Rachel Martin

Rachel Martin is the host of Weekend Edition Sunday.

Prior to moving into the host position in the fall of 2012, Martin started as National Security Correspondent for NPR in May 2010. In that position she covered both defense and intelligence issues. She traveled regularly to Iraq and Afghanistan with the Secretary of Defense, reporting on the U.S. wars and the effectiveness of the Pentagon's counterinsurgency strategy. Martin also reported extensively on the changing demographic of the U.S. military – from the debate over whether to allow women to fight in combat units – to the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. Her reporting on how the military is changing also took her to a U.S. Air Force base in New Mexico for a rare look at how the military trains drone pilots.

Martin was part of the team that launched NPR's experimental morning news show, The Bryant Park Project, based in New York — a two-hour daily multimedia program that she co-hosted with Alison Stewart and Mike Pesca.

In 2006-2007, Martin served as NPR's religion correspondent. Her piece on Islam in America was awarded "Best Radio Feature" by the Religion News Writers Association in 2007. As one of NPR's reporters assigned to cover the Virginia Tech massacre that same year, she was on the school's campus within hours of the shooting and on the ground in Blacksburg, Va., covering the investigation and emotional aftermath in the following days.

Based in Berlin, Germany, Martin worked as a NPR foreign correspondent from 2005-2006. During her time in Europe, she covered the London terrorist attacks, the federal elections in Germany, the 2006 World Cup and issues surrounding immigration and shifting cultural identities in Europe.

Her foreign reporting experience extends beyond Europe. Martin has also worked extensively in Afghanistan. She began reporting from there as a freelancer during the summer of 2003, covering the reconstruction effort in the wake of the U.S. invasion. In fall 2004, Martin returned for several months to cover Afghanistan's first democratic presidential election. She has reported widely on women's issues in Afghanistan, the fledgling political and governance system and the U.S.-NATO fight against the insurgency. She has also reported from Iraq, where she covered U.S. military operations and the strategic alliance between Sunni sheiks and the U.S. military in Anbar province.

Martin started her career at public radio station KQED in San Francisco, as a producer and reporter.

She holds an undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, and a Master's degree in International Affairs from Columbia University.

Pages

Around the Nation
7:25 am
Sun June 7, 2015

In Newark, Reversing 40 Years Of Neighborhood Neglect

The view looking west on Market Street in Downtown Newark, N.J.
Alex Welsh for NPR

Originally published on Tue June 9, 2015 9:37 am

In cities with high crime rates, like Newark, N.J., figuring out the right balance of police engagement is especially hard.

In 2013, Newark had 40 homicides per 100,000 residents, the third-highest homicide rate in the country.

Last fall, the new mayor, Ras Baraka, announced a plan to tackle the crime and neglect that have plagued the city's worst neighborhoods. He started by focusing on two of the toughest: Clinton Hill and the Lower West Ward. I asked him in January how he'll know the program is working.

Read more
Business
6:03 am
Sun May 17, 2015

The Outsized Optimism Of The Entrepreneur

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun May 17, 2015 5:23 pm

It is part of the American dream, the notion that if you have a good idea and a fire in your belly, you can turn an idea into a successful business. It's that entrepreneurial spirit that drives the global economy.

That message is everywhere in our culture. President Obama echoed it last week, at a summit on entrepreneurship at the White House.

"We have a lot of brainpower here," he said. "We've got innovators and investors, business leaders, entrepreneurs. We've even got a few Sharks."

Read more
Technology
5:47 am
Sun April 19, 2015

VW Camper Van Gets An Electric Makeover

Originally published on Sun April 19, 2015 9:00 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TRUCKIN'")

GRATEFUL DEAD: (Singing) What a long, strange trip it's been.

Read more
Asia
5:47 am
Sun April 19, 2015

Nepal Diverts Climbing Fees To Sherpa Welfare Fund

Originally published on Sun April 19, 2015 9:00 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Read more
Mental Health
5:06 pm
Sun April 12, 2015

Working Through Depression: Many Stay On The Job, Despite Mental Illness

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 10:53 am

When a pilot crashed a Germanwings plane into a mountainside in the French Alps last month, one word kept coming up over and over in the media coverage: depression. What did the airline know about the pilot's mental health, and what was he required to tell them?

Of course, being depressed is a very different thing from wanting to take the lives of others. But experts we talked with said that an event like this one — a violent act carried out by someone with a mental illness — increases the stigma for everyone with mental illness.

Read more
Around the Nation
6:00 am
Sun April 5, 2015

In New York, A Sculptor's Got Some S'plaining To Do

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 7:38 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Read more
The Two-Way
4:02 pm
Fri April 3, 2015

#NPRreads: Obsessing Over A Murder And The Times' Man In Tehran

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 10:56 am

#NPRreads is a new feature we're testing out on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers throughout our newsroom will share pieces that have kept them reading. They'll share tidbits on Twitter using the #NPRreads hashtag, and on occasion we'll share a longer take here on the blog.

