Elise Hu

Elise Hu is a reporter who covers the intersection of technology and culture for NPR's on-air, online and multimedia platforms.

She joined NPR in 2011 to coordinate the digital development and editorial vision for the StateImpact network, a state government reporting project focused on member stations.

Before joining NPR, she was one of the founding reporters who helped launch The Texas Tribune, a non-profit digital news startup devoted to politics and public policy. While at the Tribune, Hu oversaw television partnerships and multimedia projects; contributed to The New York Times' expanded Texas coverage and pushed for editorial innovation across platforms.

An honors graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia's School of Journalism, she previously worked as the state political reporter for KVUE-TV in Austin, WYFF-TV in Greenville, SC, and reported from Asia for the Taipei Times.

Her work has earned a Gannett Foundation Award for Innovation in Watchdog Journalism, a National Edward R. Murrow award for best online video, beat reporting awards from the Texas Associated Press and The Austin Chronicle once dubiously named her the "Best TV Reporter Who Can Write."

Outside of work, Hu is an adjunct instructor at Northwestern University and Georgetown University's journalism schools. She's also an adviser to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, where she keeps up with emerging media and technology as a panelist for the Knight News Challenge.

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All Tech Considered
5:18 am
Sun June 30, 2013

Q&A: On The Death Of Google Reader And The Future Of Reading

Google is shutting down the Google Reader on Monday.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Sun June 30, 2013 8:01 pm

You can't say they didn't warn you. On Monday, Google Reader will no longer be available. The search behemoth is putting its RSS reader to rest, leaving millions of dedicated users scrambling to find other platforms for organization of their news feeds and content exploration.

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All Tech Considered
1:01 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

What You Suggested For Our Tech Blog Reboot

An old innovation: the printing press.
Flickr: Mattack

In case you missed it Monday, we're rebooting our technology blog to focus on the intersection of innovation and culture. The updated approach both widens our view of technology — for example, two-ply toilet paper was innovative at one point — and sharpens our gaze. You won't find general tech business news in this space anymore.

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The Two-Way
2:24 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Clock Runs Out On Controversial Texas Abortion Bill

The Texas Capitol rotunda filled with supporters of state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, who filibustered a controversial abortion bill.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 5:38 am

The official clock ran out on Texas lawmakers overnight, which effectively killed a bill that would have dramatically restricted abortion in the nation's second most populous state. Hours of chaos and confusion in Austin finally lifted as Texas Senate leaders decided that the vote on Senate Bill 5 did not clear a constitutionally-mandated hurdle that it pass before midnight.

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The Two-Way
11:21 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Texas Lawmaker's 11-Hour Filibuster Ended On A Technicality

State Sen. Wendy Davis, a Fort Worth Democrat, dons pink tennis shoes during a Tuesday filibuster.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 8:42 am

By midnight Texas time, it was all over but the parliamentary inquiries. After a nearly 11-hour filibuster attempt by state Sen. Wendy Davis to block sweeping restrictions on abortion, the Republican-dominated Texas Senate successfully shut down the filibuster on points of order. (See update at the bottom of this post.)

"This is probably the worst night that I've experienced since I've been in the Senate, maybe since I've been in public life," said state Sen. Kirk Watson, a Democrat from Austin.

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All Tech Considered
5:38 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Will Video Ruin Instagram's Appeal?

Instagram, the popular photo-sharing service, has announced a new video feature.
Ramsey Mohsen via Flickr/Creative Commons

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 12:31 pm

UPDATE on Thursday at 1:44 p.m. ET: Instagram For Video Arrives

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Around the Nation
1:05 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Why Buy A House When You Can Buy A Mountain?

Jeff Rosenthal, co-founder of Summit, in front of Powzilla, an open-top Suburban turned rock crawler.
Elise Hu NPR

Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 11:55 am

It's not your everyday real estate deal. A team of young entrepreneurs persuaded about 50 deep-pocketed investors to help them purchase a mountain. The deal just closed in April, and development on Utah's nearly 10,000-acre Powder Mountain is now underway.

