Michel Martin

Michel Martin is curious about many things. "I wonder what it's like to leave everything and everyone you know for the promise of a better life, to run for President, to be a professional athlete, to parent children of a different race," she notes. "I am fascinated by people who live lives different from my own. And at the same time, I feel connected to all of these lives being a journalist, a woman of color, a wife and mother."

Michel can be heard across NPR news programs, bringing her deep reporting and interviewing experience to bear on NPR's coverage of relevant topics, including education, families, faith, race and social issues. Outside the studio, she is hosting NPR Presents Michel Martin, an ambitious live event series in collaboration with Member Stations.

Martin came to NPR in 2006 and launched Tell Me More, a one-hour daily NPR news and talk show that aired on NPR stations nationwide from 2007-2014 and dipped into thousands of important conversations taking place in the corridors of power, but also in houses of worship, and barber shops and beauty shops, at PTA meetings, town halls, and at the kitchen table.

She has spent more than 25 years as a journalist — first in print with major newspapers and then in television. Tell Me More marked her debut as a full-time public radio show host. "What makes public radio special is that it's got both intimacy and reach all at once. For the cost of a phone call, I can take you around the world. But I'm right there with you in your car, in your living room or kitchen or office, in your iPod. Radio itself is an incredible tool and when you combine that with the global resources of NPR plus the commitment to quality, responsibility and civility, it's an unbeatable combination."

Martin has also served as contributor and substitute host for NPR newsmagazines and talk shows, including Talk of the Nation and News & Notes.

Martin joined NPR from ABC News, where she worked since 1992. She served as correspondent for Nightline from 1996 to 2006, reporting on such subjects as the Congressional budget battles, the U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, racial profiling and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. At ABC, she also contributed to numerous programs and specials, including the network's award-winning coverage of September 11, a documentary on the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas controversy, a critically acclaimed AIDS special and reports for the ongoing series "America in Black and White." Martin reported for the ABC newsmagazine Day One, winning an Emmy for her coverage of the international campaign to ban the use of landmines, and was a regular panelist on This Week with George Stephanopoulos. She also hosted the 13-episode series Life 360, an innovative program partnership between Oregon Public Broadcasting and Nightline incorporating documentary film, performance and personal narrative; it aired on public television stations across the country.

Before joining ABC, Martin covered state and local politics for the Washington Post and national politics and policy at the Wall Street Journal, where she was White House correspondent. She has also been a regular panelist on the PBS series Washington Week and a contributor to NOW with Bill Moyers.

Martin has been honored by numerous organizations, including the Candace Award for Communications from The National Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Joan Barone Award for Excellence in Washington-based National Affairs/Public Policy Broadcasting from the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association and a 2002 Silver Gavel Award, given by the American Bar Association. Along with her Emmy award, she received three additional Emmy nominations, including one with NPR's Robert Krulwich, at the time an ABC contributor as well, for an ABC News program examining children's racial attitudes.

A native of Brooklyn, NY, Martin graduated cum laude from Radcliffe College at Harvard University in 1980 and has done graduate work at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC.

Michel Martin, Going There
5:38 am
Sun December 7, 2014

In Troubled Times, Does 'The Black Church' Still Matter?

A woman raises her hands during an interfaith service at Ebenezer Baptist Church, the church where The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. used to preach.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Sun December 7, 2014 10:34 am

African-American clergy, academics and activists will hold a march on Washington this week, protesting the grand jury decisions in Ferguson, Mo. and New York City and call on the federal government to intervene in the prosecutions of police officers accused of unjustified use of force.

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Michel Martin, Going There
3:42 am
Sun November 2, 2014

Ahead Of Midterms, Voting Rights And Wrongs In North Carolina

Olivia Sedwick, student government president of Winston-Salem State University, and Tom Hanchett, historian of the Levine Museum of the New South, offered perspective about voting rights.
Travis Dove NPR

Originally published on Sun November 2, 2014 8:04 am

The run up to midterm elections has sparked many heated legal and ideological arguments over voting procedures and requirements. To understand the debate, I went to Charlotte, North Carolina for a live community conversation around these voting laws. The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed a North Carolina law to go into effect that eliminates same-day voter registration and reduces the number of early voting days.