This week, we bring you threes reads and — we're cheating — one watch.

First, from Rachel Martin, host of Weekend Edition Sunday:

Read more
Sports
6:02 am
Sun March 22, 2015

For The Underdogs, Winning The NCAA Was Extra Sweet

The 1988 Kansas Jayhawks hold up their trophy after winning the championship game of the NCAA Final Four Tournament.
Susan Ragan AP

Originally published on Sun March 22, 2015 1:08 pm

Every March, the madness takes hold.

The NCAA college basketball tournament might be the most emotional event in college sports. Sixty-four teams in a single-elimination tournament. The regular season can be blown away in a single game.

After that one tournament, it's all gone. But we always remember those ultimate underdogs — George Mason, Butler, Richmond. This year, it was Georgia State — until Saturday, when the Panthers fell to the Xavier Musketeers.

Read more
Around the Nation
8:25 am
Sun March 15, 2015

Instead Of Tickets, N.H. Police Hand Out Good-Deed Coupons

Originally published on Sun March 15, 2015 9:03 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Police in Farmington, N.H., are issuing tickets all over town. But these are tickets you might not mind getting.

CHIEF JOHN DRURY: They're for a slice of pizza or a small French fry.

Read more
Interviews
8:25 am
Sun March 15, 2015

The Truth About Humanitarian Work: High Ideals Vs. Hard Realities

UNICEF workers assemble "school infection prevention kits" in Monrovia, Liberia, to stop the spread of Ebola back in January.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 10:31 am

The Syrian civil war has dragged on for four years now. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have died and more than 3 million have been displaced.

The refugee crisis there has attracted humanitarian aid workers hoping to make a difference. Kayla Mueller was one of them. The 26-year-old Arizona native was captured by the self-proclaimed Islamic State in August of 2013. She was killed last month.

Read more
Strange News
6:48 am
Sun March 15, 2015

Haunted Dolls Are A Thing, And They're Not Cheap, Either

Some dolls just don't seem quite right.
Jak Hutchcraft

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 10:56 am

Some childhood symbols straddle the line between adorable and terrifying. Like clowns. Or Furbys.

Some dolls fit the category, too, with spooky eyes that seem to move or a porcelain pallor. They're not all Chucky, but some of them just don't seem quite right.

Listener Anne McLaughlin grew up with a cabinet full of dolls — including a pretty dancer doll and a set of wooden nesting dolls. But one, she says, stood out.

Read more
Interviews
6:56 am
Sun March 8, 2015

Learning The Hard Truth About Lying

Marilee Jones, former MIT dean of admissions and now a college admissions consultant.
Courtesy Marilee Jones

Originally published on Sun March 8, 2015 11:08 am

We all lie sometimes. But if you're in the public eye, the lie can take on a life of its own.

NBC's Brian Williams became the victim of his own story last month, exaggerating the danger he faced while reporting in Iraq in 2003. It lead to an on-air mea culpa and a temporary suspension from the anchor desk.

Read more
On Aging
5:50 am
Sun January 11, 2015

For The Record: Aging Out And Moving On

Originally published on Mon January 12, 2015 2:13 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Read more
Europe
6:07 am
Sun April 20, 2014

Tiny Liechtenstein Loses A Precious Quarter-Acre

Originally published on Sun April 20, 2014 7:37 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Read more
Music News
6:40 am
Sun March 9, 2014

After A Bitter Struggle, DSO Brings 'Joy' To The People Again

Like many regional orchestras, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra has struggled financially. But after a lot of work, it's set itself on solid footing and become a bright spot in a struggling city.
Courtesy DSO

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 7:55 am

Detroit's Orchestra Hall is one of the best symphony concert halls in the country. The acoustics are top-notch. The theater itself is grand. Important music is made there by some of the country's most talented classical musicians.

Read more
Around the Nation
6:00 am
Sun October 27, 2013

Is Rebuilding Storm-Struck Coastlines Worth The Cost?

The Long Beach High School marching band prepares to march down the Long Beach boardwalk during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 27, 2013 12:10 pm

One year ago Tuesday, Hurricane Sandy bore down on the East Coast, devastating shoreline communities from Florida to Maine.

Many of these areas have been rebuilt, including the Long Beach boardwalk, about 30 miles outside New York City. Officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new boardwalk Friday.

Ninety percent of the funding for the restoration came from the federal government. The Federal Emergency Management Agency paid $44 million to repair the devastation.