"When we made those first phone calls, everybody's like, what? That being said, they know that we aren't kidding," says Jeff Rosenthal, co-founder of Summit, the group that led the purchase of the peak.

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It's All Politics
5:03 am
Sat June 15, 2013

Illinois Pension Crisis: This Is What Rock Bottom Looks Like

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn called members of the Legislature back to work for a special session to help resolve the pension crisis.
Seth Perlman AP

Lawmakers in Illinois are headed back to work next week to address the state's $100 billion pension crisis, the worst unfunded pension liability in the nation. While almost all states faced pension funding issues during the recession, none of them are looking at a predicament as severe as in Illinois. Every day it doesn't get fixed, the burden on taxpayers grows larger.

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It's All Politics
7:35 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Rick Perry's War On The Blue States

Texas Gov. Rick Perry meets with Illinois media during his April trip to lure businesses.
M. Spencer Green AP

Gov. Rick Perry's outsized Texas swagger is coming to the heart of blue state America.

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All Tech Considered
3:39 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

What You Need To Know About Changes Coming From Apple

Apple unveiled its new mobile operating system, iOS 7.
Apple

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 4:54 pm

If you opt for the upgrade, changes are coming to your iPhone experience this fall. And if you want to shell out some cash right away, the latest line of MacBook Air computers boasts a lot more power and battery life, and the machines are available to ship today.

Apple chiefs announced their latest products and improvements Monday as part of the keynote at the company's annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.

We kept an eye on the two-hour presentation so you didn't have to. The highlights:

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All Tech Considered
11:45 am
Thu June 6, 2013

A Day In The Life Of The Relentlessly Tracked

Today, every consumer click is an opportunity for companies to gather personal information.
David Goldman AP

Controversy is raging over a court order allowing the FBI and the National Security Agency to seize aggregate information of millions of Verizon customer phone calls.

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Pop Culture
1:31 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

What Happens To Spelling Bee Kids? Years Later, The Prize Is Perspective

Srinivas Ayyagari onstage in 1992 (left); at right, Ayyagari today. "Seeing someone from ESPN commenting on your style and strategy was bizarre and weird. But it's the closest I'll ever come to being an athlete," Ayyagari says.
Srinivas Ayyagari

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 12:25 pm

For an academic contest pitting young spellers against the dictionary, the Scripps National Spelling Bee has taken on the intensity of the fiercest athletic events. Feeling the warmth of television lights — not to mention nerves and distractions — all while sports commentators are analyzing your "style" and approach is something only a select club of young word-nerdy Americans gets to experience. How does that early experience affect these mostly middle-school-aged kids later in life?

Lasting Memories

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All Tech Considered
2:29 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Yahoo's Other Billion Dollar Bets: Where Are They Now?

GeoCities employees pose for a picture in 1999 after the Yahoo acquisition was announced. Yahoo quietly shut down GeoCities a decade later.
Mark J. Terrill AP

Originally published on Mon May 20, 2013 3:57 pm

Yahoo's $1.1 billion purchase of Tumblr could be considered a bargain compared with its other big-dollar bets. The company's history is dotted with pricey purchases of once-hot Web properties that had more promise than eventual purpose. A look back:

GeoCities, 1999: $3.7 Billion

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All Tech Considered
2:18 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

A Mile-High Hack: An App That Could Remotely Hijack Planes

A German IT consultant's proof-of-concept software raises questions about efforts to secure global flight systems.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 9:28 am

The Federal Aviation Administration continues work on its multibillion-dollar upgrade to the nation's air traffic control system, but it may not be enough to stop hackers from taking control of airplanes with a smartphone.

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Code Switch
6:46 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Mom Says: "Learn Chinese"

Hu, with her mom, Jeannie.
Channing Johnson Elise Hu

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 10:50 am

My earliest memory of code switching is at Pizza Hut, back when Pizza Huts were sit-down restaurants with salad bars and garlic bread. (Like any daughter of immigrants, most of my memories involve food.) My mom and dad would speak with the waiters in English, ordering our pan-crust pizzas and Pepsi products, but we used Mandarin at the table. Our Mandarin was our secret code.

