans for Americans.

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Participation Nation
7:53 am
Wed August 1, 2012

Homeless Kids At Play In Washington, D.C.

A volunteer reads a book with a visitor at The Homeless Children's Playtime Project.
Courtesy of The Homeless Children's Playtime Project

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 7:58 am

This month we are collecting your stories about the good things Americans are doing to make their community a better place. Some of your contributions will become blog posts and the project will end with a story that weaves together submissions to make a story of Americans by Americans for Americans.

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It's All Politics
4:06 am
Thu July 19, 2012

The ABCs Of Election Reform

A Florida election official tests the accuracy of a voting machine on Aug. 4, 2010, in Miami.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 5:49 am

A. Following the controversy-crazy U.S. presidential election of 2000, in which the Supreme Court was drafted to determine the outcome, there have been efforts by various groups to reform the country's electoral system. However, "we have not changed much of substance really since the 2000 debacle," says Norman Ornstein, a co-writer of the 2010 Election Reform Project report.

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Politics
12:57 am
Sat July 14, 2012

'Exhaustion' Can Signify A Lot More Than 'Tired'

The office of U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. initially said he had gone into seclusion for exhaustion. Later, that was revised to a mood disorder.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

We may never know all the reasons why Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., has dropped out of sight, but history teaches us that if a public figure is linked to "exhaustion," the word can be code for something more problematic than simply being tired.

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It's All Politics
1:03 am
Mon July 9, 2012

The ABCs Of Politicians

Even in zoos, donkeys and elephants turn their backs on their parties.
iStockphoto.com

A. First, politicians began omitting their party affiliations on campaign literature and websites. Politics "is a dirty word," says David King, a lecturer on public policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. King told the MetroWest Daily News: "Why would you want to put it right out there; why would you sell a shirt with a stain on it? You need to appeal on other terms by downplaying partisanship."

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Monkey See
5:36 am
Thu July 5, 2012

Life In Juxtopia

Katie Kiang sits by an electrical outlet and a quiet spot to study inside the air-conditioned Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda, Md., on Monday.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 9:48 am

For five full days — following Friday night's nasty wind-and-rain flashstorm — you were without electricity in the Washington suburbs. Dodging felled trees and fallen power wires, you made daily forays to nearby cafes and coffee shops, establishments that did have power. There you could recharge the batteries in your laptop and smartphone and take care of various electronic chores, such as banking, sending gifts, ordering necessities and sorting through email.

But mostly you stayed home, reading books and actual newspapers, just like in the Olden Days.

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Politics
7:34 am
Fri June 15, 2012

In Washington, Leaking As A Way Of Life

President Richard Nixon tells reporters he will not allow his legal counsel, John Dean, to testify before Congress in the Watergate investigation, March 15, 1973. Leaks about the Watergate break-in eventually helped lead to Nixon's resignation. And his administration fought and lost a Supreme Court battle over leaking of the so-called Pentagon Papers about Vietnam.
Charles Tasnadi AP

Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 9:27 am

A leak — in a pipeline, at a nuclear plant, within a top-secret agency — can be dangerous, disastrous, deadly. But sometimes a leak can also be a good thing — drawing attention to a larger systemic problem.

The debate over news leaks bubbled up again this week after reports that The New York Times relied on information from top-tier and unnamed U.S. officials to reveal details about the U.S. cyberbattle against Iran.

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It's All Politics
8:05 am
Wed June 13, 2012

International Skinny On The U.S. Election

President Obama climbs the podium to give a media briefing at the end of a NATO summit in Lisbon, Portugal, on Nov. 20, 2010.
Markus Schreiber AP

Originally published on Wed June 13, 2012 8:54 am

If it's true that America now resides smack dab in the middle of an interdependent global village, then we should probably pay attention to what other countries think about us — our values, our leadership and the presidential election of 2012.

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It's All Politics
6:01 am
Mon June 11, 2012

Why It's Good To Be The Incumbent

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry debates President George W. Bush on Oct. 13, 2004. Bush later won re-election.
Rick T. Wilking AP

Originally published on Mon June 11, 2012 8:33 am

Two political tried-and-truisms: Sitting presidents are hard to unseat, and history repeats itself.

