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 Edge
10:40 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Team USA's Mikaela Shiffrin Wins Skiing Gold

She's a winner: Team USA's Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates after taking gold in the women's slalom at the Sochi Games.
Olivier Morin AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 4:06 am

Eighteen-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin has lived up to her reputation as the pre-race favorite by winning the gold medal in women's slalom at the Sochi Winter Olympics.

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The Two-Way
10:18 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Garrick Utley, 'Quintessential Foreign Correspondent,' Dies

Garrick Utley in 2012.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 10:14 am

If reporting from foreign lands is important to you, then Garrick Utley is someone you most likely admired over the past four or five decades.

So it's with some sadness that we pass along word that the veteran newsman, who in the mid-'60s was NBC News' first bureau chief in Saigon and later went on to a career that took him around the world and to the moderator's chair on Meet the Press, has died.

He was 74.

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The Two-Way
9:01 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Photos: Kiev's Independence Square Before And After

Kiev's Independence Square on Thursday (Feb. 20, 2014).
Vasily Fedosenko Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 9:04 am

Hopes are high that the worst is over in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, where dozens of people died this week as security forces responded to anti-government protests. As we reported earlier, President Viktor Yanukovych and key opposition leaders have signed an agreement about forming a unity government, holding new elections and restoring the nation's 2004 constitution.

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The Two-Way
7:45 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Good Work On Those 'Feeli The Finnish Reindeer' Lyrics

His antlers are so bright.
Reindeer Herders' Association (of Finland)

We asked and Two-Way readers came through.

The challenge:

Set the story of "Feeli the Finnish Reindeer" and his shiny antlers to the tune of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."

The responses in our comments thread:

Feeli the Finnish reindeer
Had antlers that didn't glow.
And drivers didn't see them
As right over them they'd mow.

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The Two-Way
5:01 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Breakthrough? Ukrainian President, Opposition Leaders Reach Deal

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych (right) and opposition leader Vitali Klitschko shake hands Friday after signing an agreement that diplomats hope will end the bloodshed in Kiev.
Tim Brakemeier EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 4:52 pm

We're updating this post as the day continues.

In what could be a major move toward ending the violence in the streets of his capital, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and leaders of the anti-government opposition reached agreement Friday on a deal to hold new elections, form a unity government and restore a constitution drafted in 2004.

Some details have yet to be spelled out. But the BBC sums up the news this way:

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The Two-Way
11:57 am
Thu February 20, 2014

These Reindeer Really Do Shine, And It's For Their Own Good

His antlers are so bright.
Reindeer Herders' Association (of Finland)

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 8:23 am

Feeli the Finnish reindeer,

Had some very shiny horns ...

OK, we'll stop there.

Here's the news:

"Herders in Lapland are spraying their reindeer with reflective paint to help drivers see them in the dark," the BBC writes.

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The Two-Way
7:06 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Dip In Weekly Jobless Claims Seen As Sign Of Better Times Ahead

As the weather warms, will more signs such as this pop up? Economists say the latest data on claims for unemployment benefits may signal that better times are ahead.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 8:37 am

There were only 3,000 fewer first-time claims filed for jobless benefits last week, but the slight decline is being seen as another sign that the nation's labor market will gain some strength once spring arrives.

The Employment and Training Administration said Thursday that 336,000 applications were submitted last week, versus 339,000 the week before.

That means the pace of claims is still running about where it's been since late 2011.

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The Two-Way
6:24 am
Thu February 20, 2014

In Venezuela, Another Beauty Queen's Death Adds To Anger

This photo, which witnesses say shows Venezuelan beauty queen Genesis Carmona being evacuated from the scene of a protest on Tuesday, is ricocheting around the Web. She died after being shot.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 9:40 am

There's a sad symmetry to the news from Venezuela, where anti-government protests in recent weeks have been fueled in part by outrage over the shooting death of a beauty queen — a death that underscored that nation's struggle to control violent crime.

One of the five people killed this week during protests against the socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro, it's now being reported, was another young beauty queen.

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The Two-Way
4:56 am
Thu February 20, 2014

World's Outrage Grows As Death Toll Rises In Kiev

An injured man is carried away Thursday after more clashes between anti-government protesters and police in Kiev.
Yannis Behrakis Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 5:46 am

  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports from Kiev

This post is being updated as the day continues.

Just hours after a truce was declared, deadly clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces broke out again in Ukraine's capital.

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The Two-Way
11:11 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Jailed Protest Leader Urges Venezuelans To Keep Demonstrating

Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez (in white shirt) as he turned himself over to police on Tuesday in Caracas.
Cristian Hernandez Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 12:10 pm

In a video released Wednesday, imprisoned protest leader Leopoldo Lopez urges his supporters in Venezuela to continue pressing for the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro, Reuters reports from Caracas.