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The Two-Way
12:58 pm
Sun March 24, 2013

100 Hours On The Supreme Court's Sidewalk: Camping Out For A Seat To History

More than two dozen people bundled up to camp out before the U.S. Supreme Court for a seat to watch oral arguments in a same-sex marriage case on Tuesday.
Elise Hu NPR

Overnight temperatures are dipping below freezing and the forecast calls for snow, but cold, boredom and discomfort haven't stopped more than 30 Supreme Court die-hards from camping out for a seat to history.

"I just really wanted to be part of this moment, so I had been planning to come down for months," said Darienn Powers, a college student who came to Washington from New York. "No matter what, it's worth it to be in there and really experience what's going on."

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The Two-Way
1:35 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Scientists: 'No Options' To Stop Massive Asteroids On Collision Course

Actor Bruce Willis on the surface of an asteroid from the movie Armageddon. Lawmakers are questioning the likelihood of the movie's plot becoming reality.
Frank Masi ASSOCIATED PRESS

Originally published on Wed March 20, 2013 2:40 pm

Without "a few years" warning, humans currently have no capacity to stop an asteroid on a collision course with the planet, scientists told a Senate panel Wednesday.

"Right now we have no options," said former astronaut Ed Lu. "If you dont know where they are, there's nothing you can do."

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All Tech Considered
2:29 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Self-Tracking Apps To Help You 'Quantify' Yourself

Noah Zandan shows off his Zeo sleep-tracking headband. His other self-tracking devices are on his wrists. Noah and his father, Peter, are both part of the growing "Quantified Self" movement.
Elise Hu NPR

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 9:11 am

Technology has made it easier than ever to track your activity levels, your sleep cycles, how you spend your time, and more. The self-trackers who near-obsessively capture and analyze their own data are part of a growing "Quantified Self" movement.

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All Tech Considered
5:20 am
Mon March 11, 2013

The Most Talked About Tech And Culture Trends At SXSW Interactive

The feline known as Grumpy Cat.
Elise Hu NPR

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 6:40 pm

Everywhere you walk in downtown Austin, Texas, new names compete for the attention of the tens of thousands wandering the SXSW Interactive festival. Which of this year's emerging ideas and brands — MakerBot, Leap Motion, Geomagic — will break into mainstream consciousness? Here's a quick rundown of the conversation topics in coffee lines, and some notes on appearances and panels that caught our attention:

Beyond The Keyboard And Mouse

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All Tech Considered
11:13 am
Mon February 25, 2013

Working From Home: The End Of Productivity Or The Future Of Work?

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer on Feb. 20, 2013. Under Mayer, Yahoo is ending its remote work policy for employees.
Peter Kramer ASSOCIATED PRESS

In its bid to reshape itself for the future, Yahoo is returning to a workplace culture of the tech industry's past. The Internet giant has reportedly notified its employees they'll no longer be allowed to work from home.

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Oscars 2013: The 85th Annual Academy Awards
11:56 am
Sat February 23, 2013

The Four Biggest Best Picture Oscar Upsets, Statistically Speaking

The cast of Crash celebrates after its surprise upset of Brokeback Mountain for best picture, at the 78th Academy Awards in 2006.
Mark J. Terrill AP

Originally published on Sat February 23, 2013 12:28 pm

By the time the curtains rise on the Academy Awards ceremony each year, Oscar-watching prognosticators are already reasonably sure which films are going to take home top prizes.

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The Two-Way
12:05 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Cash-Strapped Postal Service To Launch A New Clothing Line

A mailman for the U.S. Postal Service delivers mail on November 15, 2012 in Miami, Florida.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 12:32 pm

The U.S. Postal Service is getting creative in its search for new revenue after last year's $15.9 billion budget shortfall. The agency says it will debut a new clothing and accessories line called Rain Heat & Snow, inspired by its unofficial motto: "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."

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The Two-Way
8:11 am
Sat February 9, 2013

The Blizzard 'Nemo' Highlights The Hype Cycle Of Storms

Two women look for a taxi in New York's Times Square on Friday.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 9, 2013 11:53 am

If you've wondered why the blizzard dumping snow on the Northeast has a name, look no further than The Weather Channel. At the start of this storm season, the 24-hour-weather network announced, much to the chagrin of The National Weather Service, that it would give names to winter storms.