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Michel Martin, Going There
1:24 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

In North Carolina, Latino Voters Could Decide Tight Senate Race

Lacey Williams (from left), Mary Espinosa, Jaime Villegas, Armando Cruz Martinez and Elisa Benitez talk inside the offices of the Latin American Coalition in Charlotte, N.C. According to a 2011 Pew Hispanic report, the median age of Latinos in North Carolina is 24.
Andy McMillan for NPR

Originally published on Fri October 24, 2014 10:22 am

Ahead of the midterm elections, Michel Martin is visiting Charlotte, N.C., to learn more about Latino voters' growing influence in the state. Join Michel for a Facebook chat from 4:30-5 p.m. ET today as she answers questions and shares more on her reporting.

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Code Switch
5:46 am
Sun September 21, 2014

Adding Color To 'The Great White Way'

Sharp observations about race, class and gender plus pure passion for the theater: That's what get when you ask a distinguished panel of playwrights whether "The Great White Way" is still too white.
Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 21, 2014 9:15 am

Sharp observations about race, class and gender plus pure passion for the theater: That's what you get when you ask a distinguished panel of playwrights whether "The Great White Way" is still too white.

Award-winning dramatists David Henry Hwang, Lydia Diamond, Kristoffer Diaz and Bruce Norris are some of America's most critically acclaimed contemporary playwrights. Their work captures the tensions and aspirations of an increasingly diverse America, but they all acknowledged that it was a challenge to bring a more diverse audience to theaters.

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Code Switch
3:52 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Look, Mom, I Finally Made It To Broadway!

Broadway, New York City.
Neilson Barnard Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 10:56 am

OK, I sort of made it to Broadway. It's WNYC's Greene Space in SoHo, the New York City neighborhood.

Friday is date night. But even if you are flying solo, come join us in person, or on Twitter.

We have a terrific lineup of some of the most exciting playwrights working today to talk about Broadway.

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Code Switch
12:50 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

'Ask The White Guy' About The Hawks

Bruce Levenson's racially charged comments about the Atlanta Hawks' diversity — including their cheerleaders — got him in trouble.
Jason Getz AP

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 6:58 am

The Atlanta Hawks are in the headlines again after General Manager Danny Ferry apologized and received an undisclosed punishment for disparaging comments he made about prospective player Luol Deng — who was born in Sudan — were made public. Ferry reportedly said that Deng "has a little African in him. Not in a bad way, but he's like a guy who would have a nice store out front and sell you counterfeit stuff out of the back."

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Code Switch
7:35 am
Fri September 5, 2014

What's Your Take On #NPRTheTalk?

Many African-American parents feel it's essential to have "the talk" with their children.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 10:15 am

In the weeks since the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., families across the country are discussing how they approach "the talk" — not the one about sex, but the talk about safety and how young people should conduct themselves in encounters with the police. This difficult conversation has been part of the black family experience for generations.

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Code Switch
6:55 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Plea To Ferguson's Leaders: To Help Heal, Acknowledge Our Hurt

The Rev. Willis Johnson (left), pastor of Wellspring Church in Ferguson, speaks to the Rev. Michele Shumake-Keller after the panel discussion in Ferguson, Mo., on Thursday. Johnson said he hoped the event would be a step to healing a "community in trauma."
Whitney Curtis for NPR

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 10:13 am

(Editor's Note: NPR's Michel Martin was invited by St. Louis Public Radio to moderate a community conversation on Thursday around race, police tactics and leadership following the shooting death of Michael Brown. The following story is based on what happened at the event.)

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Can I Just Tell You?
2:09 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Making Space For People Who Are Out Of the Spotlight

Tell Me More host Michel Martin.
Amy Ta NPR

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 7:02 am

A very smart person I know, a long time civil rights activist, told me once that "gratitude is overrated."

Now, I know that sounds harsh, but what I think she meant was that some people, especially, in her view, women, are too often too quick to settle for less than they deserve. She was talking about people who are so conditioned to have nothing, that they are just too happy when they get even a little.

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