Read more
U.S.
11:32 pm
Sat November 10, 2012

Petraeus' Fall As Stunning As The Career Before It

Gen. David Petraeus greets an Iraqi man at a tea shop in Baghdad in 2007. In 2011, Petraeus left the Army to become CIA director. He resigned Friday, citing an extramarital affair.
Chris Hondros Getty Images

Originally published on Sun November 11, 2012 4:25 pm

The resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus, the retired four-star general who stepped down late Friday citing an extramarital affair, brings to an end one of the most storied careers in modern U.S. military history.

Petraeus left the Army in August 2011 after nearly four decades in uniform. Before his retirement ceremony had even begun, he walked up on the empty stage, went over to the podium and tapped on the microphone. The general was doing his own mic check.

Read more
Presidential Race
4:58 am
Sun October 21, 2012

Turns Out, There Are Rules For The Debates. Lots

The candidates agreed to 21 pages of debate rules, but whether they obey them is another story.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 6:03 am

When President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney meet for their third presidential debate on Monday, there will be some rules for the candidates — and the audience.

In the first debate, Jim Lehrer of PBS demanded "Absolute silence!" Although Lehrer caught some flack for letting the candidates freewheel in that debate, he meant business when it came to keeping the audience quiet.

"If you hear something that's really terrific, sit on it!" he told the audience. "If you hear something you don't like, sit on it!"

But that's not the only debate rule — not by far.

Read more
Home Front: Soldiers Learn To Live After War
3:42 am
Sun June 17, 2012

Frontlines Of Fatherhood: Catching Up After War

Sgt. Michael Clark and his fiancee, Kaitlin Forant, hold their son, Michael Clark Jr. It took time for the 18-month-old to recognize his father after Clark's deployment.
Tom Dreisbach NPR

Originally published on Sun June 17, 2012 5:58 pm

Last year, members of the 182nd National Guard regiment marked Father's Day far away from their loved ones. This year, they're home with their kids after a year in Afghanistan.

Spc. Bryan Tolley, 29, knows the challenges of being both a soldier and a dad. His son, Ryan, is a shy, blond 18-month-old who happily clings to his dad.

"Seeing his face light up when he sees Dada come through his bedroom door instead of Mama — because he's so used to his mother — it's awesome. I love it," says Tolley of Plymouth, Mass.

Read more
Home Front: Soldiers Learn To Live After War
4:02 am
Sun June 10, 2012

Help And Hope, From Soldiers, For Soldiers

A recent Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program event in Boston offered help for members of the 182nd Infantry Regiment of the Army National Guard as they transition back to being civilians.
Tom Dreisbach NPR

Originally published on Sun June 10, 2012 2:43 pm

The 182nd Infantry Regiment of the Army National Guard landed back in the U.S. last March after a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan.

After two months of leave, however, their official transition time is over and the deployment paychecks have stopped. It's now time to get back to regular life, and for the members from Massachusetts, that means a mandatory check-in with the unit's leadership.

From Soldier To Civilian

Read more
Home Front: Soldiers Learn To Live After War
4:25 am
Sun April 29, 2012

National Guard Members' Next Battle: The Job Hunt

The National Guard's 182nd Infantry Regiment returned home in March from a year in Afghanistan. One in three said they were unemployed or looking for work.
Becky Lettenberger NPR

Originally published on Mon April 30, 2012 10:31 am

Before the soldiers of the 182nd Regiment of the Army National Guard came home, they were asked how many were unemployed or looking for work. The answer: about one in three.

As more soldiers return to civilian life, a civilian job may not be there waiting. Service members with the National Guard have the extra challenge of convincing employers to hire them when they may be called to active duty for a year or more. There are laws designed to protect vets from losing their jobs or promotions because of their service, but it's hard to prove when it happens.

Read more
Religion
6:00 am
Sun April 8, 2012

The Army Chaplain: A Kind Of Mission Specialist

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

There is one group in the military with a unique role in helping soldiers and their families through difficult times. So, on this Easter Sunday, an Army chaplain describes his work helping soldiers who have just returned from war.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

RICK EBB: My name is Chaplain Rick Ebb. I'm the post chaplain here at Camp Atterbury. I am one of the first people they see, and I think that's very important that the representative of faith is there. And we say a prayer, a quick prayer, for God's safety bringing them back.

Read more
Home Front: Soldiers Learn To Live After War
4:01 am
Sun April 8, 2012

Dismissed: Military Families Reunite, Face The Future

A portrait of Spc. Jonathan Nestico, 27, is displayed in his family's home in Woburn, Mass.
Becky Lettenberger Becky Lettenberger/NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:53 am

Back from a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan, the 182nd Infantry Regiment of the Army National Guard had to make a pit stop before heading home. At Camp Atterbury in Indiana, the service members were far from their families, most of which are in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

The returning soldiers had to go through a series of checkups and assessments before their welcome-home ceremony, which marks the moment they return to civilian life and the people they left behind.