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Pop-Up Politics
9:00 am
Tue October 2, 2012

Pop-Up Politics: Beyond The Speeches

Pop-Up Politics
NPR

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 10:55 am

If you want a little background and perspective to what the presidential candidates are saying — as they're saying it — then our "Pop-Up Politics" videos are for you. As VH1 did with music videos, we've added pop-up bubbles and animation to stump speeches to give context to the candidates' statements on the war in Afghanistan, energy and the economy.

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It's All Politics
4:58 am
Sun September 16, 2012

Presidential Debates Can Be Great Theater, But How Much Do They Matter?

In a 1988 debate against George H.W. Bush, Michael Dukakis's answer to a question about whether he would support the death penalty if his wife were raped and murdered is considered a huge stumble.
LENNOX MCLENDON ASSOCIATED PRESS

Originally published on Mon September 17, 2012 6:52 am

Even before the final balloons fell on the Republican and Democratic conventions, pundits were talking up the next big American political viewing experience — the presidential debates.

These match-ups, in which candidates actually share a stage after months of bruising one another from far range, can lead to moments of rhetorical brilliance, or the opposite — getting caught off-guard and making a gaffe.

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All Tech Considered
5:17 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

11 Takeaways From Zuckerberg's First Interview Since Facebook's IPO

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg emphasized his company's mobile-centered future Tuesday, in his first public comments since Facebook's troubled IPO.
Eric Risberg AP

Originally published on Tue September 11, 2012 6:08 pm

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave his first public interview after his tech company's rocky IPO and the disappointing stock performance that followed. Facebook's share price is now worth about $19 — half as much as it was priced back in May when its stock first went on the market.

Zuckerberg took questions from Michael Arrington at TechCrunch Disrupt, a San Francisco conference for startups. We watched and listened in to the talk in case you missed it:

Building a mission and business go hand-in-hand

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The Two-Way
3:21 pm
Thu August 9, 2012

Publisher Pulls Controversial Thomas Jefferson Book, Citing Loss Of Confidence

Cover art for The Jefferson Lies
Thomas Nelson Publishers

Originally published on Thu August 9, 2012 6:44 pm

Citing a loss of confidence in the book's details, Christian publisher Thomas Nelson is ending the publication and distribution of the bestseller, The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You've Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson.

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Religion
4:41 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

Cue The Tape: How David Barton Sees The World

David Barton in 2004.
ERIC GAY ASSOCIATED PRESS

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U.S.
2:24 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

Chick-Fil-A Gay Flap A 'Wakeup Call' For Companies

Protesters from the Human Rights Campaign chant against Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy's anti-gay marriage stance in front of a Chick-fil-A food truck in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 3:07 pm

Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A has long stood by its Bible-based roots, keeping stores closed on Sundays and donating millions to Christian causes. But when its president, Dan Cathy, went public to defend his company's stance against gay marriage, he set off a considerable controversy that has everyone from politicians to puppets weighing in.

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All Tech Considered
5:44 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

'Techie Computer Programmer Guy' And The Website Reddit Deliver The News

Morgan Jones, an 18-year-old from Denver, gave minute-by-minute updates Friday on the movie theater shootings in nearby Aurora, Colo.
Courtesy of Morgan Jones

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 7:45 am

By the time a lot of professional journalists awoke Friday morning to learn about a mass shooting inside a Colorado movie theater, 18-year-old Morgan Jones had already been providing minute-by-minute coverage to a rapt audience for hours.

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It's All Politics
5:58 am
Fri June 29, 2012

Recent Rulings Show How Hard It Is to Predict High-Profile Court Decisions

Chief Justice John Roberts, shown in 2010, is still "finding his role as chief justice," says one law professor.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 9:59 am

Pessimism swept over advocates of the Affordable Care Act after oral arguments this spring seemed to go decidedly against the Obama administration. But the Supreme Court's ruling on Thursday — and its decision in another high-profile case this week — suggest oral arguments aren't as predictive of final outcome as some believe.

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