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The Two-Way
9:26 am
Wed February 19, 2014

U.K. Court OKs Detention Of Reporter Glenn Greenwald's Partner

Glenn Greenwald, left, and David Miranda after Miranda's arrival at Rio de Janeiro's International Airport on Aug. 19, 2013. Miranda had been detained for nine hours at London's Heathrow Airport. Authorities questioned him about Greenwald's reporting of the "NSA leaks."
Ricardo Moraes Reuters/Landov

British authorities were within their rights to detain journalist Glenn Greenwald's partner for nine hours last August and to seize an external hard drive containing classified documents leaked by Edward Snowden, three high court judges in the U.K. have ruled.

David Miranda, who lives with Greenwald in Brazil, was stopped at London's Heathrow Airport last August as he was making his way home from Europe.

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The Edge
8:15 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Finnished! Russian Hockey Team Bounced Out Of Olympics

Russian fans who gathered in Sochi's Olympic Park react with dismay as they watch a broadcast of the ice hockey match between Russia and Finland.
Shamil Zhumatov Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 5:33 pm

"Uskotko ihmeisiin?"

No, this isn't exactly a "do you believe in miracles?" bit of history for Finland, but its men's hockey team just produced a moment-to-remember at the Sochi Games.

Finland beat Russia 3-1, bouncing the home team out of the tournament.

As NPR's Robert Smith has reported, there was tremendous pressure on Alex Ovechkin and his Russian teammates to win gold in Sochi.

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The Two-Way
6:56 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Nun Who Broke Into Nuclear Complex Gets 35-Month Jail Term

Anti-nuclear activists (from left) Gregory Boertje-Obed, Sister Megan Rice and Michael Walli, pictured Feb. 6 in Knoxville, Tenn., were sentenced to prison terms on Tuesday for the 2012 break-in at Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge.
Linda Davidson The Washington Post/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 9:15 am

"An 84-year-old Catholic nun was sentenced Tuesday to nearly three years in prison for breaking into a nuclear weapons complex and defacing a bunker holding bomb-grade uranium, a demonstration that exposed serious security flaws at the Tennessee plant," The Associated Press writes from Knoxville, Tenn.

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The Two-Way
5:41 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Negotiations In Ukraine Under Close Scrutiny After Bloodshed

Riot police officers stand in Kiev's Independence Square on Wednesday as smoke rises from protesters' burning barricades.
Alexey Furman EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 9:13 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': David Stern of the BBC speaks from Kiev
This post was updated at 10:15 p.m. ET

The U.S. and the European Union are closely watching Ukraine amid news that the government was starting negotiations with opposition leaders to end the violence, which has left more than two dozen people dead since Tuesday.

A statement on the Ukrainian presidential website said:

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The Edge
5:31 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Team USA's Ted Ligety Wins Gold In Giant Slalom

Ted Ligety of Team USA celebrates Wednesday after winning the men's giant slalom event at the Sochi Winter Games.
Hans Klaus Techt EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 6:10 am

Ted Ligety is now only the second American to ever earn two Olympic gold medals in Alpine skiing after finishing first Wednesday in the giant slalom at the Sochi Winter Games.

As USA Today writes:

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The Two-Way
12:39 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Soldiers' 'Fun' Photo With Flag-Draped Coffin Sparks Outrage

The photo that has offended many. The soldier responsible for posting it on Instagram has been suspended and an investigation has begun.
Wisconsin National Guard Facebook page

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 12:05 pm

Two photos posted on Instagram by a member of the Wisconsin National Guard have caused an uproar on social media.

In one, 14 soldiers are seen joking around in front of what authorities say was an empty coffin draped with the American flag. The caption with that image reads, in part: "We put the FUN in funeral."

In the other, the soldier who put the pictures on the Web is seen in uniform. The caption with that photo reads: "It's so damn cold out....WHY have a funeral outside !? Somebody's getting a jacked up flag."

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The Two-Way
11:09 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Obama Wants Tougher Fuel Standards For Big Trucks

Exhausts rises from a truck in California last September.
Mike Blake Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 12:02 pm

President Obama said Tuesday that he has told the Environmental Protection Agency to work with the Department of Transportation on a second round of regulations to improve the fuel efficiency of medium- and heavy-duty trucks. The goal: reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions they contribute to the environment.

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The Two-Way
10:03 am
Tue February 18, 2014

A Big Asteroid Just Flew By, And Guess What? More Are Coming

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 1:18 pm

An asteroid that's about the size of three football fields flew past Earth on Monday, coming within 2.1 million miles. That was near enough to generate headlines such as this, from Reuters: "Earth marks close encounter with enormous asteroid."

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The Two-Way
8:19 am
Tue February 18, 2014

There's A Clown Shortage: Who Will Fill Those Big Shoes?

Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

This may be welcome news for those who suffer from coulrophobia, but it's no joke to those who agree with Cole Porter that "all the world loves a clown":

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The Two-Way
6:59 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Before Northeast Thaws, Thundersnow Will Roll Through

It will melt eventually: People walk past a pile of dirty snow in New York City's Times Square.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 8:54 am

Hang on, you winter-weary folks.

"Temperatures are expected to warm to above average levels for late February from the Central Plains to the East Coast," the National Weather Service says.

But first, "we have to get through one more winter storm," The Weather Channel writes.

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The Two-Way
5:56 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Jimmy Fallon, 'Your Host ... For Now,' Takes Over 'Tonight'

Jimmy Fallon during his debut Monday as host of NBC's The Tonight Show.
Theo Wargo Getty Images for 'The Tonight Show'

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 8:42 am

The new guy's getting pretty good reviews.

Jimmy Fallon took over NBC's The Tonight Show on Monday night, saying he just wants "to do the best I can ... make you laugh and put a smile on your face."

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The Two-Way
5:05 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Pussy Riot's Nadya And Masha Detained In Sochi, Then Released

Maria Alyokhina (left) and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot on stage at Amnesty International's "Bringing Human Rights Home" concert earlier this month in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Jason Szenes EPA/Landov

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 2:38 pm

The two most prominent members of the Russian punk protest band Pussy Riot say they were taken into custody Tuesday by police in Sochi, site of the Winter Olympics. Later in the day, there were reports that the women and other activists who were with them had been released.

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The Two-Way
1:45 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Woman Arrested For Not Returning Movie Rented In 2005

Jennifer Lopez back in 2005 when Monster-In-Law was just coming out. An old video of the movie has landed a South Carolina woman in trouble with the law.
Michael Germana Landov

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 2:34 pm

The first thing we thought of when we heard this news was the Seinfeld episode known as "The Library" — the one where Jerry's tracked down by Lt. Bookman after 20 years for not returning a copy of Tropic of Cancer.

But this isn't a plot from a TV sitcom. This apparently really did happen last week in Pickens County, S.C.:

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The Two-Way
12:23 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

'I'm The Hijacker!' Says Ethiopian Pilot Of Commandeered Jet

After landing in Geneva on Monday, the pilot who reportedly took over control of the Rome-bound Ethiopian Airlines jet used a rope to climb down from the cockpit. He then went to authorities and asked for asylum.
Richard Juilliart AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 1:16 pm

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The Edge
11:44 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Americans Davis And White Win Gold In Ice Dancing

Meryl Davis and Charlie White of Team USA — the gold medalists in ice dancing at the Sochi Games.
Vadim Ghirda AP

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 1:10 pm

The anticipation that NPR's Tamara Keith reported about earlier is over:

Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White won gold Monday in ice dancing.

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The Two-Way
11:34 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Penn State Picks New President: Florida State's Eric Barron

Eric Barron, Penn State's next president.
Patrick Mansell PSU.edu

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 11:44 am

Penn State University, which dismissed its president and its legendary football coach in late 2011 for their roles in dealing with allegations that an assistant coach had been molesting young boys, announced Monday that Florida State University President Eric Barron is leaving the Sunshine State to be PSU's next l

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The Two-Way
10:45 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Help Arrives, But South African Miners Refuse To Be Rescued

Rescuers tend to a mine worker, in striped top, after he was pulled from an illegal gold mine Sunday in Benoni, outside Johannesburg, South Africa. Many of his colleagues remain below ground for fear of being arrested.
Alexander Joe AFP/Getty Images

After hearing that the 22 men who have made it to safety so far were all arrested, an unknown number of other South Africans are refusing to leave the illegal gold mine where they were briefly trapped over the weekend.

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The Two-Way
9:01 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Pennsylvania Woman Claims To Have Killed At Least 22 People

Miranda Barbour, who has told a newspaper that she's killed at least 22 people.
WNEP.com

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 10:29 am

This is among the day's more disturbing stories:

A 19-year-old woman who's already a suspect in one murder has told a central Pennsylvania newspaper that she's a satanist who has been killing people since she was 13.

Miranda Barbour claims that after her 22nd victim, "I stopped counting."

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The Two-Way
8:08 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Snowden's Leaks About NSA Lead To Awards For 4 Reporters

Edward Snowden, seen during a video interview with The Guardian.
Glenn Greenwald/Laura Poitras EPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 10:23 am

The four reporters who broke the first stories about former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden's revelations are among those being honored with 2013 George Polk Awards in Journalism.

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The Two-Way
7:12 am
Mon February 17, 2014

U.N. Report Details North Korea's 'Crimes Against Humanity'

Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 1:14 pm

"Systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations have been and are being committed" by the leaders of North Korea against their own people, the U.N.'s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights declared Monday in a report that goes on to accuse that nation's communist regime of "crimes against humanity."

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