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
3:47 am
Tue March 19, 2013

Housing Rebound Continues: Starts Rose 0.8 Percent In February

A home under construction in Atlanta late last year. The housing sector is now one of the economy's bright spots.
Erik S. Lesser EPA /LANDOV

Construction was begun on 0.8 percent more homes in February than in January, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development say. Their report is another in a series of signs in recent months that the housing sector's rebound continues.

The number of "housing starts" was up 27.7 percent from February 2012.

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The Two-Way
3:19 am
Tue March 19, 2013

Dueling Claims In Syria After Unconfirmed Reports About Chemical Weapons

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 7:23 am

While state-controlled media in Syria are claiming that opposition forces are responsible for what may have been a chemical weapon attack Tuesday in the city of Aleppo, rebel spokesman Qassim Saadeddine is telling Reuters that the opposition was "not behind this attack."

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The Two-Way
2:26 am
Tue March 19, 2013

For Pope Francis, A Simple Mass And A Call To Protect The Poor

Greeting the faithful: Pope Francis as he arrived in Vatican City's St. Peter's Square on Tuesday for his inaugural mass.
Valdrin Xhemaj EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 7:14 am

With less silk, lace and gold than many of his predecessors displayed, Pope Francis on Tuesday was inaugurated at a Holy Mass in St. Peter's Square during which he appealed to world leaders to be protectors of the poor and the environment, NPR's Sylvia Poggioli tells our Newscast Desk.

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The Two-Way
8:43 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Steve Davis, Oklahoma Star QB In The '70s, Killed In Crash Of Small Plane

Oklahoma quarterback Steve Davis, left, and coach Barry Switzer celebrate the team's No. 1 ranking after the Orange Bowl in 1976. Davis, 60, died Sunday in the crash of a small plane. Switzer called Davis a "great role model for young people."
AP

One of the two men killed Sunday when a small plane crashed into a house near South Bend, Ind., was former University of Oklahoma star quarterback Steve Davis, the St. Joseph County (Ind.) coroner's office says.

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The Two-Way
6:50 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Stalker Who Inspired 'The Natural' Dies; Lived Real Life In Obscurity

Ruth Ann Steinhagen, then-19, in the Cook County Jail after she shot Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Eddie Waitkus in 1949. On the table: a photo of Waitkus taken in the hospital where he was recovering from his bullet wound. The story of his shooting was the inspiration for Bernard Malamud's novel The Natural. Steinhagen died this past December.
AP

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 12:54 pm

  • NPR's Robert Siegel and Bob Goldsborough of the Chicago Tribune: What happened to Ruth Ann Steinhagen?
  • Bob Goldsborough on Ruth Ann Steinhagen's quiet life

Though we've seen The Natural many times, we have to confess we didn't know that a real woman shot a real baseball player in 1949 and that their story inspired Bernard Malamud's 1952 book and Robert Redford's 1984 movie.

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The Two-Way
5:07 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Weapons, Explosives Found In Florida Dorm After Student's Death

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 7:42 am

There's worrisome news from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, where a man who authorities say was a student at the school apparently killed himself Monday — which led to the discovery of "a handgun, an assault weapon and [improvised explosive devices]" in his dorm room, according to school officials.

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The Two-Way
4:29 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Top Stories: Labor Nominee Coming; Cyprus Bailout Shakes Markets

Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general at the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, is expected to be President Obama's nominee for the post of Labor secretary.
Peggy Turbett The Plain Dealer /Landov
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The Two-Way
4:05 am
Mon March 18, 2013

After Helicopter Jail Break, Two Cons Recaptured In Canada

It was a real "James Bond moment," witness Francis Emond tells CNN.

And just like in the movies, the bad guys have been tracked down and brought to justice.

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The Two-Way
2:35 am
Mon March 18, 2013

After Steubenville Guilty Verdicts, Grand Jury To Weigh More Charges

Steubenville, Ohio.
Jason Cohn Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 4:13 pm

  • From 'Morning Edition': Tim Rudell of WKSU reports

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine will convene a grand jury next month to investigate whether other charges should be filed in the infamous case of a 16-year-old girl who was raped by two high school football players last summer.

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The Two-Way
11:20 am
Sun March 17, 2013

Whose Bubble Will Burst? Men's Basketball Brackets Coming Up

Julian Gamble of the Miami Hurricanes driving to the basket during his team's win Sunday over North Carolina. The 'Canes are ACC champions. Both teams will be in the NCAA tournament.
Chris Keane Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Sun March 17, 2013 2:14 pm

We followed the news as the field was announced for this year's NCAA Men's Division I basketball championship and then topped things off with a little "advice" for those who enjoy filling brackets (obviously, wink-wink, The Two-Way does not endorse betting in office pools).