Before they got there, there was anxiety on both sides — for soldiers and their families.

Read more
The Impact of War
4:07 am
Sun March 25, 2012

Home Front: 'Citizen Soldiers' Start A Transition

Members of the 182nd Infantry Regiment arrive in Indiana after spending a year in Afghanistan. They will spend about a week here before returning to their homes in New England.
Tom Dreisbach NPR

Originally published on Sun April 1, 2012 8:39 am

A few days ago, a plane carrying members of the 182nd Infantry Regiment touched down in Indiana. The 303 soldiers who were on board are members of an Army National Guard unit that has just finished a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan.

The soldiers, dressed in their combat uniforms and carrying their weapons, bounded down the stairs from the plane. They shook the hands of the generals who had gathered there to welcome them home. It was the middle of the night and raining, but none of them seemed to mind. It had been a long trip and a long year.

Read more
Politics
6:00 am
Sun March 18, 2012

Candidates' (Vocal) Pitch Plays Into Appeal

Originally published on Sun March 18, 2012 7:57 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

So what does it take to win an election: A clear message, a strong organization, good hair? How about deep pipes?

SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL: It's my view that the administration's policies are actually designed on purpose to bring about higher gas prices.

MARTIN: That's Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell who has won a few elections in his day.

Read more
National Security
4:29 am
Sun January 22, 2012

CIA Tracks Public Information For The Private Eye

A student paints the Facebook logo on a mural commemorating Egypt's revolution last spring. The team from the CIA's Open Source Center monitors social media activity overseas.
Manoocher Deghati AP

Originally published on Wed January 25, 2012 7:24 am

Secrets: the currency of spies around the world.

The rise of social media, hash-tags, forums, blogs and online news sites has revealed a new kind of secret — those hiding in plain sight. The CIA calls all this information "open source" material, and it's changing the way America's top spy agency does business.

Read more
Asia
1:05 pm
Thu December 22, 2011

Pentagon: U.S., Pakistan Share Blame In Shooting

Pentagon spokesman George Little, speaking Thursday, said U.S. and Pakistani forces both made mistakes that contributed to the Nov. 26 shooting that killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers along the border with Afghanistan.
Luis M. Alvarez AP

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 5:36 pm

The U.S. military said Thursday that U.S. and Pakistani forces both made mistakes in a U.S. helicopter attack that killed two dozen Pakistani troops in November along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

The Pentagon released the findings of its investigation that said a lack of trust, miscommunication and faulty map information all contributed to the shooting.

"For the loss of life and lack of coordination between U.S. and Pakistani forces that contributed to those losses, we express our deepest regret," said Pentagon spokesman George Little.

Read more
The Impact of War
4:01 pm
Sun December 18, 2011

Report: High Levels Of 'Burnout' In U.S. Drone Pilots

Around 1,100 Air Force pilots fly remotely piloted aircraft – or drones. These planes soar over Iraq or Afghanistan but the pilots sit at military bases back in the United States.

A new Pentagon study shows that almost 30 percent of drone pilots surveyed suffer from what the military calls "burnout." It's the first time the military has tried to measure the psychological impact of waging a "remote-controlled war."

Read more
Leaving Iraq
7:00 pm
Sat December 17, 2011

Improvised Warfare In Iraq Leaves Lasting Effects

U.S. and Iraqi soldiers display "sticky IEDs" — magnetic bombs that militants attach to vehicles — found during a raid at a checkpoint near the Iraq-Iran border.
Peter Kenyon NPR

Army Sgt. Maj. Todd Burnett spent about three years in Iraq hunting for improvised explosive devices, also knows as IEDs.

"I can remember going out and one week I got blown up three times," Burnett says. He says back then, it wasn't whether you were going to get blown up, it was just a matter of when you were going to get blown up.

Read more
National Security
10:01 pm
Mon November 28, 2011

Drone Pilots: The Future Of Aerial Warfare

Unmanned aerial vehicles, like this Predator (shown here in 2009 during training at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nev.), make up the fastest growing segment of the U.S. Air Force.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 29, 2011 10:16 am

To understand how important remotely piloted aircraft are to the U.S. military, consider this: The U.S. Air Force says this year it will train more drone pilots than fighter and bomber pilots combined.

And that's changing the nature of aerial warfare — and the pilots who wage it.

Steve, a lieutenant colonel, grew up wanting to be in the Air Force. And that meant one thing: wanting to be a pilot.

To him, flying is physical: the pull of gravity, the sounds inside the cockpit.

Read more

Pages