Noel King

Noel King is a host of Morning Edition and Up First.

Previously, as a correspondent at Planet Money, Noel's reporting centered on economic questions that don't have simple answers. Her stories have explored what is owed to victims of police brutality who were coerced into false confessions, how institutions that benefited from slavery are atoning to the descendants of enslaved Americans, and why a giant Chinese conglomerate invested millions of dollars in her small, rural hometown. Her favorite part of the job is finding complex, and often conflicted, people at the center of these stories.

Noel has also served as a fill-in host for Weekend All Things Considered and 1A from NPR Member station WAMU.

Before coming to NPR, she was a senior reporter and fill-in host for Marketplace. At Marketplace, she investigated the causes and consequences of inequality. She spent five months embedded in a pop-up news bureau examining gentrification in an L.A. neighborhood, listened in as low-income and wealthy residents of a single street in New Orleans negotiated the best way to live side-by-side, and wandered through Baltimore in search of the legacy of a $100 million federal job-creation effort.

Noel got her start in radio when she moved to Sudan a few months after graduating from college, at the height of the Darfur conflict. From 2004 to 2007, she was a freelancer for Voice of America based in Khartoum. Her reporting took her to the far reaches of the divided country. From 2007 - 2008, she was based in Kigali, covering Rwanda's economic and social transformation, and entrenched conflicts in the the Democratic Republic of Congo. From 2011 to 2013, she was based in Cairo, reporting on Egypt's uprising and its aftermath for PRI's The World, the CBC, and the BBC.

Noel was part of the team that launched The Takeaway, a live news show from WNYC and PRI. During her tenure as managing producer, the show's coverage of race in America won an RTDNA UNITY Award. She also served as a fill-in host of the program.

She graduated from Brown University with a degree in American Civilization, and is a proud native of Kerhonkson, NY.

In the 1970s and '80s, a string of violent, terrifying crimes went unsolved around California. The perpetrators got nicknames: The Visalia Ransacker. The East Area Rapist. The Original Night Stalker.

And then in 2013, true-crime writer Michelle McNamara connected the dots in a remarkable article for Los Angeles Magazine. She suspected they were all the same person, and she gave him a name of her own: the Golden State Killer.

The summer of 1968 looked like the summer of 2020. Americans were in the streets protesting racism, among other things. And a high school student in Palo Alto, Calif., got in on the action by enlisting the help of a jazz legend. Danny Scher came up with the idea to book Thelonious Monk to play his school's auditorium and now, a professional recording of this concert will be released publicly for the first time on July 31. The album is called Palo Alto.

When slavery ended, the disenfranchisement of African Americans did not. Discrimination continued in jobs, housing, education — barriers that have contributed to the staggering economic inequality that persists in the country today.

In a new book, economist William Darity Jr. makes the case for reparations as an answer to closing the racial wealth gap.

From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the 21st Century, written by Darity and his wife, A. Kirsten Mullen, offers a roadmap on how to implement reparations for descendants of enslaved people.

There's something about the video of the George Floyd killing that makes it very specific to the Twin Cities.

The video shows a white police officer and a black male victim — a familiar dynamic in similar videos and killings seen nationwide — but there's a third identifiable person: an Asian American officer seen running interference with the crowd and standing watch. He's now-former Minneapolis police officer Tou Thao, a Hmong American — which is how you know this isn't "any" city. It's Minneapolis.

The best thing about being 17, according to Shawn Richardson, is freedom.

"I'm able to go out more with my friends," he says. "I can do things solo."

Shawn is a rising high school senior in Minneapolis. School is fine, but what he really loves is track. His friend timed him running the 100-meter dash in 10.71 seconds.

The track season was canceled because of COVID-19. But if he can run that time officially, he will have the school record. Distance running isn't his thing. Shawn is a sprinter.

"It's like gathering energy and then just letting it go," he says.

Ray Dalio is known for making lucrative predictions. His hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, is the largest in the world. But Dalio, a billionaire himself and one of the world's most successful investors, says capitalism is broken.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic hit, Dalio had warned that the wealth gap represented a "national emergency." The outbreak, he says, is only exacerbating the disparities between the rich and the poor.

In her new graphic memoir That Can Be Arranged, cartoonist Huda Fahmy recounts how she met and married her husband. The subtitle is A Muslim Love Story — and Fahmy says it's exactly that.

"Muslims are not a monolith ... This is not The Muslim love story, it's A Muslim love story," she says.

Music artist Alicia Keys, a 15-time Grammy winner, has a new self-titled album coming out — her seventh.

She also has written a forthcoming book, More Myself, that she prefers to call a "journey" rather than a memoir.

Keys spoke to NPR in February — an interview being aired for the first time now — about her latest projects.

Her book explores her arrival into adulthood while in the spotlight, and how she learned to be herself — and that it was OK to be herself.

Coronavirus home cooking is now a part of American life.

Angelica Garcia says she sometimes feels like two people. To understand that sentiment, look at her first two albums. Her first release, 2016's Medicine for Birds, was a bluesy country record: She sang about the South, about Loretta Lynn, about her adopted home of Virginia. Her new album Cha Cha Palace, however, is all about her East Los Angeles upbringing and her Latinx identity.

When NPR host Scott Simon was in his late teens, he took a job in an assisted living facility in Chicago, working with people who had developmental disabilities.

"It was more formative in my life, I think, than most any war I've covered, any political campaign I've covered, any reportorial experience I've had," Simon says. "It really opened my eyes into seeing the world differently."

Simon has wanted to tell this story for years, and so he drew on the experiences he had back then to write a new mystery for young readers called Sunnyside Plaza.