Update at 7:07 p.m. ET. So, How To Choose?

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The Two-Way
10:31 am
Fri March 15, 2013

Record $614 Million In Penalties Levied As Insider Trading Cases Are Settled

Connecticut-based hedge fund CR Intrinsic Investors "has agreed to pay more than $600 million to settle SEC charges that it participated in an insider trading scheme involving a clinical trial for an Alzheimer's drug," the Securities and Exchange Commission announced Friday.

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The Two-Way
9:33 am
Fri March 15, 2013

VIDEO: See Comet Pan-STARRS Dragging Its Tail Through Space

Comet PanSTARRS, as viewed by NASA's orbiting STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory).
NASA

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 10:03 am

Comet Pan-STARRS is putting on a bit of a show for those in the Northern Hemisphere through the end of this month. We're seeing some beautiful photos, such as those taken this week by AFP/Getty's Stan Honda. He pointed his camera skyward near Magdalena, N.M.

The best viewing came earlier this week, but Forbes writes that if you're in the Northern Hemisphere you're not too late to see Pan-STARRS. It offers some tips:

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The Two-Way
6:19 am
Fri March 15, 2013

CDC Confirms 'Extremely Rare' Death From Rabies Transmitted By Transplant

A Maryland man who died two weeks ago contracted rabies "through [an] organ transplantation done more than a year ago," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Friday morning.

The CDC adds that:

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The Two-Way
3:53 am
Fri March 15, 2013

Gasoline Pushed Consumer Prices Up Sharply In February

Handles on a gas pump in Brooklyn.
Jonathan Fickies Landov

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 5:05 am

Consumer prices jumped 0.7 percent in February from January, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. The increase was fueled by a 9.1 percent surge in gasoline prices. Gas prices alone accounted for about two-thirds of the overall rise, MarketWatch says.

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The Two-Way
3:06 am
Fri March 15, 2013

Son's Coming Out Leads Sen. Portman To Reverse On Same-Sex Marriage

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.
Justin Lane EPA /Landov

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 8:40 am

Saying that he has reconsidered the issue in the two years since learning that his son is gay, Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio announced Thursday that he no longer opposes same-sex marriage.

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The Two-Way
2:36 am
Fri March 15, 2013

'Over A Year Or So' Before Iran Could Develop Nuclear Weapon, Obama Says

President Obama on Wednesday at the Organizing for Action dinner in Washington, D.C.
Aude Guerrucci DPA /LANDOV

Putting a more specific estimate that he has in the past on the issue of how long it might take Iran to develop a nuclear weapon, President Obama has told Israel's Channel 2 TV that it could happen in "over a year or so" if efforts to dissuade Iran do not succeed.

The president also said that while he wants to resolve the issue diplomatically, he is keeping "all options on the table."

For its part, Iran has long said its nuclear program is only aimed a peaceful uses for that energy source.

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The Two-Way
10:19 am
Thu March 14, 2013

'47 Percent' Video Maker: 'Didn't Go There With A Grudge Against Romney'

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney during an October 2012 campaign rally in Fishersville, Va.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

The man who videotaped 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney infamous comments about the "47 percent" has stepped out of the shadows.

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The Two-Way
9:40 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Detroit Is 'Olympics Of Restructuring,' New Emergency Manager Says

Kevyn Orr, "a high-powered Washington, D.C., lawyer and University of Michigan graduate who worked on Chrysler's 2009 bankruptcy restructuring," has been given the job of straightening out the city of Detroit's desperate financial mess, the Detroit Free Press writes.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R), who earlier this month declared that the city is in a financial emergency, tapped Orr with the job Thursday.

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The Two-Way
8:43 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Pope Francis Is Now 'Papa Crow' To His Favorite Soccer Club

The San Lorenzo football club is very excited to have "Papa Crow" on its side.
Web image of San Lorenzo club's website
  • From 'Morning Edition': More about Pope Francis

Talk about having a powerful hincha on your side.

As the website of Buenos Aires soccer club San Lorenzo declares, the team now has "Papa Cuervo" (Papa Crow) among its card-carrying fans.

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The Two-Way
6:18 am
Thu March 14, 2013

In Partisan Vote, Senate Committee OKs Ban On Assault-Style Weapons

Assault-style rifles on display at Chuck's Firearms gun store in Atlanta.
Erik S. Lesser EPA /Landov

By a 10-8, party-line vote with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday moved legislation that would revive the ban on assault-style weapons that expired in 2004.

The vote, while expected, remains noteworthy because it is among a handful of legislative responses so far to the mass shootings in recent years — most notably the Dec. 14 attack on an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 children and six educators dead.