To the first point: In the past 10 presidential elections with incumbent candidates, the incumbents have won seven times. The only incumbent losers were Gerald Ford in 1976, Jimmy Carter in 1980 and George H.W. Bush in 1992.

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It's All Politics
7:25 am
Tue June 5, 2012

The Uniqueness Of The 2012 Election

Protesters in Nice, France, hold banners depicting then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy and President Obama before a November 2011 G-20 summit where global financial issues were discussed. Sarkozy has since lost re-election; some political scientists say economic problems in Europe also could play an unprecedented role in the upcoming U.S. election.
Frederic Nebinger Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 5, 2012 10:11 am

All U.S. presidential elections "are unique in some fashion," says John G. Geer, a political science professor at Vanderbilt University.

Sure, but what about 2012? What exactly will make the 2012 election between President Obama and Mitt Romney truly unique?

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American Dreams: Then And Now
9:46 am
Wed May 30, 2012

With The American Dream Comes The Nightmare

Unemployed circus clown Tim Torkildson, aka Dusty the Clown, sits on a bench on the north side of the U.S. Capitol in May.
Bill Clark CQ Roll Call

Originally published on Mon August 6, 2012 6:34 am

One American's dream can be another American's nightmare.

Consider: Some people long to live in big cities; others think cities have ruined the landscape. Some Americans love to drive big old honking SUVs; others see huge cars as pollution-producing monsters. For some people, the American dream is a steady office job. For others, the office is a sinkhole and the real dream is freedom from the office.

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It's All Politics
7:38 am
Tue May 29, 2012

Hmmm. The 2012 Election Reminds Me Of Something

President George W. Bush passes behind Democratic challenger Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., after a debate in Tempe, Ariz., in October 2004.
Ron Edmonds AP

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 11:50 am

It's the sort of question you toss out to a table full of politics buffs — sharing a pitcher of cold beer. (We'll provide the aficionados; you imagine the table and the cold pitcher.)

Which presidential election in American history most resembles the coming election between President Obama and Mitt Romney — and why?

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Pop Culture
9:39 am
Sun May 27, 2012

Hey! You! The Unstoppable Rise Of Heckling

An unidentified heckler lets loose as President Obama begins a speech at the Martin Luther King memorial dedication in Washington, D.C., in October 2011.
Mannie Garcia UPI/Landov

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 2:51 pm

As summer nears, Great American Hecklers are being spotted all over the place.

You can see them — and hear their calls — at commencements, sporting events, political gatherings. Hecklers on the right and hecklers on the left.

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Election 2012
7:52 am
Wed May 23, 2012

Get Ready For The First Robot President

While American politicians may be scripted, they're not this robotic. But whoever wins the presidency this year will preside over a U.S. economy where automation is becoming increasingly important.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:48 am

As many folks know, Bill Clinton was called the First Black President by Toni Morrison in The New Yorker.

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Remembrances
4:04 am
Wed May 16, 2012

A Fleeting Memory Of Carlos Fuentes

Mexican write Carlos Fuentes at the Hay Festival Cartagena in January.
Claudio Rubio AP

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 11:43 am

When I heard that the Mexican literary legend Carlos Fuentes died Tuesday at 83, I remembered a long, easygoing interview I did with him years ago. We talked about many things — including what epitaph he wanted carved on his tombstone.

It was the autumn of 1995 and I was a reporter at The Washington Post, assigned to write a profile of the elegant, eloquent Fuentes. I draw on that story now, for twice-told tales worth telling.

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Politics
10:41 am
Mon May 7, 2012

6 Options For The Aging Politician

Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., 80, faces a GOP primary battle Tuesday that could end his political career. Here, Lugar talks with Capitol Hill colleagues on March 6.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 5:49 am

At the ripening age of 80 years old — more than 35 of them spent in Congress — Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., is scrapping for political survival. On Tuesday he faces state Treasurer Richard Mourdock in his party's primary.

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