It was the elephant in the room. Over 20 years after parodying NPR hosts in her recurring sketch, "The Delicious Dish," former Saturday Night Live cast member Ana Gasteyer sat down for an interview with NPR host Noel King.

As she played the role of Jo March in the new film adaptation of Little Women, Saoirse Ronan started to appreciate just how much the story is about memory and childhood.

Louisa May Alcott's novel follows four sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, growing up during the Civil War. Their father has gone off to fight for the Union Army and they're at home with their mother, Marmee.

Rosa Parks is best remembered as the African American woman who refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man. It was 1955 in the segregated South and the start of the Montgomery bus boycott.

That moment made her the face of the civil rights movement — but there was much more to her than that single act of defiance.

President Trump is abruptly reimposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from Brazil and Argentina.

Trump announced the move in a pair of tweets Monday, saying he was acting in response to "massive devaluation" of the two countries' currencies. Brazil and Argentina had been exempted from Trump's 25% tariff on imported steel and his 10% tariff on imported aluminum since May of last year.

Lindy West says it's really not fair to expect teenagers to inspire us. "They should just get to be kids, but unfortunately that's not the world that we have dropped them into," West says. "We did a bad job, and they have to shoulder a lot of fear and a lot of anxiety about the future."

Harriet Tubman is an American figure whose story is so incredible, it's still almost hard to believe that it's true. After escaping slavery, she made numerous trips to save those still enslaved.

The new movie Harriet examines the life of this extraordinary figure through something like a superhero origin story.

"Yes, it's a superhero journey, you know, and it's a real-life superheroine," says director Kasi Lemmons. "But also just to give you access to her so you feel like you had lunch with her and you feel like you can get next to who she was."

Don't see the video? Click here.

When you hear a big idea from a presidential candidate, do you ever want to ask: How would that work?

Two undecided voters John Zeitler, a 48-year-old attorney for an insurance company, and Hetal Jani, 36, who runs a nonprofit focused on education and mentorship, wanted to know more about the "freedom dividend" proposal from first-time presidential candidate Andrew Yang.

Even in a pop cultural landscape dominated by costumed superheroes and masked vigilantes, HBO's new series Watchmen stands out. Watchmen was originally a comic that first came out in 1986, and it was seen as groundbreaking for its realistic and complex handling of what it might mean for someone to put on a mask and fight crime.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

The United States is pulling its forces out of northern Syria. And the Syrian government is moving back in.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Hungary's government is pushing back against European Union assertions that it is putting democracy in danger, says Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.

The fierce loyalist of hard-line, right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban is also calling the U.S. intention to restart Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in the country an "insult."

As lead singer and guitarist of Alabama Shakes, Brittany Howard has earned her accolades and then some. Since 2009, the band has won four Grammys, performed at the White House and heralded some of roots rock's biggest hits this decade. Still, Howard feels the urge to try something new every few years.

Samantha Power has been many things: an activist, a war correspondent, an author and a policymaker.

She served on President Obama's National Security Council, and later, she was his ambassador to the United Nations.

In her new memoir, The Education of an Idealist, she describes how she went from working outside the system – as a fierce and idealistic defender of human rights — to moving inside, as a diplomat who must, above all else, be ... diplomatic.


Interview Highlights

On her sense of danger and risk

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock entered the Democratic primary in May, months after many of his competitors. He has an excuse.

Nadia Tehran's debut album, Dozakh: All Lovers Hell, opens with a haunting excerpt from an interview with her father. Tehran's father recounts his last day fighting in the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, when he drove an ammunition-filled car that exploded after it was attacked. "Death comes when it comes," Tehran's father recalls saying to rally his troops for that ill-fated expedition. "One should not be afraid of death."

In Stranger Things 3, the citizens of the fictitious town of Hawkins, Ind., have a turbulent Fourth of July ahead of them. But the unconventional teenage protagonists of the show, led by grumpy police chief Jim Hopper, are ready for the challenge.

Hopper is played by David Harbour, a veteran actor who began his career more than 20 years ago. He found success on stage, TV and film, but Harbour didn't land a breakout role until the '80s nostalgia-fueled, sci-fi adventure came along.

Young adult author Randy Ribay is Filipino American and says his latest book Patron Saints Of Nothing is dedicated to people like him: "The Hyphenated," he calls them. And not just Filipino Americans, Ribay tells NPR's Morning Edition, but also anyone else who would consider themselves more than one thing.

"The difficulty with a dual identity is just trying to figure out what does it mean to be more than one thing in a world where people want you to be one thing," he says.

A new TV show, set in Boston in the 1990s, centers on some action-packed armored-car robberies. A crime drama in Boston: You've heard this before.

But City on a Hill, which premieres Sunday on Showtime, is aiming for distinction. It stars actor Aldis Hodge as a straight-and-narrow assistant district attorney working within a crooked justice system. He's new in town, and determined to take on these robbery cases.

At age 32, Elaine Welteroth has become what we now call an "influencer."

She was the first black beauty director at a Condé Nast magazine. It was Teen Vogue; she was 25. She leveraged that to become its editor-in-chief. And under her watch, Teen Vogue became known for taking on really tough topics: civil rights, abortion and lots and lots of politics.

Filmmaker Ava DuVernay says she receives a couple dozen tweets a day from people asking her to make a movie from their life story. But this #wishfulthinking tweet from Raymond Santana caught her eye:

Santana was one of five teens arrested for the 1989 assault and rape of a white woman in New York's Central Park. The boys were pressured into false confessions and convicted. All served time. A murderer who was already serving a life sentence later confessed to the rape.

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