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The Two-Way
5:51 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Co-Founder Of Khmer Rouge Dies; Ieng Sary Escapes Judgment For Genocide

Ieng Sary.
Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

The death of Ieng Sary, co-founder of the Khmer Rouge that ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979 and killed an estimated 1.7 million of that nation's people in the process, has dashed the hopes "among survivors and court prosecutors that he would ever be punished for his alleged war crimes," The Associated Press writes.

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The Two-Way
4:50 am
Thu March 14, 2013

'God Particle' Update: Scientists Think They've Pinned Down The Higgs Boson

This is what researchers at the ATLAS detector at the Large Hadron Collider expect a Higgs boson to look like. The Higgs boson is the subatomic particle that scientists say gives everything in the universe mass.
ATLAS Experiment/CERN

Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 5:03 am

"Scientists working with data from a large particle accelerator in Europe are now almost certain they have pinned down the elusive sub-atomic particle known as the Higgs Boson," NPR's Joe Palca tells our Newscast Desk.

Or, as it's also known, the "God Particle" (more on that moniker below).

Joe reports that:

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The Two-Way
4:18 am
Thu March 14, 2013

After Standoff, Suspect In N.Y. Shooting Deaths Of 4 Is Killed By Police

In Herkimer, N.Y., police and suspect Kurt Myers were in a standoff from midday Wednesday into early early Thursday. Overnight, these officers were on the town's North Main Street.
Brett Carlsen Getty Images

A deadly drama in central New York State ended early Thursday when police killed the man suspected of shooting to death four people and injuring two others on Wednesday, Utica's Observer-Dispatch reports.

According to the newspaper:

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The Two-Way
3:44 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Jobless Claims Drop; Wholesale Prices Rise

The number of people filing first-time claims dropped by 10,000 last week from the week before, to 332,000, the Employment and Training Administration says.

That means claims continue to run at their lowest pace since January 2008. They've now fallen for three straight weeks.

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The Two-Way
3:21 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Chávez's Body Probably Won't Be On Permanent Display, New Leader Says

March 6: In Caracas, many Venezuelans crowded the streets to see the coffin of President Hugo Chavez.
Xinhua /Landov

The decision to embalm the body of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez so that it could be put on permanent display in the country's Museum of the Revolution was made too late, acting President Nicolas Maduro said Thursday in Caracas.

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The Two-Way
2:40 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Pope Francis Begins With Prayer, Turns To Challenges

Pope Francis on Thursday as he left Rome's Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica
Alessandro Bianchi Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 8:57 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': Sylvia Poggioli on the selection of a new pope
  • From 'Morning Edition': John Burnett profiles the new pope
  • From 'Morning Edition': Correspondent Hugh Bronstein

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The Two-Way
9:09 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Argentina's Cardinal Bergoglio Is The New Pope; He Will Be 'Francis'

Pope Francis as he waved to the crowd in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Wednesday.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 3:11 am

The world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics have a new spiritual leader, and for the first time it is someone from the Americas.

As afternoon turned to evening in Vatican City on Wednesday, a little after 7 p.m. local time, white smoke rose from a chimney above the Sistine Chapel and bells rang through St. Peter's Square — the traditional signals that the church's cardinals have chosen a new pope.

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The Two-Way
6:29 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Life Of A Chinese Hacker: Work Is Awful, Pay Is Lousy, Boss Doesn't Understand

This 12-story building houses a Chinese military unit allegedly behind dozens of cyberattacks on U.S. and other Western companies. It's in a modern, if bland, part of Shanghai.
Peter Parks AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 7:07 am

Following up last month's news about reports that tie hackings of American defense contractors' websites to operations run — or at least encouraged — by the Chinese government, the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday told the tale of a Shanghai man who used to blog about his work in a People's Liberation Army

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The Two-Way
5:23 am
Wed March 13, 2013

VIDEO: Fan Accompanies Billy Joel; 'Greatest Moment Of My Life,' He Says

Michael Pollack, right, getting a handshake and blessing from Billy Joel. Pollack asked Joel if he could come on state to accompany the pop star on "New York State of Mind." Joel said yes and the video has gone viral.
YouTube.com

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 11:52 am

It's taken about a month to hit the mainstream media's websites.

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The Two-Way
3:45 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Retail Sales Rose In February; Spending Was 'Relatively Robust'

Retail sales rose an estimated 1.1 percent in February from January and were up 4.6 percent from February 2012, the Census Bureau says.

Kathy Bostjancic director of macroeconomic analysis at the The Conference Board research group, says in an analysis sent to reporters that the report's a sign that "consumer spending remains relatively robust." And since consumers buy about 70 percent of all goods and services, their willingness to spend is a key economic driver.

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